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Subject: Too much hype - NOT enough fun rss

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Sean Shaw
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Yes, this may well be a negative review, at least compared to the other reviews of people so caught up in the hype that they gush with praise. Maybe it's as good a game for them as they say, or maybe they are so caught up in their own excitement that they can't take a step back and see some of the ridiculous things that involved with this game.

Now, the game is actually rather decent, but it's not the GREATEST game of all time by ANY SHOT. In fact, other games like it such as the original Battlemist (with a better combat system, but worse overall game), Quest for the Dragonlords (which integrates the hero and wars aspect MUCH better in my opinion), or even Warcraft the Boardgame (which had heroes in it if you include the expansion, and mind you this is NOT the World of Warcraft boardgame, it's the Warcraft Boardgame)which is actually better than Runewars for recreating that RTS warcraft feel, are all better then Runewars in some areas. I'd say Runewars is actually about even with them all in what it should be looked upon overall, though I'd probably rate it higher then Battlemist...but actually LOWER then quest for the Dragonlords.

I expect that all the people caught up in hype are going to rally against the review, and if they could give thumbs down would shoot me far into the negative thumbs (good thing for me they removed it from the Geek...eh?).

Now, some background. I am NOT a typical Eurogaming BGG gamer from what I can tell. I am probably more akin to the people who hang out at Fortress Ameritrash, and much more akin to the general gaming public. I love the game of Risk, am an avid A&A player, and actually enjoy Monopoly. My wife loves Eurogames however, and is probably typical of BGG Eurogamers on this site. In addition, I have relatives in Germany who ironically seem to prefer the "Ameritrash" and general store board games (like monopoly, or for them they also like Settlers and ironically just about any game I bring to them by Bruno Faidutti, but dislike games such as found in the top 10 like PR, Power Grid, Agricola, etc.

I was critical of card combat and the FFG term of "innovative new" gaming ideas, which the card combat in Runewars IS NOT, as I will extrapolate below. In fact, at this point, the best Card Combat FFG has actually come out with is the stuff in MEQ. It's probably the most "innovative" if anything.

Anyways, enough of my initial, onto the actual review.

In summary of it's mini review scores and final

Components - 7
Rules Presentation - 7
Gameplay - 6
Personal Tilt - 5
Replayability - 8
Useability - 4

Final Score - 6.1




Components - Someone asked previously if this game was actually worth $115, or even retail price. I would say for someone like me, that would be a yes. However, it is apparant to me that FFG was cutting corners on this one, however they've been trying to cut costs overall for the past two years, so them saving money on this is no big surprise.

I would say, if FFG want's to gamble (and perhaps it's due to playing it safe that they have stayed in business, so one good reason not to heed me on this) they should go with BIGGER print runs. If they are confident with what they are making that it's actually going to be a good game, then make a huge print run and let the game sell itself.

Of course, when you aren't working off a big name to push your game, such as what Corey has worked on recently, and hence contributed to his sales simply because it was feeding off a big name brand such as Star Craft or Battle star Galactica, I guess you would be wise to play it safer and assume people aren't going to simply buy your game due to name associations...at least in the numbers that people will gobble up any and everything associated to BSG at the height of it's popularity amongst Sci Fi (or is that SyFy) geeks.

Now, I hesitate to bring it up, because this is more a game issue, but it is also directly related to the components, but the fate cards are cheap. They are a cost cutting device. Basically they are Descent dice on cards. There is NO reason really to have them on cards. That entire..."we need to put it on cards because otherwise we would have tables and this saves time" is a bunch of BS. I can't believe people are actually buying that. WAKE UP people and THINK for yourselves.

These items could easily be put onto a D10 or D20 with similar results. They tweaked it slightly, (in my opinion so they could say they couldn't do it with dice...but it's pretty dang close overall if you transfer it to a D20 instead of a D10 like my example below) For example, for triangle units, roughly..

Hit = 1-3
Rout = 4
Miss = 5-8
Special = 9-10

For rectangle units

Hitx2 = 1
Hit = 2-3
Rout = 4
Routx2 = 5
Special = 9-10

For Circle Units

Hit = 1
Rout = 2
Miss = 3-6
Special = 7-10

For Hexagon units

Hitx3 = 1
Hitx2 = 2
Hit = 3
Routx2 = 4-5
Rout = 6-7
Miss = 8
Special = 9-10

With the Quests and Diplomacy resolution all it would need would be one of the small symbols on the bottom of the dice, ala descent. Or you could use a D20 as follows

1-12 = Fail
13-18 = Medium symbol/Neutral retreat
19-20 = Success (Critical!)

