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Subject: The First Session: A Learning Experience rss

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A few weeks ago, I happily ripped open the large box that came in the mail, giddy as a kid on Christmas morning to receive my copy of Runewars. I had read reviews on BGG and was excited to play - and hoping it did not disappoint. It didn't.

This is a session report of my first game of Runewars, spread out over two different nights. I played with 2 friends, and decided since it was a complicated game we were new with and time was limited to play a premade map - the 3-Player map available in the Bloodshed of Terrinoth compilation.

Night 1

One of the players had not read the rules. He chose the Elves. Myself and another friend had read them beforehand, and chose Humans and Undead respectively.

This night started fairly uneventfully. Our location choice, though, proved to be instrumental (as always) in how the game played out. The Humans (me) and the undead chose the area of the map with the two cities between - the Elves were buffered by a deep wall of nuetral units.

Since I received the good objective card to hold 2 cities at once, I used my first two turns to mobilize and conquer (with a fast knight) to take them and get the first rune of the game. However, this set the tone of the relationship with the undead as they quickly moved to block my advance, and there continued to be a escalation of troops along those two cities the rest of the game.

The humans focused on the influence game, using rally support and acquire power more often than the other players while I held the two cities - enough to garner 3 influence. This tactic won a fifth dragonrune in a winter bid towards the end of the night. The undead continued to build more troops, harvesting and recruiting, which he grew to regret later after realizing the undead's mechanics. The elves stayed isolated and bumbled around for most the first session.

End Status: The session ended with a buildup of units set to explode on the borders of the cities between human and undead. Undead had 3 dragon runes (completed 7 territory objective), Elves did as well (won 2nd in power to the pious season card), Humans with 5 (objective and power to pious winter season card). The undead had a massive amount of units on the map, human just barely enough to for a presentable defense, and the elves barely any (with NO tension between humans and elves). Though I had 5 runes, only I was mindful of this fact. I held 7 territories in total, and was preparing to hopefully win a winter bid for the last if I could hold onto 6 territories in the next few seasons.

Lessons Learned:

Humans: Plan out several seasons in advance, always. Several times I had gotten overexcited to play an order, only to lose the supremacy bonus on another later in the year. Several rules mistakes (forgetting 'Strategize" cannot move units into neutral territory for example) wasted precious seasons.

Undead: It wasn't until after the first session that the undead player realized that his recruit orders were a waste compared to sending necromancers into battle against neutral units to build reanimates and capture territory at the same time.

Elves: Read the rules. Because Runewars is a difficult game to learn even WITH study, the elf player made plenty of avoidable mistakes - recruiting units in fall that then starved in winter, ignoring the 3 food hex right next to his home territory, etc.

Night 2

Night 2 began with the anticipation of a border war between the humans and undead, and I was gambling my kingdom on a winter rune pull. The undead quickly took my first city.

My MOST IMPORTANT move of the game was when, sadly, the winter season did not grant a rune. Chancing on a bluff Ifortified ans swapped a real rune for a real rune on the frontier (I had no fakes by now). Lukily, the undead player bought the ruse and did not attack that area, though I had a paltry defense.

After a few more years of struggling to keep the hordes back. The Elves tripped over 2 new recruit cards in the same spring season that grants more recruits - going from almost no units to a full army. He made the judgement that the undead player was more dangerous due to his military's appearance, and sent his Pegasus to capture a stronghold (over the mountains) near his homeworld. the undead player was forced to split his military on two fronts.

This allowed me to win the game after getting a second objective and completing it.

Lessons Learned:

1)READ THE RULES! The elf acted as kingmaker because he was not putting enough stock in the win conditions, which brings me to my next point:

2) The military game is not the be-all-end-all. Often seen said on these forums, building a mighty army is all fine and good, but its the RUNES that win the game. Because the undead did not shore up runes in other fashions, and because the elves attacked them when they should have been gunning for MY runes, this allowed me to win.

A great game and lots of fun! Looking forward to playing again with a better understanding, making a map by the rules, and with a little more tactical knowledge.
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