|Runewars | Published 06 November 2009|
Pico’s ears perked up, then he chattered noisily and scurried behind a nearby bush. “What is it old friend? What do you hear?” muttered Ronan as he hastily smothered the campfire he had lit the night before. Pico had already disappeared into the undergrowth when his master heard it... a great rumbling from above. Rushing beneath the cover of a nearby tree, Ronan of the Wild squinted toward the eastern sky, where like a great black cloud, a massive flock of razorwings began to block out the dim morning light. Filling the air with piercing shrieks and the beating of a thousand wings, the vile demons flew westward. “Come, Pico,” commanded Ronan sharply. “We must hurry; the Elves must be warned...”
Welcome to the first preview for Runewars, the upcoming epic board game of conquest, adventure, and fantasy empires! Today, we’ll take a look at the one of the exciting factions in Runewars, and we’ll explore some of the mechanics that make each faction unique.
We’ll begin our tour of the factions of Runewars with a look at the enigmatic Latari Elves. These forest-dwellers are from an ancient society, and their countless generations of experience and influence give them the edge in diplomatic situations. Their military might is not to be trifled with, however. Keen hunters possessing an uncanny oneness with nature, their innumerable Archers are renowned throughout all of Mennara... and in combat, their armies move with a wind-like swiftness.
To understand the unique personality of this faction (and indeed all four of them), we need to see how a Runewars Faction Sheet breaks down.
A Faction Sheet for the Latari Elves. Click the above image to enlarge.
The Latari Elves are a “Good” aligned faction, as indicated by the icon in the lower left corner of the above Faction Sheet, meaning that heroes that share this alignment are more likely to stay loyal (we’ll see more on the heroes of Terrinoth in a future preview). Just to the right of that information, you’ll see two more icons accompanied by numbers. These are the number of Tactics Cards and Influence Tokens that the faction begins the game with.
A peaceful people, the Latari Elves were caught unaware by the vile forces of Waiqar the Undying, and only reluctantly took up arms to defend their age-old way of life. That being the case, they begin the game with only one Tactic Card, the cards that offer surprising and powerful maneuvers in battle. Their ancient ties to the realm, however, give them formidable influence over its people and politics, so they begin the game with four Influence Tokens. These tokens act as a currency in several diplomatic situations, from adding neutral armies to your own forces, to claiming powerful political titles that can help you acquire Dragon Runes and win the game!
But how do you acquire more Tactic Cards and Influence Tokens as the game progresses? It is chiefly a matter of adeptly managing the dials on your Faction Sheet, which means controlling resource rich areas and harvesting those areas (through the use of Order Cards, which we’ll detail in a future preview) at opportune times.
As you spread your armies across the map, you’ll take over areas that entitle you to claim more of Runewars’ three resources: food, wood, and ore. Let’s take a closer look at the food dial from the above Faction Sheet.
The Latari Elves' food dial. By playing an "Acquire Power" Order Card as his seasonal order, this player could gain one Influence Token from this dial. Similarly, he could gain one Warrior unit by playing a "Recruit" Order Card. In either case, the dial remains unmoved unless a "Harvest" Order Card raises or lowers it.
The Latari Elves begin the game with two food, three wood, and two ore, meaning that their respective dials start out pointing at these numbers. Part of what gives each faction a unique play style, therefore, is the ease with which they can gather certain units, as well as Tactic Cards and Influence Tokens. With only two food icons controlled, the Latari Elves can claim one Influence Token whenever they execute the applicable Order Card. And if you look at their wood dial, you’ll see that they can quickly establish a sizable force of Archers, as long as they control enough wood-providing areas. When you play a "Recruit" Order Card, you may claim all units at or below the chosen resource's dial. In other words, the Elves may recruit two Archers based solely on the three wood they begin with!
Two resource rich areas, highlighting the resources they hold (the southern one provides three food and the northern one provides two ore). By controlling these areas and playing a "Harvest" Order Card, a player may readjust his resource dials to include his newfound wealth.
Finally, take a look at the right side of the Latari Elves’ Faction Sheet, which provides details on their available units. The number at the far right gives the Initiative rating of the unit to its left, so an Archer has an Initiative of one, while a Warrior has an Initiative of four. Other factions may have slower, more powerful units that occupy the “5” space of the Initiative track, but the Elves’ are generally quicker (though perhaps less robust) in combat, and this contrast is masterfully represented through this initiative mechanic. We’ll take a closer look at initiative and combat in a future preview, however.
Each unit also has its own special abilities, and they are indicated here. The Pegasus Rider’s Flying ability lets it soar over mountains and rivers that are impassible to other armies, and its Fast ability lets it traverse three areas in a single move.
All of this adds up to create a unique, immersive, and well-balanced experience for a player selecting the Latari Elves. This faction can grow its armies quickly through both diplomacy and judicious resource management, but they should strike early, or risk facing the formidable late-game units of their opponents.
Check back regularly; in our next preview we’ll look at one of the evil factions, and we’ll see the specific mechanics behind Runewars’ innovative card-based combat system!
Runewars is an epic board game of conquest, adventure, and fantasy empires. Two to four players raise armies, gather resources, and race to collect the elusive and powerful dragon runes in the high-fantasy universe of Runebound.
Sounds Sweet, Maybe we will review it on Board To Death TV.
I can't not buy this monster. It's just too damned cool. Cory K, and FFG, thank-you.
You know that my wife is forming a very dislike to FFG. Another game that sounds very very interesting
Can't wait . . . . must . . . have . . . game . . .
This looks really nice! Promising mecanics and just stunning artwork. It looks like we got a winner here! Show us the minis!
This has looked like a huge potential hit since the day it was announced. Cannot wait to get it!!
Great artwork, wonderful sounding game. This has the makings of a real classic. I'm glad FFG feel they are in a position to create something this large and rich, with such lavish production.
Same here. Great artwork. Interesting mechanics. Poor wallet of mine...
This game looks really promising. Resource management, building armies, and interesting mechanics. I can't wait to get to know something more about it.
With one preview this went from "looks interesting" to "looks great."
The artwork looks amazing.