Or for an easier breakdown

1-6 = Fail
7-9 = Neutral Retreat/Middle ground
10 = Success

Overall, though they have slightly odd numbers here and there for variety which tweaks it a little., the fate cards work on a 10 unit system mulitplied by 3.

Seriously.

That took me all of 5 minutes to figure out...and if they wanted special dice that showed the symbols on the sides, it would have been REALLY easy to do that. Just like descent. It's not rocket science, and it's not a table integrated system....it's a simple stat like what you use dice with.

Dice, in my opinion, are easier to roll quickly, simpler to see by everyone, and have less wear and tear than cards. There's a reason they've been around at least since the Romans (who had 20 sided die...or...err. knucklebones...did you know that), because the general simpletons like me can actually figure these things out (so yeah, next time you are bragging about innovative systems...how about make it innovative so that dullards like me can't see where you are coming from five minutes after use) rapidly and grasp the game dynamics.

So one might ask, why use cards if it's that quick and easy to have it transferred to dice instead.


#1 - Cut Costs.

That's right. For special dice with symbols, you have to make the molds, and then cast it as well as paying for plastic. For good dice your going to need some heavier duty plastic as well which is probably going to cost MORE than the plastic troops that actually come with the game. Basic thing about cards and dice...cards are paper and paper cost less then dice. You still have to pay for the basic design (like the dice molds as well), but after that, it's far cheaper to get ink and paper than to buy plastic, and then the heating and molding portion of it. I imagine that FFG said we have to cut costs on these things, how are we going to do that. The idea...hey...let's be "innovative" (there's that word again) and use something cheaper...maybe even use the same dynamics as dice, but we'll use paper instead!

I'll tell you this...it sure does cut costs...but I'm not impressed. If you are going to use the same dynamics as dice anyways, I'd rather be using dice any day of the week. Don't play me for a chump...and lie to me about why you had to blah blah blah make use of cards due to some BS table which apparantly doesn't need to be in existence anyways (as I said, these "Fate" cards look more to be on the dice statistics then a CRT table), just give it too me straight.

#2 - The added blessing, giving it a twist

I suppose they then had to try to figure out how to sell it to the rest of us...and for some of us, their wording was perfect. For those who don't play wargames, or aren't as much into AT games, the card ideas stick with them and they think it's awesome. They think it IS innovative...and they are WOWED by this idea of using cards. Many aren't used to the statistical spread of dice enough to even really catch on. IT's not that they are dullards like me or worse, in fact many are genius's, they just don't play these games enough to actually catch on that they've been had. That someone isn't being completely forthwith, or that the idea of the matter is in the advertising. Instead of saying, we have to cut costs...the term...innovative card mechanics, appeals to them...and at that point...anything that is different is going to win them over.

At the same time you have those that dislike rolling dice anyways. Many still see it as "too much luck", nevermind that this card idea is VERY similar, except that it warps the game to a certain amount (if you count cards, I feel it actually HURTS the game play...which is one reason to try to keep everything BUT the end result a secret on the draws) to the dice distribution anyways. The random factor is almost the same, but because it has cards, they feel as if it's different.

So, it wins those people over.

Anyways, enough on the cards already...I know some of you are saying it, and I can understand. I just thought it was pertinent someone at least point it out since everyone seems to have been so caught up in the hype that not that many have even noticed this...much less pointed it out. I'm certain that some brave soul can stand up for us AT gamers however and maybe make a variant using dice (it isn't that hard if you couldn't tell from what I did in 5 minutes...literally) instead of the cards and maybe preserve the fate cards from wear and tear.

That's not the only sign that FFG cut corners. These plastic figures are SMALL...and I mean SMALL. I was expecting something akin to the Twilight Imperium type figures, or Starcraft...but no...these are FAR smaller than those. They do their job...but I really can't get over just how small the pieces are. There is another game that I recently had which had a really small piece, called SuperPowers, an A&A sort of game almost. It had teeny tanks (even smaller then the pieces in Runewars if you can believe that!). I couldn't stand it, I actually got tanks to replace the ones that came in that game. Runewars does NOT bother me that much, even with the small pieces. If it were cheaper it would bother me less. However, there are games with peices this size (hence the superpowers comparison) or smaller, even if they aren't quite as expensive.

There are a LOT of pieces however, and a LOT of different pieces, and that smooths it over quite a bit. However, that's another way to cut costs...if you are trying to cut costs, another way is to diminish the amount of materials you are using. If you half the amount of plastic you need, by default the costs to produce the game will fall.

