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Subject: Story-Telling? rss

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Volker Hirscher
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Hi all,

at the beginning of my post, I have to say: I played Runebound twice (only base game), did not like it much, and rate it a 4. But again and again, I stumble over it and think "How I'd love to like it, with all these expansions..."

What did not work for me was:
- boring combat by throwing dice and dice and dice and...
- and my main critisicm: There was NO feeling that there is some kind of story going on. Almost all quest are about slaying monsters, nothing else seems to be required.

Other games handle this a lot better. e.g. Tales of the arabian knights, Arkham Horror, Return of the Heroes...

So, do you think anyhing could fix the game for me regarding the story-telling aspect?
 
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Fishy
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Not too sure... While i do love the game and play it regularly with the lady, i still can't feel involved in the stories at all. We never found anything to fix that, apart from playing Sands from time to time where you feel more in the setting. Map, monsters, allies, and small choices like day/night travel make you feel in there, far more than encountering "random ferrox 87564543" on hill 364. Alas, Sands lacks the variety of monsters/traps/treasures that the original game + small expansions now offers, thus feels too repetitive if we play it too often.

From our personal experience, the standard game with small expansions remains the best monster bash/treasure race experience. For the mood/setting experience, Sands might be your best bet, but it's a big box to buy...

Finding a middle-ground might require a number of small expansions and the crafting of thematic decks with carefully selected monsters/encounter/events, as well as a 'red' expansion you like fitting the theme. To emphasize the story, you're probably better off staying clear of dragonlords/avatars scenarios, as story-wise, they're quite boring. Maybe Sceptre of Kyros with big monsters/frost beasts? Cult of the Rune with all cultists/bandits/evil sorcerers and their undead minions you can find?
 
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Volker Hirscher
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Thanks for your hints. Do the mentioned expansion fix this "all quests consist of fighting monsters" thing?

Maybe I should just stay away from Runebound and finally read those Magic Realm rules... if they only had one hundred pages less
 
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Paul DeStefano
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mavo wrote:
So, do you think anyhing could fix the game for me regarding the story-telling aspect?


No.

Our group details moves with stories. Surviving monsters are hunted down with revenge in our eyes. Treasures are prized and each use described in intricate detail. Usually in the voice of the character.

The plot actually progresses with the events in the cards. Skies darken. Weather changes. The dead rise. Towns get destroyed. The face of the lands gets ravaged by evil.

If your group can't find the storytelling in Runebound, you won't find it anywhere else.
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Fishy
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Quote:
Do the mentioned expansion fix this "all quests consist of fighting monsters" thing?


Only partly. You still fight monsters as this is the bread and butter of Runebound. However, in Sands, you win by achieving 4 'legendary quest' which are not combat. They consist in skill checks at particular locations, visiting cities in a specific order, buying an item somewhere to deliver it elsewhere, etc. The fighting and xp is more of a mean to an end. You want green/yellow/blue/red jewels to be able to start your first/second/third/fourth legendary quest, and you want experience counters to succeed at said quests. So you move around the map and fight. This is the same game really, but it all feels more involving, you move on the map with a purpose, not just towards the nearest coloured jewels which are drawn from the same deck anyway.

Before thinking anymore about it, you might want to read some reviews to get a better idea: Runebound: Sands of Al-Kalim. Be careful of how Runebound-biased are the reviewers though. Try to find reviews by people that didn't really like the original game, as they'll be closer to your situation.
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Volker Hirscher
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@Bruno: Ok, this quest handling in Sands really sounds better! I'll will read about it! Thanks for your help!!

Quote:
If your group can't find the storytelling in Runebound, you won't find it anywhere else.


@Paul: If it is enough to write "Bad weather" on a card to create a story feeling, than all games are "storry telling". If you ever tried games like "Arkham Horror" or "Tales of the Arabian Nights" (as mentioned above, and there are some others out there), then you would not call Runebound "story telling" (at least not as it is out of the box.)And if so, then it is a really boring story (monsters appear, monsters are killed, monsters appear, monsters are killed, ...)

