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Subject: A Review a Week #22: Runewars? They should have called it "Best Damn Game You Will Ever Play" rss

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Lance
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Moorhead
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Hello! Here we are with another installment of my “Review a Week” series. Normally I would go through my standard preamble here but I am so excited about this review I am just going to tell you to go and look at any of my offerings prior to this one to find out what it is I am trying to do here. I will give my disclaimer however. All of my games were either purchased by me or were gifts from friends and family. If that matters to you, there you go. I don’t think it should, I just like being up front about it.

I am relatively new to the boardgame scene, something I am quite honest about, but the game that really got me started was Arkham Horror. Some day I will review that sucker, and give it the love and praise that it deserves, but I am still trying to hone my craft at these things, and since everyone is going to know that I am going to just simply gush over the thing, the result won’t be that amazing or interesting for anyone to read. However, I will say this. That one game showed me just how amazing a game company can be when it comes to creating a piece of cardboard and a pile of plastic. While I am a huge fan of FFG, they are not infallible, and to be honest, up until Chaos in the Old World (check out my review if you like) it had been a while since the guys in Minnesota had knocked me on my butt with a game. Since they had hit one out of the park, they could have made Runewars into a big pile of half-assery and I would still forgive them and play it and smile. Instead, they ran out of the park before the ball could hit the ground, and then clobbered it again and knocked it into the next county. So yeah, I love this game. If you want to know why, read on, and maybe somewhere in there you will read something that will make you kiss your hard earned money goodbye and get this baby on your table ASAP.

Overview and Components

Runewars is a return to the giant “coffin” box game made popular by FFG with such titles as Twilight Imperium and Tide of Iron. It takes place in the same “world” as Runebound and Descent, which always makes me wonder why FFG hasn’t made an RPG based on that setting. As you would expect, the components to the game are absolutely top notch.

The cardboard tiles that make up the world are thick, colorful, and sturdy. You get tons of cards, which you would probably expect, and these are colorful, easy to read, and from quality cardstock. Yes, some of them are those “tiny” style that I don’t like but not everyone has big giant clumsy hands like I do, so they probably work for most people. Now let us talk about the mounds of plastic you will get your grubby paws on. The molds for these miniatures are nothing short of fantastic. They are highly detailed and are quite “epic” looking. From the awesome giants and dragons, to the cool human siege engines, to the ripper beasts of chaos, everything has its own style and substance, and nothing looks average in any way.

If you were going to think about buying a game based solely on the quality of its components, Runewars would be a must buy.

OK fine, if I had to nitpick, the 3 dimensional mountains while nice to look at tend to slide around under the tiles, causing the playing field to be a little out of sync at times. I am also not a huge fan of the hero cards being so small, but I can live with it.

How do you play?

Runewars is a game of combat, area control, and a little dab of negotiation, where you attempt to take control of a 6 Dragon Runes before any of your opponents do the same. It is played over a series of seasons and has a set ending, so it can’t just go on forever. Each player takes control of a distinctive faction (Elves, Humans, Chaos, Undead) each with their strengths and weaknesses. While there are definitely good guys and bad, there is no way to work together towards a mutual victory. Only one person can win.

Now this isn’t a simple game, but I seriously doubt anyone is going to make Runewars their first purchase into the realm of your more complex boardgames. Suffice it to say, if you are familiar with the process of a game turn being separated into several smaller portions, or rounds, you should catch onto the flow of Runewars pretty quickly. I am going to go over this one fairly closely, so if you don’t like exhorbitant rules explanations, feel free to skip ahead.

The game starts out with everyone using some sort of method to determine the first player. Since you don’t get any dice, you can figure this out in any way that you see fit, but the game does give you the option of dealing out a fate card to each person, on which there is a number on the bottom. Shuffle those cards back into the fate deck and start the game setup.

The first player now gets to pick the side they want to play. Allow the next person to do so and so forth. When you pick your faction, you get a board with your info on it, a hero that is of the same alignment as you, two starting quests for your heroes, your starting influence and tactics cards as printed on your faction board, and an objective card that is known only to you. If you complete your secret objective you get a dragon rune immediately. Don’t forget about this as it has cost me a win a couple of times.

