May 10, 2015 by brennon
Pulposaurus announced the coming of Conan: Rise of Monsters earlier in the year, a pre-painted skirmish game set within the world of Hyborea. We had a chat with the folks behind this game to try and find out a bit about it in a year that looks like it’s going to be filled with crushed enemies and lamenting women…
BoW: Conan: Rise of Monsters (CROM) was a bit of a surprise announcement earlier in the year. How long has the idea been in development with Pulposaurus and can you also tell us a bit more about your company?
Jack Emmert: I had been talking with Shane Hensley (creator of Savage World and Deadlands) about a Conan miniatures game for well over a year. He and I are both huge miniature game enthusiasts and we’ve been wanting to make a game ever since we first worked together. Shane had a good connection with the Conan IP holder and we absolutely loved Conan so it seemed natural.
As a fan, I had always wanted to see (and frankly was perplexed that there has never been) a proper Conan miniatures game. We next reached out to several other industry veterans – George Vasilakos (All Flesh Must be Eaten, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Tim Brown (D&D Dark Sun). As for myself, I actually wrote for both Shane and George years ago, though I’ve been in videogames at Cryptic Studios for the last fifteen years.
Thus was born Pulposaurus! Thematically, I think we’re very interested in keeping to pulp style IP’s, and Conan really fits into this.
CROM seems to be potentially the first real outing for the Barbarian in the realm of wargaming so with that in mind can you tell us a bit more about the game itself; how it’s structured in terms of the ‘scale’ of the game (skirmish, mass battle etc) and maybe even something on how it plays?
CROM is definitely a skirmish game although we’ve tried to create a rule system that’s scalable enough that you could field an army of over a hundred figures. As the primary designer on the game I tried to create something that the market didn’t already have – a fast paced, fantasy skirmish game. I’m a huge Warmahordes and Warhammer Fantasy fan but those games frequently take me several hours to finish (Warmahordes can be somewhat less, depending on scale), but it’s nearly impossible to get those games in during a lunch hour.
Personally I don’t have the time I used to (job, 3 kids, etc.) either. I’m barely able to assemble an new army let alone paint and then play with it. I wanted to create a game that was simple and flexible; I could fight a battle with a couple of dozen figures on a side in an hour or less. From that point if I wanted to play with something much larger, the rules would accommodate it.
I wanted the rules to be straightforward; I’ve often been frustrated during a battle with a friend when I’ve had to turn to a massive rulebook to figure out how some strange circumstance is resolved. It should be something I can get into easily and not need to look up a bunch of different charts. I also wanted to make sure that I’d be rolling lots of dice! There are few things as awesome as grabbing a handful of dice and tossing them.
CROM also isn’t just about units resolving combat against one another; I wanted to make the gameplay a little more strategic than that. So, there are also a couple mechanics of risk/resource management. That was my starting point for the game. It’s developed a lot over the past year or so, but the same principles hold true.
We’ve seen that both Conan and Toth-Amon are the two big armies leading the way for this game. Can you fill us in on what’s inside these sets and if you have any plans for other armies down the line?
These are the two main factions, at least at launch. Players either side with the forces of civilization or of darkness. Thoth-Amon is seeking to bring his patron god Set into the lands of the Hyborian Age to create a demonic kingdom not seen since the days of Acheron.
Meanwhile, Conan and the other forces of light are trying to prevent this. Some units will be designated as used by only one faction or the other; many however are mercenary units that can be used by either side. That’s the focus of our game at first; we’ve got plans for other factions in the future.
What material are the miniatures going to be made out of for CROM and in what scale?
The miniatures will be in plastic and be at 32mm scale.
One of the big questions from many wargamers right now is the issue of pre-painted miniatures. We’ve seen a lot of companies try it and fail to deliver the quality people were expecting so can you fill us in on this process and how you’re going to conquer it?
We aren’t going to shy away from the challenge. We are working with our manufacturer to get top quality miniatures. Naturally, there’s a price to be paid for that, but if the product is right, that’s never the issue.
Admittedly, there are a lot of miniatures gamers who prefer to assemble and paint their own figures. I know I did that for years. Perhaps we will make our units unpainted for them? But, really there are lots of amazing games that already cater to that market. Heck, I play a lot of them! We’re trying to do something different – again, trying to keep with the principles above. We want someone to purchase our army boxes and be able to play within 15 or so minutes. That’s why pre-painted worked for us.
We hear you’re going to Kickstarter with the project later in the year. What are you envisioning as the target goal for the project?
We’re still discussing the financial target. Everyone else but me on the team have a lot of experience with Kickstarter, so I’m frankly just going along with their superior knowledge! I am excited that the launch is getting closer and closer.
Thank you for talking to us and we can’t wait to see what else is coming down the pipeline.
So what do you think of CROM so far and has it got your attention? We certainly can’t wait to see what they do with the pre-painted miniatures.
Let us know your thoughts below.
"I had always wanted to see (and frankly was perplexed that there has never been) a proper Conan miniatures game..."
"CROM also isn't just about units resolving combat against one another; I wanted to make the gameplay a little more strategic than that..."