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Runebound: The Island of Dread» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Isle Of Dread review rss

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Andy Hunsucker
United States
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This review is based on one play with the full Isle of dread expansion, and one play of the base Runebound with the 8 new characters.

In this expansion you recieve a good amount of new market cards, most of which are very helpful in the game, consisting mostly of weapons and armor, but none of them so specific that they could only be played with this expansion. I had no hesitation shuffling them into my permanent market deck after looking through them.

The 8 extra characters you recieve are also worthwhile. They are different enough from the original characters that none feel like duplications of the originals, and most have good enough balance between their stats and special ability that they will all eventually be used.

The gameplay isn't too terribly different. The game seems a bit more complicated and definitely more fiddly. Case in point: the Captain deck. To go from island to island in the Isle of Dread, you have to hire a captain. At the beginning of the game, each market stack gets a captain. However, the rules state that there can't be more than 1 captain in any market stack. So at the end of your turn, you have to do a bit of housekeeping after looking at two captains, or possibly bringing one into town with you, a potential 3 captains involved. It got a little confusing.

The new adventure cards seem to give a bit more gold than the original Runebound. The green and yellow decks weren't too difficult, but the blue seafaring deck was wildly divergent in difficulty. Some were about as hard as green adventures, but others were about as hard as red adventures. These usually gave the option of a free escape, which was welcome against these unexpectedly difficult challenges. The red adventure deck was about as hard as the blue challenges from the original.

The map counters as rewards didn't work that well. The supply of map counters seemed unusually limited, and forced players to poach map counters from others. The legendary items you could turn in map counters for seemed underpowered, especially since they were all one use items.

The Isle of Dread silver adventure cards were definitely tough, but one player was able to take out the main bad guy with just one ally, and a few items. This game definitely focuses more on item buying than the other games. You must have good items to succeed.

Overall, a worthy expansion. I think the extra characters and item deck would probably be worth a separate purchase. I can see us playing this expansion once out of every 4 or 5 times we pull out Runebound, but not any more often.
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