Now you take the quest cards and pull the “starting quest” cards out of the deck. Deal two of these cards to each person. On the bottom of these cards there will be a number/letter combo, like 4A for example. Hand each person the board tiles that correspond with the cards in their hand. Even in a four person game, there will be a tile left over, so don’t worry about that. Starting with the first player, start putting the tiles on the table in front of you. You can put these in any way you can imagine except for the fact that you cannot line a mountain border up right next to a water border. Once you have created the board, you go on to the next phase of setup.

The first player now surveys the board and places the starting locations for the players on the edges of the hexes you just set up. The starting areas have to be a certain number of spaces from each other depending on how many players there are. Once the first player gets done making their choices, the next player gets to pick which spot they want on the board. This continues around the board until the first player takes the last remaining choice. Now we can move on to the final part of the setup process.

Each player places their starting location hex and then takes three dragon rune tiles and places one of them in each of the hexes that make up their starting area. The catch is that only two of the tiles actually have a rune on them, while the third is blank. You place these upside down so no one knows which one is which. Feel free to check runes you control at any time, but only the ones that are yours.

Finally, take a look at your faction board. You have three resource dials tracking your food, lumber, and ore. Each one of these dials will tell you several things, including your starting forces. Count up what you get and place them anywhere you like in your starting hex. You can only have eight forces in each hex, but other than that, feel free to put them wherever you like. Take your starting hero that you drew and put their figure in any of your starting hexes you like. Heroes do not count against your unit total in a hex, so don’t worry about breaking that rule. Finally, take one of your four strongholds and place it one of your starting hexes. Do yourself a favor and put it in a hex where you have one of your dragon runes unless you believe in that whole “hide in plain sight purloined letter Edgar Allen Poe” strategy.

Whew – you are finally done setting up Runewars and are ready to actually play the game! Seriously, the first time you put this one together you are going to stumble around and it will feel confusing, but after the first time, it is a snap.

OK – here we go. There are 4 decks of season cards. Stunningly, these are known as Spring, Summer, Winter, and Fall. There is a finite number of these, so if you somehow manage to burn through six years worth of them, the game ends and the person with the most dragon runes wins the game. Anyway, you start with Spring and work your way through the seasons in chronological order. Each one of the season cards will have an instruction for the players to carry out. Most of these will involve what is called an influence bid. So let me break from the flow of this turn explanation to explain an influence bid.

To process an influence bid each player states how much influence they have in total, then secretly put some, all, or none of their influence chits in their hand. Each person puts their hand out and reveals their total at the same time. Figure out the result by comparing the bids to the season card and move forward.

Now each season has its own special rules after you resolve the text on each one. I will explain each one in turn.

Spring – Spring is the time of renewal, so when this season is in play you get to recharge everything on the board. Remove your activation markers, stand up your routed heroes and units, and collect your order cards that you used in the preceding year. If you did not understand some of that stuff I just said, it will be explained later in the review.

Summer – Summer is the time for adventure! This is the time (and the only time) that you can move your heroes around the board, try and complete quests, duel other heroes, heal your heroes, and train them if you so choose. I will go over heroes in more depth later.

Fall – Fall is when you start to hunker down for the cold months so you start to gather up the essentials. Take the fate cards in the discard deck and reshuffle them into the main deck. Next, each player has the option of either drawing one tactics card or taking two influence chits.

Winter – This is a very important season to the game. First, more dragon runes are almost always introduced into the game via the season card so someone winning at this point is very likely. Secondly, your food resource is very important because if it isn’t high enough to support your troops they are going to die off from hunger. Simply, your food value on your resource dial will determine how many units you will get to have in each hex. If you have any access, pick which ones suffer from deadly hunger and remove them from the board. Heroes, of course, do not count against this total and cannot starve. Finally, sea borders which are normally impassible unless you have flying units or heroes, can be crossed normally due to the fact that they have frozen over.

Once you have finished with whatever season you are in, you move onto the orders portion of your turn. Each player gets eight cards that have the same eight orders on them. You pick one secretly and then show them at the same time. You process the orders in numerical order, so if you picked order number three and your opponents picked numbers five, six, and eight, you would go before everyone else.

I will go into more depth with each order in a moment, but there is a second mechanic involved with orders called supremacy. Each order has a standard action, but also a bonus action that you can qualify for. To qualify for the bonus action, the number on your most recently played order must be the higher than any of the previous orders face up on the table in front of you. Normally, you will never have more than three in that location, but sometimes, because of season cards, you won’t be able to collect all of your orders in the Spring time so you could have your access to “supremacy” limited quite a bit.

