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Subject: Initial Thoughts after Gencon Demo rss

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Bum Kim
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BACKGROUND: Just tried out a demo game after RuneWars was announced here at Gencon 2016. But first some background as I know there is a huge range of preferences for table-top miniatures war games. I've been searching for a long time for the "perfect" miniatures war game for myself. I'm a miniatures painter at heart and of course love the details and quality of Games Workshop but found the rules too complicated and the minis incredibly expensive, let alone their notorious copyright enforcement. I have also tried Warmahordes and although I enjoyed their rules way more than GW, I didn't like the fact that it was sort of min-maxing your faction in order to win, making for constantly investing more money. I was initially excited about CMON's Wrath of Kings but rather than simplifying the game, the cards actually transferred all the complication from a rule-book onto the cards and the dice rolls. The two games that I ended up liking the most are Deadzone (although minis are subpar) and Song of Blade and Heroes (click here for an in depth comparison between SoBH and Wrath of Kings). I also very much enjoy Star Wars X-Wing, although stopped buying more models after Wave 4. In summary, I want awesome looking models that I can paint and a simple ruleset with a preference for fantasy over sci-fi. Those looking for a complex rule set are not going to find it with RW.

Comparison to X-Wing: Yes, any person familiar with X-Wing or Armada will instantly recognize this as the fantasy war version of these precursors. There are dials, movement templates and dice with even the same hit graphics on them. But to call this game "Rune-Wing" would be a disservice since it isn't just the fantasy version of the same game. Similar to how Armada feels different from X-Wing, RW feels even more distinct in game play than either of these two and not just because the theme is different. The things I love about X-Wing are maintained--predetermined and hidden actions, simplified movement and combat, etc. But this is definitely a WAR game, not a skirmish. On the back of each unit's card, there are possible configurations of the units and how many movement templates can be tied together and the squads can get HUGE. It looks like you can buy three of the base sets to field the largest configuration. But for those that might be scared off by this, don't be--you definitely have a very playable game with just the base set, even more so than with the base starter set for X-Wing. (We asked about tournament standards and the demo folks didn't know.)

Back of unit card showing different sizes, cost and special upgrades.

I really like how the initiative is hidden based on which action you choose, unlike in X-Wing where the initiative of each unit is fixed and public. This makes for very interesting decisions to make because you aren't sure which units will go first, therefore your planned charge might fail because they managed to move further away before you go. Also, in RW, you don't do all your move actions and then attack--each squad or unit will move and activate on its initiative turn. Also, there is a corresponding modifier that goes with your action but you are restricted to choosing the modifier with the same color as your action (or grey that can be used with any action).

As you can see, you have a whole host of options to choose from, all the while trying to figure out where in the initiative order your units will activate.

One note that I need to make is that the movement template doesn't perform quite as well as in X-wing due to the fact that it works off the side of the units and often-times, we found they were so close to each other that we couldn't fit it very well in between. It was ironic that I thought it would be easier just to use a ruler!

No longer is it just d8's as there are now d12's to chuck as well. There are also surges and morale checks on the faces of the dice.

d12's and lightning!

All of these things add up to the fact that it is a more complicated game than X-Wing but for me, still stayed in the sweet spot of not being overly so.

Comparison to other war games:
This has many features of most other wargames where you have buffs and banes, charge rules, morale checks, unit special abilities, and randomness from dice rolls that can ruin the best laid strategic plans. It also looks like you can configure all kinds of army lists since points are listed on the back of the unit's card for different sizes as well as corresponding power cards that you can choose for them. If I remember correctly, there aren't any defense rolls but units have some special abilities that might make them block some of your hits. But overall, combat is resolved fairly simply and quickly so you aren't getting bogged down (you roll about the same number of dice as in X-wing which is very few for a war game).

Some reference cards



The other thing that has to be noted is the MINIS ARE UNPAINTED! Everyone at the demo was asking about this since X-Wing and Armada has pretty sweet pre-paint jobs. But for those that have never painted minis, you are going to have to learn to do it yourself (I have a tutorial video for how to do this quickly HERE) or *GASP* play with unpainted minis.surprise I can't imagine FFG would insist on painted minis for tournament play.

