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BigKahuna

Runewars Review

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Thanks for insightful review. You get like from me. That being said I disagree on the part of whole hobby aspect.
Slaughtering of the secret cow was necessary - too long miniature games were treated as hobby where meticulous painting and assembling is the most important part. There is a huge group of people that just want to play the **** game!
I love the fact that FFG promotes manuals on how to assemble your army quickly and efficiently - we needed a game with this casual and practical way of looking at painting and modelling.
I don't agree with Lore part either - if anything there is a ton of systems with whacky or heavily "off" fluff - Warmachine, Malifaux - to name a few. And lets face it - after death of Warhammer there was no tabletop wargame in classical fantasy world - thus I welcome Runewars with open arms. Also as I said in one of the earlier topics "vanilla" properity of this game is perfect for gamers who like conversions - you can easily make your army feel unique by adding green stuff or by modyfing models.

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Awesome review.

If I was to start yet another game, I would welcome the free space for painting that you find on these miniatures. Both for airbrush as for brushing. You can create interesting textures/transitions. It gets boring to paint the cluttered GW minis. They are designed to be drowned in a wash it seems. 

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2 hours ago, Embir82 said:

Thanks for insightful review. You get like from me. That being said I disagree on the part of whole hobby aspect.
Slaughtering of the secret cow was necessary - too long miniature games were treated as hobby where meticulous painting and assembling is the most important part. There is a huge group of people that just want to play the **** game!
I love the fact that FFG promotes manuals on how to assemble your army quickly and efficiently - we needed a game with this casual and practical way of looking at painting and modelling.
I don't agree with Lore part either - if anything there is a ton of systems with whacky or heavily "off" fluff - Warmachine, Malifaux - to name a few. And lets face it - after death of Warhammer there was no tabletop wargame in classical fantasy world - thus I welcome Runewars with open arms. Also as I said in one of the earlier topics "vanilla" properity of this game is perfect for gamers who like conversions - you can easily make your army feel unique by adding green stuff or by modyfing models.

I have a general policy never to defend my reviews and I'm not about to stray from that but I think you raised an interesting topic in regarding to some of the other systems & associated lore for games like Warmachine for example.  In short I have to disagree here.  I think what companies like Privateer Press have done is to create something truly original, something that stands out from the rather dreary re-hashed "Middle-Earth" mythos based high fantasy.

In table top and PC gaming, we see so much clearly copy/pasted fantasy worlds that it just becomes completely tiresome to me.  I often feel like even describing the lore of a "standard/generic" fantasy world is just pointless.  Why not just say, ok, we are like Warhammer but our Undead wear armor... that's our shtick. 

I understand that their is a kind of gaming culture were we have certain presumptions that must exist or else it feels "whacky" and believe me I have that instinct to, so I do get it,  but I find it quite boring to have all of the common flavor in everything.  Yes, Undead Regenerate and they are scary causing fear and elves are quick and nibble and must always be great archers and humans must have knights in shining armor... I mean, its been done 1000 times before.

I personally love it when someone like Privateer press comes along and is like "screw all that".  And the thing is that even in traditional fantasy gaming communities this sort of shakeup usually works quite well.  Consider D&D for example.  We got so many generic worlds from Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance and Mysteria, but there are a few that truly stand out and they are amazing like Dark Sun, Scarred Lands or Ravenloft.  I know that these are not nearly as popular, but in my humble opinion they are far more creative and interesting.  The world of Greyhawk and Forgotten Realms is practically indistinguishable, but there is absolutely no mistaking playing in a world like Dark Sun or Ravenloft.

For me personally, I think Runewars lore could have been a lot more and I don't see any benefit in it being a lot less.

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37 minutes ago, BigKahuna said:

I understand that their is a kind of gaming culture were we have certain presumptions that must exist or else it feels "whacky" and believe me I have that instinct to, so I do get it,  but I find it quite boring to have all of the common flavor in everything.  Yes, Undead Regenerate and they are scary causing fear and elves are quick and nibble and must always be great archers and humans must have knights in shining armor... I mean, its been done 1000 times before.

Well it was done 1000 times before not without reason - people just love this stuff (I am among them). As someone once said "we love to hear stories we already know". And in my opinion game with common appeal is the best possible way for producer to guarantee success and a good sale. And a big playerbase is good for players as well - it means tournaments and competitve play will thrive.
I mean what if Runewars had Malifaux fluff? My guess it would be "edgy" or "uncommon" but I doubt as many people as now would like to play it.

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The Runewars world is old, though. Many of these units existed in the early 2000s. This may have a generic vibe to it, but it isn't a brand-new property that was made in the past 2 years. Much of the lore was established many years ago. FFG is using their own IP with it's own history and feel to it. For fans of the setting, they really needed to keep familiar aspects. If the major elf unit wasn't an archers unit, it wouldn't feel right. Perhaps that trope has been done to death, but it fits the Latari Elves. I'm not saying they can't make changes to the world and the factions, but they need to have some consistency with other Runebound games, even if that means following traditional fantasy tropes. If they were to make it as new and edgy as some of these other properties, they would need to choose a new setting or alienate the Runebound-universe players they already had.

