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Is Runebound Good on it's own? And how good is it, party and solo?


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#1 grim_reaper_zig

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 04:29 PM

 I've known of Runebound for many a day now (probrablly a years now)) and I haven't picked it up. I have talisman, and love that game more than any other boardgame, and every time I wanted to pick up Runebound for a more mature, less random game I always remembered I had Descent to play with, which has the same characters, I can level up, and was a more in depth game to play with friends who wanted a serious adventure (although theres nothing wrong with the crazyness of talisman). I recently picked up Dungeonquest on a whim, and love that game, despite how many times it' killed me. but I noticed it came with Runebound cards, and that nagging urge to buy it came back. 

 

 My main concerns are: Is it fun solo? Is it good for playing with a party of friends? Is it good enough without expansions as I don't want to spend to much on it, and finally, does it fulfill a role that Descent (true dungeon crawl),  talisman (fun crazy adventure), and Dungeonquest (a hybrid of talisman and descent) don't fulfill already?

 



#2 The_Warlock

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 08:15 PM

grim_reaper_zig said:

 My main concerns are: Is it fun solo? Is it good for playing with a party of friends? Is it good enough without expansions as I don't want to spend to much on it, and finally, does it fulfill a role that Descent (true dungeon crawl),  talisman (fun crazy adventure), and Dungeonquest (a hybrid of talisman and descent) don't fulfill already?

Hello,

Runebound is not my favourite hit on the table because:

1) it's quite long unless you don't play with 2-3

2) it has a longer turn dynamic with less interaction between heroes

3) I most often win this game, I think I've about a 16 games out of 20 winning score (same 3-4 players every time)

But it's a great game indeed, I like to play it here and there, not as often as the games you mention (which I also own).

It is a fun solo game, if you use the Doom Track or alternative means to give you a limited time to win the game. Without this, your Hero will eventually win the game since improvement in solo game can be endless. I played a lot of games solo to learn the balances and timings behind the game and this perhaps gives me an edge while playing with others; when you know Items & Allies, Basic Challenges, movement issues and how the difficulty progresses throughout the game, your gameplay becomes significantly better and you'll never complain very much about luck.

It is good to play with friends, but I recommend max 4 players. 5-6 player games tend to be overlong and boring, since you wait 4 turns before playing and a Turn usually takes 5 to 15 minutes, depending on player experience and action opportunities. Usually it requires more time than Talisman (even though an experienced player can claim victory when affordable and knows that he has only advantages in trying to win) and surely less time than Descent.

The base game is good enough for the first 7 maybe 10 games, but after that you need something fresh. Don't worry, since the Runebound expansions are usually card based expansions that change the setting and the adventure of the base game, or add additional stuff to the Market. Although not every expansion is to be found on sale now, there are still lots of them to choose and the Essentials Box looks like a cheap and valid choice. Big box expansions bring the adventure on a different map with lots of new rules depending on the setting/environment. I recommend those expansions only if you like the base game a lot and want a radical change.

The mechanics have nothing to do with above mentioned games. Talisman is an old style game and nothing of it is to be found in Runebound (no cheap PvP, no random movement, no random draws, no random object acquiring; there's still a degree of randomness but it's very limited in comparison). With Descent and Dungeonquest, the only thing in common is the Terrinoth setting, so be prepared to learn a completely different set of rules. I think Runebound perfectly fills the gap: it's quite a strategic game, despite being a lot more realistic than Descent (which is a 100% strategic dungeon combat game) and has a story/adventure flare that other FFG titles don't have. If you're an English-speaker you'll appreciate flavour text more than me and my fellows.

Hope this helps you in your choice!



#3 Dam

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 10:19 PM

The_Warlock said:

 

The mechanics have nothing to do with above mentioned games. Talisman is an old style game and nothing of it is to be found in Runebound (no cheap PvP, no random movement, no random draws, no random object acquiring; there's still a degree of randomness but it's very limited in comparison).

 

While I'm a fan of both games, disagree with the above. No random movement? Umm, RB uses movement dice, Talisman movement die, after rolling in both games you make your movement choices, but it's still random. No random draws? Talisman has an Adventure card deck that is shuffled before each game, RB has Challenge card decks that are shuffled before each game. You draw a random card in both. Random object acquiring through encounters isn't even true, although it's much more common in Talisman, but town items are dealt at random again, even if after setup they are open info to all.

www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/602459/why-talisman-is-better-than-runebound


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#4 The_Warlock

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 11:11 PM

Dam said:

 

The_Warlock said:

 

The mechanics have nothing to do with above mentioned games. Talisman is an old style game and nothing of it is to be found in Runebound (no cheap PvP, no random movement, no random draws, no random object acquiring; there's still a degree of randomness but it's very limited in comparison).

