Zubby Newsletter #46: Definitely On Board

Last week, the latest Kickstarter campaign for the Conan Board Game by Monolith launched, based on Red Nails, one of the finest Robert E. Howard Conan tales, and it’s been crushing its way through stretch goals aplenty. Although the campaign has a bunch of new material available, they also have a ‘New Recruit’ pledge so you can get the original game flush with extras as well.

Obviously, I have a vested interest in all things Conan right now but, honestly, I think the board game is great on its own merits, and I enjoyed playing the heck out of it even before I started writing Conan on a regular basis. This isn’t a sponsored thing. I’m not being paid for this and Monolith doesn’t know ahead of time that I’m putting this ramble together.

Let me tell you why I think it’s good stuff-

The Conan Board Game has a Rich Thematic Feel

Conan is a skirmish-style board game for 1-5 players. In the base game, one person takes on the role of the Overlord and controls the creatures, traps, and other trouble in the game. The other players are heroes of the Hyborian Age – usually Conan and his allies – on a mission to stop the Overlord’s machinations. After the initial release, Monolith released rules that can automate the Overlord role allowing full co-op and even solo play if that’s something that interests you.

The game design, rules, and different scenarios do a wonderful job at creating a proper atmosphere for big bloody adventures in a world where survival or slaughter are a sword stroke away.

Each turn, players have to decide if they’re going to store up their energy or go for broke with bold movement and attacks. Instead of being stuck with arbitrary turn order and sometimes not knowing what your allies are doing until after you get to go, player actions happen in any order. That means you can send a character into a dangerous situation, see how it goes, and then adjust strategy based on how the dice roll. This keeps everyone at the table engaged as they look for ways to play off each other and assist instead of players feeling disconnected as they take their turns.

The best defense tends to be a strong offense, but you also need to hold some energy back to protect yourself because damage taken equals energy lost. Getting hurt doesn’t just tick down a pool of hit points, it lowers the overall pool of energy your character has access to for the rest of the game (unless you find healing, which is few and far between). The push and pull of offense vs defense, when to unleash brutal attacks and when to back off or protect your allies, keeps things dynamic as each mission plays out.

The Game Variety is Fantastic

There are a bunch of different missions in the Conan base game, a lot more free ones online, and even more with expansion material released since the game launched in 2015. Some missions are assaults where the players attack the enemy in their lair. Others are defensive, with the players protecting a location from invading hordes, assassins, or creatures. There are escort quests, treasure hunts, creature ambushes, bar brawls, and a lot more.

The base game started with missions that were all done-in-one play session, but now there are also missions that link together to tell a larger story. I’ve run scenarios for board game enthusiasts and friends who aren’t into TTRPGs and they had an absolute blast kicking down doors, gathering items, and slaying evil.

The Components Look Great

The artwork is top notch, the boards and counters are evocative, and the multitude of miniatures are really high quality. I’m obviously crazy-busy right now, but I’m looking to carve out some time this summer to start painting the characters, creatures, and bad guys aplenty so my set has even more ‘table presence’.

That said, even if you’re not up for painting, the sculpts look sharp. When you put a Giant Snake or Dark Demon on the table, it gets a great reaction.

Alright, hopefully that overview gets you pumped for Hyborian Age adventures at the table. If you need more info on how the game plays and what it looks like, check out these videos – one and two. I’m excited to crack open the new set when it arrives.

There’s only one week left to back the campaign and get a Conanza of extra stuff.

Conan Previews Aplenty!

Speaking of Conan-
• Kabooooom has preview pages and an advance review of CONAN THE BARBARIAN #7 (and they gave it a 5/5!).

• Newsarama revealed advance artwork for CONAN THE BARBARIAN #8 with interior pages by Doug Braithwaite and covers by Ashleigh Izienicki, Patch Zircher and Greg Broadmore.

• Popverse revealed cover artwork for CONAN THE BARBARIAN #10 by Rob De La Torre, Alan Quah, Erik Gist, and David Aja.

Patch Zircher spoke to David Brooke at AIPT all about working on Solomon Kane as part of the new Savage Sword of Conan series, and in that same interview they revealed fantastic new cover art for SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #2 by Dave Dorman and Nick Marinkovich.

The Thief Many Things Arrives in April!

I thought Fortune Finder might be my last D&D comic for the foreseeable future, but in April there’s one more in the mix.

Ellen Boener (writer of the recent Feast of the Moon D&D movie tie-in story) and I came up with a wild one-shot story with D&D’s infamous Deck of Many Things, a magical artifact that can create or destroy in an instant. Ellen took that core and has scripted up a tale of bombastic adventure and breathtaking betrayal. Eduardo Mello, who absolutely crushed it on the D&D: Mindbreaker mini-series I wrote, is back illustrating this one and delivers the best pages of his career so far.

Look for it in April. Solicit info below-

68 Pages • $9.99 • APRIL 2024

The Deck of Many Things is the most infamous item in the Dungeons & Dragons canon. Any one of its cards could throw the world into chaos or, in the wrong hands, end it all together. This mega one-shot reveals fresh lore tied to the Book of Many Things Dungeons & Dragons sourcebook and brings the legends of the Deck to life.

Our quest follows two ex-romantic rivals who team up to steal the cards, risking everything for the chance to save the lover they lost.

Dungeons & Dragons icon Jim Zub (Rick & Morty vs. Dungeons & Dragons, Uncanny Avengers, Conan) joins forces with up-and-coming writer Ellen Boener (Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves—The Feast of the Moon) and artist Eduardo Mello (Dungeons & Dragons: Mindbreaker, DC vs. Vampires: All-Out War) for this new Baldur’s Gate tale.

Oshawa is…Gone?

For years, Ed Brisson and I have joked about which of us was the more ‘famous’ comic creator from Oshawa, Ontario, “The City That Moto-vates Canada”. Ed’s now put his thumb on the scales in a way I can’t match by making Oshawa the core of his latest creator-owned series.

Well played, Brisson.

As always, Ed delivers a compelling story, grounded characters, and a killer hook, and the art by Luca Casalanguida and Dee Cunniffe looks great…I’m not jealous at all.

Pre-order cut-off on The Displaced #1 is Monday, January 22nd, so let your local shop know you want one…even if you’re not from Oshawa. 😉

Links and Other Stuff

• Who is the most popular American to ever work in comic books? Matttt has the answer and it’s ridiculously compelling. This guy’s YouTube Channel doesn’t have many videos, but every single one of them is a banger.

• This CBC News report on the ways food companies pass along costs to customers summarizes a lot of good info. With grocery costs on the rise, it’s good to keep an eye out for these manipulative changes so you can make more informed choices.

Have a wonderful week,

  1. Appreciate for the heads up about Displaced. Always great to get word of new stories.

    Is your Dungeons & Dragons: Days of Endless Adventure out of print?

    Also, when will your Conan series be collected?

    Thanks for the adventures.

  2. Hi Jim ! Loving Conan!

    Does this series follow Marvel Conan continuity or is it its own thing?

    Can you use characters like Kulan Gath, Zula and others created during the Marvel run?

    • Thanks so much for the enthusiastic support!
      The only absolute canon we’re using at the start are the original Robert E. Howard Conan stories. I may end up using other pieces from Marvel or other media, but incorporating it in different ways. Keep reading, and you’ll see 🙂

Leave a Comment

NOTE - You can use these HTML tags and attributes:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>