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Subject: Runewars -Inspired to make my second review rss

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mateo jurasic
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I have to admit I was both excited by and scared of this game when I first heard about it.

Excited... have you LOOKED at it? It is by far the prettiest game I have ever seen. A Fantasy Empire building strategy game with 4 unique sides (Just like the ridiculously perfrect Chaos in the Old World), random map creation, awesome components, a Twilight Imperium like game that claims to last only around 3 hours... whats not to love? Oh yeah, its got 3-D frakkin' MOUNTAINS!!!! Just like the GAME OF LIFE!


Scared... Isnt this the company that made Twilight Imperium... the monstrosity of a game I will never be able to play because it takes up to 9 hours to play. It's also based on the world of Descent... a game both amazing and horrible to behold. This company has also made Warhammer Invasion, a great game that is crippled by terrible rule support and poorly written cards (no FAQ yet despite dozens of ambiguous card interactions and interpretations and going on its third expansion... I can no longer remember the answers to all of the rule debates that rage nonstop on the FFG Warhammer Invasion forum. This game is impossible to play correctly)

and it costs 100$... yup... 100$, unless of course you are smart enough to buy it online in such a way as to get free shipping, in which case it only costs 60$... Stick it to the greedy privately owned game store that wants to charge me almost TWICE as much money! plus tax!

Well, being the impulse buyer that I am, I ordered it before any real reviews came out, knowing that I just HAD to have it.
Despite my opinions of the support for Warhammer Invasion and the Descent and TI behemoths, I have many fantasy flight games, and like them all... even descent.

Before it arrived, though, reviews began to trickle in at BBG that were surprisingly average... some even negative. I began to worry.
Should I have instead spent that 60$ to get my dying father a new kidney, or perhaps purchase shoes for my starving, frostbitten children? More and more mediocre reviews continued to arrive, but I ignored the hungry, pleading eyes of my wretches and the weak moans of my father, knowing I had done the right thing. This was Fantasy Flight Games, and they know HOW to produce a game!, I told myself.

and boy I was right.

This game is awesome. Right out of the box it blows you away. This game is gorgeous... more beautiful than either my wife or first born child! The rule book was well written (much better than the bible or koran), and we were quickly able to get into the game. As soon as the game came out, a FAQ was available clarifying a few points (cough cough... Warhammer Invasion... you cruel bitch). Also, and most awesomely, there were some printing errors on a few of the components, so they added (in the original game) replacement parts. Now I have extra pieces in case I lose some! Granted, there is still a typo involving two of the hexes which say 2 Giants but really only have one Giant... but this is a small thing, and explained in the FAQ.

I have played it only 3 times so far, but each time lasted less than 3 hours (even with teaching new players each time). The game goes quickly, divided into seasons, with each person simultaneously choosing orders, and then invidually carrying out these orders. Designed as it is, there is little down time, unlike going to your kids' talent show or graduation, or your father's impending funeral... sigh.

The gameplay is fun, the choices are difficult but intriguing, the battles... better than any other board game I can think of (Im looking at you axis and allies!!! how the hell does a tank kill a bomber?). The factions are different, interesting and balanced, requiring different strategies to succeed, but lots of flexibility... much like my first true love Chaos in the Old World... I would marry you if I could... if only my wife wasn't so healthy...

But the unwashed masses cry "What about the heroes? Everyones complaining about the heroes..."
seriously, in a game pitting armies against armies, how the hell is a single thief or warrior, or some douche with a PET FERRET supposed to interact with ARMIES!? They ARENT!
Heroes are SUPPOSED to quest, and armies are SUPPOSED to battle. I like the hero mechanic. I think it is cool and important to winning the game, giving you additional options and occasionally a small effect on battles (a few of the heroes can destroy some units, and they can scout out runes). But it is not overdone or overly complicated. We are NOT playing Descent with armies and kingdoms. These heroes are NOT generals or leaders... they are mercenaries and adventurers playing a small but important role in their kingdom.

And the wretched scream out "But the tactic cards are weak.... I dont like them... they make me cry..."

Wrong... those cards are awesome! These sneaky cards allow you to create traps and awesome combos that will castrate your enemies, make their children weap and wives throw themselves from the ramparts of their burning strongholds. Influence and tactics are two complementary AND antagonistic strategies. There are tactics cards that will counter the various advantages of influence, and vice versa. Influence is more straight forward, tactics more sneaky, but both are good.

Throw in unique secret objectives and quests, blinding auctioning, an elegant order system, random season effects, and false dragon runes, and you got one awesome game that has taken some of the best mechanics from games like Game of Thrones, Twilight Imperium, Chaos in the Old World, Conquest of the Empire, and made a uniquely awesome and playable game.

And just when you were ready to pry those gold fillings out of your mothers teeth to get some cash to buy this game... theres more!

