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Subject: Does the hero mechanic feel tacked on? rss

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DJ
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I read a negative review that said it seemed like 2 sepearate games with the heroes tacked on. Is this the case?
 
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Steven Wyman
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It feels as tacked on as the Bandit in Catan.

It's very different from the rest of what's going on but what it does deeply effects the rest of the game.
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The Galaxy is Just Packed!
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crash331 wrote:
I read a negative review that said it seemed like 2 sepearate games with the heroes tacked on. Is this the case?

I'm on the fence with this myself. It's definitely interesting, and does have an effect on the game, but not enough of one to make it feel like "part" of the game. At the worst of times, it gets in the way of the large-scale fun.

So, if I had to make a Sophie's Choice, I'd say yes, it is.

But many many many people will disagree with me. Ah, here they come now...
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Drake Coker
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Do heroes feel tacked on? I'd say "sort of".

Are using heroes an integral part of winning the game? Usually

Are heroes deeply integrated with the army mechanics? No.

Can heroes influence battles or the actions of armies? Sometimes.

Would I like the game better without the heroes? Definitely not.

Could heroes have been designed to be more tightly integrated? Sure.

Do I feel any need to change anything? No.

The answer to your question is a mixed bag. I'd not let it stop you from getting this fine game though (if you need a reason to not buy the game, start with the price tag!)

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DJ
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Ok, I'm about to order this as my CHristmas present. One last thing, do the battles get bogged down in the minutiae of the rules, or does it really feel like an epic fantasy battle going on?

I mean I'm sure the first game is going to be non-stop rulebook checks, but does it even out in the end?


edit:

One last thing. Does the game feel at all like Memoir 44 or Battlelore? I've never played Battlelore, but it looks similar to '44. I don't know if I just don't know how to play it well or what, but Memoir '44 didn't grab me at all. Didn't like it too much.

I'ma video game player, so I can only relate it in terms of games. Memoir '44 seems more like Advance Wars on gameboy, and I am looking for a game like Total Annihilation, StarCraft or Warcraft in boardgame form (RTS type).
 
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Andrey
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crash331 wrote:
One last thing, do the battles get bogged down in the minutiae of the rules

No, battles are fast for their depth.

crash331 wrote:

I mean I'm sure the first game is going to be non-stop rulebook checks, but does it even out in the end?

Actually you just need to learn what you order cards do. Other than that there's nothing to check in the rules.

crash331 wrote:

One last thing. Does the game feel at all like Memoir 44 or Battlelore?

I'd say they have nothing in common.
Memoir and Battlelore are wargame-themed card-driven tactics.
Runewars is more focused on strategical element and is driven by simultaneous orders and domination mechanics.

crash331 wrote:
I am looking for a game like Total Annihilation, StarCraft or Warcraft in boardgame form (RTS type).

Runewars feels like Total War series game, Age of Wonders and maybe something (mostly theme) from Heroes of Might & Magic.
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DJ
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Total War, that's all I needed to hear.

Ordered.
 
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Scott Lewis
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BIAS NOTE: I absolutely love Runewars, so take that for what it's worth.

When I first played Runewars, I did also kind of feel the Hero game was a "separate" aspect. Not necessarily to the level some of the negative reviews make it out, but it did feel disconnected, enough where I considered making some house rules for allowing them to participate in combat (ala War of the Ring, for instance).

However, for me, the more I've played, the less interested I am in such a variant. Sure, they don't always interact directly, but I've found the Hero aspect to be just another one of the important "resource management" pieces of the game, one that may not always be the game-winner, but more often than not is vital. This seems especially true in Epic games, which tend to go longer. Every rune makes a difference, and having the Heroes out there collecting rewards (either for Shards or for the Captain of the Heroes' League card) can often make the difference.

And while not all the heroes interact directly with armies, there are a few who do, and a few rewards that do also. But even without that stuff, you often have to be careful about moving your heroes, as moving them into enemy territory can allow them to be "stolen" by your opponents.


It can take awhile to really get the "hang" of how the Heroes work in terms of the bigger picture, but I think they mesh well with the game overall, even if on the surface it does seem disjointed.
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JH
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I don't feel like it's tacked on. Thematically, it certainly works — since they can pass into any space, your dispatched heroes are searching in places an army can't for objects that will help you in your overall fight. They are Sam and Frodo sneaking into Mordor versus Aragorn and Gandalf's big honking army pounding on the Black Gate.

The hero phase feels a bit wedged in at the beginning of summer — I'm not sure how or if it could have been better integrated into the overall structure — but the main function of heroes dovetails nicely with the game's objective of finding and holding enough Dragon Runes to win.

