Chris Franka
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My first game of Runebound was thoroughly enjoyable (and I'm not saying that just because I happened to win). I played the base version with two friends and ended up snatching away another player's victory in a fairly improbable stroke of luck. As the game drew to a close, we had all become powerful enough to have a pretty good chance of success at defeating most monsters. (When one player kept preceding several of his to-hit rolls with "I need at least a 3 to hit" with a range of possible 2d10 totals of 2-20, I figured we were getting close to the end of the game.)

The other two players had two red Dragon Runes and I had only one (finding and killing High Lord Margoth OR three Dragon Runes collected by a single player wins the game). One player was one move away from getting to his last red (helped by an effect that would let him teleport instantly to the red encounter once he got within three hexes), and if he hadn't gotten to it, the second player was one move away as well. I was pretty much out of the race with one move to go, but I continued to chug away in a forgotten corner of the board, feeling like I was just going through the motions. I reached a red encounter chit and lo and behold, what did I find? High Lord Margoth's hideout! (I drew the one red card out of the remaining 4 that had Margoth on it).

I had the "Touch of Death" rune (which lets you drop essentially X number of wounds on a creature for X exhaustion if you can hit it on one roll) and another Dragon Rune (from my first red card kill) that lets you replace the next melee attack with an auto 3-wound hit.

Tap. Tap. Dead. Win.

My reward was some good-natured boos from my friends for my highly improbable come-from-behind win. It really felt like the equivalent of a runner-runner suckout win in poker, as by the last turn, I felt like I had no chance to win. Overall, though, I think we all had fun, and I'd definitely play it again. A couple of observations:

1) One player noted, and rightly so, that it was pretty incredible that all three of us had a chance to win on the last move, especially in a game that ran several hours and involves a LOT of randomness and luck.

2) Three people seemed like a good amount to play with. I was really concerned about the downtime between player turns taking away from the game experience, but I think that by planning out our next turns while the other players were moving, we kept the game going at a pretty good clip. (Kudos to whoever suggested on BGG to have each player roll their movement dice during the turn of the player before them and work on pathing before it actually gets to be their turn.) Plus, a fair number of the events involve all players, so the game keeps your attention even when it's not your turn.

3) If you are not a big fan of randomness and luck determining the outcome of the game, you most likely won't care for Runebound. I think most gamers would probably realize that going in, though, and take it for the light fantasy game it's supposed to be.

4) Player death is supposed to cause discarding of that player's most powerful allies and items. We played the variant that led only to loss of gold but let us keep our items. Overall, I'm very happy that we did so, as the original rule would have really set us back with each death and stretched the game out even longer with no added fun to show for it in return.

There is a reason the original rule is written as it is, though, as a downside of this no-discarding allies/items variant, is that it turns suicide into a viable alternative to paying for healing in towns if you are low on gold. For a player with multiple wounds and little or no money, running into a tough blue or red not only teleports you to the nearest town in one move, you also get healed for whatever gold you have on hand, which may be significantly faster and cheaper than rolling, tromping across the map in several moves, and shelling out your gold for healing. One player (guilty) also abused took advantage of the rule by fighting an encounter next to a town. Once I lost the first time, there was no reason not to keep trying the encounter each successive turn until I got lucky won, since by that time, I had already lost my gold and there was essentially no further death penalty other than the time (in turns) it took to kill the monster.

Would I go back to the original rule? It depends. If time was not an issue, I might play with the original. The original in my opinion is within the spirit of the game more than the variant, because a stiffer death penalty makes you value staying alive more, and it makes fleeing a more important and useable option. But is it as fun? I think I would have enjoyed the game less if I had invested several hours and then all of a sudden been slapped with the feeling of "starting over." That's the beauty of the game, and of the BGG website, though--you can modify the game to the taste of you and your friends. For us, the variant was the right way to go.

