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Subject: Conan - (Informal) Brief initial thoughts, solitaire testing feedback. rss

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Jonathan Walters
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Hi all! After receiving my copy of Monolith's Conan, I wanted to throw out my thoughts about the components, as well as the results of my solitaire play testing in order to prepare for a full game with friends tonight!

Unboxing

I received my copy undamaged, and was impressed with how well/how much they packed into these boxes. All of the components were of excellent quality, except for one issue: The varying quality of the figures.

For whatever reason, Monolith commissioned a full-scale manufacturing process for the Conan minis that included three distinct grades of plastic: A light-colored and somewhat malleable type that doesn't appear to hold fine detail well, a darker, harder, resin that holds detail extremely well, and another somewhat in the middle in terms of color, hardness, and detail retention. It's understandable that Monolith may have been testing different providers and/or materials for production pieces, but I personally find it disappointing that they wouldn't see this error immediately and ultimately decide to cast the whole range using the darker, harder, resin.

Thankfully, a vast majority of the figures were cast in the darker resin, which yielded excellent detail on these pieces. Unfortunately, some of the most important figures, such as Conan, Belit, Red Sonja (Vanir Valkyrie) and others were cast using the inferior material, which meant that these figures sadly lacked the very fine detail present on a vast majority of the pieces in this package.

Overall though, the quality is more than acceptable for the pieces on the whole, and many that have begun painting their figures have noted that even a simple base coat can improve the appearance of the inferior-cast figures.

As for the printed components, they're absolutely gorgeous, and the ma pboards alone are a sight to behold. They're both solid and well-designed, with impressive artwork. Such is generally representative of all the printed tokens, sheets, etc. The only glaring issue I found was with the two included rule books, which (while they generally share a level of polish comparable to the other components), something went horribly wrong here which clearly points to multiple beginner mistakes on Monolith's part, which I'll expand on later.

Verdict:
7/10 Figures: Excellent, despite questionable production choices.
9/10 Components: So. Much. Polish.
8/10 Overall: Much care was made to create a very polished product!

Solitaire Playtest

And here is where the rules rose up to bite the whole thing in the behind and turn the whole experience into an exercise in frustration.

My confusion began with the decision to split the Hero and Overlord rules into two separate books, and apparently no thought went into creating a common book that presented the unified rules and game play sequence in a single, unified, and logically-written piece of reference. As it is, the rules are haphazardly organized, and players are forced to bounce between the two books constantly for clarification on things that sometimes (and frustratingly) have no clarification.

Many others have already written about this, so I won't go on beyond what I've already said. Suffice to say though, the fact that the rules were a mess was an absolute hindrance to me learning the game, especially considering that this is the first game I've played that uses this type of system. Luckily, the Conan player community is very much active, and when I resorted to BGG and Youtube for information I was able to get clarification on what I needed.

I set out to solitaire the First scenario and run through a few turns, and I was able to pick up the general rules and get into the flow of the game rather easily after the first turn. The action is fun, fast, and seems to flow really well, and I really loved the resource management aspect of the game. I can also see myself having a lot of fun designing scenarios for this game after a short time, especially once Monolith releases their revised rule books which should correct errors and add clarification to outstanding questions. In the meantime, the player community has certainly stepped up to fill the gap.

Overall, game play is extremely fun once you get past the cumbersome rule books, and most concepts are luckily (generally) self-explanatory and don't present many serious roadblocks to learning and enjoying the game.

Verdict:
9/10 System: Overall, a great system once you overcome the rules.
9/10 Gameplay: Fast, action-packed, and flows very well.
6/10 Rules: The game's rule books are its hardest mob to fight...

Final Thoughts/TLDR:

Aside from the horrid rule books and a few sub-standard miniatures, this is an excellent game with a heap of potential and excellent replay-ability potential. I would not hesitate to recommend this game to others, especially once the revised official rules enter circulation.

Hopefully you all found this helpful, and I'm looking forward to writing again after my first real game tonight!
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Ben Lynch
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Are people in the United States receiving this? I'm eager to receive mine... but have heard and seen nothing.
 
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Aditya C
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I received mine last week.
 
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Drake Coker
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Bukharajones wrote:
Are people in the United States receiving this? I'm eager to receive mine... but have heard and seen nothing.


Got mine last Saturday.

BTW - I found the rules disorganized, but never-the-less not hard to understand. My only issue is they have some important gaps (like how the Exploding Orbs work) and at least one modest error (Wall Breaker skill mistranslation).
 
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Drake Coker
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Quote:

For whatever reason, Monolith commissioned a full-scale manufacturing process for the Conan minis that included three distinct grades of plastic: A light-colored and somewhat malleable type that doesn't appear to hold fine detail well, a darker, harder, resin that holds detail extremely well, and another somewhat in the middle in terms of color, hardness, and detail retention. It's understandable that Monolith may have been testing different providers and/or materials for production pieces, but I personally find it disappointing that they wouldn't see this error immediately and ultimately decide to cast the whole range using the darker, harder, resin.


Minor correction for clarity... nothing here is actually "resin". They are all semi-soft plastic (resin is a different kind of thing).
 
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