Here is an in depth list of the different orders and the actions they give you.

Order #1: Strategize – This card allows you to move any and all of your units and heroes one space, and one space only, on the board. They must follow all the rules governing movement however, such as mountain and water borders being impassible (with normal flying and Winter exceptions) and your units not being able to enter unfriendly areas. If you qualify for Supremacy with this order, you can immediately collect Tactics cards equal to the number allowed on your resource dials.

Order#2: Mobilize – This card allows you to move your units as well, but unlike strategize, you can now enter unfriendly areas, most likely containing units belonging to your opponents or the neutral monsters that populate the hexes. By doing this, you will be able to start combats against anyone and attempt diplomacy against the neutral armies of the world. It should be noted that your units can move the maximum number of spaces allowed with this action, normally two or three hexes. Movement is also a little tricky as you place an activation marker in the hex you wish to move to and then move whatever units you wish to that spot on the board. It should be further noted that units can never move off of a spot with an activation marker of your faction, so choose your armies wisely, as they will not be available to you until the next season of Spring. The Supremacy bonus for this order is that you can immediately do another move, as long as your first move did not result in combat.

Order#3: Conquer - This order is identical to Mobilize in every way except for its Supremacy. If you qualify for Supremacy with this order, you get a bonus to your attack if the area you are attacking contains a stronghold.

Order#4: Harvest – Normally when you take over and control areas on the board, they will have resources that you can use. However, until you process a Harvest order, you cannot access them. When you process this order, you count up the resources on each of the hexes you control (either having your units in the hex or a stronghold) and then adjust your dials up or down as needed. Astute players will realize at this point that it is quite possible to get the advantages of resources you no longer have as long as you do not undergo a harvest. If you qualify for Supremacy, you get to do a couple of things. First, if you have a Stronghold and you have built an improvement to it, then you can take advantage of the bonuses those improvements give you – resources, Tactics cards, or Influence tokens. Secondly, you have the option of expending one of your wood resources (by moving the dial down one) to build an improvement to one of your Strongholds.

Order#5: Recruit – When you Recruit, you get to pick one of your resources and immediately get all the units available to you on that dial. These units must be placed on hexes that contain your Strongholds. The limit of eight still applies to recruitment, but the player has the option to destroy which ever units they like, whether they were created by this order or otherwise. If you get your Supremacy bonus, you can choose another resource dial and get all the units from that one as well. It is important to remember that you do not lose any resources to process a Recruit order. You only lose resources when you are specifically told to do so by the action undertaken or the order that you resolve.

Order#6: Rally Support – This order will only benefit the player if they have taken over a neutral area that contains a city. If you control a neutral city, look at the cardboard token and choose one of the rewards available to you. This could be Influence tokens, Tactics cards, Neutral Units, or Quest cards. If you qualify for Supremacy, you can spend up to three Influence tokens to draw that number of heroes and then choose one to join you. Shuffle the other heroes back into the deck and then place your new hero at one of your Strongholds.

Order#7: Acquire Power – When you use this order, you immediately gain Influence tokens equal to what is available to you on all of your resource dials. If you qualify for Supremacy, you can now claim one of the three “Titles” in the game if you have the Influence to afford it. If you are the first person to claim the title, it will be very cheap, however, the amount you spend on claiming it will then be the amount someone else will need to spend, plus one, to claim the title from you. Thus, the more you spend on the title, the tougher it will be to take from you.

Order#8: Fortify – The Fortify order has three things you can do. You can do some, all, or none of them in any order you choose. You can build a new Stronghold if you have one available (you can also build one if you don’t have on available, but you have to destroy one to do so) as long as you can spend one Wood and one Ore resource. You can place your new Stronghold in any location you control. Next, you can repair a damaged Stronghold by spending one Wood resource. Finally, you can pick up the Dragon Runes you control in any two areas, look at them, then place them face down in the two chosen areas. Obviously, you do this to try and confuse your opponents as to where your true Dragon Runes are hidden. There is no Supremacy for this order as it will always be the highest numbered order you play whenever you choose to play it.

Still with me? Awesome. I can’t believe I am still typing this out.

