The worst best game of last year
Oh, Conan. I guess "what is best in life" doesn't include a coherent rulebook or a complete package of content that does not require you to have a) been a Kickstarter backer b) buy additional stuff and c) figure out how to use all of the additional stuff on your own because there are not really any scenarios or guidelines as to what to do with it. To put it bluntly, this is a $120 retail game that practically slaps you in the face when you open the box with its sense of incompleteness, its sense of rushed production, and an aura of shoddy development.
Which sucks, because it's pretty awesome when it works. Take one look at that map board that has the two ships and any Conan fan is going to get excited at the thought of swinging between the boats into a swashbuckling fray. There are very smart, very cool overlording mechanics. There's a sense that there is A LOT this system could do, like on an Earth Reborn level. The scenarios feel like the climax of a great Robert E. Howard story and the whole thing has the right tone (apart from that questionable illustration on the rulebook).
I like the game a lot, but I feel like it is outclassed by TMNT and Doom, especially the latter because it feels like you never have to buy an expansion. Like Charlie said in our triple header review along with Drew here at Miniature Market, you don't have to wait for it to meet it's potential because it's all there in the box. With Conan, it feels like it needs a second edition and a major expansion before you even play the first scenario.
Where I think they went wrong with all of this is in trying to make a miniatures skirmish game palatable to board gamers. This thing needed a points system and a standard miniatures game marketing plan.
I'm rating it 3 1/2 but when it's good, I'd almost go another full star. But then you have a wonky scenario where the balance is suddenly out of whack or something doesn't work right. Or you are looking at some of the skills and wondering why there is nothing that uses them or says how to use them in the box. Or you see the skeletons on the cover, only to find that there are none in the box.