With not one, not two, but THREE Conan games on the horizon, it looks like everyone’s favorite Cimmerian is about to make a huge splash in the industry.
We’ve been here before, of course.
In 1984, TSR released two modules, Conan Unchained! and Conan Against Darkness. Both were pretty terrible, but that didn’t stop them from releasing a Conan: The Roleplaying Game boxed set in 1985, followed by three supplements, Conan the Buccaneer, Conan the Mercenary, and Conan Triumphant.
A few years later, Steve Jackson Games got into the act, producing a GURPs Conan solo adventure, Beyond Thunder River, in 1988. In 1989 they would release a Conan supplement setting and three more solo adventures: Conan and the Queen of the Black Coast, Conan: Moon of Blood, and Conan the Wyrmslayer. As with TSR’s rather unimpressive outing, these failed to hit the mark.
A better showing came from Mongoose Publishing, whose Conan: The Roleplaying Game exploded between 2004 – 2010 with a core rulebook and nearly forty supplements. These were pretty well done and they really made a go of it, but unfortunately strayed a bit too far from Robert E. Howard for my tastes.
Fantasy Flight Games delivered a strategy board game in 2009 called Age of Conan which was like a game of RISK on steroids. It was fun for what it was, but ultimately not a game that begged to be revisited.
And now we’re patiently waiting to see how the new barbarians on the block fare…
First up is from Modiphius. Robert E. Howard’s CONAN: Adventures In An Age Undreamed Of is an RPG that I’ve actually had a chance to playtest. I’ll be honest, I’m not too fond of the game system being used — I’m a die-hard d20 guy — but the supplements planned for this thing, the pedigree behind the writers and artists, and their commitment to focusing on HOWARD sells this to me.
There are also two Conan miniatures-based board games coming. The first one is from Monolith, aptly titled: Conan, and has a more RPG feel, while the other is a strategy wargame with awesome pre-painted sculpts from Pulposaurus Entertainment called Conan: Rise of Monsters (C:ROM, get it?).
I actually got a really up close and personal look at Rise of Monsters at this year’s Gen Con and it was amazing in every sense of the word.
Robert E. Howard’s writings have been a near lifelong obsession and inspiration. Being able to immerse myself in the Hyborian Age via three games that are not only beautiful works of art independent of each other, but that also have the capacity to be brought together, complimenting one another and making for a richer experience is all I could ever have asked for.
Crom, this is going to hurt my wallet, but I suspect it will be well worth it.