So how do the combats work you might be asking me – surprisingly simple actually, but it will take a little time to get used to them. Afterwards you will fly through them however.

First things first, if you are entering an area that has only neutral forces defending, you have the option of trying to use diplomacy to resolve the conflict. To use diplomacy, simply spend one Influence for every Fate card that you want to draw to attempt to win the defenders over. Every single fate card has a symbol on the top of it, these being a Star (good result), a Shield (an average result), and, for lack of a better description, a downward point Red Arrow with spikes (bad result). I am sure there is an actual name for what the red arrow thingy is but I don’t know off hand and I didn’t feel like looking it up. Anyway, choose one Fate card that you drew and use the symbol on it. If you get a good result, the neutral units join your forces. An average result ends up with the neutral armies retreating to an adjacent hex, and a bad result leads to either combat with the forces, or you choosing to have your units retreat.

So either diplomacy failed or you want to, or have to fight it out. First, place a battle marker in the hex where the combat is occurring so you can remember where to place the survivors. Next, each side collects their units and places them on their faction sheet as denoted on the sheet itself. This will tell you what initiative your units will act on. For example, Archers are normally on round number one, meaning they go first, while Footmen will have to wait for round number four. There are five possible rounds to combat, but it is unlikely that you will have units for each of the rounds, even in the largest of combats.

Before starting the first round of combat, resolve any pre-Battle Abilities or Tactics cards that you might have available to you. It should be noted that the ability you wish to use must be prefaced with the comment that it be use at the “start of battle”.

Starting with round one, count the number of units each side has available to them. First the attacker draws one Fate card per unit, then the defender does the same. Depending on the type of unit (each unit is either a Triangle, a Rectangle, a Circle, or a Hexagon) look at the spot on the Fate card to determine what effect a unit will have on their opponent. You get to choose which card is used for what unit, so you will sometimes be faced with different options as to what will happen. The results of the cards will either be a miss, an amount of damage done, a number of units routed (no damage done but the unit cannot act in combat going forward), or a Special Ability result. Every unit in the game has a special ability, such as Elven Archers doing more damage or Undead necromancers being able to raise units from the dead. Do this process for each and every round of combat in which you have units able to act.

Once the final round of combat is over, you now count up the Battle Strength of each side. You get one point for each unit still remaining, and the defender gets to add the value of their Stronghold if they happen to have one in the combat. Whoever has the highest Battle Strength is the winner of the combat, with ties going to the defender. The loser must retreat from the hex to either a friendly hex first, or an empty one if no friendly hexes are available. If the loser cannot retreat, their forces are destroyed. Next, if the attacker has taken over a hex with an enemy stronghold, he can either destroy it, or replace it with one of his own. Both players now remove any damage tokens that may be still on their units that survived the battle, and then replace them onto the board. Note – units that retreated remain “routed” meaning that they are placed on their side. They must wait for Spring before they can act again.

The final portion of the game that I must touch on is that of the role of heroes. In the Summer season, you can move your hero all about the board, trying to fulfill your quests, training up their abilities, and dueling opposing heroes as need be. They can also take the summer off and use it to heal up from damage they may have taken in their travels.

To heal and train is very simple. If you decide to heal, you simply remove all the damage that your hero has taken and then they wait for the next summer to act. If you wish to train, you can either raise one of your abilities by two, or you can raise two of your abilities by one. You have three separate abilities, basically Strength, Agility, and Intelligence. You need these particular abilities to complete quests.

To complete a quest, you need to get your hero to the spot on the map that is listed on your quest card. Once there, you can immediately turn over your Quest card and read it aloud to the other players. Normally, there will be some sort of test that your hero will need to overcome. This could be to solve some sort of puzzle, or move a boulder or slay a troll. The Quest card will tell you which one of your attributes will be tested. Simply draw Fate cards equal to the attribute listed and check the symbols on the tops of the cards. Sometimes you will have to get a “good” result (a star) but other times an average result (shield) will be just as good. If you succeed in your attempt, you will get to draw a card from the Reward deck. This will normally help the hero in some way, but if you are really lucky, you might get another Dragon Rune for your troubles.