Finally, whose idea was it to put in 3d Mountains. This is one that is NOT cost cutting, but they may want to rethink just how they are doing this. I think I'd prefer them to NOT include these rather than what I got. The plastic mountains are pretty, but the plastic which they are made of is NOT durable. It's NOT the like the Game of Life pieces that came with that game by that big name company...nope, these are shoddy pieces of plastic. To give you more of what I mean, I can go down to the local grocery store, and buy the CHEAP 100 count plastic cups for $1.39 and get MORE of the same type of plastic of the same durability.

Heck, if I upgrade to the $2.50 plastic cups with 50 counts I'll have plastic that's MORE durable.

I can do without mountains like that. If you are going to include something like this in the future (take something perhaps based on a WH40K type game in the future with a citadel in it) than PLEASE have something MORE durable than these POS. Quite literally, don't have your hand slap the board the wrong way...or these "mountains" are going to be crushed like a straw house.

Now that pretty much sums up the negatives on the components...lengthy as it may be...the rest is actually quite positive. Now just because I'm a little briefer on my comments, it's because I feel much of it is self explanatory, OR that others have already gone into detail into the game itself.

There is a TON of cardboard in this game, and it's all GOOD cardboard. That means it's thick, doesn't appear to be shredding or separating, and have a great feel in hand.

The cards are laminated and nicely finished. In addition the artwork is great, and there is TONS of it.

There are a lot of plastic figures, and the heroes ARE the sizes I'd expect, being the bigger pieces that I was thinking would compose the rest of the game.

This game does have an epic feel to it, equal to an epic box. When you put it on your table with four players, unless you have an unusually large table, you will be hardpressed for room, much like another game people compare this game too, which is Twilight Imperium. Furthermore, though they are cutting costs, and I think it's apparant, I still think for the right people (like me) it is worth the money (and yes, I am saying this, despite the negative items I brought up above).

To calculate this, let's take a similar game from FFG, or Runebound. In Runebound you'll get a bunch of heroes, some cardboard, and a board, along with a few dice all for retail of around $40.00 in cost. This game literally has two just as many heroes, two times as many cards, two to three times as much cardboard, so you could say that's $80.00 worth right there. Add in that you have additional plastic, for a ton more monsters and individual units for each player, and player boards and that easily makes up the other $20.00 to equal that $99.00 retail.

So, it may not have all the larger plastic like Twilight Imperium, or even as much as another large FFG game called Descent, but when compared to other games by FFG and their costs (such as how I already pointed out Runebound, another could be Ad Astra, then there's Warrior Knights, and let's not forget Middle Earth Quest) it actually IS worth the money. If you are willing to shell out for those games which are less expensive, but have fewer components on scale with Rune Wars, then you shouldn't have a problem with Runewars itself. Now if you find yourself hesitating over those, then, you may have some hesitation, otherwise, you should probably stop worrying as much about the components (despite the fact that I just spent over half the review whining about them) and consider more on the actual gameplay and whether it is YOUR type of game or not.

Overall, I don't find the components overwhelming, but they aren't disappointing either (believe it or not, I might think that FFG is trying to cut costs, but I don't feel cheated either...maybe LIED too...but not really cheated...they presented what they were doing with the components far before the game was released...for those that looked into it at least).

It rates a little above average at a 7.




Rules Presentation - FFG has had it's fair share of people griping over their rules, and occasionally it's deserved. I don't feel it's deserved in this game. Now to be fair, I saw the rules and put off reading them for a while. I finally convinced someone else to read them (it was more with how thick the book looks to tell the truth) and teach the game, but then afterwards wondering if that really was all there was too it...had to go back and read it for myself (plus, how am I too review the rules presentation if I don't actually read them? Sure I've done it before...BUUUUT...better if I read over them anyways).

If you just sit yourself down and take the time to read them, they are actually quite well written. They begin with the basics and overviews, and get more in depth from there. They are nicely illustrated and are rampant with examples which are very useful. In fact the game itself, which functions on some simple dynamics, is fully fleshed out and explained in detail. Just about every question can be answered in the rules if you are willing to look, read, and use logic.

It has an index as well, which I've used from time to time, though occasionally it doesn't include the heading we want to look up.

Overall, it's a nicely put together set of rules, and rates slightly above average as well.

It rates a 7.




Gameplay - This is the part that should interest people the most I suppose, however I'm not going to go into as great a detail as some reviews previous to mine. I'll give the overview of the gameplay, and some thoughts, but I'm not going to recreate the rules, there are other reviews already that go into adequete depth, and I'm feeling lazy.

