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New Player, Core Set: Cutting My Teeth

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(Is there a reason file inserts are capped at half a MB? I can't add photos!)

There are far too few contributors to this page, and as an enthusiastic new player, I'd like to help change that. I finally picked up Runewars just a few months ago - a little late, as it turns out. But it's an amazing minis game I can actually afford, so I'm on board! In a few weeks I should have the other two faction expansions, and from there I’ll finally choose one to collect and paint.

I’ll freely admit I've been learning the game by playing against myself - it's just a matter of compartmentalizing when dialing the actions. I thought it was time to record a game and let the community judge my progress.


While I’ve already picked up Wraiths and Heavy Crossbowmen to spice things up, for this game I’m sticking with the Core Set. I’m sure its contents are familiar to you. The box contains starter armies for Waiqar the Undying and the Daqan Lords. Waiqar gets Ardus Ix'Erebus, a Carrion Lancer, 2x2 Reanimates, and 2x1 Reanimate Archers, for a total of 96 points before upgrades. The Daqan get Kari Wraithstalker, a Rune Golem, 2x2 Spearmen, and 2x1 Oathsworn Cavalry for a total of 99 points.

To round out a 100-point Waiqar list, I’m giving Ardus Ancient Technique for rerolls while the Reanimates get Trumpets to reduce their sluggishness. At 99 points, I’m leaving the Daqan alone so they get first player status.


For this half-sized game, the play area is just 3'x3', or about 1 square meter. To keep things simple, I just pick out Battle Lines for deployment and Break Their Defenses for objective. For terrain I draw the Stone Terrace, which I place dramatically in the center, and two Spikes, which I place to either side for an arena feel. (It’ll later occur to me that I should’ve omitted at least one of these for the abbreviated table size.) The terrace is aligned vertically, leaving its ends closer to the deployment zones and the space between it and the spikes a little more generous.

Now it’s time to place units. The Daqan are first, and I plop the Rune Golem across from the terrace. It relies on Unstable runes for timely locomotion, so the terrace offers it potential flexibility. Plus, if the enemy swarms it with units, it can use its skill to hit them with stuns and boost its defense. The Waiqar go next, and my compartmentalized Waiqar persona (Waiqar-me, if you will), wants to shut the Golem down. Perhaps I should go for the Carrion Lancer and its Mortal Strike ability, but I plan on hitting it sooner with tandem blows from Ardus and the Reanimates. The Reanimates are set facing the terrace, offset to the right. Flipping back, Daqan-me decides to put Kari across from the Reanimates, saving the fast-moving Oathsworn for the Reanimate Archers. Said Archers are next for the Waiqar, placed at an angle in the righthand corner where they can cover half the battlefield without worrying about LOS. This position makes it impossible to flank them, but charging the Archers is still the most reliable use for the Oathsworn, who are likewise put in the far corner (left for the Daqan) to face their quarry. The Carrion Lancer is positioned next to the Archers so they can tag-team the cavalry. The last Daqan unit is the Spearmen, but the only avenues past the spikes on the left are now taken. Instead, the Spearmen are positioned to the right of the terrace, carefully aligned to pass between it and the other spikes (a feat requiring meticulous work with the range ruler). Finally, Ardus is placed left of the Reanimates, also facing the terrace.

Round 1: Close Calls

Runes: 2S, 2U, 0N

The Daqan are the initial “first player”, so I dial their actions first, and then the Waiqar’s. From here I'll just describe what happens by initiative step.

I4: Kari marches up to put her in position to either shoot or charge next round, then rallies for inspiration. Meanwhile, Waiqar-me changes plans, wheeling Ardus past the terrace and into the path of the oncoming infantry.

5. The Reanimate Archers are up next with a ranged attack in case the Oathsworn pull an early move (see? Compartmentalization!), but nothing’s in range.

6. Unsure if a speed-2 move can even reach the terrace, I’ve gambled the Golem might come up short, and with Ardus abandoning the tag-team plan, the Reanimates make a 3-march into the terrain with no charge modifier. They take the terrace without incident. Meanwhile, Kari's move put her in range of the Carrion Lancer's skill, which was dialed for lack of a better idea. It throws blight on her, and then (I don't know what I was thinking) makes a bonus march to tuck behind the local spikes. I think the idea was to get it behind the oncoming Oathsworn, but it would have been better just to keep it next to the Archers.

7. The Oathsworn march 4, halving their distance to the Archers, and armor up.

8. Now it’s time to see if the Spearmen avoid the terrain after all that work with the range ruler. With the occupied terrace to one side and spikes to the other, they sprint for the gap between…and just make it! Finally, it’s the Golem’s turn. Daqan-me has gambled both that the enemy might occupy the terrace and that a speed-2 movement would make it to the edge, and dialed a late charge. After all, the damage from two Stable runes is too good to pass up. And does it make it? Yes! The Golem ambles up the terrace steps, swinging at the Reanimates. Unfortunately, most of those swings miss, and it takes out a mere three skeletons.

