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Subject: First Impressions - Runewars (or Epic in a Few Hours) rss

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Rick Baptist
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** For me, one of the best parts of gaming is trying out new games. It's awesome to think that your next favorite game might be sitting in the corner of a warehouse somewhere, dying to break out and bop you on the head. I like being introduced to unique mechanics and more ways to have fun. So while I can't promise this review series will be letter-perfect as to the rules explanations and such, I can promise you a candid recollection of the first game experience and whether it's worth trying or not. Please check out my other "First Impressions" reviews!**

RUNEWARS

So, Todd came over last-minute last night and brought his birthday present, Runewars.

Right out of the box, this is a beautiful game. The art is fantastic and the game all set up is just gorgeous. It took about 45 mins to setup and have the rules explained. I chose Undead (big surprise) and Todd chose Humans. I don't know if you have read the rules for this game yet, but it uses so many different mechanics from things I have seen elsewhere. It's really quite neat. It plays through 32 seasons, so you are looking at about eight years. If you control six runestones at any time throughout that period, you win.

So the first part of your turn consists of turning over a season card and applying what it says. Then, there is an action that will be with each season every time it comes around. This is pretty cool because you can prepare for that knowing which season it goes with. Then you select an action from one of the eight action cards. Once you use an action, you can't pick it up and use it again until the year is over. And each one is numbered, too -- if you play corresponding numbers per season for the year you can get a bonus action on the card. Just a genius piece of design there. Kudos to Corey the designer for this part of the game, it's fantastic and it works really well.

Battles, quests, and other things are resolved through turning over Fate cards, which does a lot for just a single card! It dishes out battle results for your troops, it gives you feedback on whether you complete a quest. Again, another awesome game function. So the meat of the game consists of you moving your pieces around the board with the action cards, controlling territory, and it's all very fluid. Your heroes (I had Mad Carthos to start) go around the board being able to duel, but also able to search out quests that help you along the way.

Things started off with both of us not sure how to attack because we didn't understand the flow of the game. But once a year passed by we had a good idea. After multiple battles and quests, I was in a position to grab six runestones and won the game. Thanks to some good sorcerer rolls and land possession, the Undead had fielded almost every unit available, which makes a lot of sense!

It's certainly an epic game -- our first game lasted just about three hours. With four people, I can see it going four hours. But I will say this: If I'm going to play an epic game besides Descent, this would be the one I would pick. It's a beautiful, very well-designed game. The miniatures are amazingly detailed, and it's really a different game every time.

You gotta try it.
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Rick Baptist
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Re: Runewars - epic in a box
I've been reading the reviews on this and I'm happy to report that it seems that even with four people the time doesn't really go up that far. Once you get through the "learning game" you can play a game, even with four people, in about 2 1/2 hours. That's pretty amazing for the type of game that this is.

The more I think about this one, the more I want to play again ...
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Purple Paladin

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Re: Runewars - epic in a box
Last night, I just taught a 3rd person how to play Runewars. It's almost matchmatical how it goes every year: The first season/turn, it takes about 30 minutes; second season takes about 25 mintues, ect. We we doing a season turn in about 5-10 mins each before the end. This game seems to have an almost exact 45 degree learning curve.
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Rick Baptist
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Re: Runewars - epic in a box
I hear yah -- and once it's over it's hard not to want to play again.
 
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Tim Kelly
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Re: Runewars - epic in a box
SlikkRikk wrote:
It plays through 32 seasons, so you are looking at about eight years. If you control six runestones at any time throughout that period, you win.

Not that it really matters to your terrific description of this great game, but if you're playing the 32-season "Epic Variant", then the victory condition is 7 Dragon Runes.
TK
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Scott Lewis
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Re: Runewars - epic in a box
Indeed. The "standard" game is only 24 seasons (6 years).
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Rick Baptist
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Re: Runewars - epic in a box
tkelly wrote:
SlikkRikk wrote:
It plays through 32 seasons, so you are looking at about eight years. If you control six runestones at any time throughout that period, you win.

Not that it really matters to your terrific description of this great game, but if you're playing the 32-season "Epic Variant", then the victory condition is 7 Dragon Runes.
TK


Thanks, both of you. Todd called today after reading the rules through a second time and informed me. That would explain some of the lower playtimes I've been seeing around as well! So consider the review above as being the Epic Variant, which was a lot of fun as well.
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