They give you a way to determine if a distant a rune token is legitimate or not, and thus worth pursuing, and give you a possible route to victory (via Timmoran Shards) that doesn't hinge on area conquest and control or influence bids on season cards. The other items they can gather on quests may at first seem superfluous in that light, but keep in mind the other purpose of heroes is to take out a rival's adventurers so they can't carry out their own goal of finding runes on the map or Timmoran Shards on quests. It all fits together very well, IMO.
 
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Aaron Riggan
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Depends on your definition of "tacked on," methinks.
Thematically, the heroes do feel a little odd to me, yes. The epic battle of a century and a couple of guys are wandering the field. The best explanation that I've heard was that it feels very much like "Lord of the Rings" with the Fellowship wandering the land. The second I explained that to some new players, they ran with it and the whole mechanic suddenly made lots of sense.

If we strip down the theme, then the hero mechanic feels right at home. The basic sense of the game is the acquisition and exchange of runes. Battle is secondary, questing is secondary, politics are secondary. It's all about the runes getting to the table and changing hands. If left simply to the seasons, then runes get on the table too slowly and the game will drag out too long. The questing keeps the game at a good pace and puts more runes into circulation so that they can change hands more freely.
 
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Yes... the heroes is a game within a game, but tacked on, no. I feel proper use of heroes is essential to having a winning opportunity.

Runewars is a streamlined game, that mix many elements nicely. I think the heroes are pretty cool.

 
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Calavera Despierta
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I will add this: after several games of this, you will begin to see the Hero phase as an essential step to gaining additional runes. The MOST frustrating thing about this is that it will make WANT to start to duel other heroes and steal their treasures, but oftentimes two major factors stand in your way:
1) Often a hero with two or three treasures is a combat god due to special abilities (granted by the treasures he carries), and while you could certainly weaken such a hero in a duel, chances are you are just going to be killed yourself, and some other player is going to come along, finish the job, and benefit from it. What this leads to are situations where nobody wants to make the first move on a guy that everybody knows is about to cash in a Rune (or whose player is going to buy the special Captain of the Hero's Guild role to cash in three treasures.)
2) Sometimes the map layout is such that there is no possible way to get across it and duel the other hero before the Rune is cashed in.

Because of this, it's best to just sort of assume that everyone will gain between two or three runes for each hero, duel when you think you can get away with it, and focus your energy and time on gaining additional runes in other ways--either by influence bids, or by conquest.
 
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juan
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Andrey(Random_Phobosis)has been very accurate in his answers.
To add:
i)at the begining it looks like tacked on mainly because you play 3 seasons without heroes and in one season youy have to use the heroes. And because on the first games you don't know very well how to use them, or their function.
ii) BUT after some plays and in the epic version they are VERY important. In the epic version each one begin with only 1 rune and you need 7, so every time you can get a rune is important, influence bids, conquer, objevtive cards and of course heroes.
iii) it gets really intresting in epic when each player has at least 2 heroes, you start to get strategical with heroes too. I like to get the maximum 3 heroes so y use 1 to duel and block enemies heroes.
 
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Assalander
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I played the game only once, with only 2-players. It was probably not a "common" game, since very few runes popped on the map (no winter runes in the first years, no shards on quest rewards), and I just won by obliterating the humans with my massive undead armies.

Still, heroes were important. First, I had Battlemage Jaes, which I used in the first summer to destroy some pesky neutrals standing on my way. Hence I could grab lands easily while my opponent was just wasting time, influence and armies in unlucky battles and diplomacy attempts in neutral areas. This gave me an initial advantage in empire and army develpment that ultimately led me to victory.

Moreover, heroes can be deadly with the right tactic cards. The 3-cards city allowed me to get a lot of them witht he Rally Support order, and I had the chance to get both "Band of Brigands" and "Lost City". I had thus one hero forsake questing to go in the only Ore area of the map, which was guarded by a giant and 2 razorwing. I could take those neutrals into my own armies, and take possession of the area as well, just before an Harvest. To me the Dark Knights...

On the other hand I was very unlucky with the exploration tiles. I got the raiders one in neutral areas, 3 times ! And the dungeon. Hence I wasted a lot of time healing, meaning I completed only 2 quests with my 3 heroes in the whole game (which we stopped during year 4 when it was obvious my armies were unstoppable).

Well I'm afraid I made some kind of session report out of this. My point is, even when they do not bring you any runes, heroes can have a vast influence on the rest of the game. If not by their abilities, then through tactic cards. And some rewards can also be really nasty (Flute of Possession...), even though we did not get them in our game. Hence as someone else said, it's just another resource you need to manage, particularly given the fact tjat you have to choose what to do with them: Questing? Dueling? Moving at the right place to use a tactic card?

I'd add that we enjoyed the game, but were not convinced by the 2-players game. Seemed like the one who develop armies faster would just destroy the other guy, making the rune stuff irrelevant.

Eager to try this with 3 or 4 players though.
 
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