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MeanBone

Not sure this new KS campaign will fund

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While the leader pledge is a good deal for new people who have no previous Conan content, I would think most of the people interested in this are existing fans who bought the King pledge in 2015 or at least have the retail box. The legacy pledge doesn’t seem like a great value for them, really, and on KS, people look for value.

 

First lesson in business: Give the people what they want.

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It’s a huge bummer to watch it unfold. Tragic really. This game (Conan) means a lot to me. My gaming group has had hundreds of hours of fantastic fun playing it. I’ve had countless hours of fun painting it and crafting terrain for it. In many ways it is everything I want from a board game. My heart actually breaks a little for Fred Henry. I’ve read that he’s literally mortgaged his house to keep Monolith afloat. Despite bringing in millions of dollars through the various KS campaigns, only the 2nd Batman Campaign managed to be profitable. He clearly cares deeply about the games. People accusing Monolith of staging a ‘cash grab’ with the current campaign have no idea what goes into bringing a complex, miniature and paper/cardboard component-heavy game to market. Everyone must be paid; artists, designers, office staff, Chinese manufacturers, etc... It’s just an absurd fantasy to think that any company which manages to bring in a couple million dollars on a KS campaign is laughing all the way to the bank and kicking it on a tropical island. 

 

I do think that Beyond the Monolith was too ambitious, too complex and confusing for a KS campaign, and not actually what the existing fan base really wanted from the followup Conan KSer. I know that I really can’t get excited about another 1v1 skirmish game. Near as I can tell, we have our own Matt John S to thank for making sure that some new ‘Adventure Mode’ material even made it into the campaign. If funds were no issue, I’d throw a ton of money at the them ASAP. But, with a new little Barbarian on the way, I need to be a little more conscious of how I spend my discretionary money. I’ll go in for the Legacy Box and Tome of Skelos. But... I agree... I’m not confident this will fund. Tragically, if it doesn’t, it’s been made clear that Monolith might very well close it’s doors for good. By Crom, it’s a woeful  situation. 

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Originally I didn't think I would care for the 1v1 system, but it is growing on me. I prefer this KS rather than Batman because I like the Conan IP better and the minis can be used in other game systems. The progress of this campaign has disappointed me, since I have no doubt that the next Conan KS would be the adventure mode Red Nails that we all wanted.

 

What really has me upset is the attitude I saw from people wishing ill-will on Monolith. Instead of voting with their wallets and not buying it, they started screaming from the rooftops that Monolith should fail and/or go out of business. And it wasn't just casual commenting, there were people camping out to shout down anyone who tried to remain positive. There is a difference between expressing an opinion and aggressively trying to sabotage a campaign. As a fan, I put a lot of effort into making fan-made scenarios for this community, and now I feel like this community stabbed me in the back. 

 

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I have personally gotten much enjoyment and fun from all the previous Conan campaigns, miniatures and games. The campaigns created anticipation. I have enjoyed painting the miniatures, and the game play has led to many fun evenings around a table. Albeit sometimes horribly slanted one way or the other in balance. The rumours of more adventures of Conan have built anticipation for years. The sheer volume and scope of the previous campaigns is overwhelming.

 

I suspect Fred is a tornado of ideas and I feel he is wonderfully creative. The problem is this works against long term business success. What's required for success in a creative endeavour like this is editing. (https://digital.hbs.edu/platform-rctom/submission/the-lego-success-story-getting-everything-to-awesome/) Editing to trim the product line down, such that it is sustainable, generates positive cash flow and keeps existing customers happy while welcoming more is crucial to long term business success. I think Beyond the Monolith (BtM) was intended to move the product in this direction. However, the campaign and design is a huge misalignment of perceptions and expectations. Lurching from Kickstarter to Kickstarter is bound to hit a wall at some point.

 

The current campaign has something for every customer archetype to be upset about.

 

"Fanatics" who bought everything so far want more adventures. Yes there is a pledge for this, but what's in it? There was an expectation of boxes like the previous 3 expansions. So to get into the realignment, there's 5+ more boxes of what appears to be mostly duplicated content. The cubic meter of existing shelf space is already straining storage abilities of these customers to participate. The perception was made that all this existing content would get reused with a small versus box purchase. There's no real details of the far away lands that Conan will explore in the Legacy pledge. Fanatics expectations are not met, complaining ensues.

 

"Catch-Up" is one who wants to catch up with the Fanatics. This really almost works for them, but maybe they got in on the Mythic Battles:Pantheon campaign. But to use that purchase they have to rebuy it all? There's really no way to get Core/King/Expansions/Books etc. Previous product line feels abandoned. Confusion sets in, how to do the catch up, questioning if this is really needed. If what went before was abandoned, do I really want to get 100% on this train? The perception of lack of commitment to prior offerings manifests.

 

"Dabbler" is fine with a box or two here or there. Just wants a single thing to put on their shelf and pull down and play occasionally. They see a bunch of boxes and options and move on to the next campaign. Not really targetted to them (but could it be?).

 

"Newbie" is curious what this about. To do that, they really love to see rule books and play through videos. What would be great is to get them in with a versus and convert them to a "Catch-Up" buying up existing content. They have to be won over. They can't get pre-existing content and see "Catch-Up" and "Fanatics" whinging non stop and back away.

 

The sheer scope of offerings and options is not manageable without a lot more expensive logistics. Editing it all back to "Core Box", "King Box", "Not So Exclusive Box", "Expansion 1-3+" and a "Versus Box". Any given campaign for Conan would always include "Core" and "King" and rotate through other content. Operationalizing it should just be an order to the factories, we need X Core Boxes or what not. Yeah, as a backer I've become spoiled by so many choices--but the existing content needs simplicity of execution and availability to welcome new players for this to work long term for everyone. A Web site selling print runs really helps as well.

 

Bottom line is to edit edit edit with business goals and customer categories in mind.

 

 

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One of the things it sounded like a lot of people wanted was the original expansions (Stygia, Khitai, Nordheim). Sadly, I remember someone (Fred I believe) at Monolith saying they had to destroy a lot of those boxes (hundreds if not thousands) when a distributor canceled their order for retail sales. So that really sucks.

 

It seems like there was more demand for Adventure Game content. Some ideas could have included a base pledge with essentials (rules, dice, tray, gems) and several new expansions: A Turan expansion with city of Aghrapur map and battlefield map? A Kush expansion with a Xuthal maze map and jungle map? A Zamora expansion with a towers of Shadizar map and dungeon map? This would appeal to new and former backers alike.

 

Then perhaps the 1v1 mode could have been an optional add-on, both with and without minis (for those who already have a lot).

 

I also think a better free gift than the 3 flying apes (a unique monster in the Howard tales) would have been a fur-clad Conan with battle axe mounted on an armored warhorse, with both Conan hero card and Mythic Battles Ragnarok card included...

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I also think a better free gift than the 3 flying apes (a unique monster in the Howard tales) would have been a fur-clad Conan with battle axe mounted on an armored warhorse, with both Conan hero card and Mythic Battles Ragnarok card included...

 

Conan the Death Dealer - I'm in.

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