5) We didn't engage in PVP (except for one player's maurading ghost adventurer that kept chasing the rest of us around the board for the first hour), but it's always an option, and I think it would be sorely missed (or modded in) if it wasn't included. Someone dedicated to stirring the pot by actively seeking out other adventurers to kill would have changed the game flavor significantly.

Deciding the degree of PVP to get into depends a lot on the people with whom you play. I got a bit of an early lead and for me to have chased and pounded on the other guys would have 1) wasted time for my goal of gaining XP and prolonged the game, and it was long enough, and 2) created a small degree of animosity that would have spoiled what should otherwise have been a "fun" game.

Still, I imagine if I played with a group of people that actively chased each other around and stole items and griefed each other and I could tell that it was taken in a good-natured, spirit-of-the-game way by everyone involved, then I'd feel less apprehensive about it and jump right into the fray. I hope I get a chance to do that at some point, just to see that different flavor of Runebound.

Overall, thumbs way up. I was really looking forward to this one and it did not disappoint. I give it an 8. Bring on the next adventure deck!
 
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Matthew M
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Re: Down to the wire! (and postgame observation from first p
bigtex01 wrote:
Tap. Tap. Dead. Win.


Not clear whether you were playing this correctly or not, but an often overlooked rule is that you may only "tap" one card per combat round. So you could not use the touch of death in the same round that you use the dragon rune.

As for death variants, one alternative is to keep it the way you played it, but say the player must always be able to pay for full healing for himself and all allies. If the gold lost doesn't cover it he must lose items (getting their full value) until the cost has been met.

PvP is exceedingly rare in my experience - it's more of a threat that keeps players from selling themselves out in a fight when a competitor is nearby.

-MMM
 
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Lars M. Nielsen
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Octavian wrote:
bigtex01 wrote:
Tap. Tap. Dead. Win.


Not clear whether you were playing this correctly or not, but an often overlooked rule is that you may only "tap" one card per combat round. So you could not use the touch of death in the same round that you use the dragon rune.

As for death variants, one alternative is to keep it the way you played it, but say the player must always be able to pay for full healing for himself and all allies. If the gold lost doesn't cover it he must lose items (getting their full value) until the cost has been met.

PvP is exceedingly rare in my experience - it's more of a threat that keeps players from selling themselves out in a fight when a competitor is nearby.

-MMM


This i legal bacause Touch of Death is Before Combat, and therefore not part of the combat round.
 
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Matthew M
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Re: Down to the wire! (and postgame observation from first p
kallisti_dk wrote:


This i legal bacause Touch of Death is Before Combat, and therefore not part of the combat round.


My mistake...quite right.

Damn...nice combo!

-MMM
 
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Mika R.
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Re: Down to the wire! (and postgame observation from first p
bigtex01 wrote:

4) Player death is supposed to cause discarding of that player's most powerful allies and items. We played the variant that led only to loss of gold but let us keep our items. Overall, I'm very happy that we did so, as the original rule would have really set us back with each death and stretched the game out even longer with no added fun to show for it in return.

There is a reason the original rule is written as it is, though, as a downside of this no-discarding allies/items variant, is that it turns suicide into a viable alternative to paying for healing in towns if you are low on gold. For a player with multiple wounds and little or no money, running into a tough blue or red not only teleports you to the nearest town in one move, you also get healed for whatever gold you have on hand, which may be significantly faster and cheaper than rolling, tromping across the map in several moves, and shelling out your gold for healing. One player (guilty) also abused took advantage of the rule by fighting an encounter next to a town. Once I lost the first time, there was no reason not to keep trying the encounter each successive turn until I got lucky won, since by that time, I had already lost my gold and there was essentially no further death penalty other than the time (in turns) it took to kill the monster.