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1 minute ago, Embir82 said:

Well it was done 1000 times before not without reason - people just love this stuff (I am among them). As someone once said "we love to hear stories we already know". And in my opinion game with common appeal is the best possible way for producer to guarantee success and a good sale. And a big playerbase is good for players as well - it means tournaments and competitve play will thrive.
I mean what if Runewars had Malifaux fluff? My guess it would be "edgy" or "uncommon" but I doubt as many people as now would like to play it.

Oh I'm not questioning the popularity of re-hashing standard fantasy fluff, I'm sure that this was an economically good move but as a reviewer and fan of games, I'm always looking for the next BIG HIT, one that defines what the standard is for the future.  FFG has made a very safe play, to me which is fine, but this is not how you separate yourself from the crowd or break new ground.  It's far riskier and takes a far greater degree of skill, imagination and creativity to invent, then to copy.  In my humble opinion, if there is anyone in the market place that had the potential to bring us something like that it would have been FFG.  Android is a good example of their ability to produce something truly unique.

Just consider some of the standards set by companies that decided to break away from the norm in the last couple of decades in gaming.  White Wolfs World of Darkness for example.  They could have just made a fantasy game, but they said, no, we are going to define a genre and while "whacky" and certainty different it was awesome.

 

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Good job with the review. I really liked the bit about the how far away models typically are when they are viewed. I don't think that the Runewars Models have a lack of detail as much as they have detail that is appropriate for how they will be viewed. The models have big, textured, detail that is very readable from 5 feet away when painted.   

Edited by WWHSD

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3 minutes ago, TallGiraffe said:

Mad would be an understatement to my reaction to this review. I understand you have an opinion like I do, however the way you define Miniature games as a hobby (as in painting and assembly) before being a game doesn't fit. FFG is a game company. Gamesworkshop is foremost a hobby company. You are comparing apples and oranges here. Models are important to a miniature game yet they are secondary to the game system here. 

It sounds like you didn't read the entire review. Your statement "Models are important to a miniature game yet they are secondary to the game system here" seems to agree with the review.
 

From the review:
'No it doesn’t exceed and perhaps even reach industry standards as they are today, but I don’t believe they where aiming for that, so how can you blame them for not achieving a goal, they never set in the first place.  They want people to buy, assemble and paint miniatures quickly so they can enjoy the game, its a perfectly reasonable goal.  Their target aren’t artistic hobbyist, their target is gamer’s and I think they have chosen wisely.'

'It may even be worth pointing out that while I love the lore of Warhammer Fantasy, I rarely played the game, despite having a painted army ready to go.  This was mainly because while I loved the backdrop, the game itself was kind of a drag and had a tendency to suck the joy out of the room.  So clearly, a wonderfully written piece of lore can’t save a game, but I believe an amazing game experience can do wonders to inspire the imagination and even amidst a boring generic fantasy world get you excited to play.'


'Runewars overcomes its shortcomings by bringing us the most important element of a miniature game with near perfection.  Gameplay'
 

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Now that I've read your review in its entirety, I can see your point about how they should have come up with something new instead of using Runewars. I agree. If they did that, I wouldn't feel compelled to spend money on this game! :D 

One thing I thought was very odd in this review is the idea of the hype being very strong. I have seen ample doses of hype here on the FFG forums , but elsewhere, I have seen mostly skepticism and bashing, including on BGG and a few miniatures-centered forums I've browsed.

EDIT: Seriously, if this game were not about Daqan Lords, Waiqar the Undying, Latari Elves, and Uthuk Y'llan, I wouldn't have given it a second glance.

Edited by Budgernaut

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25 minutes ago, WWHSD said:

It sounds like you didn't read the entire review. Your statement "Models are important to a miniature game yet they are secondary to the game system here" seems to agree with the review.
 

From the review:
'No it doesn’t exceed and perhaps even reach industry standards as they are today, but I don’t believe they where aiming for that, so how can you blame them for not achieving a goal, they never set in the first place.  They want people to buy, assemble and paint miniatures quickly so they can enjoy the game, its a perfectly reasonable goal.  Their target aren’t artistic hobbyist, their target is gamer’s and I think they have chosen wisely.'

'It may even be worth pointing out that while I love the lore of Warhammer Fantasy, I rarely played the game, despite having a painted army ready to go.  This was mainly because while I loved the backdrop, the game itself was kind of a drag and had a tendency to suck the joy out of the room.  So clearly, a wonderfully written piece of lore can’t save a game, but I believe an amazing game experience can do wonders to inspire the imagination and even amidst a boring generic fantasy world get you excited to play.'