Now onto dueling. If your hero is in a hex with another opposing hero, you can choose to duel them. You do not have to do so however. Dueling is much like normal combat. Each hero will have a symbol on their card letting you know which spot on the Fate card you look at to see what effect you will have on your opponent. There is one change however, as a Rout result does not result in your opponent being routed. Rather, it allows you to avoid damage equal to the number on the Rout. You will play through four rounds of combat unless one of the heroes ends up being defeated prior to that condition. If neither hero was defeated, they remain in the same area and can act normally next Summer season. Any damage on them remains however. Damage in duels is dealt simultaneously, so it is quite possible that both heroes could end up being defeated at the same time.

If your hero is defeated, remove their figure and card from the game, they cannot be recruited again. If they have any rewards on them (say a magic weapon or armor) it can be immediately claimed by a surviving hero in the same location. If no one is available to claim the rewards, place the cards off to the side of the board and then place a Defeated Hero Marker on that hex so a hero can travel there if they wish to collect the items.

So that’s how you play Runewars. Whew. As I said earlier, play will continue until one person controls six Dragon Runes. Whenever this happens, the player can immediately claim victory, they do not need to wait until the end of the turn. If no one manages to control six Dragon Runes by the end of the sixth year, total up the number of Dragon Runes per person. The winner is the person with the most runes. Regardless of how you come up with the winner, make sure you congratulate them in what was hopefully a hard won victory.

My Opinion

Well let’s just cut the chase here. This game is absolutely awesome in so many ways it is going to be hard for me to list them all here, but I am sure as hell going to try. I apologize if the following is going to sound like FFG Fanboy nonsense, but you are just going to have to deal with it.

Every single game is going to be different. And not in the way that everyone gets a different hand of cards each time you play Agricola way either. First, the board is made by you and your friends, so the actual playing field is going to always be changing each time you play. Next, there is the multiple possible paths to success. Do you want to try and brow beat your opponents into submission? Will you try and linger around the four or five Dragon Rune total and then move in for a swift victory via your objective card and a surprise attack on your so called ally? Will you hoard influence and wait for a fateful Winter season to secure the win?

Who would have thought combat without dice would still feel epic? When I heard that I would be drawing cards instead of rolling dice, I had my doubts, but they were quickly banished from my brain when I saw just how dang eloquent and smooth the process went. Plus, the units involved in the combat are dynamic and add immeasurable to the story of the combat. For example, you might have a giant siege engine waiting to crush your opponents, but you have to hope your scrubs can withstand the assault so it can get its chance. Your Necromancers might not do a lot of damage, but when their special ability allows them to raise more units to crush your enemies, you won’t care! Your Elven archers might get lucky and slaughter entire armies before they are even able to make a single attack. Pasted on theme lovers need not apply here, as the combat veritably drips blood and resounds in the chaos of battle.

The gameplay is deep, but the downtime is near non existent Combat lasts five rounds and it is over. You don’t have to roll a bucket of dice to resolve the action. The turn order is plainly written on the cards in front of everyone. You know when it will be your turn to act and can plan accordingly. Alright, I will agree that watching your opponent attempt a quest can be a little dull, but it is over pretty quickly, and then you can move onto your orders and the meat of the game. Seriously though, if you can limit the downtime until your next meaningful decision to a couple of minutes or less in a game like this, you really cannot complain.

This game is easily the simplest “big giant epic game” I have ever had to learn and teach to other gamers. If you are a veteran boardgamer, you will grasp this game within the first thirty minutes or so of playing it. You might not have all of the little minutia grasped and might have to refer back to the manual (an extremely well written manual by the way) for a clarification here and there, but the basic concepts (Order and Fate cards, flow of combat, hero actions) will be like second nature. One of the coolest things about this game is that it is actually beginner friendly. One of my friends who isn’t a big gamer played the very first game of this with me. He totally dug the entire game than proceeded to discuss strategy about the game for about a good half hour after it was over. He has since all but begged to play the game the next time I have a gaming session.

Finally, it is just a blast to play! Gather resources! Recruit armies full of fantastic creatures! Conquer the land and crush your enemies! Who doesn’t enjoy doing these things? Well ok, for some of you this just won’t be your kind of game, but for those of you who like this kind of stuff, you simply cannot find a better experience than this one.