When you first start the game, it can feel disjointed, as it combines an army/strategic war game feel with that of a small rp boardgame type feel with heroes. As you get further in the game, they begin to mesh, as you see the real way to win is through runes, and in that, the goals of your heroes are combined with your armies. It's actually quite a nice idea, though I think Warcraft the Boardgame as well as Quest for the Dragonlords actually mesh this idea together better. Even though they mesh the combination of heros, questing, and armies better, I actually find I enjoy the game MORE with Runewars, as I find the sources of income, empire building, and unit cohesion stronger in Runewars. I also find heros are MORE defined overall in Runewars than in any of the other games.

Now I've only played the epic version with the exploration tokens option being used. In that sense I haven't really played the base game, and after playing the epic version, I think I'd like to stick with that, unless I actually find I'm short on time. The epic version actually may not be as epic as you think though, as we've had games end in turn 3! (yes that quick, it was one of our first games, and so forgive me if it's been a few games ago...I think the undead player managed to find a few crystals to change to runes at his strongholds, got one from an objective card and maybe one from a tactics card? In addition, the season card where someone had to place crystals out came up which gave him the win. Ironically during that game, he was also the one with the LEAST amount of territory, and only barely was able to grasp the fourth and last one to be lucky enough to have one open for that last crystal anyways...but enough of that). On the otherhand, an epic game CAN last up to 4-6 hours depending on who you're playing with and how fast they play.

Gameplay is split into rounds, where you get four decisions each round. For your decisions you get 8 choices.

You can do a strategic move, which is basically move your forces and heroes to adjacent spaces. As a secondary ability (you gain secondary abilities if you haven't used a choice yet which is higher numbered, for example, strategic move is #1, and hence unless you play it first, it won't grant it's special ability, I'll be listing the choices in order 1-8) you gain tactic cards which give you a number of options, normally for combat.

You can do a Mobility move, which means you can activate an area (activation means that units there cannot move again after this phase, unless they are forced to...aka...needing to retreat after a battle) and move troops into it. A Secondary ability is a second mobility move. They can move up to two spaces (three for some special units).

You can do a conquest move, which is like the mobility move. Conquest's secondary ability is giving you a +3 vs. strongholds in battle.

Both mobility and conquest can also end in diplomacy, where if you are in a hex with neutral units, instead of going to battle you can try to win them over to your side. You spend what they call influence tokens and in return for each you spend you get one card draw (or toss of the die if they were using those) and decide which one you want. Success and the neutrals join you, failure and they attack, or if you get another in between, they simply run away (and they do a LOT of that).

For battle, you have units on your faction board numbered 1+, you go in order of the numbers the lower numbers attacking first concurrently with your enemy, and then move up the numbers (known as initiative order). If you are battling an enemy, the player to your left uses their board for the monsters initiative.

The next choices you can do is harvesting. You recruit units via the action, gain influence tokens, or tactics cards (as secondary ability as shown above under strategic move) as per what is shown on your resource dials. What harvest does is reset these dials. Each territory has a certain amount of resources that it is worth and is listed on the tile itself. As you gain these, your resources do not automatically go up, instead you have to use the harvest choice to get them to reset up to their new values. It's secondary ability is to let you build developments which let you either get one more resource from a territory of the same type it already produces, have where it produces two influence for you, use it as a training ground to draw a tacitcs card when you use harvest, OR as a special defensive bonus unique to whatever faction you are using.

You can use a recuirt order, which is how you recruit new units. You choose one of your resource dials, which shows how many of a type of unit you may get, and recruit those units. It's secondary ability allows you to use a second resource dial to recruit more units.

You can choose Rally support, which means if you control a city (and these are actually quite limited in the game) you can gain ONE of the benefits of the city. Cities can provide extra neutral units (neutral units join your army, I've seen this devastingly used to recruit dragons and Giants...which stinks for your enemies, and is great for you...unfortunately normally I'm not the one recruiting the dragons or giants) that ally with you, give you tactics cards, give you influence tokens, or give you new Quest cards. It's secondary ability lets you spend three influence and draw three heroes. From those three you get to choose one to keep, and hence you get a new hero.

You can choose to acquire power, which is to gain influence tokens as per shown on your resource dials. It's second ability is to claim a title card, of which there are three in the game. Using this you can place influence on a title card and gain it's special ability. If someone else uses this choice later in the game they can take the card from you IF they are willing to spend MORE influence then you have placed on the card.