With no Natural runes, the lost Reanimates stay down…for now.

Round 2: Stranger Things

Runes: 1S, 2U, 2N

I3: Ardus commits to fighting the Spearmen and reforms to face them, armoring up in case of a charge. Meanwhile, three Daqan units – the Golem, the Spearmen, and Kari – are all either touching or next to the terrace and its occupants, and I see the chance wipe out the Reanimates in one round. I angle Kari and the Spearmen into the terrace with speed-1 turning charges. Kari, after spending her inspiration on the blight, is up first. And now my inexperience shows. I’ve overestimated the curvature of the 1-turn template, and Kari’s charge comes up short! Now she’s sitting in the open, inches from a Carrion Lancer, facing occupied terrain, and sitting on a fresh panic token, with absolutely nothing to show for it. Moreover, the Lancer has a reform dialed in, and Waiqar-me sees the chance to flank the enemy hero. I turn it to face her (and armor up in case the Oathsworn get any ideas). This potentially leaves the Archers to face the cavalry alone.

4. The Reanimates need at least two hits to wound the Golem. Of course, if they manage to roll two double hits they could take it out in one go, but what are the chances of that? They take their swing…and that’s the result! A relentless tide of living skeletons swarms the powerful construct, shearing its stones apart and sending them tumbling, inert, down the terrace steps. Just like that, the Golem is gone. But the Spearmen are still coming, and unlike Kari they easily make the terrace. A full tray of the Reanimates is removed, and a Morale test adds a stun token.

5. With the Oathsworn finally in range, the Archers line up another shot. Of course, just as unlikely as a double-double hit is a double blank…and wouldn’t you just know it! The arrows might as well have been dumped on the ground.

7. Untouched by the impotent volley, the Oathsworn charge the Archers, adding panic from the impact. They are now touching the Waiqar deployment zone and worth 20 victory points, and the Archers are left with one tray.

Two of the three Reanimate slots are refilled. In effect, one small kill has been the sum of the Golem’s contribution.

Round 3: The Dice Must Be Crazy

Or, In Which Some Spearmen Have a Very Bad Day

Runes: 2S, 2U, 0N

I2: The hammer blow against the Reanimates has failed. With a Carrion Lancer breathing down her neck, a still unengaged Kari reforms to face it, armoring up.

4. The Reanimates turn their attention to the Spearmen. They roll just one hit, taking out two figures, plus a Morale. A panic token results.

5. The Spearmen conveniently engaged, it’s Ardus’ chance to charge. He plows into their front rank with whirling axes. Now, what’s more uncommon than a double blank on eight-sided dice? One on twelve-sided dice, of course, but there you have it! Then, Ancient Technique in hand, I reroll both blanks for…a double-double hit! By the cold hand of Waiqar! One round, I get a double-double hit on red dice followed by a double blank. This round, a double blank on white dice, which then becomes a double-double hit! Technically possible, of course, but jeez... In any event, eight Spearmen abruptly disappear.

6. Daqan-me knows the Spearmen are in a bad spot, and has dialed a shift to back them away from the combined threats. A fresh charge from Ardus is inevitable, but at least they’ll be free of the Reanimates. Unfortunately… Remember how tight a squeeze it was to get the Spearmen between the terrace and spikes? Well, running into the terrace has angled them slightly. Now they find their connector tagging the spikes on the way back. The retreat is cut short and another three Spearmen shuffle off Terrinoth’s coil, but I split the damage across both trays. The extra panic from the retreat only adds insult to injury. Meanwhile, rather than charge without its Mortal Strike ability, the Carrion Lancer throws blight before using its bonus march to engage Kari. This costs it an attack and gives it panic but puts it in a position to deal future damage.

7. The Oathsworn lay into the Archers again. All the dice hit, and the Archers are no more. Their only contribution to the battle has been to tie up the cavalry a few rounds.

With no Natural runes, the remaining slot in the Reanimates’ back rank goes unfilled.

Round 4: Writing on the Wall

Runes: 1S, 2U, 3N

I3: Last round’s retreat of the Spearmen was intended to preserve some of their threat for Ardus, but the quadruple hit and extra spike damage have made this laughable. If they charge back in, they might beat Ardus to the punch, not to mention tie up the Reanimates again, but the Waiqar have initiative, so that’s not likely. Instead, they rally off their panic and armor up, hoping to last at least one more round.

4. Ardus charges as expected. He rolls two hits, enough to finish two of the up-armored infantry and remove another tray. A lone Spearman is left shivering before him. Meanwhile, Kari gets her melee attack against the Carrion Lancer, her bonus rally dialed to shake off the blight. Seeing the blight is about to go to waste, the Lancer spends it to blunt her attack. The remaining die rolls a single toothless hit, but a reroll produces a Morale/surge. The test adds a second panic token, and the surge allows her to remove two of the nearby Reanimates.

