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Subject: Defeated? rss

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Tolga CORAPCI
Belgium
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I have just acquired this game and I think it may have been a good design but two things seriously bug me.

1) Defeated heroes?: So is it really that easy to combat, lose and continue acting like as if nothing happened? Where is the strategical benefit of retreating? Where is the wisdom of not entering combat that you cannot win? The consequeance of being defeated seems so "little" to the extreme, one asks himself "why should I care"?

I understand eliminating an hero outright is not fun but for instance reducing his health (hearts) permanenetly by 2 or something similar?

Does anyone use an alternative method (house rules) that defeat of a hero is "meaningful"?

2) Casting tokens: This is the most burdonsome method of combat resolution I have seen in my entire gaming life (more than 40 years). It serves nothing but to attempts to cheat. I use dice to obtain fair "randomness".

My impression is that Runebound could have been a "fun" game. It has a lot to achieve that. But the above factors are "major" playability problems for me.

Has anyone feeling the same way debugged them efficiently?
 
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Julia
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1) Being defeated costs you a lot in terms of actions in the overall economy of the game. First of all, you lose two actions for resolving the combat (in most of the cases, you'll resolve combat as consequence of adventuring) and then you lose at least two other actions healing. Plus you get no benefit from said encounter. In the overall economy of the game, it's pretty punishing as it is. If you keep going in combats you cannot win, you'll end the game with very poor equipment and stuff, which means you'll end up losing against the final boss. Giving a penalty like a permanent health reduction is too heavy on the heroes. Additionally, if you play the game properly, you won't lose that many combats before final battle.
As for retreating: it's a non particularly useful option for now; it was designed to leave players options and to enhance the RPG-like feeling, and in the end it could save you a couple of actions

2) there's a gazillion threads on BGG about dice replacing tokens in RB; if you skim through these forums you'll certainly find alternate solutions longly debated
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Jonas Devos
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as stated above the time you lose from losing to an encounter is pretty nasty since the time track advance pretty quickly.
As for the retreating, there's 2 viable reasons. first is if you encounter one of the nastier beasties (such as the Dreadbringer) too early on, second is if you get a combat card from the event or adventure decks. If after a first or second turn you see you make no chance, its better to try an escape rather then lose aforementioned future actions just to heal up.

As for the tokens I have already seen plenty of people not being a fan of it. Myself love the concept and especially the gear linked to it (i suppose that could be done with dice too) so to each their own opinion, but i dont understand how it would be easier to cheat with tokens rather then dice?
 
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Julia
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We have dragged Reason from her Throne and set in her place the Empress of Dreams [liber Endvra]
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Voske4000 wrote:
i dont understand how it would be easier to cheat with tokens rather then dice?


I suppose it's because dice are easier to "shuffle" and they roll a lot more than tokens. Still, never had a problem with the tokens either: I use a cup to randomize them, and then I cast them
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Tolga CORAPCI
Belgium
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I am afraid your explanations confirm my worries rather than solving them. I like games where player decisions are more meaningful and I hate no-brainer game flows. It is bad enough that you don't have much combat to lose, adding to that the consequence of loosing is simply "marginal". ... in my view reduces the game to the level of Packman. Swallow trophies at full speed.

Thank you Julia and Jonas for taking the time to answer.
 
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Julia
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We have dragged Reason from her Throne and set in her place the Empress of Dreams [liber Endvra]
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Important disclaimer: I didn't say you haven't much combat to lose; I said that if you plan properly your character progression, then you haven't much combat to lose (it's slightly different)

This said, RuneBound is not particularly heavy on decisions if you're into more heavier stuff (one of the most debated comparisons here is RuneBound vs Mage Knight: for many RuneBound is way preferrable because MK was too heavy; for many others it's exactly the other way around, MK is preferrable because it's heavier). I find the game interesting even if it's medium-light: I'm there for the adventure and the stories told, and I like the liberty of choosing different paths. Winning the game is still difficult if you don't play a proper strategy (maybe not Margath, but the other scenarios are more difficult)

This of course doesn't mean RB is the perfect game for everyone; fortunately we live in an era where a lot of options are given, so that it's easier to pick a game matching (almost) exactly what we need
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Jonas Devos
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Sir Turquine wrote:
in my view reduces the game to the level of Packman. Swallow trophies at full speed.


I find this a very crude way of putting it... Anyone is entitled to their opinion but i find this to be a bit too harsh for what the game deserves.

It's true that there's not a whole lot of strategy involved, but tactics are there. This game has a high luck factor (what items appear in the shops, where your quests need you to travel, etc.), how you deal with these things is how you play it.

There definatly is more depth in the game then just running around gathering trophies. Those are just needed to fuel your character. To learn skills and gain money for gear and items. Which you will learn/buy is what makes this game interesting.

I feel that this game will not tickle your fancy and I respect that, but please don't degrade the game itself to something it doesn't deserve.

 
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Tolga CORAPCI
Belgium
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Julia

Thanks for sharing your views objectively and I fully agree: There are many games in the market to please different tastes. I just happened to have bought this one (with two expansions) and I thought may be there are a couple of house-rules out there that twitch the game more to the tastes of people like me. ...because there are also things I like about the game.

