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Flashback Friday - Runewars

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Game Information

Game Name
There Will Be Games

Love it or hate it? Do you still play it?

In 2010 Michael Barns wrote in his review of Runewars:

"Runewars is, as many of us know by now, a pretty great game. I like it a lot, and after owning it for about a month I still want to play it week in and week out, which is a good sign. I think it's got legs, and I think over time its stature will grow with expansions."

What do you think? Is it pretty great? Did it have legs? 

There Will Be Games runewars

Shellie "ubarose" Rose  (She/Her)
Managing Editor & Web Admin

Plays boardgames. Drinks bourbon. Writes code.

Articles by Shellie


Shellie "ubarose" Rose
Managing Editor & Web Admin

Articles by Shellie


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mads b.'s Avatar
mads b. replied the topic: #294734 29 Mar 2019 10:54
I still have the game, but haven't played it in years. It's just the kind of game that doesn't go particularly well with having three kids, a job and whatnot.

But we still *talk* about playing it on a regular basis. Specifically we talk about removing the adventuring part of the game to speed it up. While it's a cool concept, it didn't add a lot to the game. The rest of the game, on the other hand, is very good. Or rather, the seasons system where the order in which you resolve order cards impact how well they work and the recruting are genius systems. The build system speed things up immensly while still allowing you to customize your army, while the order system gives the game a dramaturgical backbone.
Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #294736 29 Mar 2019 11:17
Order and build system are still best in show to me but I don't play these games more generally. The heroes portion was, understandably, misunderstood. It's sort of an elaborate VP trickled introduction system with some choices, not an adventure game
jpat's Avatar
jpat replied the topic: #294738 29 Mar 2019 11:43
It's been a couple of years since I've played it, but I still find it to be a very good game and would happily play again. FFG did a nice job of revising the game midcourse while making it possible, even pretty easy, for original-printing coffin-box owners to play, and without an upgrade, though there's still some overwriting of card text and expansion content. I'm not sure we've ever played with the full array of stuff from the base and Banners of War, but maybe that's a goal for 2019. I actually like the card combat here, and, as noted, the resource collection aspect is brilliantly done. The orders system, a sort of modified AGoT approach, is also well executed. I wish FFG had either stayed with the vacuform mountains through the expansion or, better yet, never included them in the original box, because the inconsistency is annoying and the mountains kinda suck anyway.
Shellhead's Avatar
Shellhead replied the topic: #294744 29 Mar 2019 14:01
I played Runewars once with Delobius of F:AT and a couple other people. He loves the complex, longish DoaM games more than most gamers. This one fell a bit flat. There was a lot to keep track of, and yet the layout of the board made choices seem fairly limited on any given turn. This combination seemed to reduce the fun level.
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #294745 29 Mar 2019 14:16
I still own it and probably always will, but haven't put it on the table in a long time. It's a lengthy wargame, which is virtually outlawed by some members of our group, and leads others to ask why we're playing Runewars instead of something like Here I Stand or TI3. Like others, I love the resource and season systems and find the adventurers aspect to be kind of superfluous... except when someone has turtled the whole game on top of a couple runes and then suddenly scores a couple with adventurers. Runewars seems to be one of those games that is almost predetermined by the nature of the group. Unlike many DoaMs, it can reward aggression, but only if most or all of the people in the group are going to be aggressive. But the nature of the map can also significantly reward turtling, letting someone camp out in a bottleneck that's generally unimpeachable unless someone draws the right card, which encourages others to also turtle if they're inclined to do so. I think Corey was just off the mark on a couple things in this one, which makes it still a great game, but those flaws are obvious enough to most players to make them want to play something else, if they're willing to play a 4-hour DoaM.
Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #294747 29 Mar 2019 14:30
I can see how the bottleneck could do it. But I do think turtling is put off a little bit by the requirement that each rune take up a whole space. You'd have had to expand a little bit simply to hold enough runes to win in your territory. But I haven't played in a while.
Sevej's Avatar
Sevej replied the topic: #294774 29 Mar 2019 22:00
Really want to play it. I have a fully painted set.
southernman's Avatar
southernman replied the topic: #294778 30 Mar 2019 07:26
Owned it for years and love the beast, played it just last month. As has been mentioned the card order system is brilliant while the combat system with iniative ranks and the cards for specials, wounds and routes is pretty neat (I reckon the card combat systems in this Middle Earth Quest and Horous Heresy evolved into the great combat mechanic in Forbidden Stars).
I have the Banners of War expansion (which the new edition includes a lot of rules from) so that gives the Hero questing more meat, where it both lets you take sneaky looks at runes across the board as well as collecting them as rewards, and offers a few more variants to provide variety.
Yes it's a long game, espcially when you're a fighty group like us, so probably take a year off the end of game.
And lovely little minis for a board game.
Da Bid Dabid's Avatar
Da Bid Dabid replied the topic: #294784 30 Mar 2019 21:05
I played for the first time ever with Jackwraith (apparently when he still had a group that would play good long games!) and bought the game and expansion right after. I was totally blown away by the resource collection, order, and build systems, which I would agree as many have said before they are still best in class. I also really like how the units stack up and resolve combat, but do miss rolling dice. Also, I wish there was an orc faction cause I like orcs.

When we play this game type of game I'd rather play this than TI if only 3 or 4 people show up, but it loses out to Chaos in the Old World or Cthulhu Wars if we have 4 players. So a small window.

Also the 1st edition mountains are fucking awesome, you are wrong if you don't think so.
Toenail21's Avatar
Toenail21 replied the topic: #295420 12 Apr 2019 18:10
I loveeeeeee this game so much, glad to see people are still talking about it. It's easily one of the best, if you have a day.