Finally you can choose to Fortify, which basiclaly means that you can build a strong hold, repair a stronghold, or move a rune token. You can only do each one of those once per order.

Those are your 8 choices of orders that you can choose from, and you can only choose 4 of them per turn/year.

In addition, during the summer months your heroes can go questing. YOu have quest cards, and on them you fulfill them to get rewards which can be equipment, to actual crystals which can be redeemed for Dragon Runes at your Strongholds. On the questing season heroes move two spaces towards their goal, and then can either go on the quest, heal themselves up, or fight another hero in the same space and try to steal their stuff. I find this is vital for the game, and I typically try to center around getting my heroes to fulfill quests and getting as many heroes as I can. I also seem to favor the humans as well, and I think they are more of a defensive army, while using heroes more in their strategy.

That, in a nutshell is the game. It's nothing that I'd shout home about, but not bad either. They take the idea that IS been more recent of a choice of order per turn (much like Race for the Galaxy, or San Juan, but instead of having it for everyone, it's tailored ONLY to the individual that choose that order card) that's been found in recent games based off of Puerto Rico and Twilight Imperium, while at the same time retailoring ideas found from Battlemist (the entire army/hero thing), and integrate it with more ideas with their resource gathering and diplomacy options.

One MAJOR Downfall of the game is how you put tiles together. It's actually quite similar to the older games that this is based off of, such as in Thunder's Edge where you have to have so many tiles meet the edges of other tiles. The problem is that you are required to have so many spaces between starting points, but much of the time after people set the board up, that requirement isn't met, which means you have to scrap the entire board in order to build it again in hopes that this time someone isn't going to screw it up and force you to tear it down again to reubild it.

Overall, it works well as a game. As I said it can feel disjointed between the heroes and army portions, and some of the shuffling and reshuffling of the fate deck can get annoying near the end of the game (it seems at the beginning the fate deck isn't really shuffled that much, but the last two turns of the game it's shuffled almost every other season, sometimes more, there's a lot of conflict late in the game).

Overall, I'd rate it an average of a 6.




Personal Tilt - I REALLY looked forward to this game, truthfully. I actually preordered it, and have more than one copy (one for gaming groups and travel, which I rebundled into a Dominion box, then decided into a slightly larger box for the sake of ONE tile that wouldn't fit into the dominion box due to length [there was still room in the Dominion Box] the other for at home usage) which I have bought. The problem with hype is that sometimes you have higher expectations than what is offered. People still seem to think this is equal to Twilight Imperium 3e...but to me, it's not even close.

This game has multiple ways to victory, but overall it's basically about gaining territory to control dragon runes, and questing to get...dragon runes. It has some similarities, but I think it's more straightforward of a wargame than anything else.

Twilight Imperium has the entire diplomacy thing going for it, with Senate systems of meeting and deciding laws (ala warrior knights) and decrees, it also has more units and technology as well as established trade. Overall I find the options are more bountiful for a more varied game in twilight Imperium. I point out Twilight Imperium since many people seem to point out the comparisons...and overall I think it falls flat on it's face in comparison.

Of course, another game from FFG that I think has more similarities is War of the Ring. Both of them are a fantasy setting, but in addition, they have different orders that you go with, and are more centered on the actual warfare rather than items like trade and diplomacy/politics.

In addition, though more centered, both have heroes, which on the Fellowship side also have a quest (though it is a set quest that is the same every day) AND heroes can be integrated into battles to directly affect the outcome of battles. Seeing I rate War of the Ring a 10 (and my only 10 at that) it probably should come as NO surprise that Runewars is NO competition for it. ON the other hand, I think it's easier to get people to play Runewars.

Interestingly enough, Runewars has an interesting beginning for me, but near the middle I start actually getting really bored. In fact at that point the only things that really keep my interest are the Questing by heroes and the actual battles. Other than that I find I'm actually losing my attention span to the game as people try to build, get tokens and cards, and other actions. Maybe it's just me, but I actually find that something about it loses my interest about the 2 hour mark. I haven't quite figured out why that is yet.

Overall, I can't say Runewars is a bad game, but it's not something that I'm crazy about either. In some ways I wish it had lived up to the hype in my mind, and maybe it's that disappointment fueling my personal tilt. I'd say it's just an average game, that is probably around an average game, which I could take or leave.

I rate it a 5 on my personal scale.




