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Subject: First session - Uthuk Y'lann wins rss

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Mark Ellis
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This is a report from my perspective as the comprehensively defeated Latari Elves, with some opinion on first try of the expansion. You can perhaps treat this is a 'mistakes to avoid' guide.

Players: 4
Game duration: 6 hours zombie
So close: Waiqar the Undying
Definitely last: Latari Elves

Like every game of Runewars I've played (perhaps 6 or 7), it all begins with such promise. The setup, the rich lands spreading out before you, ready for conquest, the sense that you can build an empire and strategise your way to victory. But it went sour for my Latari Elves from fairly early on. The things that cost me:

FOOD bacon
My proximate territory was generally less than amazing, but critically there was almost no food. I found myself with a working base of 3 food, including home tiles, and the 3rd was a tentative hold at that. This was a huge disadvantage due to the rule in winter whereby your food determines how large an army you can sustain. Probably our hasty setup, which could have been more balanced, was partly to blame, but I also forgot quite how important food was for this reason when choosing from the remaining two start locations - I will not make this mistake again! For the elves, this is now even more important in order to access the new initiative 2 unit that replaces the swordsmen (Leonx Rider). It wasn't long meanwhile, before Uthuk Y'Lann had a maxed out food dial and hordes of units.

PINCER arrrhmeeplearrrh
Being attacked by two foes is never good. It wasn't quite simultaneous, but I had to bargain away a rune to try to buy peace from the Daqan Lords (Humans) perched on my border so that I could focus on crushing the Uthuk who had used a hidden pass to seize a key city that I had held (one of the new expansion cities with a rune). I had forgotten about these pesky cards, and thought myself shielded by the mountains.

BETRAYAL ninja
Yes, the Daqan Lords back-stabbed me, in an attempted rush for victory that failed by a single rune. All the while the Uthuk continued to face-stab me. I had at least completely destroyed the initial Uthuk army, and it took a second hidden pass card (by now I hate those cards!) for them to sneak back in, this time with giants, to retake the city. Guess my forces hadn't learned their lesson and bothered to seek out/destroy the hidden pass after the first assault. A shame, because it must have been pretty bleedin' obvious if giants could get through it. Still, I kicked them out a second time, but after the treacherous Daqan invaded my home realm against their solemn word I strategised to abandon the city to the imminent third and final attack of the Uthuk in order to preserve my forces for a final act of vengeance. With nowhere to retreat to the huge Daqan force was completely destroyed (take that, traitors!), and Waiqar belatedly entered the fray to plunder his under-defended territories.

RESISTANCE shake
There wasn't very much. I was the only player to fight the Uthuk. As is often the case in 4-player Runewars, some players may never find themselves adjacent and with an opportunity to attack. Waiqar bordered the Uthuk but opted to maintain the peace throughout, and this left the Uthuk all too free to focus on me with too little threat on his borders. In the end, Uthuk strolled to victory, now holding two rune-bearing cities and a completed mission (hold x number of territories beyond home tiles).

METAGAME
If you're on the receiving end of a pincer movement, and the fourth player isn't even threatening to take a crack at either of your enemies, you're in serious trouble. I failed to manipulate/provoke the other players (particularly Waiqar) as needed, which is a very important part of this game, and Uthuk managed the metagame very successfully, encouraging Daqar's betrayal. Partly, I may be a victim of my own previous successes, which in our long-standing games group can certainly sometimes be incorporated into the metagame to make out a more compelling target for attack. That's what I'll tell myself, anyway

Is the expansion any good?
In all honesty, it didn't seemed to change very much, and Runewars remains a very similar experience. The problems with the game that limit it to a 6-7 rating for me have, for my money, not been fixed. The only things we agreed on unanimously as being beneficial are:
- the rune-bearing cities are a good addition. They provide strategic locations to conquer and the runes they provide cannot be squirreled away to your home tiles.
- extra units are nice, and improve the balance somewhat.