Sweet Minis

After the demo (which admittedly was limited to three rounds) I found RW to hit my sweet spot, similar to Deadzone (first iteration). Deadzone has simplified movement and combat but in-depth strategy. RW appeals to me even more as it is fantasy themed and the minis are very high quality, as to be expected from FFG. For a gamer like me, this is the war game that I have been waiting for a long time--simple mechanics but deep strategy. Also, I've found it incredibly impressive that FFG has done a relatively good job keeping wave 1 ships still relevant in X-wing so hopefully this will remain true of RW as well where power creep doesn't kill off older units.

One other thing to note is that RW seems to be able to support multiplayer, which is a huge bonus for me since I rarely play 1v1. In fact, I demoed with a friend and due to dual dials, it was more fun for both of us to be controlling two units and coordinating together than our opponent who had to make all the decisions himself. And this was with the base set--you can imagine with larger point battles that having multiple generals or even factions could work (although the game isn't necessarily designed for it).

Summary: For an X-Wing fan and a fantasy miniatures painter, RW is a no-brainer for me. They said that it is due to come out Q1 of 2017 so I'll be saving up all the money I didn't spend here at Gencon to get this game. (Was tempted to buy another good game, Drakerys but will now wait for RW.)

Edits: Inserted pictures from demo and made some minor edits.
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Ryan McCabe
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Thanks for the impressions, as this was a surprise announcement that got me excited. Just wanted to know, are the minis assembled but unpainted? If so, this is perfect for me as I dislike assembly but love painting.
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D Clevenger
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bumyong wrote:
BACKGROUND: I'm a miniatures painter at heart and of course love the details and quality of Games Workshop but found the rules too complicated


I'm curious what version of the Warhammer rules did you last read? It's been a while since I played but my impression is the current rules are just slightly easier than Risk.


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hotcoffeeburns wrote:
Thanks for the impressions, as this was a surprise announcement that got me excited. Just wanted to know, are the minis assembled but unpainted? If so, this is perfect for me as I dislike assembly but love painting.

I think FFG said that they are easy assemble miniatures. Here's what the website says:

Quote:
Whether you assemble your figures according to the directions in the rulebook, or create bold new modifications and alternate paint schemes, the world of Terrinoth is yours to enter and enjoy when you start painting and creating your own army of RuneWars figures.


Sounds like assembly may allow for some wiggle room in customizing individual models.
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D. R.
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Thanks for the write-up. Do you know what size the play area will be? Is it like X-Wing - 3' by 3' ?
 
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N S.
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Anybody know what color the unpainted plastic will be, and if it's different colors for each faction? Would be nice for those who don't want to paint.
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Matt Price
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txaal wrote:
bumyong wrote:
BACKGROUND: I'm a miniatures painter at heart and of course love the details and quality of Games Workshop but found the rules too complicated


I'm curious what version of the Warhammer rules did you last read? It's been a while since I played but my impression is the current rules are just slightly easier than Risk.




Haha. The current Age of Sigmar rules are just slightly easier than the previous iteration of Warhammer (which is ridiculously harder than risk, but I'm assuming you're joking?), but that game is still nuts. While the basic rules are just a few pages, it's still full of tons of special unit rules, exceptions, counter-exceptions, and more.
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D Clevenger
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mattprice wrote:
txaal wrote:
bumyong wrote:
BACKGROUND: I'm a miniatures painter at heart and of course love the details and quality of Games Workshop but found the rules too complicated


I'm curious what version of the Warhammer rules did you last read? It's been a while since I played but my impression is the current rules are just slightly easier than Risk.




Haha. The current Age of Sigmar rules are just slightly easier than the previous iteration of Warhammer (which is ridiculously harder than risk, but I'm assuming you're joking?), but that game is still nuts. While the basic rules are just a few pages, it's still full of tons of special unit rules, exceptions, counter-exceptions, and more.


Ah ok. I see the distinction you're drawing.
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Freelance Police
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Will we be able to use outside models in the game? That is, are model stats in the base game, or do they only include them with the models? Are there ways to stat your own models like you can do with SoBH? Thanks!
 