 

While I'm a fan of both games, disagree with the above. No random movement? Umm, RB uses movement dice, Talisman movement die, after rolling in both games you make your movement choices, but it's still random. No random draws? Talisman has an Adventure card deck that is shuffled before each game, RB has Challenge card decks that are shuffled before each game. You draw a random card in both. Random object acquiring through encounters isn't even true, although it's much more common in Talisman, but town items are dealt at random again, even if after setup they are open info to all.

www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/602459/why-talisman-is-better-than-runebound

 

 

Well, I might correct the abote statement into:

"even with a certain degree of randomness, which is in any case far less than Talisman's, Runebound allows a player with experience to fully control his game".

The randomness of Challenge draws has nothing to do with drawing from the Talisman Adventure deck: you draw Challenges of the chosen level and if you know them you know what to expect

The randomness of movement is fairly compensated by multiple choices and carefully planning of your future moves; it's not like "I have to roll exactly a 3 on a D& to get there, otherwise I look if I possibly draw a card and see". Still Talisman requires planning, but the chances to see your plans foiled by luck is ten times bigger than in Runebound.

The randomness of Market draws has no effect, since you have to plan your movement in order to reach the Town with the stuff you need and have the right amount of Gold for that time. In Talisman you draw and wait, there are few places were you can surely acquire powerful items.

As for the quoted review, this is what I might have written after my first 4 games of Runebound with 5-6 players, where I was annoyed and bored with Runebound. After getting your grasp of the game, you'll see that almost everything this review says about the game mechanics is wrong. However, I consider Talisman to be a better and funnier game than Runebound. I don't think you need to criticize point by point the rules, the setting and the gameplay to understand this, especially when you do this without having fully understood how this game works. I don't think you'll be bored of it if you know how to surely win!

Strategy in Talisman looks utopian to me:I have a wide list of games that I played perfectly with a decent amount of luck and lost because someone drew the right card the Turn BEFORE I could score my victory. Strategy in Runebound, on the contrary, works fine and can't be easily (let's say "irritatingly") disrupted like that.



#5 grim_reaper_zig

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 06:03 AM

 So it seem's like Runebound is great fun, just don't have to many friends playing it, correct? And after that article on how talisman is better than runebound I'm starting to get doubts again...



#6 ArachneJericho

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 06:25 PM

They're different game experiences. Neither is, objectively speaking, better than the other; but people definitely have preferences for one or the other.

Downtime is worse in Runebound because turns are more involved, but at the same time, that's what makes the game fun to play with just a few people or solo to me: there's more texture going on in terms of play. Talisman feels a bit too light for my preferences, and Runebound a bit heavier; I tend to prefer Return of the Heroes for something inbetween.

Runebound's expansions tend to be a lot more varied than Talisman expansions in terms of gameplay changes. The Sands of Al-Kalim was a particularly novel expansion, and both big box and little card deck expansions can add different scenarios rather than just more cards (although there are expansion packs that simply do that as well).

I've played Runebound solo with house rules and without, particularly with respect to the ever-expanding marketplace deck (splitting it in terms of item type helps a lot). I enjoy it, but again, it's because I don't enjoy the lightness Talisman or Talisman-style games (like Prophecy). But if you do enjoy that very much, then Runebound may not be ideal for you—or maybe it would be, depending on how much of a change you want in playing style. They're pretty much night and day in terms of the adventuring game genre.



#7 JCHendee

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 03:23 AM

@Grim_Reaper

I think everyone has covered different views on the major details quite well.  But comparing RB to Talisman is a bit off the mark; mechanics aren't as much the issue to me as the elements of story (not truly story) that can come up. RB is superior by strides. If you are at all into that now and then, aside from also enjoying Talisman's frivolous fun, then RB is a safe bet.

I play both, and though I have no direct experience with Descent, I've learned a lot about it from others.  If you are in the mood for a fast, traditional board game style play with a Fantasy veneer and lots of room for just a good gathering night with friends, then Talisman is the game for the night.  If you're into serious adventuring with something of an RPG/Story foundation where the characters can continue from one "story" to the next, then definitely Descent. If you need something between the two, perhaps for kicking back a bit from RPG or ramping up a little for players who want more and/or don't RPG, then Runebound is on the mark.  And overall, RB plays better than Talsiman in solo... much better!

Range of games in the fantasy realm is not a bad thing. And indeed, the big box expansions change the RB's focus in interesting ways. (My wife is not an RPGer but loves the light touch of story in RB... and is making me nuts by preferring the Sands of Al-Kalim expansion most of the time with its "quests" motif.)  LIke me, she's a twenty-year vet of Talisman (on and off), and she now likes RB better (we discovered it only about a year ago). There are also plenty of small box expansions to help with adding a bit of the unexpected once you get familiar with the standard decks. 