Runewars gives you optional ways to enrich and expand your game. Exploration markers add a whole new level to the game, and give players who want a larger role for the heroes, well, a larger role for the heroes. There is an epic mode which makes the game more... epic. This game is also DICELESS with a Fate card mechanic that I bet many games will begin to emulate.

But no game is perfect (except for Chaos in the Old World), and there are a few small problems.

1) you cant let Runewar off the hook for the typos, I guess... even if they did replace most of the components
2) The neutral forces/diplomacy mechanic seems a bit off, since it is technically just as easy to diplomacize 8 neutrals as it is one neutral, or 3 giants and 3 dragons as it is one beastman. Neutrals are not supposed to be a real dominating force, but this is an issue just BEGGING for houses rules... rules I have been mulling around in my own brain case.
3) In the regular game, it seems like the game ends a few turns too soon. 6 dragon runes can be claimed without a lot of conflict between players in many games. Thats why I think playing to 7 runes, or using the epic rules will make for more player interaction. The regular rules, however, may appeal to players that prefer less overall aggression.
4) The 3D mountains don't "Snap" into place like described in the rulebook.... I was promised a SNAP and the mountains really dont stick into the hexes in any way...
5) The hero quests could be improved by adding some quests with choices (perhaps the hero can choose to take wounds instead of testing a skill, or incorporate difficult decisions or options... Do you want to save the child from the ogre (change alignment, get some influence) or go for the chest? (change alignment, get a reward).)

Overall

Awesome game.. I give it a 9/10. (would have gotten a 9.5 without the typos, and a 10 if they come up with some way to make diplomacizing more or stronger neutrals a little more difficult).

this game begs for an expansion, and will get an 11 when it comes out with new factions, hexes, tactic cards, objectives, quests, heros and neutrals. Knowing FFG it WILL get an expansion... I bet my grandma's wheelchair!

Tell your dad to go drive himself to dialysis, your kids to stop crying about their frostbitten toes, and your wife to go hock her wedding ring cuz you wanna PLAY RUNEWARS!














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Chad Walton
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how the hell is a single thief or warrior, or some douche with a PET FERRET supposed to interact with ARMIES!?


Yup, as every fantasy nerd knows, it takes TWO pet ferrets to accomplish anything...
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Adam
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I'm pretty sure Piko's a Civet. whistle
 
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Torsten Oppermann
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most entertaining review so far ! FFG should hire you! I hope you are right about all that stuff... its february and i still havent heard from my preordered runewars angry
 
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Brett Burgess
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Great review! Very entertaining to read and I was laughing out loud several times.

mateooo wrote:
The neutral forces/diplomacy mechanic seems a bit off, since it is technically just as easy to diplomacize 8 neutrals as it is one neutral, or 3 giants and 3 dragons as it is one beastman. Neutrals are not supposed to be a real dominating force, but this is an issue just BEGGING for houses rules... rules I have been mulling around in my own brain case.


I agree with you about the diplomacy. I like the fact that there is political power in the game and that you can use diplomacy to make neutral units join your cause, but having a single "good" fate card persuade multiple neutral units to join your army is too easy. This could be improved.

mateooo wrote:
But the unwashed masses cry "What about the heroes? Everyones complaining about the heroes..."
seriously, in a game pitting armies against armies, how the hell is a single thief or warrior, or some douche with a PET FERRET supposed to interact with ARMIES!? They ARENT!
Heroes are SUPPOSED to quest, and armies are SUPPOSED to battle. I like the hero mechanic. I think it is cool and important to winning the game, giving you additional options and occasionally a small effect on battles (a few of the heroes can destroy some units, and they can scout out runes). But it is not overdone or overly complicated. We are NOT playing Descent with armies and kingdoms. These heroes are NOT generals or leaders... they are mercenaries and adventurers playing a small but important role in their kingdom.


I really enjoy the heroes as well. There are some interesting strategic things that can be done with the right tactics cards and other game elements, and I have only seen a handful of the tactics cards so far. I have not come anywhere close to seeing them all! While I would like to see the heroes have the ability to do a little bit more, I do not want the pacing of this game to slow down. I like how quick the game plays, given the fact that the game is on such a big, epic scale.
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Shawn Woods
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mateooo wrote:
But no game is perfect (except for Chaos in the Old World)


I think CitOW is a great game, after one play. However, broken components (3 of the Cultists' staves and one of the warriors head was off) make it sub-perfect.
 
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mateo jurasic
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oooh, you got me. Those damn banners do break off!!!
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Antigonus Monophthalmus
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Quote:
how the hell is a single thief or warrior, or some douche with a PET FERRET supposed to interact with ARMIES!?


Yeah, they're only good for saving the world from swarms of cultist legions, invasions of Ogre Kings, or world-ending cataclysms. How could they ever deal with a bunch of frightened farmers drafted from their fields and equipped with whatever panoply they could buy in bulk?

