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Subject: My first impressions of Runewars after 4 two-player games rss

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Josiah Leis
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I spent 100 GG and all I got was this stupid overtext.....
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This review is going to be rather short, and simply aims to point out what I feel are the high and low points of the game without going into too much detail. First I'd like to start off with what I felt were the biggest low points:

Components:

Yep, you heard me. This is a Fantasy Flight Game, which I own quite a few of and every one of them that I have ever bought I thought had superbly high quality components. This is the one and only FFG product that I've been disappointed by the components. It's not that Runewars components are really that bad per se, it's just I don't think they're all that great. People online have suggested that sleeving the Fate Deck is a good idea since it is shuffled so often and I decided to sleeve the whole thing while I was at it. I am very glad I did that as I would be concerned with how the cards would hold up without sleeves. The vast majority of them are all very small and both the small and the big seem rather thin to me. They seem pretty prone to being bent or even torn if they didn't have the sleeves on them.

The plastic minis themselves look cool, but again seem somewhat flimsy. A great many of them were horribly bent when I opened the game, and I've only packed it up and re-opened it once, finding to my great dismay yet more damage minis (and I pack things pretty thoroughly and gently). Nothing truly horrible, just a lot more terrible bends, though its possible to straighten them, they all feel like they are about to break in my hands or snap off their bases when I'm handling them.

None the less I do have to give FFG props for packing in the correct replacement parts in the game. Perhaps I am being a bit harsh on the components here, but I really felt like I should have gotten a lot more for my money.

Price:

This one ties into components a lot. This is a big box game, and has many people have said it contains 80% air. After un-packing the game and seeing it all out on the table I couldn't help but have a small (very small, but still their) sinking feeling like "Is this it?". Since the game costs $100 MSRP (up from the $80 of Descent and WoW:TBG the other "big box" games I own from FFG) I really felt like I was going to get something spectacular. I suppose it's just inflation at work, and costs on the rise, but I really had a feeling of "Wow! Look at all this cool stuff!" when I opened both Descent and WoW:TBG, and those were $20 less of an MSRP.

I had no such feeling with Runewars and as I felt the components were a little sub-par I'm just going to come out and say it: the game is over-priced. Not for the quality of fun to be had with it, but for what you get there is no way this should cost $100. Some people have suggested that the big box is to hold expansions, which I'm it is no doubt, but I don't want to pay more for a "big box" game, only to have it be mostly air for "when I spend yet MORE money on the game".

Overall, what I got for my money and the quality of components within were my two biggest disappointments with the game. I think it is just inflation at work (you can't buy candy bars for a nickel anymore either), but to me there is no comparing the production quality of Runewars to previous big box games from FFG.

Now then, now that all that negative stuff is out of the way, what did I like? Well, lots actually.

Rules:

Frankly for a game with as much going on as Runewars has I thought the rulebook was excellent. The rules were clearly written and easy to understand, and the game has been updated with a FAQ already. Also special thanks to Sigma for putting up that Q & A from Corey the designer who seems to be very helpful and eager with answers for the game. Overall I feel this is a marked improvement from other FFG products I've acquired recently, who's rules had gaping holes or weren't put together well (I'm looking at you Sea of Blood). Fantasy Flight also seems to be eager to provide the community with answers to rules questions which is very helpful.

Re-playability:

To me it seems that the game has a lot of replay possibilities and would make each game unique. With 4 different races and map that gets built to be different each time it seems like each game will be its own experience. I really like that and I think it will help to keep the game fresh for me, although it is hard to tell since I've only played 4 games, but after playing 4 times in 2 days, I'm still hungry for more.

Gameplay:

The overall game as a whole just seemed to really "flow" nicely. There are lots of interesting decisions to be made, and in a game like this where you constantly plan ahead it was really fun to see your plans come to fruition. It also plays quite quick which is very nice, and I could see myself playing this one a lot back to back. But the epic rules look like they could be fun if you had more time and wanted a slightly more drawn out experience.