General Runewars complaint: TIME vs LUCK. d10-0d10-1d10-2d10-3d10-4d10-5d10-6d10-7d10-8d10-9
This is the main thing. As with every other session of this game, I enjoy the first 3 hours or so, and wish we could finish a game in this time. By the time 5-6 hours has passed I have lost interest. This is not due to the sheer length of the game, but rather the realisation that dawns with the endgame that the decisions you agonise over and which appear so important can be completely and decisively undermined in a stroke of bad luck from any of a number of sources.

I particularly dislike some of the more swingy tactics cards - such as the one that brings your hero under the control of your opponent. There is no way to defend against it (other than having no heroes), and it can cause a ridiculously massive swing, with all your efforts with said hero not only wasted but actively contributing to your opponent's victory.

There are also many other cards that break the standard rules (like those hidden pass cards) and thereby undermine some key strategic considerations, and I always end the game feeling I would have been much better off playing two or three medium-length games, where at least if luck is to be key it is much more appropriate to the time investment. Trouble is, we just keep getting drawn back in by the false apparition of a great game and the desire to play something with an epic feel - I just really wish it was a better game as there are good points and it's not impossibly far away!
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Chris J Davis
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Yes, I completely agree with everything you say. Oh, no - wait a minute: I WASN'T THERE!! angry
 
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Mark Ellis
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bleached_lizard wrote:
Yes, I completely agree with everything you say. Oh, no - wait a minute: I WASN'T THERE!! angry


I thought you were supposed to be studying without distractions until further notice?! whistle
Judging by the rage, I'm guessing you were available...
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luckyduke wrote:
bleached_lizard wrote:
Yes, I completely agree with everything you say. Oh, no - wait a minute: I WASN'T THERE!! angry


I thought you were supposed to be studying without distractions until further notice?! whistle


Is that what Ben told you, was it? 'Further notice' was given about three weeks ago!

Quote:
Judging by the rage, I'm guessing you were available...


That's fine. I'm having Stephen Fry, Professor Hawking and Brad Pitt over for gaming tomorrow. Guess who's not invited... whistle
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Kelly Fischer
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Does this protect you from Coercion?

Coercion: Play during your turn. Choose an enemy hero in an area you control. Spend 4 influence (or 2 influence if the hero does not match his faction's alignment) to immidiately take control of the hero.

Or does this only protect the player from the season card:

Revealing Their True Nature: Each hero not matching a player's affiliation deserts him unless he spends 1 influence (or 2 influence if the hero is opposite to this faction's alignment)
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Mark Ellis
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KeyserSoze wrote:


Does this protect you from Coercion?

Coercion: Play during your turn. Choose an enemy hero in an area you control. Spend 4 influence (or 2 influence if the hero does not match his faction's alignment) to immidiately take control of the hero.

Or does this only protect the player from the season card:

Revealing Their True Nature: Each hero not matching a player's affiliation deserts him unless he spends 1 influence (or 2 influence if the hero is opposite to this faction's alignment)


That's a very good point I overlooked this, I'm guessing it would protect you. There are, of course, also several tactics cards that unceremoniously strip you of your titles, but it's clearly something to consider as a defence!
 
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bleached_lizard wrote:
luckyduke wrote:
bleached_lizard wrote:
Yes, I completely agree with everything you say. Oh, no - wait a minute: I WASN'T THERE!! angry


I thought you were supposed to be studying without distractions until further notice?! whistle


Is that what Ben told you, was it? 'Further notice' was given about three weeks ago!

Actually it's what you told me after we last played Mage Knight... Trust you haven't been playing any games the last three weeks then, eh?

bleached_lizard wrote:
That's fine. I'm having Stephen Fry, Professor Hawking and Brad Pitt over for gaming tomorrow. Guess who's not invited... whistle

Now I'm just trying to think of the game you're planning that could satisfy all three of them... is it Troyes?
 
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luckyduke wrote:
I particularly dislike some of the more swingy tactics cards - such as the one that brings your hero under the control of your opponent. There is no way to defend against it (other than having no heroes), and it can cause a ridiculously massive swing, with all your efforts with said hero not only wasted but actively contributing to your opponent's victory.


I agree. I'm considering 'weeding' the tactics deck to get rid of overpowered cards.

 
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Jan Tuijp wrote:
I agree. I'm considering 'weeding' the tactics deck to get rid of overpowered cards.