Are there any detractions? Well I am a firm believer that no game is perfect. Maybe I am just a nit-picker or something, but I can usually find a fault with something. I already mentioned a couple of issues that I had with the components, but a common complaint I have heard is that the Hero portion of the game is a little lacking, and even feels a bit tied on. I think it is cool that my favorite Runebound heroes are present in the game, but they really don’t have too much to do. They are a mini game within the game that for the most part has little to do with who wins the game. You might have the strongest, mightiest hero on the board, but unless you have the Dragon Runes, it won’t matter one bit. Quite simply, you need to approach your heroes as cannon fodder, and try to get as many as you can without focusing on it, and have them scour the land trying to complete quests for the chance at getting another rune. If they die, oh well, you really haven’t lost anything, just try and get a replacement and keep on searching.

Another thing is that the awesomeness of this game is going to end up ruining it a little for me, at least until the inevitable expansion comes out. The four races in the game are very cool, and each have their quirks and abilities to make them fun to play, but eventually they will grow a little stale. It goes without saying that more options at this point, or even the ability to add a fifth or sixth player, will add a lot to this already excellent game. Realistically though, complaining that a game is too awesome and that I will play it so much that I will grow tired of it is a pretty silly issue to have.

My last minor complaint is the length of the game. It clocks in around 2 hours or so when everyone involved has played it a couple of times before. Now that is a good chunk of time, but I sometimes feel like it wrapped up too quickly, even if we went through all six “years” of the game. Once again, this is a pretty silly thing to worry about, and I am really splitting hairs with this one. I would say the problem is more with me and my expectations than with the game in general.

Well there you have it, and exceedingly long and exhaustive review. I appreciate any and all of you who read every word, and please let me know what you think. I hope I convince you to drop the cash for this one, because it is well worth it. I got it for $60 as a pre-order, but I would have happily paid the $100 knowing now just how good this game is. Look, I know spending the cash on a single game that could easily get you two, three, or four other games is a tough decision to make for some of you, but this one is worth it there and back again. For all of you that have been waiting for the perfect blend of fantasy warfare, questing heroes, resource management, and awesome production values, you finally have exactly what you were looking for. If you weren’t waiting for that game, just play Runewars once, and you will discover that you actually were, you just hadn’t realized it yet.
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Jennifer Schlickbernd
United States
Santa Clarita
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Thank you. I really liked your review. I've been on the fence about this, but your review makes it look like Runewars is the game I was expecting it to be.
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David Wiens
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Very nice review! I too am very excited about this one and have had it set up on a table in my basement for about a week now. My only question was with this:
UndeadViking wrote:


Summer – Summer is the time for adventure! This is the time (and the only time) that you can move your heroes around the board,


I don't think that's true. I believe that you can use your strategize order to move your heroes into adjacent friendly or empty areas during any season.
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Scott Lewis
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Dread Our Coming, Suffer Our Presence, Embrace Our Glory (Solonavi War Cry)
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Yes, Strategize lets you move them. But I think the OP's post is probably more accurate if it's qualified witha "the only time you can move your heroes around the board AND COMPLETE QUESTS".
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ŁṲÎS̈
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F*** it! Do it LIVE!
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Didn't know what to spend all this sweet GG on, so I bought the overtext.
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damnit, Lance. Great review.

I told myself I wasn't gonna dropp another C note on another big FFG game. Now I'm gonna go and read all the other reviews, and try to make up reasons why I'll hate it, and end up coughing up the cash anyway.


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Diz Hooper
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You make a really good case for this game. I was trying to resist buying this just because I'm not sure how often I would get to play this, but you're making it difficult for me to resist!
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A. B. West
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I agree - this was a great review! Makes me want to check the game out and give it a go.
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Alex Martinez
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Nice review. I was initially reluctant to pick this one up because I wasn't sure I needed another big game. But I agree with your assessment that it's a complex, fast-paced game of adventure and conquest. And unlike many big games, it's designed to keep things moving quickly. Kudos to the Fate Cards, which allow randomness and variety without slowing the game down for die rolls and chart consultation. The modular board is fantastic, and even the variable cities means you get a ton of variety.

Great game.
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Chris Leder
United States
Plainfield
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I agree 100% with this review. It sums up the thoughts that have been swirling in my head from my various plays.

And for the record, after each game, just as the OP says, my friends and I end up dissecting our strategies and looking for new routes to victory, building anticipation for the next outing.

Great, great game.