With the uniqueness of each race I also felt like there were a lot of paths to victory for each faction. Even though there is only one way to win (get six dragon runes), there are so many ways to do that and each of them feels perfectly viable. It is easy to get caught up in thinking of it like a war game when it really isn't, and even though that is a bit of a shock when you first realize it you actually get used to that and still love the game.

The game was a very fun experience and I am glad I made the purchase (even if I felt it was over-priced). All of my experiences have been only with 2 players though, and I'd dearly love to try it with more. The fun factor is definitely there for me, and I think it will only be improved by adding more players. I would give the game probably a 7.5 to an 8 right now but I think that will come up a full point or more once I try it with more people so I will hold off rating it until I do so.

On the whole I feel that Runewars makes for a very tight, strategic area control game which I think I will enjoy for quite awhile to come.
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Ergo Proxy
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2 Player is indeed fun, altough I think the game really shines with 4 meeple

Good review
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Purple Paladin

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Runewars was my second only ever big box game; my first was Tides of Iron, which made my jaw drop on seeing all the bits/cards/units.

But with Runewars, I actually thought I got a box that was missing components. Seriously. I looked carefully through the box, then slowly went down the components list in the rulebook to see what I was missing.

Love the game, but, I don't really feel like it was $100 worth of components by any stretch.
 
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Scott Lewis
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I know this is going to stir up a hornets nest, but the real question is this:

Are you paying for $100 worth of components, or $100 worth of "game"?


I personally feel I got my moneys worth out of the game, based on how many times I've played it. Yeah, plastic-wise, it's not the same "value" as, say, Descent or TI3. But it's certainly a better game than Descent (and I like Descent), and much easier to get on the table than TI3.

Sure, maybe for the same amount of "game" the price could have been lower, I don't know (as I don't know what the profit margin on the game is), but I certainly don't feel shafted.
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Josiah Leis
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I spent 100 GG and all I got was this stupid overtext.....
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sigmazero13 wrote:
I know this is going to stir up a hornets nest, but the real question is this:

Are you paying for $100 worth of components, or $100 worth of "game"?


I personally feel I got my moneys worth out of the game, based on how many times I've played it. Yeah, plastic-wise, it's not the same "value" as, say, Descent or TI3. But it's certainly a better game than Descent (and I like Descent), and much easier to get on the table than TI3.

Sure, maybe for the same amount of "game" the price could have been lower, I don't know (as I don't know what the profit margin on the game is), but I certainly don't feel shafted.


I understand where you are coming from with this, and as I stated in the review I didn't feel it was overpriced for the "fun" value, but it was overpriced for the component costs.

I feel its a bit strange for a company to be basing a games price purely on it's "fun factor". Otherwise, all the cheap games would be crap and all the really good ones pricey. In theory, good games will sell more copies earning the company more money, the cost of the game should have a larger basis in what it takes to produce it, not how "fun" the company thinks it will be.

Still, having said that I don't feel like I got ripped off with Runewars. After opening the box I was disappointed by the components, but I still enjoyed the game thoroughly. Having played it 4 times and being eager to play it again I am happy with my purchase and would gladly fork over my $70.43 + Free Shipping again to purchase it.

It IS an overpriced game IMHO for the components. None the less I would heartily recommend it to anyone even remotely interested in it, and I'm very glad I got it. $70+ well spent I believe.
 
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Kartigan wrote:
I feel its a bit strange for a company to be basing a games price purely on it's "fun factor". Otherwise, all the cheap games would be crap and all the really good ones pricey. In theory, good games will sell more copies earning the company more money, the cost of the game should have a larger basis in what it takes to produce it, not how "fun" the company thinks it will be.

Yeah, I see what you are saying. I think I may have not been as clear as I meant to be on my point, though "Fun" is too subjective to really put a price on. While a fun game may feel like it has more "game" to some, I think in general, what I meant by "how much game are you getting" is just the cost of the game to make, not just components.

