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Subject: Session Report: 1st Play rss

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Tony Tichota
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Apologies in advance as this is my first session report and will probably ramble on.

Ok, so after all the hype, forum browsing, and rulebook reading I managed to find a Saturday afternoon to try this beast out with 4 players. Before the players arrived I prepped the setup as much as possible by laying out cards, minis, etc so everyone had what they needed to just sit down and play.

I ended up with the Humans. (also happened to be the last to choose) As usual people gravitate towards selecting the meanest, most evil looking race on the board.

Map setup was pretty cool, it went relatively quickly and I ended up, unintentionally, walling myself in with 2 mountains and a lake so basically (without tactic card assistance) I was needing to funnel all my troops out one corridor. The Demons ended up 3 areas to my left, and the Undead were 4 areas to my right (behind the mountain wall, so really he was more like 6 areas away. The Elves (everyones friend), with their starting 2 food were over in the corner minding their own business.

Year #1: Due to the learning curve, ended up taking longer the the next two years combined. Everyone cautiously ventured out attempting to grab an area. The undead were successful in doing so as they had a city next to them. I had a pack of 3 sorcerers hanging out next to me which I tried to persuade to join the cause, and 3 influence later I was told what I could do with my cause. As the sorcerers were blocking my only way out of my starting area, I had to re-think my strategy. Winter came around and asked everyone how much influence they had. Turns out I had used all mine on the diplomacy attempt and was the only player NOT to receive a dragon rune. Everyone's heroes ventured out as well. Year #1 passed by with a bit of recruiting and when winter hit, the Elves and I realized that 2 and 3 food respectively weren't going to cut it.

Year #2: Ok, so the new plan was to take more units to the sorcerers so in case they were mouthy again I could deal with the problem in another way. Shortly thereafter the sorcerers (which ALL become health 2 when 1 activates) STUPID RULES... I ended up walking back to my small 3 food country and hung my head in shame. Two years went by and I had accomplished very little in dial advancement, or anything else for that matter. The elves were still stuck at 2 food, and after miscalculating some moving restrictions he and I both lost units do to them friggin eating each other in starvation. Undead marched forward again, ended up recruiting two giants if I remember correctly and seemed pretty happy about his situation. The Demon player had a fist full of tactics cards that he didn't seem entirely thrilled about and ventured forth. A few heroes managed to "do their thing" and get a few rewards. Undead might have recruited another hero as well.

Year #3: Plan C was to take a good chunk of my army to the sorcerers. Seeing as there was no real point in NOT trying to make them friends I tried one last time to reason with them. They joined my cause on a measly two influence attempt at diplomacy. 3 years it took me to basically move an inch, but the land they inhabited was worth 3 food. DD Undead and his giant friends moved across the land like a disease and now had a few cities, and was half way to my mountain wall. Elves might have recruited another hero, (The Elves existence overall in this game went relatively unnoticed.) The Demons went and made friends with a dragon and moved forward with a sizable army comparable to the Undead. Quest phase wise left everyone laughing at my misfortune as my "newly trained" Runewitch went out to do her quest, and was promptly murdered by a lone beastman. This stood to be the only implementation of the Duel mechanic as the rest of the players seemed to be find passing each other on the map without issue. Other then the Undead mage hero helping them in a few skirmishes, I didn't see all the questing amounting to much outside of a few measly rewards either. By this point in the game we noticed tactics cards a bit more after the Undead built a free stronghold, and I ended up stealing a title from the Elves which allowed me to accumulate influence easier and decide bid ties.

Year #4: After breaking for dinner, and 4 hours later, we started year #4. Before the encroaching Undead army could take the city on the other side of my mountain range I teleported a few siege towers and a knight over there to take it. Tactics cards raised even more eyebrows. I re-organized my troops so I didn't lose anything and backed off my expensive units near the Demon border. The demons ended up taking the entrance to my "sorcerer" valley, but a counter attack by my combined forces chased them back off. This was one of the first real battles of the game, and was frankly very cool how the combat took place. My fear of card based combat (aka starcraft) vanished as the fate deck proved to be a very detailed and efficient 30 sided die. The Demons realized their error in attempting to hit me in the one place where everyone and their grandmothers were coming out of from my country. I think the Undead player ended up taking another city ( for 3 of them) and resolved his objective card of conquering 3 cities or something. (another dragon rune for him). The elves made the Undead giant friends desert him, and wandered around with his heroes some more. Throughout the entire game I think the Elves only had access to a total of 3 food. They just couldn't mass.