I'm pretty sure this would help. If you come to a conclusion on which cards to remove it would good if you could post it
 
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luckyduke wrote:
bleached_lizard wrote:
luckyduke wrote:
bleached_lizard wrote:
Yes, I completely agree with everything you say. Oh, no - wait a minute: I WASN'T THERE!! angry


I thought you were supposed to be studying without distractions until further notice?! whistle


Is that what Ben told you, was it? 'Further notice' was given about three weeks ago!

Actually it's what you told me after we last played Mage Knight... Trust you haven't been playing any games the last three weeks then, eh?


I haven't! Okay, except for one special session for a friend who was visiting from Wales, plus his mates, but that obviously doesn't count!

Quote:
bleached_lizard wrote:
That's fine. I'm having Stephen Fry, Professor Hawking and Brad Pitt over for gaming tomorrow. Guess who's not invited... whistle

Now I'm just trying to think of the game you're planning that could satisfy all three of them... is it Troyes?


I was thinking Hungry, Hungry Hippos.
 
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Martin
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Hmm... 6 hours? Did you play the Epic variant?

When we play Runewars we usually finish it at 3 or 4 hours. Only once has it gone on longer and that was when we played the Epic variant - we hadn't finished after 6 hours so called it quits.

I really like Runewars, but it should stay around 4 hours. Longer than that and you might as well pull out the grand-daddy (Twilight Imperium) as that game rewards those 6-7 hours you invest in it.
 
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Cogdiz wrote:
Hmm... 6 hours? Did you play the Epic variant?


Did you bring the anti-AP timer?
 
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bleached_lizard wrote:
Cogdiz wrote:
Hmm... 6 hours? Did you play the Epic variant?


Did you bring the anti-AP timer?


AP prone players naturally draw out the length of a game. However we often play with at least one AP player but we still usually clock in around four hours.

But sure, if most of the group get paralyzed it's not much you can do.
 
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Cogdiz wrote:
Hmm... 6 hours? Did you play the Epic variant?

When we play Runewars we usually finish it at 3 or 4 hours. Only once has it gone on longer and that was when we played the Epic variant - we hadn't finished after 6 hours so called it quits.

I really like Runewars, but it should stay around 4 hours. Longer than that and you might as well pull out the grand-daddy (Twilight Imperium) as that game rewards those 6-7 hours you invest in it.


I'm glad to hear you manage to play in 4 hours, I live in hope! We did play the epic variant, more or less (think we reduced the target by 1 rune).

I'd like to try Twilight Imperium, have never had a game...
 
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Martin
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luckyduke wrote:

I'm glad to hear you manage to play in 4 hours, I live in hope! We did play the epic variant, more or less (think we reduced the target by 1 rune).

I'd like to try Twilight Imperium, have never had a game...


Ah, that explains it then. Yes the epic variant adds a lot of time. In my opinion it doesn't add much more though, granted the basic game can end very abruptly (often just as everyone is really gearing up for the big scrap), but I think that is kind of the point. The way I see it Runewars is just right for those four hours, but as you start getting into the fifth or sixth hour it's beginning to oustay its welcome.

If we have the time to play a game that long we go for Twilight Imperium instead since it is basically Runewars big brother and does lend itself to the long play time (more politics, negotiatons and empire developing).

Anyway, the variants in the expansion seem to aim for a balance between the abrupt end and the drawn out war and I'm getting it later this month. Something I've also thought about to extend the game a little bit but not get into Epic territory is to play as usual (with hidden runes) but needing seven runes instead of six to win. I'm guessing this would basically add a year to the game, possibly allowing for a few more large battles.

Also, if your group likes Runewars I really think you should give Twilight Imperial a go. Its large and can seem intimidating but it's really not that difficult and we always have a blast playing it!

EDIT: Doh! I got things mixed up in my head. You are of course playing with the expansion. Disregard what I said above. Haha!
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luckyduke wrote:
Cogdiz wrote:
Hmm... 6 hours? Did you play the Epic variant?

When we play Runewars we usually finish it at 3 or 4 hours. Only once has it gone on longer and that was when we played the Epic variant - we hadn't finished after 6 hours so called it quits.