There are sucky games that cost a lot, and I'm sure part of it is because it "cost" a lot to create. It's a shame in that case, because it can often be wasted effort if that's the case. But I think the development is a factor. Look at Race for the Galaxy, for example. It's a pretty fun game, but if you just look at components, you are getting a crappy deal - a deck of cards and some minor components for $30+? However, when you take the "how much game are you getting" factor, it becomes obvious that the game was well tested, and likely incurred many development costs. Because of it, the money spent feels more worthwhile than it would just for the components alone.

Quote:
It IS an overpriced game IMHO for the components.

I definitely agree. If the game was crap, the price would not be worth it at all; you can get "more" components for cheaper in other games. But I think that there is more to the cost than just what's physically in the box, and in that respect, I think that Runewars is definitely worth the price tag, because it's obvious a lot of time and effort was spent by the developer (which, as a company, does do it for a living, and has several salaries to pay).


Whether or not the price is "worth it" will depend on whether you like the game. But in the short time I've had it, I've probably gotten more "games per dollar" on this game than most games in my collection; not because the other games are "bad", but because the amount of time played vs the cost has been higher. And I know there are many people who value the game's price largely based on components, regardless of "fun" factor, and that's fine too Everyone has their own valuation for what is "worth it"
 
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Josiah Leis
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I spent 100 GG and all I got was this stupid overtext.....
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Ah I see, I actually think that argument makes the most sense of any I've heard so far. That the high amount of testing and design that went into it caused the higher development cost I could actually believe. The game does seem to be incredibly well-balanced, yet varied in my short experience with it, and certainly doesn't have gaping holes so it must have been tested well (unlike some other games *cough* Descent *cough*, love that game, but I don't think they EVER test it).

Honestly though I think the single largest factor in the higher cost of Runewars is simply :inflation. You can buy candy bars for a nickel anymore, and everything gets more expensive as time goes on and the government prints more money. I think this is starting to have an effect on everything, board games are no exception. And I could easily believe that it costs a considerable amount more than it did even 5 or 6 years ago to make games.

All in all though, I am pleased I bought Runewars. I haven't been able to play it nearly as much as I'd like (been busy), but I eagerly await my next game and I think it'll keep me and my friends entertained for a long time to come.
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Purple Paladin wrote:
Runewars was my second only ever big box game; my first was Tides of Iron, which made my jaw drop on seeing all the bits/cards/units.

But with Runewars, I actually thought I got a box that was missing components. Seriously. I looked carefully through the box, then slowly went down the components list in the rulebook to see what I was missing.

Love the game, but, I don't really feel like it was $100 worth of components by any stretch.


I completely agree with you - I encourage everyone to go online and find the cheapest Runewars price you can find - its not worth $100 (component wise)
 
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sigmazero13 wrote:
I know this is going to stir up a hornets nest, but the real question is this:

Are you paying for $100 worth of components, or $100 worth of "game"?


I personally feel I got my moneys worth out of the game, based on how many times I've played it. Yeah, plastic-wise, it's not the same "value" as, say, Descent or TI3. But it's certainly a better game than Descent (and I like Descent), and much easier to get on the table than TI3.

Sure, maybe for the same amount of "game" the price could have been lower, I don't know (as I don't know what the profit margin on the game is), but I certainly don't feel shafted.


It is not a hornets nest, but a different way of looking at value. A ridiculously idiotic one, but still different. Well, perhaps that is too harsh. Maybe just an "I want to feel good about this beating" one. Based on this idea, Settlers of Catan should be $100.00 because it has been so popular and well received. A game should be priced based on its production cost. Fantasy Flight Games cannot determine if customers will get X value from a game and then charge that. Pitch Car is expensive because the components are expensive and the print run is limited. I can agree that I got my money’s worth out of RuneWars, but I only paid $65.00 for it. I really like FF games, but there has not been a 25% inflation happening in component production in the last few years. They are trying to set a new standard cost for big games, not based on their cost but on our willingness to pay. Games Workshop is the most egregious offender on this. FF games is working hard to catch up.
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Well, that's your opinion, and I largely disagree, partly because you apparently missed my point. I'm not talking about "popularity" or "fun" - I'm talking about "what you get from the game", and I don't think that just means physical components.