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fightcitymayor
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I'm not interested in the game, but the minis would make nice proxies for the easiest & best fantasy tabletop mass-battles game: Kings of War.
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Kevin Outlaw
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Sam and Max wrote:
Will we be able to use outside models in the game? That is, are model stats in the base game, or do they only include them with the models? Are there ways to stat your own models like you can do with SoBH? Thanks!


I guess one of the biggest issues there is you would need to create one of the wheel tools for any new units you introduced.
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Krzych Kowalczyk
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Sam and Max wrote:
Will we be able to use outside models in the game? That is, are model stats in the base game, or do they only include them with the models? Are there ways to stat your own models like you can do with SoBH? Thanks!


To play a unit, you'll need its stat card and its double dial thingy. Those will both come packaged with that specific unit and nowhere else.
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Bum Kim
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Migdolas wrote:
Thanks for the write-up. Do you know what size the play area will be? Is it like X-Wing - 3' by 3' ?

The demo area was 3x3, just like X-wing but when asked, the demo folks mentioned larger areas for large-point games. Again, they didn't know what would be tournament standard.

Yes, Freelance, you can proxy other minis in but you definitely need the dials for each unit/squad as you can see in the photos of the demo. Also, the squad trays slide together so that mid-game, you can easily remove them as there are bonuses that are lost as your squad dwindles. you can also notice that there is a little raised spike in the middle of the circles where the minis rest on the tray. You could file these down, I guess to accommodate other minis.
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Jon Darlington
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mattprice wrote:
The current Age of Sigmar rules are just slightly easier than the previous iteration of Warhammer (which is ridiculously harder than risk, but I'm assuming you're joking?), but that game is still nuts. While the basic rules are just a few pages, it's still full of tons of special unit rules, exceptions, counter-exceptions, and more.

I mostly agree, but the basic rules for Age of Sigmar are ridiculously simplified compared to 8th edition Warhammer -- that is, simplified to the point where they don't actually work. It's like they were thrown together over a weekend at the end of a project that was so preoccupied with miniatures they forgot to have anybody write the rules and had to scramble before shipping.

But that said, you're right that each unit in AoS has its own unique rules written on its profile. Not only does this bloat the rules enormously, but it also abandons any kind of consistency -- to the point where "I have a shield" has a dozen different effects within the game because it was redefined for each unit that had one.

I'm very interested in what Runewars Miniatures has to offer, and I'm likely to pick up a couple of base sets when it arrives in the new year. Those interlocking movement trays look ace, and the specific rules for formations and the order wheels are seriously intriguing.

Thanks for posting this.
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Milton Soong
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Great overview, thanks!
How many factions will there be? I assume only 2 in the initial box but how many are ft planning?
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Bum Kim
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msoong wrote:
Great overview, thanks!
How many factions will there be? I assume only 2 in the initial box but how many are ft planning?

One of the demo people mentioned seeing some elves but didnt know how quickly they might hit market. Clearly it would depend on how successful sales would be.
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Michael
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fightcitymayor wrote:
I'm not interested in the game, but the minis would make nice proxies for the easiest & best fantasy tabletop mass-battles game: Kings of War.


I'm looking at this purpose as well.
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Stan Stanminson
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DonSilvarro wrote:
Sam and Max wrote:
Will we be able to use outside models in the game? That is, are model stats in the base game, or do they only include them with the models? Are there ways to stat your own models like you can do with SoBH? Thanks!

To play a unit, you'll need its stat card and its double dial thingy. Those will both come packaged with that specific unit and nowhere else.

This is one of the things that sucks about Warmachine and Hordes. If you don't know someone who has the unit, you don't know what the units do. You can pay for the app ($70 for everything, I think) and then you'll know what all the units do. It's a big bite.
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Scott Arnone
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stanstanminson wrote:
DonSilvarro wrote:
Sam and Max wrote:
Will we be able to use outside models in the game? That is, are model stats in the base game, or do they only include them with the models? Are there ways to stat your own models like you can do with SoBH? Thanks!

To play a unit, you'll need its stat card and its double dial thingy. Those will both come packaged with that specific unit and nowhere else.

This is one of the things that sucks about Warmachine and Hordes. If you don't know someone who has the unit, you don't know what the units do. You can pay for the app ($70 for everything, I think) and then you'll know what all the units do. It's a big bite.