I really like Runewars, but it should stay around 4 hours. Longer than that and you might as well pull out the grand-daddy (Twilight Imperium) as that game rewards those 6-7 hours you invest in it.


I'm glad to hear you manage to play in 4 hours, I live in hope! We did play the epic variant, more or less (think we reduced the target by 1 rune).

I'd like to try Twilight Imperium, have never had a game...


We'll book at weekend out for it.
 
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Cogdiz wrote:
luckyduke wrote:

I'm glad to hear you manage to play in 4 hours, I live in hope! We did play the epic variant, more or less (think we reduced the target by 1 rune).

I'd like to try Twilight Imperium, have never had a game...


Ah, that explains it then. Yes the epic variant adds a lot of time. In my opinion it doesn't add much more though, granted the basic game can end very abruptly (often just as everyone is really gearing up for the big scrap), but I think that is kind of the point.


I have the opposite opinion, for exactly the reasons you describe.
 
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bleached_lizard wrote:

I have the opposite opinion, for exactly the reasons you describe.


Yes, I can certainly see that and I would probably be with you if I hadn't played Twilight Imperium.
 
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KeyserSoze wrote:


Does this protect you from Coercion?

Coercion: Play during your turn. Choose an enemy hero in an area you control. Spend 4 influence (or 2 influence if the hero does not match his faction's alignment) to immidiately take control of the hero.

Or does this only protect the player from the season card:

Revealing Their True Nature: Each hero not matching a player's affiliation deserts him unless he spends 1 influence (or 2 influence if the hero is opposite to this faction's alignment)


From Runewars_Corey_K_Answers_v10 :

Q: If a player uses the Coercion Tactics card against an
opposing hero, if the hero's controller has the Captain of
the Heroes Guild Title card, is the hero protected?
A: No. The Coercion Tactics card does not cause the hero
to “desert”, and thus is unaffected by the Title card.
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Mark Ellis
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chrischneider wrote:
From Runewars_Corey_K_Answers_v10 :

Q: If a player uses the Coercion Tactics card against an
opposing hero, if the hero's controller has the Captain of
the Heroes Guild Title card, is the hero protected?
A: No. The Coercion Tactics card does not cause the hero
to “desert”, and thus is unaffected by the Title card.


Thanks for clarifying, especially since the answer is not what I'd expected!
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luckyduke wrote:
chrischneider wrote:
From Runewars_Corey_K_Answers_v10 :

Q: If a player uses the Coercion Tactics card against an
opposing hero, if the hero's controller has the Captain of
the Heroes Guild Title card, is the hero protected?
A: No. The Coercion Tactics card does not cause the hero
to “desert”, and thus is unaffected by the Title card.


Thanks for clarifying, especially since the answer is not what I'd expected!


FFG 'clarifications' are quite often not what you would expect and should on occasion be ignored.
 
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That is an unfortunate ruling IMO. It would bring more order to the retention of heroes. Title cards are already whisked away too easily as it is, why make them more tepid on top of it? With the new cities introduced in the expansion, Rally Support is more valuable and Acquire Power becomes more worthless.

This will be one I house rule as I doubt anyone will disagree at the table.

The other annoyance is the Bountiful Harvest card is worse than a "normal" harvest as you cannot capitalize on the supremacy options. This is even more of a problem with the expansion development cards.

This will be the second item I house rule.

Are there any good reasons not to do so that I cannot see?


chrischneider wrote:
KeyserSoze wrote:


Does this protect you from Coercion?

Coercion: Play during your turn. Choose an enemy hero in an area you control. Spend 4 influence (or 2 influence if the hero does not match his faction's alignment) to immidiately take control of the hero.

Or does this only protect the player from the season card:

Revealing Their True Nature: Each hero not matching a player's affiliation deserts him unless he spends 1 influence (or 2 influence if the hero is opposite to this faction's alignment)


From Runewars_Corey_K_Answers_v10 :

Q: If a player uses the Coercion Tactics card against an
opposing hero, if the hero's controller has the Captain of
the Heroes Guild Title card, is the hero protected?
A: No. The Coercion Tactics card does not cause the hero
to “desert”, and thus is unaffected by the Title card.
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