For me, Catan is not nearly worth $100. It's not nearly deep and engaging enough to be anywhere close to it. I guess for some, it could be, but popularity is not the gauge of how much it's worth. I seriously doubt that Catan took as much "cost" to develop as Runewars. And I think Runewars provides far more "game" than Catan does.

Would it be nice if Runewars was cheaper? Yes, obviously it would. Do I think FFG is intentionally screwing over people because they can? No, I don't buy that for a minute. I think the cost of the game reflects how much it cost them to make it. Whether this is "worth it" is opinion, but for me, I think what I get out of the game is well worth it.
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Dave Davies wrote:
It is not a hornets nest, but a different way of looking at value. A ridiculously idiotic one, but still different. Well, perhaps that is too harsh. Maybe just an "I want to feel good about this beating" one. Based on this idea, Settlers of Catan should be $100.00 because it has been so popular and well received. A game should be priced based on its production cost. Fantasy Flight Games cannot determine if customers will get X value from a game and then charge that. Pitch Car is expensive because the components are expensive and the print run is limited. I can agree that I got my money’s worth out of RuneWars, but I only paid $65.00 for it. I really like FF games, but there has not been a 25% inflation happening in component production in the last few years. They are trying to set a new standard cost for big games, not based on their cost but on our willingness to pay. Games Workshop is the most egregious offender on this. FF games is working hard to catch up.


It's also a pipe dream. How can you expect a business to develop new products, let alone stay afloat, if they are charging simply for component production costs. You've got costs for development, promotions and marketing, shipping, etc. Plus you've got all the salaries and benefits for the workers. Or do you think that the employees like designers, artists, customer support personnel, warehouse staff should be working for free? That would be idiotic.

Taking the component production costs further, think about video games. You think the production components for an Xbox game cost 60 bucks? No way. It's just a bit of plastic and an eight to 12 page booklet. That 60 dollars is going towards a lot more than that obviously.

I'm not defending the price, that's just the way business works.

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Josiah Leis
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I spent 100 GG and all I got was this stupid overtext.....
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Companies must sell their product for more than it costs them to produce it in order to make a profit. Thus, there are only 4 reasons that I can see why Fantasy Flight Games raised the MSRP of Runewars $20 higher than their previous "big box" games.

A. The components of the game cost more to produce, thus there must be more of them or they must be of a greater quality (or at least a more expensive kind to make) than those of previous games.

B. The number of "man hours" invested in developing, testing, and building the game was greater than previous games.

C. Inflation has raised the costs of both A and B to be higher than they were for previous games.

D. Fantasy Flight Games is simply out to screw us and raised the price of Runewars arbitrarily because they knew we'd pay it anyway and they'd make more money.


Personally I seriously doubt that it is D. FFG doesn't seem like that kind of company, and if they were why wouldn't they have done it before now?

Again like I said in the review, I don't really see how it could be A. The components in Runewars certainly aren't any better than previous big box games, in some cases I think they may even be slightly worse (they aren't bad, just other big box games have such excellent ones).

Sigma and some others believe that it is B. Having played the game only 4 times I might not be in a position to judge, but I can actually see the argument for this. The game is incredibly fun, balanced and obviously well designed and thoroughly tested. And when compared to something like Descent which (though I do love it) seems like they didn't test it hardly at all, I can really see a case for reason B.

