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Subject: Runebound - first session rss

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Mystic Hood
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First a question. Do you prefer Talisman or Runebound and why?

Now some other ramblings about our fist real session.

Tonight we played runebound. As with the first quick attempt to get down the rules (1 hr), we did not get time to finish (or come close) in our allotted time (~3.5 hrs) even with the shortened rules (3 per level instead of 4).

Also, the game seems to go on for too long. I think that we were not pushing ourselves into higher levels soon enough and thus got powerful and started to play it safe to stay alive. We allowed everyone to fight a red at the end of the game. Many of us were already hurt, but we felt we might have had a chance if we were fresh. One person got lucky and defeated one although she was a couple levels behind. When should one start taking on yellows? purples? reds?
 
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Jesse Herro
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I strongly recommend using the Doom Track variant that is in the rulebook. It moves the game along nicely and encourages people to take on more difficult challenges sooner.
 
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Jim Patterson
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Iowa City
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Col. Forbin wrote:
I strongly recommend using the Doom Track variant that is in the rulebook. It moves the game along nicely and encourages people to take on more difficult challenges sooner.


That's, seriously, the first nice thing I think I've ever heard about the Doom Track.

The usual suggestion is to use the Threat Track rules from the Midnight expansion. You can get the rules for free from FFG's site, and there should be versions of tracks here in the files section.
 
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Tommy Dean
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Earlwood
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Just have a look thru the yellow and blue cards. Once you have an idea what is needed to move up you start to do it quicker. With first games people are nervous to go yellow early...but some characters can almost start there! The risk of course is getting one of the events that can cause trouble for all...but in general I find most new players wait too long to advance. Take the risk and get into it!

Enjoy.
 
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Andrew J
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I also played my first session of Runebound tonight and oddly enough the game went really fast for me, while my friend played the game much more slowly (i.e. I was defeated the Red challenge cards without taking a wound and he was barely on blue status). Managed to finish the game in about 4 hours including learning the rules and having my family take over the table for dinner for a half hour or so .

I would definitely say that not pushing yourself makes the game a lot slower... considering the jump from green to yellow does double your experience and it only gets easier past there . If one member of a slow playgroup takes the initiative and gets risky this should become apparent really fast.

Also this file (QuickerRunebound) offers some helpful tips for speeding up the game, which all seem like good ideas to keep things going briskly .
http://boardgamegeek.com/file/info/24473
 
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ART
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Cautious players tend to go slower. My partner and I are among that group, it usually takes us days to play a game. But you're right, the more risks we take, the greater POTENTIAL for advancement. It's a race game in that way, you risk a setback if you try to take a shortcut, but if you're smart and lucky about it, you can pull ahead.

As for the doom track, or any track I've yet encountered, I'm not a big fan. We tried the Doom Track, and we felt that any artificial ramping up of the difficulty meant that the game was telling us exactly how fast we could play. If we weren't advancing along a preprogrammed arc, we were setting ourselves up for failure a long way down the road. Blech.

If the tracks meet people's playing style, then that's cool. But it didn't work for us. I think what I wanted as we played was just more variety in the types of actions you could do, and the types of encounters you could face. Once in a while I come up with some variants to that effect, keeping in mind that extending the length of the game by a great degree is not an option. We've played many games, and it still takes quite a while to finish. I realize, though, that this isn't necessarily true for all.
 
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Mark Chaplin
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My variant might have aided you in your quest:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/201278



 
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Sturv Tafvherd
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Yugblad wrote:
My variant might have aided you in your quest:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/201278


The essence of that variant is to give all players 25 turns (or about 9 upgrades). It's a pretty good "time limit".

Runebound's rulebook is pretty good; the problem is that it isn't built to teach the game to new players. For first session games, it would have been helpful to use a "faster" version of the rules -- like an ultra-cheap method of earning xp (2 xp per level, for example), and a faster way of filling up the market (start each town with 5 instead of 1; draw 2 new cards instead of 1).


As for "proper pacing" for the normal game, the fundamentals are:

Greens -- most have 2 life, and only attacks once per round (usually melee). Almost all the heroes can deal 2 damage in that first round of combat.

Yellows -- most have 3 life. So your first goal is to be able to deal 3 damage in the first round of combat -- the most cost-effective way is to have at least 1 ally.

Blues -- most have 4 life, and you're likely to face a pretty big before-combat hit. At this point, I recommend having a before-combat ability that deals at least 2 damage; this allows you to finish them off in the first round of combat much the same way you did yellows.

If you're using Yugblad's 4xp per level (and actually, that's my flat xp leveling rate also, regardless of number of players), then the pacing usually ends up like this:

2 encounters vs. greens
1 visit to town to buy (an ally, ideally)
3 encounters vs. yellows
1 visit to town to buy (hoping for a cool weapon)
X encounters -- a mix of blues and yellows ... and an occasional green while traveling
1 visit to town to buy (usually hiring a new ally since the old ones died to blue encounters)

When I get 9 upgrades, I start hunting reds. At this point, I probably have a total of at least 10 in two statistics.
 
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Mystic Hood
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Very good observations and suggestions guys. Thanks for the help.

I was the one who "pushed" the envelope into yellows and blues.
I told them, yellows are twice as valuable and only slightly harder.
I also hit blue first (after glancing through the decks like someone suggested).

However, some of the green cards still managed to take us down, so a strong green card can be harder than a yellow. I guess that's nice. We certainly cycled the green deck. And sure there was some fumbling at first to learn the rules (we had played before months ago at a buddy's house).

At around 5 upgrades, no greens or yellows remained on the board and some others were forced to go blue with me, but we decided to wrap up.
Two of us really should have taken our 'red' and one got lucky and took one out which showed that we were really not moving up appropriately. The doom track idea and personal variants could help 'force' this.

I think our second game would be a little more aggressive. Thanks for the great feedback.

 
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