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Subject: 3 out of 10. Not recommended. rss

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Ian K
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I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm on a “Quest” but I am certainly searching for a decent co-operative dice game.

I tried Elder Sign first (6 out of 10, my review here: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/770493/6-out-10-good-things...), next was Justice League Hero Dice (6 or 7 out of 10, one of my reviews is here: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1649036/7-out-10-better-two...) then I tried Cosmic Run (5 out of 10, my review here: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1650634/5-out-10-review-onl...) and most recently I picked up a copy of RuneCast and gave that a go.

So is my search over … ?
Well …


Synopsis

RuneCast is a co-operative dice game in which each player takes on the role of a Norse warrior battling to prove their worth to the gods through multiple challenges.

Standing in your way is the evil trickster god Loki who will do all he can to stop you. You roll dice every turn to battle the current quest, then once all players have done so Loki gets a turn to fight back. Then repeat.


Gameplay

The first thing you will notice when you open the box is that the rule book is very badly written. There are no illustrations to demonstrate the various components and the wording and explanations are often vague and unhelpful.

For example, each of the quests mentioned above come on a double sided “Battle Board” with a different quest in each side. The rule book says “Shuffle the Battle Boards and place them in center of the play area”; fine, but which way up? Does it even matter? Some of the Battle Boards are easy on one side and very hard on the other so does it matter which is face up? The rule book does not say and there is no indication on the Battle Boards themselves if there is a front and a back.

Another example, once one side of a Battle Board has been beaten you turn it over for the next quest. But what about any extra successes you still had left over? Do they get immediately applied to the new quest or ignored? The rule book doesn't say.

One final example, there are rules for how a piece of armour can become “exhausted” but there is absolutely nothing to say what this means or even if or when it becomes un-”exhausted”.

As for the game itself, each die you roll has two success results, two negative results and two heal results; no variations. And each quest is simply a case of keep rolling until you get the total successes you need. There is no variation from quest to quest in what you are trying to do, the only difference comes in the form of how Loki might hit back at you. Everything else plays the same on each side of each Battle Board with the exception of how many successes they each might need. Some require only a few, some require so many that it becomes a chore.

Not to mention the Battle Board that suddenly starts counting successes in multiples of 5 and then 10. How does that even work? Are they symbolic numbers and each success just pushes it forward one square anyway? Do you need 5 or 10 successes in a single roll to leap from one square to the next? Or do you keep track of how many successes you get in each roll and add them up as you go, keeping track of your total somehow if it is not a multiple of five or ten? There is no clue on the Battle Board or in the rule book. And given that you have to get 170 successes for this particular quest, you might find yourself not really caring either.

This is not an exciting game by any stretch of the imagination. It feels very much like someone put together a first draft of a game and then wanted to start adding loads of bells and whistles on to it with subsequent drafts only they forgot.

Where is the variety in game play? Where are the tactics and co-operation? Where is the full explanation of how to play and what everything does? Where is the challenge beyond that of can you maintain interest enough to roll 170 successes? And if you can then there are at least 7 more quests to go.


Presentation

As previously gone in to, the rule book is bad and the components aren't much better in terms of explanation and communication. However they look decent enough.


Summary

Monotonous gameplay and poorly written rules. A chore to learn to play and sometimes a chore to actually play, too. 3 out of 10.




Note: I have learned from bitter experience with this site that I need to stress that all reviews – including this one – are entirely matters of opinion. I am not claiming that anything I have said in this review is fact, it is all entirely my opinion and I am sure that many others have different opinions. If you wish to reply with yours, I welcome it. I enjoy discussion but will not respond kindly to aggressive replies.

Note 2: This review, like all my reviews, are “WYSIWYG”. I review the game as it comes out of the box, no online FAQs or version 2 of a rule book is taken in to consideration. It's all about what you get when you buy it.
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