Replayability - Now here's where it gets debatable. I've played this runewar game several times, and seen many enjoy it continually. With a variable game board, multiple paths to victory (you can go with a lot of heroes, a war party ravaging everyone else, trying to fulfill objectives, completely using intrigue tokens to gain bonus runes, etc.) it has a lot of replayability. However it is rather shortened a little bit due to the limited number of heroes, the limited number of quests, and how it seems to me that each game seems to now seem like the last one we played, just with a different person winning or losing (maybe I've overplayed it in such a short time? I have played other games since it came out though such as Rise of Empires and Conflict of Heroes...but who knows).

Overall I think it rates high on the replayability scale, maybe not perfect, but much higher than average.

It rates an 8.




Useability - This can be problematic. It's a simple game at it's core, but there seems to be a LOT going on each round. For many this is going to overwhelm them, even more then some wargames I know. I think I'd rather try to teach someone Conflict of Heroes (a very simple wargame) rather than try to teach them Runewars. On the otherhand for a group that is used to games with a lot going on, it can be a good game to get them to try out, and with multiple players from 2-4, it is a good way to spend a game night if you have the time. I assume due to the epic game length, that the normal game probably only lasts from 2-3 hours, maybe 4 for REALLY slow players, and hence probably is an easier fit. Still, that's all of one game night for many, and so it would depend on how variable your group is in what they want to play to determine if this can be used by you or not.

It's probably not an easy game to get the family to play unless everyone is a teen or older, and some of the ideas may jar with some people. I'll say once again, like many of the other factors of this game, that the replayability is about average, meaning that it's not greater than any of the other games, but it's not better either. Actually, with some of how it flows I'd say it might actually have a lower useability than most games, as you may need some pretty devoted gamers to actually play this. That's not a bad thing, as I imagine many on BGG reading this are devoted gamers and play with groups of devoted gamers, but if you aren't or don't...then this could be a serious problem to getting this game used...and you may want to consider that before buying.

It rates a 4.


Final

So overall, it has it's high points and low points. It's components are quite good, despite my voicing that it feels as if FFG is cutting corners, I like the rules presentation, and the replayability is high. It's lows are that it can be more for a specific type of gamer and audience and hence dependant on who you game with may be harder to get to the table, as well as something about it just doesn't seem to click with my personal taste. It is about average overall with it's gameplay and as a game. This isn't a bad thing at all, in fact it means that it's a very worthwhile game, just NOT the game that I think hype has made it seem.

AKA...I don't think it's fun enough to equal the hype, I think hype has made many think it's much more than it is. I think it's a fine game for what it tries to be, but it's no Twilight Imperium. That said, I guess this isn't AS negative a review as I made it out to seem, but compared to those who are now probably going to jump down my throat, even though I think the game is fine, and is about average...since I didn't praise the heavens and stars about it's name, and pointed out what I saw as some flaws and failings...there are as always, it's defenders.

That's fine though, as they can counter my low points with their own points to give readers of the review BOTH viewpoints hopefully, so if you disagree, go ahead and state your opinion as that's one of the great things about different types of people.

As I stated near the beginning, I don't think I'm anywhere close to the typical hardcore BGG Eurogamer (though I do play a lot of Eurogames, one of the primary people I play with is my wife, and she is hardcore into Eurogames if that says anything about what I get to play) and so other opinions from those who enjoy the game more, or are Eurogamers, or even those who take a different slant on AT games, it could be good to have an active discussion on the failings, or why you don't see them as failings, of this game.

However, my final overall score is probably, as I said, an average score meaning...

It's final score is a 6.1

Edited sections so it's easier to skip over long rants and move onto the next section if one get's bored (or wants more dice in the review)
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David desJardins
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This review is way too long for the amount of fun in it. I guess it's rather decent, but not the GREATEST review of all time by ANY SHOT.

The review has an interesting beginning for me, but near the middle I start actually getting really bored.
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Gunther Schmidl
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That means you missed the juggling near the end.
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Paul DeStefano
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It's a Zendrum. www.zendrum.com
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Define "hype".

This had some reviews here and such, but it really isn't much more than any other new game.
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Chris J Davis
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I think what this review needed was dice.
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Chad Kwok
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If only more reviews were like this. Quite a bit of ranting but it was brutally honest and had a lot of passion behind it, which I respect.
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Eric Kuha
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I can tell we are going to be mortal enemies.
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Haha, you guys. Seriously, though, I actually like the card combat system for the following reason: card counting. The discard pile is public knowledge. You can weight your decision to attack or perform some diplomacy using this information. I'd like to see a sack of dice attempt to have shifting statistics like that.