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lark song
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MrSkeletor wrote:
I have played both runebound and AH extensively. Both have about the same level of 'storytelling.'
But then when Im playing an adventurer I kind of want to kill things. I can't really say playing parcel boy in ROTH really brings out the storyteller in me.

Anyway if you dont like the combat then just forget the game, its not for you.


Hi I'm new:) I agree as above, the dice combat is constant. I think it also might be the sort of game where the storytelling and adventure feel may have to do with the players involved and just personal taste on whether it is a story you want to elaborate on etc. I bought runebound to play specifically with my son as my partner HATES boardgames. He played one game and his feeling about the game was trouncing our adventure vibe.

Anyway maybe it's just not your thing this one. I had reservations about buying it , because of things I read here about the infinite dice. I am glad that we are enjoying it although I could see very well how it couldn't work for some. Honestly , I am going to buy expansions for the adventure cards because I feel those get a little old unless we add lib or joke around with them. That makes it fun.
 
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howl hollow howl
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Geosphere wrote:

If your group can't find the storytelling in Runebound, you won't find it anywhere else.


Glib, yet false, as proved in the original post.

I have the same "problem" as the original poster with Runebound (as well as World of Warcraft) regarding immersion, largely due to the involved combat resolution and lack of player interaction. However, I don't mind the combat, I like the story told within individual combats, and I like the suspense of the game in who is going to win, so that's enough to get me to come back to it.

I have tried many of the expansions (big box and small box), and none have truly fixed the immersion problems, even though they introduce more appealing mechanisms and themes (especially Sands and Isle of Dread). I do think Sands is the best one to try as it gives you a greater variation of interesting choices to make.

Regarding Arkham Horror, I find that at the "encounter" level, it's even less engaging than Runebound. However, at the "overall game arc" level, it's a lot more so, but maybe it's because you get the chance to roleplay a wider range of characters (e.g., Nun on a motorcycle with a cross and shotgun) in a more fleshed-out setting. AH is kinda long and a pain to set up/tear down (especially if you mix in expansions), but the rare play with a bigger group is always a riot. I'll play Runebound a few times a year 2-player (hopefully more often when my daughter grows up), because it's colorful and a fun way to pass the time without being overly taxing.
 
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Volker Hirscher
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To make it clearer: I don't have anything against combat. I used to play RPGs for a long time. I don't think it's a lack of fantasy that destroys this game for me. But if I have an encounter, I want diversity (AH does a good job with that). I want to have several tasks, longer tasks, to have a more epic feel about it. In Runebound, all I ever got (generally speaking) is: "Oh, an encounter - how exciting - what could it be? - oh, yet another monster..."

Here, ROTH does a better job for me (though its replay value is not that high): There are monsters to kill, princesses to free, persons to guard, ... That is somehow better. Another good game in this respect is the old "Wizards" from Avalon Hill. But I still could not find a newer game with great art and diversity that delivers in what I am looking for...
 
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howl hollow howl
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mavo wrote:
I want to have several tasks, longer tasks, to have a more epic feel about it.


Maybe you should try one of the small-box Adventure Variant expansions. For example, this year's Runebound: The Cataclysm, which has multi-step tasks and long-term objectives, and feels more "epic".
 
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Bullwinkle
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If you really want to see if this game might work for you, then I think Dave's suggestion is your best option. Pick up The Cataclysm; it's inexpensive (around $6 in North America, not sure about Germany), but it changes the feel of the game in a way that usually only comes with the big-box expansions. If you like this expansion, then the more expensive Sands of Al-Kalim may also be a good buy. If you don't like these, then the game as it currently exists just isn't for you.

You should be aware that even though these two expansions add different mechanics more amenable to the kind of storytelling you're looking for, the game is still overwhelmingly combat-based. They just add some diversity to the play of the game.
 
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