The Tower of the Elephant is Live on Kickstarter

by Thord D. Hedengren on June 11, 2020
  • |||||||||||||

    The Kickstarter might be over, but you can still pre-order the Conan the Cimmerian: The Tower of the Elephant board game from Rialto’s Market!

    The original post follows.

    Updated July 13th, 2020
    We did it! All stretch goals unlocked! There are still a few hours left to get in on the Kickstarter!

    Updated July 10th, 2020
    We’re really close to hitting the $35,000 stretch goal, unlocking the minis. While we wait – and hope – for that, we’ve got an update from the factory to share with you today.

    A blank sample of the box from the factory

    Updated July 9th, 2020
    It’s the home stretch, and we’re happy to announce that the linen card finish stretch goal has been unlocked! But wait, there’s more: Two new stretch goals has been added, a social one and an audio book version of Robert E. Howard’s original “The Tower of the Elephant” story. Scroll down for more!

    Updated July 5th, 2020
    In the latest Designer’s Notes video for the Conan the Cimmerian: The Tower of the Elephant board game you get 10 full minutes going through Conan’s card. The seventh video is further down, so scroll down already!

    Updated July 3rd, 2020
    Get ready for a full 8 minutes of Conan the Cimmerian: The Tower of the Elephant board game gameplay, in the sixth Designer’s Notes video – with minis. Scroll down for the sixth video!

    Updated July 1st, 2020
    We’ve got a new Designer’s Notes video for the Conan the Cimmerian: The Tower of the Elephant board game to share with you today. Scroll down for more! And also: Check out the minis preview!

    Updated June 28th, 2020
    The Conan the Cimmerian: The Tower of the Elephant board game Kickstarter is smashing stretch goals! Several new stretch goals has been announced, including what you all wanted: The minis!

    Updated June 25th, 2020
    Not only is the Conan the Cimmerian: The Tower of the Elephant board game Kickstarter is live, it’s also fully funded with the stretch goals rolling in. And if that doesn’t get your inner barbarian roaring, we’ve got a fourth designer’s note video for you. Enjoy!

    Final stretch goals

    We’re on the home stretch in the Conan the Cimmerian: The Tower of the Elephant board game Kickstarter, and the final stretch goals has been announced. You already know about the minis at $35,000, and now we’ve also got an audio book version of Robert E. Howard’s original “The Tower of the Elephant” story, as an addition to the ebook version we’ve already unlocked. There’s also a new social goal (tell your friends to follow Conan on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter post-haste!) that’ll land you a discount code for the hardcover version of the Conan RPG – which you’ve already got a PDF for if you’re a backer.

    Designer’s Notes videos

    What’s a game without some game designer’s note videos? We’ve got three four five six seven of those for you! Start from the first one and then the second – both are in the interview further down. You’ll find #3, #4, #5, #6, and #7 below:

    The first floor setup
    Leveling up
    Two rounds with the Spider – with minis!
    A deep look at Conan’s card

    That looks pretty cool, doesn’t it? Check out the Kickstarter video too, and be sure to back the campaign to get one of those sweet Conan Chop-Chop early bird perks!

    The original post follows:

    In a Maul tavern, Conan hears the tale of an enormous jewel called “The Elephant’s Heart” and of Yara, the terrible sorcerer who possesses it, drawing power from it to fuel his strange magics. Near Maul, stands the impossible tower that houses Yara, his jewel, and his soldiers. A tower that no one dares enter, with walls polished to infinity, so no one dares climb them. Thus, there is no way to acquire the jewel. But for Conan, when desire is coupled with courage, there is ALWAYS a way.

    Conan the Cimmerian: The Tower of the Elephant, is a towering adventure in tabletop combat. There are two ways to play. In Solo Mode, a single player becomes Conan, battling the game itself. In Battle Mode, one player becomes Conan, fighting to steal The Elephant’s Heart. The other player becomes the twisted wizard Yara, casting spells, deploying soldiers and eldritch horrors to punish Conan for his temerity.