I'd like to add that I read up to and just past your rant on the cards and then I couldn't bring myself to go any further. I think you should tighten up your prose just a bit in the future.

However, I am pleased to see a dissenting opinion on this game. I like it. But I don't think its combat is quite as good as, say Starcraft, where each player has their own fun combat deck.

(Edit: added a bunch of stuff)
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Tiago Nunes
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toastar784 wrote:
1/3 of the review about the lack of Dice? I guess I should have stopped reading at, 'I like monopoly'.



Damn I skipped that part which actually made me read about 1/3 of it, when I actually got bored of all the pissing.

I don't really think this game is more hyped than any of the other new games coming out and at least it's a lot better than many of them.

I like to roll dice as much as the next guy, but these cards really make things simpler.

YancyS wrote:
I like it. But I don't think its combat is quite as good as, say Starcraft, where each player has their own fun combat deck.


The one true mystery of life to me: people who like Starcraft's combat at all.
 
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Rich S
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I always appreciate negative, or in this case semi-negative reviews. It was honest and objective. Though I thought you did go on a bit too much about the reasons why FFG didn't use dice. Still, it's a good analysis that brings the good and the bad to the forefront. Don't let the fan boys shy you away.

And yes, this game was hyped. Not by FFG but by the BGG community as a whole. Its already got, what, 20 reviews and it's still a young game.
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Michael B. Hansen
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"duck duck duck duck duck duck duck duck duck duck duck duck duck duck duck duck" Ralph Wiggum .....
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I liked the review.

I got a good feel of the reviewers general likes and dislikes, and i think it all comes together well when applied to this particular game.

I got a lot of valuable information here.

Thanks OP



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Pelein de Cratia
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David desJardins
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phosrik wrote:
And yes, this game was hyped. Not by FFG but by the BGG community as a whole.


Well, you're conflating two different meanings of the word "hype". It can mean publicity by the maker of a product, aimed at spurring sales, implying that the motivations are somewhat disingenuous (someone who makes a product is not an unbiased source of information on that product). Or it can simply mean praise of any sort, for something that people like. Lots of people like chocolate, so you could describe chocolate as "hyped". But all the "hype" tells you is that a lot of people like chocolate. What's wrong with that?
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Ian Peters-Campbell
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I'm always interested in negative reviews, and from all the information I've gathered I am pretty sure I wouldn't much enjoy this game (though it's awfully tempting on the shelf). I think a lot of the content of your review is probably very helpful for potential buyers.

That said, I generally have a negative reaction to people telling others why their opinions or feelings on a game are invalid. It probably wasn't your intent, but parts of the review really came off, to my reading, as discounting the opinions of the game's fans just because it's popular, and holding your own negative opinion up as being more valid because you weren't "on the bandwagon." It turned me off and kept me from reading all the way through.

I'd love to read more in-depth reviews like this, but my personal preference is for judgement and criticism of the game, rather than of other gamers.
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Diz Hooper
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A very useful review. Negative reviews are much needed here.
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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YancyS wrote:
I'd like to add that I read up to and just past your rant on the cards and then I couldn't bring myself to go any further. I think you should tighten up your prose just a bit in the future.


Agreed. I don't even know if I'll buy this game, but after reading the rant on cards, I saw how long the review was and couldn't bring myself to reading anymore.

IMHO, I hate dice+tables and much prefer custom dice or cards. In fact, in addition to card-counting, you can expand cards a lot easier than dice (and it just looks cooler).

-shnar
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Mike Beiter
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Very amusing review. I am still waiting for my copy to arrive in the mail so I can review it myself.

I have read so many reviews on this game and this one is one of my favorites. I like the positive spin mixed with complaints about the game.

I definitely feel that you were not trying to discourage people from buying it. Just to look at it with a more discriminate eye.

I had a similar complaint about small figures when I bought Chaos in the Old World. When I freed the figures from their bags I was afraid to breathe too hard on them for fear of breaking them.

So now I am prepared for the smaller sized figures when I open this box, and if they aren't as small as I am expecting, then I will be pleasantly surprised.

Better to have low expectations and be dazzled, than to be excited and then have the reality fall short of the "hype", as you put it.
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Dan Spezzano
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I don't care if someone likes a game or not. I don't even think it's a bad review.

My issue is with the reviewer taking multiple sentences in the beginning to point out that if someone has a different opinion then he does, they are of course caught up in the "hype", they don't actually enjoy the game.

This is what we like to call bait trolling on the forums I moderate..

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R Hart
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DaviddesJ wrote:
phosrik wrote:
And yes, this game was hyped. Not by FFG but by the BGG community as a whole.


