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Subject: The Final Draw rss

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Apex
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House Rules:
* MMO Level-up: All damage for hero & allies is healed when leveling up.
* Turn as Round: Combat items that state Turn can be used in each combat round to prevent dieing and therefore without penalizing healing so much.
* 4 XP to Level: Removed graduated leveling and kept it at 4 throughout the game to encourage faster progression through the encounters for a quicker game.
* Items & Allies Market Decks: Separate the market deck into 2 decks 1 for Items and one for Allies. Draw 2 when in a city market phase.

Expansions Used:
* Shadows of Margath

Characters:
* Red Scorpion
* Runewitch

Game Summary
The game went really well with the house rules above in place. One of the things we didn't like the first time we played through the game as a 2 player experience was the knockouts and how long the game took. I considered doing a softer knockout, but we liked the bite of knockouts so staving them off was the point of the house rules we picked.

Through some bad movement rolls my opponent fell a bit behind in the leveling game, but because I had amassed some gold by that point he caught up as I was filling up market stacks on cities around the world looking for decent loot. We still felt that the markets needed more stuff. We wasted a lot of time looking for useful items. When gold also buys healing for heros and allies any items you buy need to be "worth it."

I think we did about 16 total green encounters before moving up to the Yellows. With 2 encounters to a level up in Yellows we cruised through these as well. It was at that point our game got much more competitive.

Scorpion was still struggling a bit with dealing damage, but had recruited a couple good allies to assist. We both found that relying on allies was a huge part of the game at the blue and red levels. To that end, my recommendation would be to pick up an Item & Allies expansion when you get the game. There are a number of duplicate allies in the game already that are basically fodder once you get to blue. Getting some pricier and more useful allies is key to filling in your combat weaknesses.

We basically played the game cooperatively, though unintentionally. The movement dice just never moved us anywhere near each other and by the time Scorpion picked up the teleport rune from the market in Frostgate...it was time to start clearing reds rather than beating on each other.

Scorpion cleared out the first 3 red encounters with no problem. It was then that we realized our problem including the Shadows of Margath deck...we forgot to remove some of the red encounters from the base game. That meant we had extra cards and no red encounters left. We could have just replenished the reds and kept going, but decided that we'd just take turns defeating red cards.

My first pull as the Runewitch was Abraxas who nearly finished me off. Scorpion pulled a world event that didn't mean anything to us since we were just pulling cards rather than entering spaces where red challenge tokens existed.

Finally...I pulled Margath on the final draw of the game.

Before combat I used the flute to negate any damage from Margath in the first round and managed to deal 3 damage. Margath killed one of my allies in the ranged combat round. In melee Girta did another 3 damage to Margath and needing a 9 to finish Margath off in the final round or be killed...I rolled....a 9 exactly to end the game.

It was a lot of fun, but we had some concerns about the game system that I think already have good solutions through house rules or variants.

1 - Towns need more loot in them to start the game. We wasted probably 20 minutes of gaming time just waiting for junk worth buying to show up.
2 - Healing costs are punitive late in the game when you're fighting some pretty tough challenges...you can easily go broke.
3 - The world events are a ton of fun, but there didn't seem to be enough seeded in the decks. They added great flavor to the game rules which was nice.
4 - There wasn't a lot of purpose other than leveling up, and getting loot. Definitely fun, but I think adding the doom track / threat level to the game will go a long way in our next play.
5 - The basic endgame seemed kind of abrupt. Even though my opponent killed the majority of the red encounters because I killed Margath I won. That doesn't seem quite right. I think some of the adventure expansions address this issue.

It was a lot of fun. Not too many rules. We liked the way the house rules affected the gameplay!

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I don't really understand why you would want to separate the Market Deck into different stacks. That and too many House Rules makes things confusing in my experience but it sounds like you had fun regardless.
 
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Patrick Runyan
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Boise
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The red replinish thing is obnoxious, isn't it?
Best to just forcibly refill all red spaces when the last one is landed on (but before clearing it... in effect, all the OTHER red jewels would be renewed).

The base game has so many flaws.
 
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Quote:
5 - The basic endgame seemed kind of abrupt. Even though my opponent killed the majority of the red encounters because I killed Margath I won. That doesn't seem quite right. I think some of the adventure expansions address this issue.


I might be missing something here, but if your opponent killed most of the red challenges, I think she may have won. Killing Margath is only one of two ways to win. Killing three red challenges OTHER than Margath; and therefore collecting three Dragon Runes, also wins the game. The expansion you used adds a seventh Dragon Rune to the game, so depending on how many red challenges the two of you beat before Margath showed up; one of you may have won without you realizing it.
 
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Apex
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Thanks for the rules clarification I will let my buddy know. I think he'll be thrilled. And...that would definitely mean that there are enough red spots on the board too so that aspect of the red challenges makes much more sense now.

As for the number of house rules. Those were created/adapted to address shortcomings both of us saw during our first play of the game. While I agree that the base game rules are there for a reason we definitely decided not to mess with the "math" behind the game in favor of futzing with the economics behind healing in large part because of our perceived need to acquire better items and allies in order to stay competitive with the tougher blue and then red challenges at the end of the game.

As others have stated, the greens and yellows are largely the same difficulty with a few exceptions so I don't think moving into the yellows is nearly as rough as moving into the blues without having some decent arms, armor, and allies.

You're right though...in reading the post and in writing it...that does seem like a lot of house rules! Oh well we had a blast. Thanks for the feedback and for reading the session report.
 
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Greg Nichols
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medlinke wrote:
House Rules:
* MMO Level-up: All damage for hero & allies is healed when leveling up.
* Turn as Round: Combat items that state Turn can be used in each combat round to prevent dieing and therefore without penalizing healing so much.
* 4 XP to Level: Removed graduated leveling and kept it at 4 throughout the game to encourage faster progression through the encounters for a quicker game.
* Items & Allies Market Decks: Separate the market deck into 2 decks 1 for Items and one for Allies. Draw 2 when in a city market phase.


Honestly, I don't think that's a lot of house rules. Isn't the "4xp to level" an optional rule in the rulebook?

And to the market decks, this is something my group has been chatting about. It's annoying how long it takes to get decent stuff (or stuff you need) out of the single market deck. I've read a few variants on this posted here and I think they've got merits.
 
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Apex
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Yeah the 4xp thing is in there I believe. I wasn't sure if it was a graduating level though or if it was just straight 4xp/level.

My personal take on the market thing is that you should be allowed to roll 1d10 for every town at the start of the game and pre-seed the markets with potentially a fair number of cards.

Only second to buying a new boardgame and then seeing a new version is being released in a month is buying a 8g Ally in one town and then seeing someone turn over a much better 10g Ally in another town 2 turns later!
 
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