Games are now truly a decision to make concerning their cost, but even if you want to just check it out solo, RB won't hurt you for the price. From things you've mentioned, chances are good that you'll at least like it now and then if not become an avid fan.  So go ahead and invest in adding another intermediate part of your range of fantasy games.

And what others might call down time, me and mine call enjoying other people's (character's) stories along the way. And its not half as bad as some imply once you get the hang of processing the turn mechanics so they fade into the background.  I'm sure you know what I mean, having experienced it in Descent.



#8 grim_reaper_zig

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 04:18 PM

 It's final. I have bought the game, and am awaiting my package (which is to come by friday). I think the biggest selling points to me were that it's in between talisman and descent, cause sometimes I want a less complicated game than descent, but on an overworld like talisman. And after reading a few session reports about this game, it definetly looks fun, and I love the events that actually narrate the story. 

I've been looking at expansions and the biggest ones i'm interested in are Frozen wastes (Ice themes are the best in my opinion), Cult of the rune, and the catyclysm looks like a great story could be made from it. Care to give insight to these expansions? any others I would like based on my choices?

 

  Oh, and thanks everyone for the indepth looks at runebound, you've probrally got another fellow runebound player.



#9 JCHendee

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 12:28 PM

Very good, and hope you enjoy it. If you run into frustrations, drop back here and some veteran can make suggestions or corrections to help you out.



#10 Grove12345

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 02:22 PM

Im an ex owner of Runebound. I found it very boring.

It got super repetitive. Kill monster from a deck and keep leveling so you can later kill the boss in the same exact fashion. The board and the other players had very little interaction Even with a doom counter there was no sense of doom approaching.

After playing the board game defenders of the realm you get worried the longer you wait, and things get worse. B/c each turn the board moves against you.

Things i think were superb in this game. Combat, monster cards, traveling, and event cards were super cool, since they changed the rules as you went.

Maybe if there was a version where you draw a card every 4 or 5 turns and the scenario toughens. That would be awesome.

I havent played the expansions or the card expansion since no one could say the game changed so much. Or people couldnt relate to what i was saying, so couldnt persuade me



#11 JCHendee

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 03:37 AM

I do see your point, for it can indeed be repetitive, but the style of play can be changed a bit by some of the big box expansions (though not all of them). There is alos the doom/threat tracks to use if more urgency is needed. But overall (not really knowing DotR, but perhaps that's part of the problem) though different, I don't see how DotR isn't also repetitive by what you describe, since it is still likely limited to its own components/mechanics. All games hit their repetition threshold. The height of that threshold is in part what the player expects out of it for the "type" of play preferred. RB is definitely a partial race/quest competition between players, where, from what I see, DotR is not, though it too has a built in "beat the endboss(es)" in its win condition.

And RB does have its own "events" for the core game and in variants for that game.  Some are thematically interesting; some just get in the way of smooth play; many are sometimes difficult to remember when they must be faced based on conditional activation in any one turn.



#12 demoni

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 10:51 AM

The frozen waistes expansion is a good choice. it changes the game play in a way that the board itself becomes dangerous. other new mechanics offer ways to get powerful items and even an alternate way to win the game (as aposed to just killing the bad guy) from killing monsters.  also this game has alternate rules for gaining levels that make the begining of the game a little easier so you can get to the "meat" of the game faster. (I use it with a my rune bound games now.) 

I also like the sands of al-kalm expantion. With its "choose your adventure" none lineir story line and multiple ways to win, its got a lot of replay value.

I have'nt played any of the small story expansions though, so i cant say one way or another. Hope that helps. 



#13 grim_reaper_zig

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 12:38 PM

 Alright, I've played this game tons of times and am so hooked. It's even more addicting to talisman to me, just because of the freedom of exploration and actual story. I have the cattclysm, cult of the rune and love them, ecspecially cataclysm, I feel like im in some wasteland after a disaster, and am the only one who can help. Frozen wastes is probrally my favorite variant of runebound, I love snow themes, steam punk scifi, and the story is pretty cool. Thanks again everybody for your input of this game.

 

Also, what big box expansion is better, Sands of al-kahlim or mists of Zanaga? I like the look of sands cause you travel around the outskirts of the board (cause of a giant canyon in the middle) and like the night and day concept, but am worried if it's longer than your typical runebound game. And I like mists because of the map and the whole idea of some forgotten civilzation in a jungle. 