Would I go back to the original rule? It depends. If time was not an issue, I might play with the original. The original in my opinion is within the spirit of the game more than the variant, because a stiffer death penalty makes you value staying alive more, and it makes fleeing a more important and useable option. But is it as fun? I think I would have enjoyed the game less if I had invested several hours and then all of a sudden been slapped with the feeling of "starting over." That's the beauty of the game, and of the BGG website, though--you can modify the game to the taste of you and your friends. For us, the variant was the right way to go.


Try this and get the best from the both sides, the original and softer knock outs. Plus some added tactical flavour!
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/151830

 
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Chris Franka
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Octavian wrote:

Not clear whether you were playing this correctly or not, but an often overlooked rule is that you may only "tap" one card per combat round. So you could not use the touch of death in the same round that you use the dragon rune.


Wow, I did overlook this rule! Where is that in the rulebook? (Do you recall a page number?) I think that's worth pointing out to my friends as well--I bet they'd be a bit surprised as well, because I don't think we ever observed that rule. I don't think it would have come into play very often, but it's good to know.

Octavian wrote:

As for death variants, one alternative is to keep it the way you played it, but say the player must always be able to pay for full healing for himself and all allies. If the gold lost doesn't cover it he must lose items (getting their full value) until the cost has been met.

This gets closer to what I'm looking for in a death penalty variant. But still, it gets pretty close to to the original penalty, resulting in loss of items or allies if a player is cash-poor when they die. Still, it could spare items if a player had some gold. It might prompt people to hold on to gold when they are adventuring if they knew the alternative was to lose an item if they were to die. It would also make people more motivated to stay alive, which I think is absolutely a good thing. It would make losing items and allies a chance rather than an absolute certainty (which I think is also a good thing), and the player could actually affect that chance through their gameplay.

I guess the only other issue I have is that I couldn't help but continue to think during the game that there should be some other mechanism of healing in the game rather than just a 1:1 gold:wound tradeoff in towns. I know there are healing potions and such, but I think maybe skipping a turn to heal one wound should also be an option, and it seems to make sense in the flow of the game, especially if resting can heal exhaustion.

Octavian wrote:

PvP is exceedingly rare in my experience - it's more of a threat that keeps players from selling themselves out in a fight when a competitor is nearby.


I felt that this was probably the case while playing. The game seems to be predicated on having a "fun" experience (character development, acquiring items, etc.), with the actual win being somewhat secondary. People getting upset because their favorite items got taken would then turn Runebound into less "fun" and more "competition," which just doesn't seem to fit my feel of what the developers actually intended.

Which makes me wonder... I've heard that the character decks are largely aimed at PvP interactions. I haven't played them or even opened them yet, so I can't speak to it personally, but if that's the case, then it seems like someone thought the game needed a little more player versus player interaction.
 
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Wiz Wiz
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Chris,

The rule is on page 6 under Using Card Effects:

Card Activation
Some Item cards become “activated” after you have used their
abilities. When a card is activated, it is turned face down in
your play area. You won’t be able to use
this card again until it is refreshed during
the refresh step of your next turn.
There are limits to how many cards you may
activate during your turn.
You may activate a single card during your
movement step and a single card during your
market step. During the adventure step, you may
activate a single card “Before Combat” and a single
card during each round of combat (see below).
Note that “Always-On” and “Discard” Item cards need
not be activated and therefore do not count towards these
activation limitations.


Wiz
 
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Mark Metzker

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A death variant that I have used is instead of losing all the items, just one item is lost but it stays with the undefeated encounter (allowing the player to try to re-claim his item) as an additional treasure item. We played it by taking the highest value item, but it could easily be random (shuffle player's items and draw one) if you wanted to soften the penalty.

As I play with my two boys (ages 7 & 8), I did not want the 'death' to be too harsh, so I also dumped the loss of gold. Of course, it didn't stop one of them from losing it when he lost an encounter. Maybe I pushed the game a bit much (for their ages.) We played it over several sessions, due to the length and their ages / attention spans.

Another option I use is to allow resting (no movement at all) to change a wound into an exhaustion counter to reflect holding in place to heal up.

 
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