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Cory Gerleman
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Adel
Iowa
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Wow.... great review. I just got this as well, and have only set it up and staged a 2-player game to learn the rules. After some of the lukewarm reviews, I was shocked at how awesome it was! I agree with nearly all of your points, but I feel the heroes are integrated perfectly. This is a game about ARMIES and massive conflict between empires, not about a single dude running around killing entire platoons. I thought them tastfully done and that they add just enough spice to compliment the main flavor.

Again, great work on giving people who haven't picked it up a taste of the awesomeness that awaits them!
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Jeff Wells
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Centralia
Missouri
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Great review and I agree totally. I've only got to play one game so far, but I just can't quit thinking about what I want to try next time!
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Paul Leoncavallo
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Rockland
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I got to play this once last week, it's absolutely fantastic! Can't stop thinking about the next game, and I keep checking the couch cushions for extra change to get my own copy.
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Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Nice review! The game sounds awful, but its nice to get some detail to stop that big mini filled box from tempting me
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Jon Quinn
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Bradley
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Played our first game - 4 player - last week and agree with your "fan-boy" review completely.
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The Galaxy is Just Packed!
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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I love this review. And my wallet hates it. Damn wallet.
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Friend less
Germany
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Great review , and thx.

Makes the waiting here in Germany a little bit harder
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Erik Rodriguez
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Tomball
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I have to give you another thumbsup for the title of this review because it perfectly encompasses my feelings towards the game in a way I could never before put into words. I've had the game since its release and at first struggled to spend the money to purchase it, but after my first game I've never looked back.

Believe the hype, buy the game - you will not regret it.
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Todd
United States
Bridgewater
Massachusetts
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As always, excellent review. Makes me interested in a game I dismissed at first.
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Marc Mistiaen
Belgium
Brussels
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clockwirk wrote:
I don't think that's true. I believe that you can use your strategize order to move your heroes into adjacent friendly or empty areas during any season.

The review says as much under the part that describes the Strategize order.
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Barry Kendall
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Lebanon
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Great review, lad. If I didn't already have it (and love it), your endorsement would convince me,
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Scott Lewis
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Thornton
Colorado
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Barry Kendall wrote:
Great review, lad. If I didn't already have it (and love it), your endorsement would convince me,

Maybe we should buy it again, just for good measure?
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Lance
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Moorhead
Minnesota
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Corwin1980 wrote:
clockwirk wrote:
I don't think that's true. I believe that you can use your strategize order to move your heroes into adjacent friendly or empty areas during any season.

The review says as much under the part that describes the Strategize order.


That's true, but I can see where the confusion might be. I could have explained it a little better. I appreciate them for pointing it out to me.

Also, thanks to you all for your great comments! You make me want to write reviews even more.
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Neil Sorenson
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Springfield
VT: VERMONT
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The heroes and their questing antics are *just* the right amount of diversion without spawning a whole, distracting mini-game that detracts from the BIG WAR at hand.

If I had any criticism about the game it would lay in the diplomacy - that a mighty dragon is equally likely to join your posse as a down-on-his-luck beastman.
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Scott Lewis
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kakupacal wrote:
If I had any criticism about the game it would lay in the diplomacy - that a mighty dragon is equally likely to join your posse as a down-on-his-luck beastman.

Well, really, it's more like "a down-on-his-luck beastman is just as unlikely to join your posse as a mighty dragon", as diplomacy is rather costly

But in the games I've played thus far, while it is hard to get them, and they often get wiped out, I've actually liked it more than I thought I would anyway, more because the neutrals are fairly powerful and SHOULD be hard to get!
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Alex Martinez
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Irving
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I too think that people are looking at diplomacy from the wrong angle. It's not that dragons / giants are cheap. It's that beastmen / razorwings are expensive. Spending valuable influence to gain a dragon is probably worth it. Spending it to recruit a couple of beastmen usually isn't. But I think that's intentional and makes perfect sense.

All the variants I've seen on other threads to "fix" this problem only seem to weaken influence's value for diplomacy, making the diplomacy action generally worthless. The way it's designed now seems to strike a good balance.

It's true that diplomacy at the right time can give you a big boost to your forces. But that's part of the strategy of the game. If there's a big camp of neutral forces on the map (usually because of retreats) then you have to decide if you want to spend the time and influence to try and recruit them. It usually is. And it gives players another objective to consider.
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