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Runebound: Midnight» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Short & Snappy: Runebound - Midnight rss

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Mikko Karvonen
Finland
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Runebound-line has done a great job by evolving constantly and offering enough variety to keep the players interested. Unfortunately, it’s second big box expansion, Midnight, does not hit it’s mark.

The problem lies in the very element that is supposed to make Midnight different from the other Runebound-adventures: the addition of the Night King player that controls the forces of evil and tries to prevent other players from winning. The shift from players vs game to one player vs others may sound good to those who have complained about the lack of interaction in Runebound, but as it stands, the system just isn't satisfactory. The Night King player has very few real decisions to make and they are far between, leaving one player to sit by and act as an automaton for the most of the game. Additionally, the only actual tool the Night King player has, the patrols, add far too much extra length to the game compared to the substance they bring.

Luckily the Night King player is easy to strip out of the game and it’s worth to do so, as Midnight does everything else right. It offers a new and interesting approach to many of the basic building blocks of the game system.

It’s setting is a dark one, a tolkienesque world where The Great Evil has won the Ultimate War, a place full of flavour. New movement system allows the player to buy things like chances for shopping and healing, making it easier and more varied than it’s predecessor. The character development gets a whole new aspect thanks to the new, although somewhat cumbersome, item development rules. And the new winning and losing conditions make the end game more tight and exciting than the standard Runebound and include a meaningful chance for co-operation. Some of these additions are so good that it would be nice to see them as optional rules for the whole line.

Midnight has many strengths that are almost shot down by the Night King -rules. Removing them makes this ugly duckling one of the most interesting ways to play Runebound.

Pros:
*Setting full of flavour
*Winning and losing conditions
*New movement
*Dynamic item creation
*Real reason for co-operation

Cons:
*Night King -player just does not work
*Item creation -rules bit unclear
*Setting could be too dark for some.

Score: 5 (with Night King player) or 8 (without)
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John Groen
New Zealand
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I have this expansion though I haven't tried it yet. I am hoping to get it out in a couple of weeks.

Can you recommend a variant to automate the Night King?

Cheers
John
 
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Mikko Karvonen
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Personally I've simply gotten rid off patrols completely. They are kinda fun, but I feel they add too much length to the game. I have also found keeping track of Night King player's gold bit too tedious and trimmed it out completely. In our games, Night King's shadow power level is simply equal to the level of the weakest player character.

I think Skelebone's suggestion for Night King player's influence roll works best. His variant is worth checking out for other details as well. He has pretty good ideas for including patrols in the game:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/107177
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Mikko Karvonen
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MrSkeletor wrote:

Skelebones flogging my limelight again? That bastard.
Nice review but you forgot to mention the BEST part of the expansion - the threat track, which is WAY better then the lame 'timer' that is included in the base game.


Oh damn... sorry about that!

Well, I kinda thought that the threat track was included in "winning and losing conditions", especially the latter. Or at least that was the idea. But you are right in that it could have used a separate mention.

Additionally, the new threat track is an excellent way to limit the length of the game and set a time pressure upon the players.

There!
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