SHOPPING GUIDE TO RUNEBOUND (PART 3) - Adventure Variants

SHOPPING GUIDE TO RUNEBOUND (PART 3) - Adventure Variants Hot

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Runebound adventures come in two different flavors – in a big box (covered in part 4) and in a little box. This part will look at the latter.

Adventure Variants

Crown of Elder Kings

The Scepter of Kyros

Avatars of Kelnov

Cult of the Rune

The Seven Scions

The Cataclysm

The Runebound adventure variants take the form of adventure cards which are either used in conjunction with or replace your existing adventure cards. They differ from Challenge Card expansions in that they alter both the rules and the players' ultimate goal in Runebound. The easiest way to think of them is like 'adventure modules' found in a roleplaying game, setting the scene and giving you a new quest to complete as opposed to fighting the Dragon Lords. Note that while they can mix with the other more basic expansions, Adventure Variants are never mixed with each other – you will only ever play with one at a time. They also are never mixed with the big box expansions.

Adventure variants have different card backs and are not shuffled in with your standard cards, so separating them from the main game in order to play a different adventure is very easy. Below I describe each adventure variant and note if the cards are used in addition to the cards you already have of that color or replace them.

 

The Crown of Elder Kings

9 Green cards (addition)

5 yellow cards (addition)

16 Blue cards (replace)

In this Runebound adventure each hero is a reborn Elder King, and your goal is to collect followers (called Vassals). The Blue cards are the Vassals, and each has both a house (Secrets, Blood and Hate) and a rank (Knave, Knight, Lady and Duke.) When one player collects (i.e. defeats) either 3 Vassals from a single house, or 3 of a kind of any rank, the endgame is initiated. Red cards can be used as wilds.

The player who got the 'set' is the Elder King, and the other players must defeat him or are eliminated from the game. The Elder kings gets to have up to 3 Vassals defend him though, so the other players must first battle those challenges then battle the player, becoming the new Elder King if they win. It goes without saying that being the Elder King is a massive advantage, so being the first to get a set will normally net you the win.

The blue and yellow cards deal with a subplot involving taking over the various towns.

This is a variant that focuses on Player vs Player conflict, so if you don't like attacking other players you are best off looking elsewhere. On the other hand if you enjoy the added interaction PvP brings and lament the fact the base game doesn't really encourage it, this is the adventure for you. This adventure works really well with the Class Decks.

 

The Scepter of Kyros

6 Green cards (addition)

6 yellow cards (addition)

18 Blue cards (replace)

Red cards are not used.

In this Runebound adventure, terrible giant lords are descending from the north, threatening to conquer Terrinoth one city at a time. The Blue cards are the Giant Lords and are worth victory points, which players collect in order to win the game. The Giant Lords are very tough for blue encounters, and things get worse once 8 are killed – at this point in time the several surviving Giant Lords take over a town each, and the heroes must journey to each town to liberate it. Giant Lords that have taken over towns gain additional experience counters just like heroes do (based on how many market cards are in that towns stack) and may even use the items found in that stack! Once all of the towns have been liberated, the game ends and the hero with the most VP is the winner.

The blue and yellow cards are alternative Events and Encounters.

This adventure is of similar difficulty to that found in the base game, but the ending with the Giant Lords gaining additional stats and item usage makes the game more unpredictable and forces heroes to be more flexible in their approach.

 

Avatars of Kelnov

7 Green cards (addition)

7 yellow cards (addition)

6 Blue cards (addition)

10 Red cards(replace)

In this Runebound adventure powerful gods that were once banished from the land have returned, bringing war in their wake. The heroes must either defeat All-Father Kelnov or 3 Avatars (red cards) to win the game.

The blue and yellow cards are alternative Events and Encounters.

You have no doubt noticed that this is a very similar goal to that found in the base game, and indeed somewhat disappointingly this adventure variant doesn't add any new rules at all (though the cards found in it are generally tougher.). An expansion for those who are tired of fighting the Dragon Lords and want a tougher challenge without adding any additional spice to their game.

 

Cult of the Rune

8 Green cards (addition)

8 yellow cards (addition)

7 Blue cards (addition)

7 Red cards(replace)

4 cardboard tokens

This Runebound adventure pits the heroes against a strange, rune worshiping cult that travels the land corrupting all it reaches. The cards in this expansion are all rune cultists, whom the heroes must defeat. Each card is worth victory points, and the player with the most victory points by the end is the winner.

The 'cult' itself is represented by a token which wanders around the board according to a basic movement system, moving at the end of each players turn. As the cult comes into contact with either towns or adventure jewels, it corrupts them. Corrupted adventure jewels become rune cultists, while corrupted towns cause heroes how are revived in them after being knocked out to have reduced stats. A hero who comes into contact with the cult is also corrupted (suffering reduced stats).

