Interview with Nick Branstator: How Conclave is the nostalgic answer to your tabletop woes
It's easy for tabletop gaming to fall by the wayside. Sometimes you can't find the time or have trouble getting the old group together. Maybe you haven’t been able to find a successful way of playing over the internet. Thankfully, there's an answer to all of these problems, and it can be done in your web browser. Let me introduce you to Conclave. The co-founder and creator Nick Branstator was kind enough to stop by the GameZone office and have a chat with me about his successfully funded Kickstarter project.
This turn based experience can be played completely by yourself, with friends, or even complete strangers. Action can occur in real time, or moves can be sent email with updates. The experience can go as fast as you’d like, or you can take a slow and calculated approach. The universe and game system is completely original. Conclave includes five original races, original class archetypes, 100+ unique abilities, and a world built from scratch. On top of this, gamers are allowed to play cross-platform between mobile devices, tablets, PC, and Steam (pending on the Greenlight).
Conclave began as a Kickstarter project back in 2012, where it was funded literally an hour before the campaign ended, and finished only nine months later. The glorious idea around Conclave is to imitate the table-top experience of yore. You play the game at whatever pace is comfortable for you without the pains commonly found in the MMO experience. You’ll never have to go through the whole grinding experience, and there's no restrictive scheduled gameplay.
Conclave doesn't rely on the alignment system, and that's mostly tied down the nature of the story. Since D&D games usually allow players to set their own alignment, they can decide whether to stand on the side of good or evil. Conclave exclusively puts players in the shoes of a hero who is there to save this remaining bastion of civilization.
One odd omission from the game is any type of currency. Instead players earn Renown, which they can use to acquire new gear from the council. That isn't to say players won't come across gear after a battle or on the map, but the lack of currency eliminates any kind of gear hoarding.
In case you want to play one game solo and another with friends, you can have multiple games going at once. As the game progresses, you’ll have to make decisions that will change the entirety of the remaining game. The story changes and adapts based on the decisions you make. If you’re a role-player, the game can facilitate your desires and needs with the right companions – only real players can make up your party. “Heroism” is at the core of themes present in Conclave.
Conclave draws inspiration from Dungeon & Dragons and Pathfinder, and combat mechanics are close to 4th Edition . This means skills have no cooldowns but rather have various uses that refresh.
In the future, Steam Greenlight is at the center of possibilities. Through Workshop, players can open up a Pandora’s Box of opportunities in the form of tons of user content. There are even talks about the possibility of PvP and other campaigns. You can either play for free with limits, purchase the game for $19 (currently on sale for $12), or wait for Steam. Since it's free, there's no excuse not to give it a try.
Historian, teacher, writer, gamer, cheat master, and tech guru: follow on Twitter @AndrewC_GZ