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Runebound: The Scepter of Kyros» Forums » Variants

Subject: Scepter of Kyros: Rolling Invasion (with Doom Track) rss

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G Williams
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Having played a few sessions of Runebound with the expansion pack, Scepter of Kyros, our group found ourselves feeling mixed about its gameplay. While we preferred the scoring and more dynamic nature of the endgame to the base game and the fact that it allowed ALL the players to take part in the endgame unlike the original endgame scenario, which favors only the highest level character, we found that it lacked some degree of tension. You could potentially build your characters into unbeatable powerhouses despite the fact that the land is supposed to be under the threat of invasion. Basically, we missed the motivating factor of the Doom Track and the tension it creates.

Thus, we have developed a Rolling Invasion end game that seems to work well, adding that tension factor back in and making the game more challenging overall.

Here's how it works:

We include the Doom Track in the game and follow its basic mechanics just as you would with the Magrath scenario.

However, instead of adding doom counter tokens at the bottom of the town market stacks we begin at the top at Frostgate. With each token added, one giant is placed in the town that receives a token, occupying it per the Scepter end game rules. When the second token comes out, a second giant invades the next town, and so on until potentially the entire land may be overrun by giants if the doom track fully fills up.

The object of the game then is to prevent all of the towns from becoming occupied. If they do, the players lose the game. To win, the players must free all occupied cities on the board. The players win when all towns on the board are unoccupied. In order to prevent cheap, easy wins--for example if a giant were to occupy Frostgate and a player simply purchasing an Alchemist Flash Bomb and killed it off and thus ending the game--we require that at least X amount of giants must be killed before the invasion is put to a halt (we follow the original game's suggestion of amount of players +1).

If a giant is defeated in any occupied towns, the doom token is also defeated and removed and the town is free. Although if another set of cards calls for a doom token to be added later, in which case the city would once again be invaded. Thus, the endgame invasion does not begin with the defeat of 8 giants; the whole game is a constantly growing invasion that slowly advances across the board, limiting player access to towns and encouraging them to level up quickly to battle off an ongoing invasion. Players battle the doom track, which can move up and down (as tokens are added and subtracted from towns and possibly readded). One victory, while satifying, may be overturned if another set of cards causes another doom token placement, so there is a real sense of struggle and warfare.

As noted, the result of this scenario is an ongoing war with giants, and the doom counters make it tense as does the dwindling supplies available to heroes. While this scenario may seem insurmountable on the face of it since doom counters that are defeated may return to play if the doom track reaches its completion again, the game is really well balanced for this eventuality because, as more players level up and begin fighting only blue encounters the doom track is slowed, since these are cards you keep in your hand and are not discarded. This allows the possiblity of the players stemming the tide of the invasion--generally this begins to occur in a 4 player game around the time that the 5th or 6th doom token is added, so the game feels tense but is definitely not an impossible situation (the dragon rune event that endows the players with dragon runes is a real turning point in the war usually allowing for the first challenges of the town occupations).

If you enjoy the concept of Scepter but find the endgame a little too easy due to its lack of a sense of impending doom, you might want to give this variant a try. It produces a real sense of an invading army, which seems to be very much in the spirit of the scenario.

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