Yet I do have a bit of a hard time with reason B to. I've played Starcraft (another big box game from FFG) for instance, and I also really loved that game. It also is incredibly balanced, fun, and well-designed. IMHO, both games are fantastic. So I do find it a little bit difficult to believe that $10 (I assume FFG is trying to double their money that they put into board games, though that's just pure speculation) more man-hours per copy went into Runewars than Starcraft. Although it isn't beyond the realm of possibility, perhaps Starcraft simply came together more naturally and they had to "work" at Runewars longer or harder. Both are fantastic games, and you can definitely see that Runewars was very well designed, built, and tested.

Which is what leads me to believe it must be (at least mostly, I suppose it could be a little bit of B) option C. Inflation would affect both A & B as well as require FFG to maintain a larger profit margin. Everything seems to cost more now a days (with the exception of new technologies which are rapidly becoming cheaper as they develop them), and things like paper, cards, cardboard, plastic and people's salaries are no exceptions.

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sigmazero13 wrote:
Well, that's your opinion, and I largely disagree, partly because you apparently missed my point. I'm not talking about "popularity" or "fun" - I'm talking about "what you get from the game", and I don't think that just means physical components.

For me, Catan is not nearly worth $100. It's not nearly deep and engaging enough to be anywhere close to it. I guess for some, it could be, but popularity is not the gauge of how much it's worth. I seriously doubt that Catan took as much "cost" to develop as Runewars. And I think Runewars provides far more "game" than Catan does.

Would it be nice if Runewars was cheaper? Yes, obviously it would. Do I think FFG is intentionally screwing over people because they can? No, I don't buy that for a minute. I think the cost of the game reflects how much it cost them to make it. Whether this is "worth it" is opinion, but for me, I think what I get out of the game is well worth it.


Although i support most of what you have said i have to disagree with you in one area. How much did it cost do develop Runewars? Well actually it didn't cost them much since pretty much everything in the box is reused from others games they already have in print. All they did was aadapt 2 rules systems together and add 2-3 more varients into that mix.

That being said i still purchased the game and enjoy it. I have no problems supporting FFG and i think they still make some of the best BG's out there today. Actually after getting Horus Heresy recently my faith in the big box line of games is restored.
 
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bearn wrote:
Although i support most of what you have said i have to disagree with you in one area. How much did it cost do develop Runewars? Well actually it didn't cost them much since pretty much everything in the box is reused from others games they already have in print. All they did was aadapt 2 rules systems together and add 2-3 more varients into that mix.

I don't agree with this. Sure, there may be similar things in the other games, but nothing is "quite like" the way it's done in Runewars. Even still, creating an award-winning recipe isn't just about finding which ingredients to use, but rather much work involved in creating the right blend, the right amount of this vs that. Even if SOME of the things in Runewars are reused or adapted from other games, getting it to work in the game is likely what took work to develop.

Plus, Runewars has a lot of unique mechanics on it's own as well. The fact that everything blends so well together shows they put a lot of effort into it, and that indicates, to me, that there was a lot of effort spend on development.

Development isn't always coming up with something "never before seen" - but rather, many games out are about blending things that work well from other games into one.
 
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And here we are, expansionless......

The game should have come in a smaller box.
While people like to stand up for fantasy flight, I think it is obvious that they occasionally put things in over sized boxes in order to legitimize larger price tags.
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biscuits409 wrote:
And here we are, expansionless......

The game should have come in a smaller box.
While people like to stand up for fantasy flight, I think it is obvious that they occasionally put things in over sized boxes in order to legitimize larger price tags.

After putting the figures in Plano boxes and bagging everything, I'm glad the box is so big. It would be hard to fit in a smaller box, but theres still enough room for adding more stuff if needed.
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bearn wrote:

Although i support most of what you have said i have to disagree with you in one area. How much did it cost do develop Runewars? Well actually it didn't cost them much since pretty much everything in the box is reused from others games they already have in print. All they did was aadapt 2 rules systems together and add 2-3 more varients into that mix.

I doubt whether you have any idea what it cost to develop. Man hours is the key factor there, and creative work isn't like shoveling out barns. It takes how long it takes.
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