But yeah agree with all the rest, especially the battles and the cards. I have never had a more difficult decision in a game than deciding where to apply casualties in the first round or when to use a card. I mourn for the loss of dice but the cards really make the battles an intense fare.

edit: to the person who hasn't seen them all, I have no idea how that could be. We've almost run through the deck twice, they are crucial to winning! Last game I went through nearly 16 myself (but I was humans and got 6 from the horsemen, which was awesome).
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Jason Fordham
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Kodo and Podo; ferrets to fear.

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Kaiwen Zhang
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I think they should have put destiny symbols in each of the four sections of the cards. Then you can have different diplomacy probability depending on the unit type!

That way a stronger unit type can be harder to convince than lower ones.

If you have multiple unit types in one region, simply take the unit type of the strongest unit. The thematic reason is that the strongest unit is the "leader" therefore if you can't convince him, he can order his servants to attack you.
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Chris J Davis
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johncraven wrote:
I think they should have put destiny symbols in each of the four sections of the cards. Then you can have different diplomacy probability depending on the unit type!

That way a stronger unit type can be harder to convince than lower ones.

If you have multiple unit types in one region, simply take the unit type of the strongest unit. The thematic reason is that the strongest unit is the "leader" therefore if you can't convince him, he can order his servants to attack you.


That, my friend, is a fantastic idea. wow
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mateo jurasic
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what a great idea! sheesh... wish i thought of it.

things we considered were to adjust diplomacy....

1) draw diplomacy cards for each type of neutral in a zone, separately. so you might get some, and not get others.
2) draw 1 more diplomacy card if you have more units than there are neutrals, and draw one less diplomacy if you have less units. Consider dragons and giants as more than one unit, in this regard (either two or three...)
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Chris J Davis
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johncraven wrote:
I think they should have put destiny symbols in each of the four sections of the cards. Then you can have different diplomacy probability depending on the unit type!

That way a stronger unit type can be harder to convince than lower ones.

If you have multiple unit types in one region, simply take the unit type of the strongest unit. The thematic reason is that the strongest unit is the "leader" therefore if you can't convince him, he can order his servants to attack you.


In your honour:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/491220/potential-variant...
 
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Jeff Wells
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Great review. Played my first game today (finally) and was very impressed. BTW, I think Piko is a Red Panda.
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Adam
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You're right! Red panda is it. Though in my defense, they look a bit similar to civets if you're not familiar with them. blush
 
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Darryl Auston
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Pico is the douche with a pet human
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The Galaxy is Just Packed!
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mateooo wrote:
Stick it to the greedy privately owned game store that wants to charge me almost TWICE as much money! plus tax!


I seriously hope you are stating this in jest.
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Brett Burgess
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BagpipeDan wrote:
edit: to the person who hasn't seen them all, I have no idea how that could be. We've almost run through the deck twice, they are crucial to winning! Last game I went through nearly 16 myself (but I was humans and got 6 from the horsemen, which was awesome).


The group I play with started our first game last Saturday and only got through year 3, so we are halfway through the game. We are finishing the game this coming Saturday. I have only seen maybe 10 or 12 tactics cards so far. I'm sure by the time we end the game I will have seen nearly all of them.
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Antigonus Monophthalmus
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Brett_B wrote:
The group I play with started our first game last Saturday and only got through year 3, so we are halfway through the game. We are finishing the game this coming Saturday. I have only seen maybe 10 or 12 tactics cards so far. I'm sure by the time we end the game I will have seen nearly all of them.


Okay that makes way more sense
 
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Henrik Lantz
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Should we worry for your wife?

Just kidding. Great review, this game needed some positive vibes.
 
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Piero
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Quote:
But no game is perfect (except for Chaos in the Old World), and there are a few small problems.

You get thumbsupthumbsupthumbsup for that.
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Drake Coker
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Descent... a game both amazing and horrible to behold


Best one-line description of Descent yet!
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Jon Quinn
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mateooo wrote:

These sneaky cards allow you to create traps and awesome combos that will castrate your enemies, make their children weap and wives throw themselves from the ramparts of their burning strongholds.


Do the undead have wives?

The undead skeleton archer returned home at the end of a days work at the archery range and announced, "Honeybones, I'm home."
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Bill D.
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Not sure if he's talking about Ronan the Wild from Runebound, since they use them here, but she's a red panda.
 
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R. Beef
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jwquinn wrote:
mateooo wrote:

These sneaky cards allow you to create traps and awesome combos that will castrate your enemies, make their children weap and wives throw themselves from the ramparts of their burning strongholds.


Do the undead have wives?

The undead skeleton archer returned home at the end of a days work at the archery range and announced, "Honeybones, I'm home."


...and was saddened when he realized they were having brains again...
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