'Runewars overcomes its shortcomings by bringing us the most important element of a miniature game with near perfection.  Gameplay'
 

Yeah jumped the gun on that one but can't undo mistakes now 

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Thanks for writing this thoughtful review. I feel like I have a much better idea of where you're coming from.

And I totally agree with your statement about the command tool stands. When I saw what kind of connector it was, I was crestfallen. I want to glue them, but I'm afraid they'll get trashed even worse. I'll just hope the darn things stay on so I don't risk more damage...but if that's the case, maybe some super glue is the right answer to make it less likely they'll fall apart.

Finally, I want to say that your high praise of the gameplay makes me want to get out and meet up with some locals now! I have to at least get my stuff glued, and then I can dive in!

Edited by Parakitor

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Excellent review.  Really in-depth, balanced, and well thought out.   Perhaps one of the best I've read yet, though that might be colored by the fact that I agree with you on almost every point.  Despite some short-comings Runewars is a great game that rests on the firm foundation of a truely excellent ruleset.

As regards the miniatures I agree completely with your comparison to current state of the art. I have two things to point out, though neither materially affects your review.  First, it's helpful to note that it wasn't long ago (perhaps the early 2000's) when most miniatures were at about the same level of detail that the Runewars figs are.  Many gamers still use the term "paint up a treat" for simple sculpts with just the right amount of detail that paint quickly and give a good result.  The great Mark Copplestone still seems to make a living making figs like this, though of course most modern games have since gone hog-wild with filigree and other fine detailing.

Second, while the puzzle-peg connections and lack of extra bits greatly lessens the out-of-the-box customizability, the easy to cut nature of PVC and the near-perfect compatibility of the parts once pegs are trimmed down means that pose variation can be multiplied many times over with minimal effort and converting a Runewars fig in this manner takes less time than it would take to assemble a standard GW multipart miniature.  I found this to be very true and wrote about it here:

https://www.chicagoskirmishwargames.com/blog/2017/04/14/runewars-painting-the-daqan-lords-part-1-creative-assembly/

As for fluff and background, I find myself in complete agreement.  Though a relatively established universe, the Runewars universe is shallow enough that alot could have been done to make it stand out in the miniatures game either by advancing the timeline or simply fleshing out what is already there, but this wasn't done.  As games like Hordes and Confrontation have shown us, there are still interesting places that fantasy can be taken even while retaining some familiar tropes. 

All this to say great job.  In a world of rambling videos and slapdash writing it's good to see a through written review.

 

Edited by eilif

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Thanks for writing this review. 

 

Regarding the miniatures themselves, I have found that their relative lack of detail has not been an issue at all.  I thought it would, coming from almost 20 years of GW gaming, but in fact its been rather refreshing and easy to assemble and paint. Let's be real here - how many of those hyper detailed GW miniatures actually get painted to a decent standard?  Not many.  It's actually pretty rare to see a completely painted army on the table.  I see more guys with Armada repaints than I do fully painted GW stuff. 

Something you touched on that I think is a huge miss for FFG regarding their minis though is customizability.  They really should have put some alternate heads/weapons/shields in the expansion packs.  Something as simple as a few head swaps can go a loooong way. 

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I thought it would be fun to pull some web analytics reports on people visiting gamersdungeon yesterday from the Fantasy Flight Games forum.  I always find it fascinating to see what countries people are from.

There were 108 Visitors yesterday from the forums, here is the breakdown.  Oh and just FYI if your from Malta, raise your hand.  Basically one of my favorite vacation spots of all time!  

United States    60
Germany    13
Chile    12
United Kingdom    11
Spain    7
Canada    5
Australia    5
Poland    3
Sweden    3
Romania    3
France    2
Czech Republic    2
Croatia    1
Estonia    1
Taiwan    1
Singapore    1
Italy    1
Hungary    1
Argentina    1
New Zealand    1
Netherlands    1
Malta    1
Lithuania    1
Austria    1
 

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This pretty much sums up exactly my feelings about the game! Right down to the balancing act that your review exhibits, between genius game design and a degree of copy/paste fluff. I even completely agree on the minis. Personally, I'm hanging in the balance right now. I've bought a core set, but despite having a few great stores in my city, with big 40k/Armada/X-Wing/RPGs presence, am seeing zero uptake of Runewars. Pretty sad really.

I'm demo'ing the game on X-wing nights occassionally, but funnily enough, I'm finding that it's actually not such a great comparison to draw. The game is longer, and doesn't have the simplicity or fluff appeal to draw bystanders in to a game. The first bite is with the imagination, and with X-wing you can think your way into the story of the game very easily. What does make people's eyes twinkle is the mechanics when I explain them. More than one X'er has remarked that they see this system being ported over to X-wing when it eventually gets a 2.0 reboot.

Really really hoping that the game community gets wise to the fantastic ruelset Runewars has to offer, and people start to put their toes in the water...

 

 

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