    So begins the upcoming Kickstarter campaign page for Conan the Cimmerian: The Tower of the Elephant, a truly towering tabletop board game. You take the role of Conan, climbing the Tower of the Elephant to face off with the wizard Yara. It’s a pretty unique game in the sense that you can play the game itself, or face off against another player.

    But don’t take my words for it! Let’s hear from game designer Bret Nelson from Perilous Worlds.

    The Tower of the Elephant box

    Let’s dive a bit further, shall we?

    Conan has to climb the Tower of the Elephant to reach Yara, and you actually build the tower with the game boxes. How does the various levels of the tower differ from each other?
    Each is a game board, gridded out with spaces so you know how the area works in the context of the game. But they have different terrain and artwork as well. Each adds atmosphere and helps tell the story. For instance, there is a lovely garden populated by angry lions. You’ll see the surrounding walls, the grasses, and most importantly, the stands of boulders that Conan cannot cross but the lions ignore. The location and art work tell the story and add challenges to the gameplay. There is a treasure room that with webbing all around, as it’s the home of the giant spider. Yara’s chamber is decked out with fine carpets, a chaise, and poufs!

    Other board games have done the solo play bit, sometimes with apps. How do you control the enemies and setup the board in Tower of the Elephant?
    Robert E. Howard wrote The Tower of the Elephant with the reader running through this adventure with Conan. We are always with him on a solo adventure. So the one-player thinking was there from day one. It’s not an afterthought, it’s intentional. Solo players should have a great time with it. 

    We’ve tried to keep the systems quick and clean, so you’ll spend a lot more time playing than you will setting up and sorting out the automated characters. 

    The scenario book tells the story, and shows you the starting positions for characters and other bits on the board. There is a clear, step-by-step progression for initiative, movement, and combat so the players can use their brains to puzzle out the strategy rather than the rules.

    One problem with solo games is replayability. How have you tackled that?
    Conan levels up through the game, and as he does he gains Skills. For each level, there are half a dozen or so Skill Cards to choose from. These are buffs and rule-exception abilities. 

    This allows you to tune Conan differently as you play. You can use the skills to create a bruiser, trying to win by sheer force with a Conan-tank. Or, you can use skills that dodge, sneak, and find treasures, creating Conan the Thief. It’s these different tweaks that give you a different run at the game, same story but with a different approach to victory.

    Game components

    There are quite a bit of cards, tokens, and figures in the box! Could you tell us a little bit about the contents?
    The boxes themselves are the cornerstone of the content. How often do you hear that? In addition, there’s over one hundred cards. You get an Item Deck filled with treasures, tonics, and weapons to help Conan on his journey. There’s a Skill Deck that you’ll use to level Conan up. There’s even a deck of Plots for Yara, our evil Sorcerer, if you want to have a two-player game. 

    There’s a unique standee and player card for every character in the game, lots of dice, and a batch of clearly designed tokens to help the player keep track of the game state at a glance. 

    The minis look really cool too. The spider creeps me out.

    Conan The Barbarian The Tower of the Elephant is Live on Kickstarter
    Here’s a feel for what’s in the box

    The Tower of the Elephant isn’t just a solo game. How does it work when someone takes on Yara’s grisly mantle?
    Control of the baddies is given to the Yara player. Conan is still alone. The game becomes Yara commanding squads vs. Conan outrunning or overpowering them. 

    Yara is a sorcerer, and we’ve given him a deck that is filled with spells that buff up his minions and slow Conan down.

    Thanks for taking the time, Bret!

    The Kickstarter campaign for the Conan the Cimmerian: The Tower of the Elephant board game kicks off next week is now live! We’ll have more on it soon, but if this is your thing, you’d do well to subscribe to the newsletter (signup below). Let’s put it this way: You don’t want to miss out pledging early on this one…

  • Thord D. Hedengren

    Thord is a contributor to, and the author of several books. He lives in Sweden, the Land of Kings.

    ← Back to news