 
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Julia
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We have dragged Reason from her Throne and set in her place the Empress of Dreams [liber Endvra]
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If you want to make things harder, I'd suggest you to go this way: remove the option of fleeing from battle, and add a 1 action delay factor when you're defeated. So, you'll need at least one action to return conscious, and then you'll lose one action for recovering from delaying.

Alternative: remove the rule that you fully heal upon resting in a civilized hex. You need to roll as always, so, when you rest in shrines, strongholds and towns, you need to match the terrain underlaying the building you're in, and when you rest in a bigger city, you heal max 5 hits. This will make the game considerably harder
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As for your issues with the tokens, I know many people have issues with bringing digital devices into their tabletop gaming experience, but assuming you don't - I've written this token caster app for Runebound 3rd:

http://token-caster.samnkels.com/
 
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David desJardins
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1. Being defeated is really bad. In Runebound 2e it was catastrophic, to the point that the randomness of unluckily losing one battle was game over. I find this better.

2. Shake the tokens in a cup before tossing them to be sure they are randomized.
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David Williams
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I will mostly reiterate the comments already made. The penalty for defeat might not be too bad, but the difference between winning a combat and losing it is pretty huge.

If we both face the same enemy, and I win taking 3 damage while you lose, then I have 1 trophy, ~2 gold and can probably rest once in the wild to be mostly recovered, or I head to town to spend my gold and rest fully there. In comparison, you have nothing positive from your spent actions, have 8+ damage and must rest before you can even move.

Given that this is essentially a race against both the clock and each other, this is a huge difference. In a couple more actions I will be potentially better equipped and maybe have learned a skill, while you have got nowhere in the same number of actions.

That said, if you really do want to make losing a bit more costly I'd fully endorse Julia's suggestion - someone who is defeated is also delayed. Having to always roll to rest would also work well.

For the tokens, we have big enough hands that there's really no question of cheating. They shake just fine. But for people who don't have big hands, lots of people (in addition to the comments above) have reported good results using a cup to shake them.
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David Williams
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Regarding the Retreat mechanic, you're right that it isn't very useful and it's usually worth fighting on and hoping for the best.

I think a good house rule for that is that a successful retreat grants a free rest action in the space you move into. This means you can potentially escape undamaged even against a strong combat round from the enemy.
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GAISHLOMO WAINBERG
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We also don't like the casting token mechanic but for that we use the brilliant house rule that suggested here:

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1572024/combat-variant

it's more fun, more strategic and less awkward than just casting the tokens.

thanks for david.s that came up with his combat variant.
 
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Aaron White
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Bathurst
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A couple of strategy things to consider.

Heroes are not strong enough at the start of the game to beat a majority of monsters, let alone take on the end of game baddie. To gain strength you need to complete quests or gain gear. But which one depends on items available in the cities and surrounding available quests. It is also affected by terrain, as harder terrain can take 2 actions compared to an easier 1 action route. So you have to make a decision based on your location compared to your opponents locations - which quest/trade goods/items/terrain will you go for first?

The overall theme here is that the game is a race. The race is not only who can become the strongest, but who will get there first and beat the bad guy. But this is not a linear track, there are multiple paths to take when trying to get there first. This ties into your defeat questions, when you lose 1-2 actions for healing (or 3+ to get to a city/village/temple to heal if you are unlucky), you are giving your opponents an action lead. They might complete a quest or trade goods in those same equivalent 3 actions. So taking on a tough monster or attacking other players too early and losing can put you behind.

I love Runebound, I know it is not a super advanced brain burner. But it is definitely not as simple as Pacman. Runebound is a narrative game, the true joy comes from the stories and memories that unfold from the sandbox nature of the game. If four competitive players sat down to play they would find Runebound to be engaging because there is definitely a method to the madness. My preferred strategy is to get the trade goods early and buy some equipment, then start bashing some monsters and learning skills. One of my daughters prefers to go for the green quests and travel around the board, completing the scenario specific quests along the way. There is room for different strategies in this game.

Hope my thoughts help and have a good one.

EDIT: Removed poor wording choices due to drinking port. Except this sentence.
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David desJardins
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Rook96 wrote:
Heroes are not strong enough at the start of the game to beat a majority of monsters, let alone take on the end of game baddie.


I think some heroes can beat most monsters most of the time, at start. But there's a risk, which is why it's good to have a cost associated with losing that is significant but not game-ending.
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David Russell
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It is a fantastic game - when i play, often solo, i take time to tell my heroes story as i go, and don't just rush read the cards but think about how my character is deciding which quest to get, how the story card thematically enhances the board - its great fun and one of the best story games i know.

I also think combat is hard enough and as mentioned the penalty is not just in the loss, rest and recover time but is in the i didn't get the victory card nor any money for this turn, and that builds up to become a losing position quite quick. You will want the money to buy something and the victory card to gain a skill you are after, so losing does hurt. Now i have to go and find another battle to get what i want. So yes its not a defeat 'game over' experience but the loss does count against you.

I cant see Mage Knight having much more to offer here, the enemy hits me so i add some wound cards to my deck which come back later to taunt me, and that is also a delayed longer term mechanic for not fighting very well. I largely stopped playing Mage Knight when Runebound 3rd came out, mainly due to the story and ease of play this game provides.
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