Erik Miller
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Fall of the Dark Star is a scenario adventure expansion for Runebound Third Edition. It adds 1 expansion, the 30 adventure cards and 10 story cards for the scenario, a 15 card corruption deck, and 1 new hero with her 3 starting tokens. The hero is Zyla, a hybrid demonic hero who bends the fates to her will. She comes to help “save” Terrinoth from the Dark Star, a star of corruption that is ruining the land and, even, the heroes themselves. Can you fight your way to victory amongst your former friends and allies before the world falls to darkness?


Here’s a picture of everything in the expansion, sans the hero tokens, thanks to CristiQ!





Ok, so there’s a new symbol type in this box- Tactics. It looks like a 4-sided star, and it is an incredibly interesting ability. When spending tokens, you can spend a tactics to copy any other token that you have access to- so, you can copy a pierce, physical damage, surge, magical damage, or shield- and add the amount you copied to your total. So, if I have a 2 physical attack token faceup, I can spend it and my tactics token to have 4 physical attack damage! Or, if you are attacked by your enemy, you can spend the tactics token in conjunction with or as a shield. You can even copy tokens from your enemy! As a hero, you cannot copy is the skull token from enemies in, whereas your enemies cannot copy the physical damage/magical damage tokens of the heroes since they don’t flip tokens with those symbols on them. Neither side can copy a doubling token with them. I really like tactics. It’s a great token to have, and works well with pierce from Caught in a Web/Mountains Rise. It makes things really interesting, and lets you copy you or your opponents tokens for great effect. Having a couple tactics tokens is a great way to assist you in your fight, since now anything good that is flipped each combat round you can steal for your own use. The opportunities are endless, and I thoroughly enjoy tactics. It’s a great addition to the game, and is extremely useful!


Here’s a picture of the setup side of Zyla, thanks to CristiQ!





Zyla is an interesting hero. She has 0 strength, 2 mind, and 2 spirit, with only 7 HP. She has 4 movement dice and a skill hand size of 3, starts in a shrine with 1 gold, and her setup ability is interesting- you can either choose to gain 1 trophy of your choice, or gain a Dark Shard (used in this scenario). Additionally, her tokens are an initiative magic damage/non-initiative surge, a tactics/agility, and a 2 magic damage/initiative shield token. Finally her first ability is that once per attribute test, after cards are revealed, you may suffer 1 damage to reveal 1 additional card. Her combat ability is that for 1 surge you choose 1 of your foes spent tokens. Your foe cannot cast that token during the next round of combat. Let’s get the obvious out of the way- Zyla is fragile. Really fragile. You may think that 1 HP less (vs the heroes with 8 HP) doesn’t matter a ton, but it matters. You can easily be wiped off the board in 2 rounds of combat against an enemy. To top that off, her ability for attribute tests isn’t really that great either. Taking 1 damage to reveal an extra card is a meh ability- she is already so low on health, going from 7 to 6 HP puts you within 1 combat round kill mode. I don’t find myself using her ability that often, and would much rather exert to get an additional card. Plus, Jonas, the hero from Caught in a Web, does her ability even better- he gets to exert twice to add 1 success during a test. This is a way more useful ability, even with the additional exert that you need to do. It’s a disappointing ability. Her combat ability, though, is super useful. Removing a foe’s token of your choice for a combat round is huge. You can easily unhinge anyone that you fight with this, and that is great. Her biggest downside is that she only starts with 1 surge natively, and she really, really needs to use this ability to survive combat, so getting an extra surge through equipment is huge. Zyla requires a different hand to play- she’s much better at running social/exploration encounters, and not combat, especially early. If you can get some money and get some assets, she gets a lot better, especially if you can add a surge token or two, and some health. All in all, she is a finesse hero, which is interesting to play, but struggles to compete with some of the others like Jonas, Nanok, Elder Mok, etc. She’s fickle, much like the luck she is trying to change, and the early game can make or break your character. She’s easily my least favorite hero in the game, hands down, and doesn’t get a ton of play in my group because her fragility mixed with her meh ability (and small hand size! Can I get a 4, please, at least?), combined with her inability to learn any strength skills without an asset to give her strength, means she is weak at combat and struggles to fight the final bosses in many of the scenarios in the game, though in this specific scenario she can be a beast because she starts off with a dark shard. She was designed with this scenario in mind, which has the side effect of making her struggle with all the other scenarios.