I am sure there will be resources just like for X-Wing and Armada that has full stats available to view online.
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bumyong wrote:
msoong wrote:
Great overview, thanks!
How many factions will there be? I assume only 2 in the initial box but how many are ft planning?

One of the demo people mentioned seeing some elves but didnt know how quickly they might hit market. Clearly it would depend on how successful sales would be.

I certainly hope they'll release all six factions of Terrinoth within a year or two.
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Bum Kim
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InkSplat wrote:
I am sure there will be resources just like for X-Wing and Armada that has full stats available to view online.

Yeah, you can get all the stat cards of every X-Wing unit readily online which is amazing. I'm sure the dials will also be public information which is something I really appreciate about FFG.

In fact, you don't even have to recreate the dials--you can just create mini-cards with the same info and lay down cards instead, although it wouldn't be as convenient.

twincast wrote:
I certainly hope they'll release all six factions of Terrinoth within a year or two.

Not sure about how fast the releases might be but there will be booster packs for the two intro factions with special figs like bannermen, musicians and heroes.

Also, mattprice posted a link from Beast of War in the other thread but here it is:

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I'd love to hear your (or anyone else's) opinion on/comparison to Kings of War, if you've managed to play both.
 
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John Fortune
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I just thought I would chime in with my brief thoughts on this as well since I have played quite a few miniature games and got a demo of this at gencon.

My bias - right now I am most interested in Guild Ball and Malifaux - so skirmish is on my mind these days. I have played Warhammer fantasy, 40k, Warmachine, and flames of war a fair amount - and have enjoyed all of these games.

These are my thoughts not having seen all this game has to offer yet - obviously this is all subjective:

Positives
- The rules appear to be very approachable and the aids such as the dials and cards make the game much easier to learn and navigate.
- There will be customizable modeling options allowing you to gear up certain units! Super cool.
- As the units lose troops, they get weaker - e.g., if you lose your ranks you can't re-roll dice. If you lose a column, your damage gets weaker. Very cool.
- X-wing style templates are somewhat easier to use than tape measure, but not by a ton. Guild ball has templates you can use as does Malifaux.
- It will be well supported by FFG.
- I was told that it would take some ideas from Battlelore second edition that I love - such as being able build strategies and game objectives into your armies - which will make this much more interesting than a kill your army game!!

Negatives
- I am personally not that excited about the Runebound universe. Admittedly, I need to learn more about it. I would love to see more characters fleshed out and maybe some novels released. If there are novels I haven't seen them, although I haven't looked either.
- The models seem boring compared to other systems. Malifaux models are incredible, IMO of course. Warmachine and Warhammer models are way better. 1 big caveat on this - the models at gencon were not the final models, I was told that some of them were 3D printed, which makes me think they will get a lot better when they are finally released.
- While the combat and ability rules seem very cool - the tactical movement opportunities seem boring. Armada suffers from this a little bit too. You spend 2 hours playing this game and the models move about 12 inches. I am probably biased here in that I am playing a lot of skirmish games - which are quite different when it comes to tactical movement. So this criticism probably isn't fair - it is the nature of a large model count miniature game.


I am in a little bit of a wait and see mode. I really love miniature games and I love almost everything FFG does. Their games are really well put together and always fun. My biggest downside right now is that I am not all that excited about the way the models looked at the demo. I don't care much for dudes riding worms and the rock monster doesn't look that detailed to me. But other than that, I am very hopeful.




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Joshua Christensen
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I saw another video that Beasts of War put out that covered the rules of the game. I really didn't care for how easily things died. The demo guy showed a roll of two stands of archers and it killed 3 cavalry figures. Seems quite high and made ranged attacks seem very potent and cavalry models look weak. This might appeal to some but I really don't like tons of casualties happening easily (especially when it's archers killing heavily armored knights).

One thing that did look fun was the casting of tokens giving you different runes at the start of your turn. These runes are then used to power up certain abilities and effects. It seemed funny at first because it felt a little like they were just trying to cram as many Runebound universe game mechanics into their miniature game. But it sounds like the mechanic has some potential in this game (just wish they would make casting tokens at of plastic or something).
 
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Brian Nors Jensen
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Could you post a link to that video?

I would love to see it
 
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