5. It’s now the Lancer’s turn to strike. The dice are favorable, and Kari takes a wound.

7. The Reanimates shift off the terrace and line up next to Kari for a flank charge. Ardus doesn’t need their help.

8. The Oathsworn reform to face the Lancer’s rear.

The Reanimates are missing three figures, but generous Natural runes allow them all to come back. So far only the Spearmen have done lasting damage.

Round 5: Death, Death, and More Death

Runes: 1S, 0U, 2N

I3: The lone Spearman can only wound Ardus through a double hit on red and a hit on blue. But what else can he do? Even if he armors up, the Brutal rule will let Ardus finish him off with a single hit, which he can get automatically. The brave Daqan warrior, resigned to his fate, makes a last, desperate run…and fails. Indifferent to his efforts, a merciless and still-unscathed Ardus sends him to join his brethren.

 4. Too busy to worry about the oncoming Reanimates, Kari takes another stab at the Carrion Lancer. With no more blight to slow her down, she manages three hits, putting two wounds on the creature. A surge also lets her take out two more Reanimates. Spending the panic tokens only replaces them with more panic, however.

5. The Lancer strikes again, another solid roll leaving a second wound on Kari. Meanwhile the Reanimates charge her vulnerable flank. All three dice roll hits, and like the Golem before her Kari is cut down by a vengeful wave of bone.

7. The Oathsworn, now the last remnant of the Daqan force, round off the blood fest by slamming into the rear of the wounded Lancer. Hits abound, and the great worm is trampled beneath their hooves. Three units have vanished in one round.

As the phase ends, the Reanimates felled by Kari’s surge are again resurrected.

Rounds 6-8: What Now?

From here I’ll spare you the blow-by-blow. Over the final few rounds the Waiqar units move to hem in the Daqan cavalry, but the Oathsworn retreat into the Waiqar deployment zone for the victory points and are never quite caught. Thus the battle ends.

Result: 57-40 Waiqar

Lessons Learned

General: First and foremost, I should have ditched at least one of the terrain pieces given the reduced table size. As it was, placement and maneuver were both greatly constrained. Second, rerolls count. Ancient Technique proved a critical upgrade for Ardus, or had I instead given the Reanimate Archers Rank Discipline, they might have halved the cavalry force with their volley and delayed their destruction. Finally, and this probably goes without saying, I need to find a play partner!

The Daqan Lords: I don’t regret the plan for the Golem; its sudden doom at the hands (bones?) of the Reanimates was sheer bad luck. I should, however, have reversed the roles for Kari and the Oathsworn. Cavalry can be great for archers when the deployment zones are closer, as their bonus move sometimes lets them cover the full distance on the first round (albeit at the cost of a proper charge) and shut down the ranged attacks. But in this case it might have been better to let them take the Reanimates and put Kari in a shooting match with the Archers. This could have tied up the Lancer as well, reducing it to throwing blight on her every round while the Archers were ground down, and likely not charging her until late in the game. This would leave the Oathsworn free to carve up the Reanimates. The Spearmen continue to vex me, however - I’ve yet to come up with a reliable use for them that isn’t wasteful. I suspect they require the specialty figure upgrades to reach their potential.

The Waiqar: Despite the victory, I’m not happy with how I played these guys. Putting the Archers in a corner with the Lancer guarding their flank wasn’t necessarily a bad idea, but I ruined it by moving the Lancer. I further goofed by failing to charge with the Lancer when I had the chance, forgetting how easily Kari could throw off his blight. Then there was the placement of both brawler units in front of one terrain piece on the assumption they would be working together on its predicted occupant. It would’ve been smarter to keep at least one to the side where it would have the opportunity to hit the terrain while maintaining a degree of tactical flexibility.


Next time I’ll up the points limit and throw in more upgrades and my extra units. And hey, by New Year’s I ought to be ready to report on some Latari and Uthuk action. In the mean time, let me know what you guys thought of this, especially whether I’m doing anything wrong. Glad to be a part of the community!

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Good report! It was fun to read! I see that you learnt a lot in your first game, that's good!

Waiqar are insidious enemies, because the reanimates keep coming back and are really annoying

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Hi there, sorry I missed this.  When you look at the top level of the RW forum, it’s hard to see any new posts.

As a fellow Bat Rep writer, I use Imgur (www.imgur.com) to host my images.  You can link to them directly.  It really is helpful to bring life to all your words.

Since we’re getting shut down here on 1-Feb, you may want to try posting them over at BGG (BoardGameGeek.com).  I have two Bat Reps that are finished and need to just be posted with all the photos.  I’ll probably cross-post to start migrating folks to that forum.  You can also join our Discord (if you like such things):


It expires in 1 day- if you need it again, just DM me.  It’s called Runewars: From The Ashes

I’ll read through this in more detail and get you some thoughts in the next day or so.

Welcome to the community (whatever is left!) and thanks for your contribution!


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7 hours ago, sarumanthewhite said:

Since we’re getting shut down here on 1-Feb, you may want to try posting them over at BGG (BoardGameGeek.com).  


Oh no! I was gonna post my painted army since it's almost finished! That's so sad!

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