The Fall of the Dark Star is a PVP-orientated scenario. The whole purpose of the scenario is to gear up for PVP and, at the end of the Act II, everyone meets at the Cursed Ruins, fully healed, for a final, winner-take-all fight. We’ll discuss how that runs after we talk about how the scenario works. This scenario is fueled by your heroes either having prophetic visions about the fall of the star, or finding dark shards and falling deeper into corruption. The scenario runs using the double-sided white/black scenario tokens. If you gain a prophetic vision, put a white token on your character. During the future you can spend the white token to ignore the triggering of a corruption card. If you gain a Dark Shard, you put a black token on your character. You get +2 HP for each Dark Shard that you have (see? Zyla now has 9 at the start!) but you also have to draw a corruption card. Here’s a picture of a few thanks to CristiQ!





Yeah, fun right? None of the corruption cards, shockingly, are helpful to the heroes. They add additional challenges to the hero, but you do get +2 HP. The story deck pushes the calamities even further, driving you crazy as the world as you know it literally falls to pieces. Here’s a few of the adventure cards in this scenario thanks to CristiQ!









As a side, the second choice on tainted speech is one of the funniest cards in the game. Anyways, this scenario is all about combat and screwing over your foes. Seriously- trade corruption cards, slow them down, hurt them, do whatever you can to slow them down. If you do this, you’re probably going to win. Once the 24 rounds are up, everyone gathers for a final combat. Final combat is a free-for-all, but really usually degenerates into beating up the hero who is the strongest, with the other heroes finishing each other off. Here’s how it works-

All heroes cast their tokens. The hero with the highest initiative (if tied, then the player who is lowest in the turn order) goes first, and play continues clockwise. Everything is like normal combat (you get 1 action), expect any card/ability that references a foe only works against 1 opponent, and combat continues until there is one hero left, the winner! Stand victorious over your dead friends and mock them because YOU SURVIVED THE FALL OF THE DARK STAR! Welllll, kind of. Partially. Really, you’re crazy and corrupt now, and evil, but hey, you lived, right? Now go do more evil things and take over Terrinoth for good now!



Final Thoughts/Comments


As an avid lover of Runebound (I’ve played all 3 editions, and played the heck out of 2, and am now working on playing the heck out of 3) I have never been a fan of the PVP scenarios/expansions. They just feel tacked on, and while I know there is a crowd of players who wants them, I personally don’t. I picked this up in a lot with the other 3 expansions, and I don’t recommend it unless you really want PVP. I run Runebound either solo or as a light competitive game (we have never fought in 3rd edition, and only when we had to in 2nd) and these PVP expansion don’t do anything for me. The scenario is interesting, but there’s a lot of take that. It doesn’t gel with my playgroup. Zyla works well in the attached scenario, but struggles to fight bosses in the other scenarios in the game, which is sad since she is a really interesting hero. There’s not really much to recommend here unless you look at Runebound and go man, do you know what I want? More PVP. That would be great. Otherwise, I feel like this is a solid pass- the hero is great for the included scenario, but struggles outside of it. There is nothing really here for solo play, and this expansion just doesn’t really do much for me. The completionist in me is glad I have it, and that’s it. I’ve played the included scenario once with 3 people, and it was a long, drawn out, not enjoyable game, and I’ve used Zyla about 10 times, and she just ends up getting hosed by a final boss. So pass, unless you really want PVP.


Check out my other reviews at Reviews by Mil05006
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Brant Benoit
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100% agree on all points.
This was the least useful expansion by far. Unless you love PvP, even the character isn't worth getting the expansion for. yuk
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Erik Miller
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Yeah, which makes me sad, but I LOVE this game.

This expansion- shake

Ghool wrote:
100% agree on all points.
This was the least useful expansion by far. Unless you love PvP, even the character isn't worth getting the expansion for. yuk
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Kain
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One thing I will say that's awesome about this expansion is I find it plays far quicker than others, because if you up front let people know it's basically a blood bath highlander style at the end, people play the game very differently, no alpha gaming, no strategy discussion breaks, just pure selfish gain and power leveling. There's something to be said for this and I feel like some players may enjoy it for what it actually is.
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Mike Jones
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Thanks for the warning about this being PvP, which I have no interest in. I just got into this game and will be picking up all the expansions, except this one!!
 
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Erik Miller
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Not a problem! If you can find this on a good sale and are interested in the hero, I'd pick it up at least for that (I'm talking like $5 or less).

I played the scenario once and have no desire to play it again.

Dwarflord22 wrote:
Thanks for the warning about this being PvP, which I have no interest in. I just got into this game and will be picking up all the expansions, except this one!!
 
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