Year #5: The Undead and I went back and forth in a few major battles which I came out just fine in. The Demon player, after noticing the deserting giants took it upon himself to adopt a slash and burn plan, killing everything in his wake. No more diplomacy from Mr. nice Demon. The Elves made their one valiant strike against the Demons, just to be thwarted by tactic card hording Demon player. The Demon player followed up the Elven assault with a counter attack that put the Elves back in their place. Hero wise I had been without a hero the majority of the game, and it didn't seem to really effect my plan too much. I ended up stealing one of the Undead heroes that had ventured into my lands with a Tactics card, but he never was able to do anything. In a desperate attempt to win the game, the Undead played a tactics card with allowed them to burrow under my mountain range, take one of my home realm areas with a dragon run on it, and then won a bid to take the title that allowed him to turn in 3 rewards from a hero to get his final 6th rune.

Everyone kinda was like.... "oh". Very anti-climatic, although it seemed that the Undead player was pretty happy with himself for outsmarting the rest of us.

Undead was able to complete his objective, which none of us could do. He was able to pull off a sneak attack on my realm, and he had 3 heroes all working their butts off all game long without opposition. He beat us 6 to 3-3-3. The runes that the most of us started with, was about all we had to show after 5 years.

My own personal summary and feeling after this session was there wasn't enough fighting or bloodshed. Such a cool dueling mechanic, and the battles were very exiting, and we had maybe 4 major skirmishes, and 1 duel that was a result of my only hero dying at the hands of a stinkin beastman. There were probably 8 heroes all passing each other on the board, shaking hands and talking about the weather, and in retrospect maybe it would've benefited the Elves and Demons to take a few Undead heroes out.

The one thing we all learned: You have to keep track in the back of your mind how many dragon runes everyone has, and how does one aquire new ones. Heroes serve this purpose, influence serves this purpose, and don't forget your objective. At the time of finishing this 6 hour game I felt a bit disappointed. No major throw downs, no major action, just a sneaky crafty undead player workin the system. However, the longer I thought about it, the better I felt about playing it again. Now we know. With all his heroes we should have known he had a 2 rune lead on us, but with all the things you have to do to manage your own affairs it's VERY easy to forget about what everyone else is doing in the background.

The Elf player learned: watching your people eat each other in hunger sux and makes for a long 6 hours. Also he learned, that if everyone is trading with your country and giving you tactical alliance benefits, that means you are losing.

What turned out to be over a 6 hour game I can see us surely getting done in 4 to 5 hours next time without a problem. That being said, the Epic variant in the rulebook sounds very appealing based on the lack of combat we experienced this time. Seeing as it takes a full 3 years just to make possible contact with an opponent, it just seems like there isn't enough time to do everything.


-ajtlinc




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Steve
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Nice session report. I find games like this often don't play the way they eventually will on a first play with everyone feeling out their options.

Also, sounds like the game was very nicely played by your Undead player.
 
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David desJardins
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ajtlinc wrote:
At the time of finishing this 6 hour game I felt a bit disappointed. No major throw downs, no major action, just a sneaky crafty undead player workin the system. However, the longer I thought about it, the better I felt about playing it again. Now we know. With all his heroes we should have known he had a 2 rune lead on us, but with all the things you have to do to manage your own affairs it's VERY easy to forget about what everyone else is doing in the background.


Have you played TI3 much? The details are different, but the course of the game and determining the winner play out very much the same way.
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Daniel Hammond
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I really enjoyed your report. It gave a good amount of detail and a synapse of the action. Well done, I hope to hear more adventures (as this isn't a game I am likely to be playing in Honduras for a good long time).

 
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Erik Rodriguez
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After our first game yesterday my play group started coming up with a plethora of variant ideas. One of these ideas may interest you if you are interested in more bloodshed: During map setup, each player receives 1 setup quest instead of two. This would cause a lot more battles to take place since all of the home realms will be much closer together; however, one potential problem is that the amount of available resources are essentially cut in half so it would be much harder for people to build large armies (recruit would be used a lot more often). One possible remedy is to double the amount of resources each hex produces. I haven't tried this variant yet but once I do I'll provide some feedback.
 
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Mark Bond
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Great session report, entertaining and informative. I learned more about the game from reading this than from any of the reviews thus far.
Thanks for posting, I look forward to reading more of these.
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Michael Mitchell
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really interesting report. makes me keen to play!
 
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Michael Mitchell
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dlhammond wrote:
I really enjoyed your report. It gave a good amount of detail and a synapse of the action. Well done, I hope to hear more adventures (as this isn't a game I am likely to be playing in Honduras for a good long time).

just like us in the continent next door....
 
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