|Runewars | Published 24 November 2009|
Silhouette decided not to light a campfire, and to take what shelter she could in the mouth of a damp cave. The last few days had brought relentless rain, along with the nagging suspicion that she was being followed... stalked from the shadows. Tonight she would sleep lightly, with the valuable artifact safe in a leather satchel under her head. Sure enough, her fears were confirmed when a gruff and familiar voice awoke her hours later. “Rise and shine, my dear,” taunted the voice, echoing off the cave walls. “I’ll be taking that bag, if you please... and no sudden moves.” The cave was draped in darkness, but Silhouette could faintly feel Bogran’s hot breath on her face. Her old adversary was close. Under the blanket, she drew her daggers...
Welcome to the third preview for the upcoming board game of conquest, adventure, and fantasy empires, Runewars! Over the past two previews, we’ve explored the mechanics surrounding resource management and combat, while at the same time catching a glimpse at two exciting factions, the Latari Elves and the armies of Waiqar the Undying. Today’s preview will be drawing heavily on concepts established in those two articles, so if you haven’t read them yet, you should do so first.
We’ll continue our tour of the factions of Runewars with a sneak peek at the versatile Daqan Lords, and we’ll see how Objective Cards can be used as part of a viable game-winning strategy.
The Faction Sheet of the Daqan Lords. Click to Enlarge.
The noble Daqan Lords of Terrinoth were among the first to see the remarkable potential of the dragon runes, but many believe that it was their reluctance to take decisive and immediate action that has allowed Waiqar the Undying to gain the military foothold he currently possesses. Now, they are beset by enemies on all sides, including former allies, and Waiqar’s dark power grows greater by the day.
A versatile force, The Daqan Lords begin the game with two Tactic Cards and three Influence Tokens, and the setup of their resource dials allows them to quickly replenish both by playing the appropriate seasonal Order Card (check out our first preview for more on using the resource dials). To acquire even more Tactic Cards, however, put the formidable Knights into play. In addition to being of the powerful “rectangle” class of units, their special ability allows them to draw new Tactic Cards. They even have the fast ability, which lets them traverse three areas of the map, rather than the standard two!
The Knights may not get a chance to fight, however, if the quick and deadly Bowmen take out the enemy first. With their Concentrated Fire special ability, they can bring down large units with haste. The Footmen, another Daqan unit, are outstanding shock troops; their abundance on the food dial makes them relatively easy to put into play, and while they are comparable to Waiqar’s Reanimates (see our previous preview), their lower initiative rating makes them faster on the battlefield.
Finally, the massive Siege Towers boast an impressive three hit points. Their strength lies in their special ability, however; once triggered, Siege Towers essentially count as additional units when determining the winner of a battle. At the end of any battle, each combatant counts his or her remaining (alive and not routed) units, and the total is the “strength” of that army. The army with the lower total strength has been beaten, and must retreat to adjacent area, if able. But with Siege Towers in play, the Daqan Lords can easily tip this count in their favor, so enemies would be wise to target these immense structures first, if they can.
So far, we’ve seen three of the factions vying for control over the dragon runes (command of six areas containing them will grant victory), and indeed all of Mennara. Clearly, dragon runes can be claimed through conquest, by raising an army and marching on the areas held by your foes. But what other, more subtle approaches are there?
The fan-favorite heroes of the Runebound universe, including Ronan of the Wild, Verikas the Dead, and others, can embark on perilous quests in search of dragon runes, or can even duel each other for control of them; we’ll take a look at heroes, questing, and dueling in a future preview. For now, let’s focus on another path power, the Objective Cards.
Objective Cards come in two types, good and evil, and they include conditions that a player can meet in order to earn a dragon rune. Each player receives one at the beginning of the game, and under certain circumstances (the drawing of a particular seasonal event), more can be acquired. Kept secret from all opponents, these cards create an exciting level of tension and mystery. Why is your opponent seeking food, when clearly he needs wood? Why is he apparently hoarding his neutral units without using them? Why is he spreading his forces so thin in the late game? What does he know that you don’t? The paranoia created by these secret objectives adds yet another irresistible layer of strategy to the Runewars experience.
Check back throughout the next week! We have yet to preview heroes and questing, as well as the neutral units that populate Mennara and the mechanics of diplomacy necessary to claim them.
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.
OK..I give & preordered.
The game is looking very interesting with one of the best arts from Descent, Runebound and many new ones. Looking forward to this.
Thanks Shinobi. Yep, no need to import and re-export through Canada. I would bet the money saved would be eaten up pretty quickly. Thanks for the link though. Looks pretty cool.
Starlit Citadel is where I pre-ordered (saved 40$ too), I saw their link up on www.fortressat.com , they specialize in Canadian distribution so that might not be good for you.
Ugh. So this is really the quality of art you want in the game? After Twilight's, Starcraft's, and Chaos in Old World's army sheets this is really what you want to go with. Everything from the dial to the icons is just kind of floating on a background that screams "Look everyone I just discovered Adobe filters and layers". The painting on all of them is beautiful though. Sorry, but you know you could have done a better job. Maybe the art team was stressed over having to now work on too many projects at once.
I am not knocking the game play yet. I am however kind of skeptical about the fate cards. If only one icon is displayed, then that means a unit is either routing, dealing damage, or activating a special. I hope they have fate cards showing more than one symbol for a unit. Why can't my Knights deal damage AND activate Command...did they forget how to that turn in battle? Do you get to draw multiple fate cards for certain units? I hope that I am wrong in assuming my Necromancers may never be lucky enough to activate Raise Dead.
Only time will tell. I will say I love the board tiles artwork! Amazing job there. The scenery on the terrain tiles is very smooth and almost looks like water color. Well done, but the army sheets are very beginner Photoshop like in my opinion.
Where/how did you preorder?
Upon first glance of this game, I was a touch iffy. After reading the previews (specially this one) I can't wait for it to come out. It's like a kid eagerly awaiting a christmas present. I'm sure to get this the moment I can.
This will be awesome. I'm pre-ordered and waiting with baited breath. Bring on the madness.
I don't recall that at all. They said they combining elements of Runebound with Battlemist, bringing the Battlemist universe into the RB universe. I don't remember any suggestion of a continuous story between the two. Setting the two games in the same universe and making one game a sequel of the other are two very different things. Given that FFG is known for making all expansions to a given game independent of one another, I really don't see them making two entirely different game dependent in any way, shape or form.
I thought they said Runewars takes place following the events of the original Runebound storyline.
Saving money right now. First big box game for our family coming right up.
I really hope the game comes with a bit of fiction or background material. Especially anything that can define the chronology of events. I was under the impression that the Runewars were in Terrinoth's ancient history, but perhaps not, at least, not if all the heroes we know and love were active back then.
Anyway, here's hoping we get a bit of source material with the game.