Well, you're conflating two different meanings of the word "hype". It can mean publicity by the maker of a product, aimed at spurring sales, implying that the motivations are somewhat disingenuous (someone who makes a product is not an unbiased source of information on that product). Or it can simply mean praise of any sort, for something that people like. Lots of people like chocolate, so you could describe chocolate as "hyped". But all the "hype" tells you is that a lot of people like chocolate. What's wrong with that?


How about hyped like internet stocks in 1999 - people thinking they are great because of group think and not stopping to look at the underlying value or lack thereof.
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David desJardins
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don corazon wrote:
How about hyped like internet stocks in 1999 - people thinking they are great because of group think and not stopping to look at the underlying value or lack thereof.


No, it's not like that. People who have reviewed the game have necessarily played it, therefore they know, from their own direct experience, whether they found value in it or not. This is entirely different from a stock investment. When you buy a stock, you only find out later whether it was a good or a bad investment. When you play a game, you immediately discover whether you enjoy it, or not.
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John Di Ponio
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I have no problem with Sean's review!! I happen to really like the game....but that is MY opinion! I respect everything he wrote. Every game is not for everybody!! I hate RA and most of the community loves it!!! Sean did a fine job with his review!!!!!
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Barry Kendall
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Everyone has a right to his/her opinion.

Agreeing or disagreeing without being disagreeable is simple civility.

I respectfully disagree with this reviewer on a number of counts.

Comparisons of large-box games with plastic components are inevitable, but I believe "Runewars" was designed to fill a niche quite different from that into which TI3 resides.

"Runewars" can be played from set-up to conclusion in three hours or less. That alone sets it apart from TI3.

Its variable-configuration terrain sets it apart from "Quest for the Dragonlords" (either edition). Thus replayability is enhanced.

I was predisposed to dislike the "Fate card" resolution system vis-a-vis dice, having rolled the things for decades in games from "Battle Cry" (the first one) to "Phase Line: Smash."

Seldom am I so happy to have been mistaken. The Fate cards speed play considerably. No chasing after errant dice, no waiting for a tense player to decide enough shaking is enough before casting, no squinting to see what number came up, no debate over using a dice tower, no cross-checking to make certain which Unit uses which multifaceted piece of numbered plastic.

Simply turn a card and look at it.

I must admit I'm happier at this thanks to having discovered small-size hard plastic card sleeves at a local sports card shop. They come with soft-sleeve liners, ten to a pack, and fit the small cards beautifully. They'll last longer than I will.

I don't regard the Fate cards as FFG cutting costs vs. dice. I consider them part of an integral design objective to streamline and speed play.

Mission accomplished.

To each his own.
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Vernon Evenhuis
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I think the OP is just bitter that he bought TWO copies of a very expensive game that turned out to be mediocre. devil

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Barry Kendall
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White Knight wrote:
I think the OP is just bitter that he bought TWO copies of a very expensive game that turned out to be mediocre. devil



It occurs to me that he'd better not let his Significant Other read his review, unless he's independently wealthy.

"What?! You bought TWO COPIES of a HUNDRED DOLLAR GAME and YOU DON'T EVEN LIKE IT?! That does it, I'm keeping a written ledger of expenditures down to the penny from now on!"

At least the lad's an optimist.
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Tom Grant
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Quote:
Yes, this may well be a negative review, at least compared to the other reviews of people so caught up in the hype that they gush with praise. Maybe it's as good a game for them as they say, or maybe they are so caught up in their own excitement that they can't take a step back and see some of the ridiculous things that involved with this game.


As one of the positive reviewers, let me say, I was anything BUT caught up in the hype. My expectations were pretty low, particularly given the plastic mountains. If FFG wasted money on that frill, what else did they do to prioritize sizzle over steak? (Essentially my beef with Tide of Iron, by the way.)

So why did I buy it? I was at the game store, and Runewars had just arrived. Looking at the box I thought, You know, I really like the other games by this designer. Why wouldn't this one have a decent chance of being good?

I'm sorry for your disappointment with the game, but the ad hominem jab at people who have a more positive opinion is just bad form.
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David desJardins
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Kingdaddy wrote:
I'm sorry for your disappointment with the game, but the ad hominem jab at people who have a more positive opinion is just bad form.


I don't think this is ad hominem. Ad hominem would be arguing that your review should be discounted because of some other personal failing. This is basically the opposite of that, he's arguing there's something wrong with you personally because of your review. One could call it a personal attack, but it's not ad hominem.
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