There are no Events or Encounters in this variant, rather when an encounter is drawn the cult makes additional movements and when an Event is drawn the cult performs a ritual corrupting all elements within a certain radius.

The game sort of plays like a shadowing game, where the heroes are tracking the cult in order to be the first to get to and battle rune cultists, but must do so without getting too close to the cult for fear of being corrupted. It's an odd expansion whose game play can oddly stall sometimes, but requires a different approach and tactics to that of the main game and can be a blast when it comes together. Recommended for those who want a different Runebound experience at a small price.

 

The Seven Scions

6 Green cards (addition)

6 yellow cards (addition)

6 Blue cards (addition)

6 Storm Lord Cards

6 Scion Cards

12 Adventure Jewels (3 of each color)

Red cards are not used.

This adventure involves a great storm coming in on the horizon consuming all in its path (shades of The Never Ending Story?), which the players must stop by defeat the Storm Lords that lie at its heart to save the world. Note that this expansion includes a co-op variant so if you want to try playing against the game this is a good choice.

This adventure comes with a built in timer – one that works much better than the doom track found in the variants section of the base game. During the game the heroes will level up and equip their heroes as normal until the timer runs out, at which point they will battle the Storm Lords. The hero who kills the most wins the game. The timer is quite ferocious and brings the end game on rather quickly, so those looking for a shorter game will love this expansion.

As the time runs down "Storm events" occur at regular intervals, be they horrid heralds of the storm that must be defeated or Acidic Fog which threatens to burn your skin. Interestingly the heroes all fight these Storm Events together, so the heroes will be forced to help each other out and certain points in the game.

Between the strict time limit, the storm events, and the powerful endgame Storm Lords the heroes may feel overwhelmed, but luckily they can get aid from the Six Scions sleeping throughout the land (The 7th is a storyline spoiler.)  These scions can help the adventurers in 2 ways; while asleep the hero can call the scion for help and be granted a temporary bonus, such as The Archer increasing your ranged attack or The Protector shielding you from wounds. Alternatively the heroes can try and awaken a Scion, which involves meeting certain pre conditions such as defeating The Barbarian in battle, succeeding at a Diplomacy test for the Crusader or being the weakest player and near death for The Protector. If the hero manages to awaken a Scion then they become a very powerful ally for you, and are practically a necessity for defeating the Storm Lords.

A very flavorsome yet difficult to beat adventure, recommended for those wanting a tougher challenge, faster game or the opportunity to play co-op.

 

The Cataclysm

6 Curse of Ashen Flock cards

6 Curse of Demon Horde cards

6 Curse of Frenzied Rage cards

6 Curse of Savage Brood cards

6 Curse of Winter Lord cards

8 comment tokens.

All adventure cards are used as normal except for Red cards which are not used.

In this Runebound adventure a strange comment has fallen from the sky and smashed some towns to smithereens while placing curses on others. Each town that is cursed has 6 different curse effects on it, ranging between 3 levels of difficulty. These curse effects are basically quests you take on, with level one quests being a series of tests and maybe a fight, the second level quests having you explore the board and maybe pick up or deliver something (taking several turns to complete), and the level 3 quests being a battle with the big bad who is the cause of the towns curse.

These cards are very thematic and tell a little story; for example one curse involves a town becoming frozen, so the quests involving that curse has players attempting to scale the frozen wall of ice surrounding the town, tunneling through to it, fighting an ice giant and his polar bear friend who is guarding the entrance, searching around the board for a 'summer seed' to restore the town, rescuing a Dawn Goddess who can also free the town, and finally taking on the Winter Lord who cause the town to freeze.

Beating these quests earns you bonuses and victory points, with the ultimate goal being to be the player who reaches a set number of victory points first.

An interesting rule change in this variant is that because the towns are all cursed, heroes have to look for little refugee camps to purchase goods and healing. This is done by assigning movement dice to seeking out such camps instead of using them for movement, and rolling them to see if you locate a camp.

Recommended for those who feel enjoy going on quests and like story in their games.

 

For more information on other Runebound expansions:

SHOPPING GUIDE TO RUNEBOUND (PART 1) - The Basic Expansions  - Part 1 deals with the basic expansions

SHOPPING GUIDE TO RUNEBOUND (PART 2) - Miscellaneous - Part 2 deals with Miscellaneous – or unusual – expansions.

SHOPPING GUIDE TO RUNEBOUND (PART 4) - Big Boxed Expansions - Part 4 deals with the Big Boxed expansions.

SHOPPING GUIDE TO RUNEBOUND (PART 3) - Adventure Variants There Will Be Games
For more information, reviews and articles on Runebound: Second Edition click here
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