Review of Conan (The Board Game by Monolith)
Quite a while ago, Asmodee sent Must Contain Minis a retail copy of Conan for review purposes. I would like to start off this article by thanking them for sending this product. It is excellent.
|Review of Conan by Monolith|
This review will be short as it is not my first post about Conan. My initial thoughts of the game and pictures of the components are featured in my unboxing article. We also have Battle Reports for the first two scenarios in the game (In the Clutches of the Picts and Hunting the Tigress). The miniatures in the game paint up well and we have some showcase articles showing the work of myself (Jacob) and of Ullr’s Table. I will admit that Ullr’s Table paints much better than I. That said, Conan is a great game that my friends and I have decided to paint. I will post more showcases as we complete the work.
Regular readers may also recognize some of the miniatures from the unboxing article in my Frostgrave Battle Reports. The models are nice enough that I figured that I might as well make them pull double duty.
Mechanics wise, Conan is very smooth. The whole game centers around the use and distribution of energy crystals (gems). In many ways, it is a resource management game as the gems determine what you can do and how many actions you can take.
Below is a shot of the character cards in the base game. The six big icons adjacent to the character pictures determine what die the character rolls naturally (without upgrades) and how many gems a character can put into an action. When the gems reach the red number (on the left of the icon), you can’t put any more gems into that action for the turn.
Players are allowed to move around the table on their turn and take their actions as they wish. This means that Conan can move up two spaces, have Shevatas throw some knives at an enemy in the way, and then Conan can go again and move and attack another opponent. The players decide how they want to act and the entire group gets to keep going until they spend all of the gems that they wish for the turn. This is very nice as it keeps all of the players engaged in what the others are doing. Perhaps they want to check a chest but first want to wait for one of the other players to clear the way. They can do that. There is a lot of flexibility to a turn in this game.
|Character Cards from the Retail copy of Conan.|
This movement of gems to make your character act is an excellent mechanic. Don’t like a roll, you can even spend a gem for a re-roll. If you do this too many times, you won’t have the energy you want for the next turn.At the start of the turn, you have to decide whether to go active or defensive. Defensive gives you more energy back, but it limits your actions. For Pallantides to completely restore his energy, it would take just over two turns on defensive or just over five turns on aggressive. This means that management of your gems is critical in turn limited games.
Likewise, the Overlord also works with gems as energy and spends his turn spending that energy. Like the players, at the start of each turn, a certain amount of energy regenerates. If he (or she) spends too much at once, then they will be unable to regain all of their energy on the next turn. In the image below, the Overlord’s energy tray is on the left.
|Above we have a picture of the Conan Board Game in play. On the left is the Overlord’s tray while around the table is each player’s character card. The management of energy gems is essential to both the players and the overlord in this game.|
Using gems, the Overlord can choose which enemy groups to activate, can modify rolls, defend and move enemies further. He can also sometimes spawn more enemies. The overlord does not get as many action options as the players, but the Overlord has many more minis to run.
Overall, this is a fantastic game. It has beautiful miniatures, great mechanics and enjoyable scenarios. For anyone interested in a game like this, I highly recommend it.
That said, I have a criticism that has to be voiced. The fact that Monolith / Asmodee decided to print a half-naked woman on the cover of the heroes’ book means that I am severely limited in where I can take this game out to play. Where I live, people may take offence if I leave the book laying out on a table at a public venue. This is too bad as I tend to enjoy playing games at conventions, stores and community centres.
Monolith has fixed this issue with their printing of the second version of the rulebook. That rulebook is available online for free from Monolith’s website. Thank you for that Monolith!!! Unfortunately, the second version of the rules is not currently in the standard retail box. I wish that I had a physical copy of the new rules to go with my retail copy of the game.
Other than the above complaint, I am really happy with Conan by Monolith. Thanks goes out again to Asmodee for sending me this fantastic product.
Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!
Quick access to Conan Board Game Articles…
- Unboxing and Initial Thoughts
- Battle Report 1: In the Clutches of the Picts
- Battle Report 2: Hunting the Tigress (Contains Kickstarter Elements)
- Showcase: Some Minis Painted quickly by Jacob
- Showcase: Minis painted by Ullr’s Table (Contains Kickstarter Elements)
Discloser: Asmodee provided Must Contain Minis with a Review Copy of Conan the Board Game by Monolith.
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