I wanted to post my impressions of the new Banners of War content. There’s so much new stuff; we haven’t tried it all yet. Here’s what I think so far:
New Tactics/Season/Heroes/Rewards/Objectives/Map Tiles/Quests – Lots of fun new stuff. The extra variety in the seasons is really welcome, especially in the late stages of the game when you used to have a good idea what was left. The new quests are particularly great because they are a bit more layered and varied than “tagging up” at a particular tile.
Lost City – The rules make this seem a bit more complicated than it is. I like how tough some of the associated quests are. High risk, high reward.
New Units – The new units complement the old ones very nicely. The Roc is so sweet! The unit previews didn’t really do them justice because they really shine with the new development upgrades.
Garrison Order – This order seems useful if you’re playing Road to Victory and you’re trying to seal the deal. We haven’t seen it used too much yet.
Guildmaster of Merchants – It’s cool to get another early game title like Primarch of the Wizard’s Council. My group always fought over that one for the first chunk of the game. Now I feel like I’d be willing to commit more influence to holding this or PotWC since that “steal the title” tactics card has more other targets early game.
Desolation/Cryomancy – Still figuring these out. Uthuk had their desolation development backfire pretty heavily in one game.
Developments - My favorite new addition. It’s really fun to decide which parts of the army to “level up”. I love that your development choices may vary depending on each match’s circumstances. Some certainly seem stronger than others.
Commanders – It’s a fun new addition that doesn’t really slow down the game at all. Some of the combos with unit abilities look devastating! For instance, Frost Wyrms attacking first round is scary.
The New Cities – This is probably my least favorite so far, but I want to play some more with it. Some of the new cities have dragon runes, so you need seven to win with this variant. I didn’t like the extra game length, but obviously that is personal preference. (Epic is too big for me too). The random nature of this could really throw off balance. We had one where the only city with a rune token was right off of Waiqar’s home realm. The other players ganged up on him to offset the advantage, but I wouldn’t suggest using this in a 1 v 1.
Road to Victory – I’m excited about this because the one tiny thing I don’t like about RW is the sudden surprise win. I like the idea of having to hunker down against everyone. We play with 4 players, so it will be tough to pull this off. Haven’t played it yet though.
Exploration Tokens – I like exploration tokens so I was excited to see new ones. Flooded areas are huge. It really imperils your hero and changes the landscape of the board. You could make a pretty gruesome fortress if you built a stronghold in the winter here (garrisoned with flyers so they can attack at any time). Defensible area is nice to have, but not too exciting.
What does everyone else think?
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I like that FFG kept everything that Runewars is loved for, and eliminated those few itchy things which occured in almost every game. For example 'ambush win' when everyone is on the brink of ending the game. Gigantic armies are ready to be unleashed, and most players have at least 7 rune tokens... one of them uses seventh order, acquire captain of the heroes league title, discards three rewards and... it is done, the game ends here. I love this game but this kind of situation left bad taste in the mouth. Now it is impossible, FFG obliterated everything that haters were complaining at.
Winning the game looks different and it's harder to obtain it.
We have much more options (and there were plenty of them in the core game - now ther are loads of options more)
Heroes can lead armies to victories. (we played using some home rules until now)
Harvest order is actually must haveeach year now where once it was early stage x1 + middle stage x1.
We have four titles and two of them are early stage 'foght like mad to have one'
Game mechanics looks the same, but everything (elves & food, harvest, some tactics cards) everything that was little bit unballanced is now boosted through toadly new stuff. For example elves may start by early developing a card which will give'em one resource per season per hex conquered. Bye, bye food problems.
Most important thing is that there are fate tactics cards and now you can influence combat a bit more... you can be literally sure of some things:)
Only thing that im not happy with is the quality of miniatures and gameboard parts.
Miniatures have molds - much more than base game ones.
Colors do not match.
Gameboard pieces are matt, where base game pieces where little bit shiny - satin etc...
Maybe it my copy of the game, but i had a big slash through the middle of one sprue. (with 4hex gameboard piece - just through the middle of this piece), it looked like someone used eraser on it... :(
All in all - cool expansion. It is 00.38 in Poland right now and im going to play again in less than ten hours so just cannot wait:)
PS: I would gladly see some new neutral units and two new races in the nex one:)
Glad to hear praise for the expansion - I've been considering buying it but was unsure of the benefit (just got the base game and played through our first session). Of all the improvements, the ones that shore up race weaknesses and options to prevent sneak wins are definately on top. I like sneak wins - no surprise since that's how I won our first game - but having options that reduce the surprise (or at least increase the epicness of it as they defend their spoils) sounds great.
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