#14 Steve-O

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 12:55 PM

grim_reaper_zig said:

Also, what big box expansion is better, Sands of al-kahlim or mists of Zanaga? I like the look of sands cause you travel around the outskirts of the board (cause of a giant canyon in the middle) and like the night and day concept, but am worried if it's longer than your typical runebound game. And I like mists because of the map and the whole idea of some forgotten civilzation in a jungle. 

I haven't played Zanaga yet, but Al-Kalim is tons of fun.  FYI, the "canyon" in the middle of the map is perfectly passable.  The terrain types of Al-Kalim are mapped to the terrain types of the base game, but all are passable with the right roll.



#15 grim_reaper_zig

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 04:26 PM

Steve-O said:

grim_reaper_zig said:

 

Also, what big box expansion is better, Sands of al-kahlim or mists of Zanaga? I like the look of sands cause you travel around the outskirts of the board (cause of a giant canyon in the middle) and like the night and day concept, but am worried if it's longer than your typical runebound game. And I like mists because of the map and the whole idea of some forgotten civilzation in a jungle. 

 

 

I haven't played Zanaga yet, but Al-Kalim is tons of fun.  FYI, the "canyon" in the middle of the map is perfectly passable.  The terrain types of Al-Kalim are mapped to the terrain types of the base game, but all are passable with the right roll.

 

I'm sorry, I should've been clearer about what I meant about the canyon. I know that it's perfectly passable, I just meant I like how I can't run through the middle of the map with ease because it's harder to cross easily. I learned that in frozen wastes, where I had to learn to take odd paths or just buy a lot of snowshoes. And great to hear that Sands is fun, but can you elaborate on why?



#16 The_Warlock

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 07:49 PM

grim_reaper_zig said:

Steve-O said:

 

grim_reaper_zig said:

 

Also, what big box expansion is better, Sands of al-kahlim or mists of Zanaga? I like the look of sands cause you travel around the outskirts of the board (cause of a giant canyon in the middle) and like the night and day concept, but am worried if it's longer than your typical runebound game. And I like mists because of the map and the whole idea of some forgotten civilzation in a jungle. 

 

 

I haven't played Zanaga yet, but Al-Kalim is tons of fun.  FYI, the "canyon" in the middle of the map is perfectly passable.  The terrain types of Al-Kalim are mapped to the terrain types of the base game, but all are passable with the right roll.

 

 

 

I'm sorry, I should've been clearer about what I meant about the canyon. I know that it's perfectly passable, I just meant I like how I can't run through the middle of the map with ease because it's harder to cross easily. I learned that in frozen wastes, where I had to learn to take odd paths or just buy a lot of snowshoes. And great to hear that Sands is fun, but can you elaborate on why?

I think that both SoAK and MoZ are great expansions for different reasons.

Sands has a very interesting environment which is strongly connected to story elements (desert movement, legends, lost cities, sandstorm); besides the standard Challenge card drawing mechanic (story die), there's a different victory condition (complete 4 legendary quests, that imply that you also have to face at least a Red Challenge) and very thematic new Allies. It's also the 1st expansion that shows the Survival Gear tokens. It can be pretty tough but generally is played in relax and enjoying the storytelling as well as normal gameplay. It's longer than the base game and Frozen Wastes.

Mists has the Ritual mechanic that affects gameplay of all Heroes and has to be judiciously kept under control. It is for experienced players that won't mind getting new game variables to handle. There's a strong "savage land" theme mixing south-American jungles and African savanas. The Primal God that is awakening is also a very interesting moment at the beginning of the game, since it will greatly affect gameplay later on. I only argue that this mechanic was not well balanced, because there are Primal Gods that are very likely to be awakened and some others that will be seldomly used. Other rules like wandering monsters are nice but have some weaknesses inside.

I wish I could talk a little bit more about Mists of Zanaga, but perhaps we should switch to another thread. I gave some insight in one thread not a long time ago but no one joined the discussion.



#17 grim_reaper_zig

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 08:00 AM

 Picked up some market expansions, seven scions and Sands and having a complete blast. I think Sand s really is the best Runebound variant. Traveling at day or night is a neat feature that actually effects gameplay, but isn't complicated at all. I also love the flavor of the game, with djinns, sand worms and the like all about. My only complaint is the ending is very...anticlimatic. "Hey look, I just got a sun rune!" "Well...you won!" I just find it being boring to end it with getting an item, it leaves something to be desired, But the rest of it is perfect, it even got me my new favorite character (Sahla).  Scions is fantastic, I can do a game in an hour thanks to the clock, and the story is pretty neat, and the end game comes so soon I always feel challanged and almost required to have a scion help me out to win.

 

Now, do I pick up Island of dread or Mists of Zanaga next? 






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