News for November 2009
The Dead Rise 23
The second preview for the upcoming board game Runewars
Runewars | Published 13 November 2009

Verikas crouched under the shade of a large boulder to inspect the spoils of his duel. His winnings had not come easily; his foe had been quick and muscular, and that damnable rodent kept getting in the way... but already Verikas’ wounds were closing, and he could feel his dark master’s power surging through him once again. Nearby, a carrion bird landed, drawn by the smell of death, but it cocked its head in a confused sideways glance and flew off, complaining loudly. Opening the blood-spattered satchel, his eyes gleamed with an unnatural blue light. “I’ve found it,” he muttered. Had his lips not rotted away years before, Verikas the Dead would have been smiling. “My master will be most pleased...”

Welcome to the second preview for the upcoming board game of conquest, adventure, and fantasy empires, Runewars! Last time, we took a look at the mysterious and cunning Latari Elves, we broke down the various parts of a Faction Sheet, and we discovered the significance of resource gathering in a faction’s ability to generate units, Influence Tokens, and Tactic Cards. If you haven’t read that preview, you should do that first.

Today, we’ll catch a glimpse at another exciting faction set to storm the lands of Mennara this winter: the vile undead armies of Waiqar the Undying. We’ll also check out Runewars’ innovative card-based combat system, and we’ll see how the all-important Tactic Cards have the potential to affect the outcome of the game.

Before greed filled his heart and foul necromancy twisted his soul, Waiqar was among the most respected generals in Mennara, and he was a great friend to its people. But it was in response to his betrayal that the wise scholars of Terrinoth spread the Dragon Runes across the realm, and Waiqar the Undying has since been single-minded in his pursuit of their power.

The Faction Sheet of Waiqar the Undying, lord of the undead. Click the above image to enlarge.

In battle, Waiqar the Undying commands legions of animated dead, including monstrous Skeleton Archers, wicked Necromancers, and fearsome Dark Knights. His unholy control over them gives him expanded tactical options in combat, and as you can see from the Faction Sheet above, the undead begin the game with three Tactic Cards. These cards add options that can surprise unwary opponents on the battlefield, and if played cleverly, Tactic Cards can mean the difference between victory and defeat.

Battle Cry can bolster the attack strength of your armies, while Summon Lightning can be used to draw an overconfident enemy into a costly mistake.

Tactic Cards aren’t only about battle, however. Many of them, in fact, affect the more diplomatic or economic aspects of the game. With Establish Trade Route, you can grab a much-needed resource when you need it... as long as you’re willing to similarly benefit one of your opponents.

We’ve demonstrated that Tactic Cards can be vital to your plans both in and out of battle, but how does battle work in the first place? How do you know how powerful a given unit will be in combat?

First, take another look at the units available in Waiqar the Undying’s army. As we established in our last preview, the numbers on the far right side represent Initiative. When combat occurs, it takes place over five rounds; all of the “Initiative one” units attack, followed by the “Initiative two” units, and so on. It is therefore possible that your formidable (but slow) Dark Knights never see any action, if your weaker (but faster) Skeleton Archers wipe out the competition early.

What about the other elements of a unit’s description? First, each unit has a combat ability represented by a shape; a triangle, circle, rectangle, or hexagon can be found near the portrait of each unit (also, these shapes are the bases for the game’s plastic figures). These four shapes are the cornerstone of Runewars’ innovative card-based combat system.

When any number of Skeleton Archers attacks, the player controlling them draws a Fate Card from the appropriate deck. Fate Cards serve as a sort of all-purpose randomizer, and are used in battle, hero duels, diplomacy, and even setup! Take a look at the fate card to the right; if a Skeleton Archer were to draw this as his combat card, we would look at the quadrant of the card that shows a triangle (the upper left, since that is the shape associated with the unit in question). There, you can see an icon indicating that one point of damage has been inflicted.

Had the triangle corner been blank, this would indicate a miss by the Skeleton Archers. The triangle corner might also have revealed a flag icon that routs an opposing unit, taking them out of play (but not killing them) temporarily, or an orb icon that triggers the Skeleton Archer’s special ability, Mortal Strike. These special abilities are yet another way that each faction displays its unique play style; Waiqar the Undying’s Necromancers, for example, can raise Reanimates quickly, and overwhelm opponents with hordes of shambling undead!

Keep checking back! Mennara is a vast realm, full of many perils. In future previews, we’ll look at the two remaining factions. We’ll also see the terrifying neutral forces that roam the land, as well as how they can be tamed through diplomacy!

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.

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Comments (23)

Published: 11/23/2009 7:41:06 AM

Why come back to the crappy Warrior Knight system when Starcraft had shown how card based combat could be done well?

I don't get it; it makes it as random as rolling dice, only more cumbersome, with the added minigame of counting which cards have already been drawn...

Published: 11/20/2009 2:06:35 PM

any preview today??

Published: 11/16/2009 2:29:41 PM

 More, more, more..give me more.

Its like a drug habit and I aint quit'n anytime soon!

Published: 11/16/2009 2:57:27 AM

This game looks like it could be a lot of fun. My only concern with it, is I'm curious how much time it'll take to play through, I can see it being an awesome game, yet if it takes too long to play it will sit on the shelf more often than not and would be a shame. Either way, I can't wait to see how this turns out!

Published: 11/15/2009 7:37:36 PM

My money is on those two ? boxes being Planet Steam and Bushido.  Both have been on the upcoming list for quite a while, but afaik, haven't been officially "announced" yet.

Published: 11/14/2009 11:32:35 PM

While this game looks spectacular... I still want to see what's behind the "?" box #2 and #3.  Spare my refresh button and let the cats out of the bag.

(and let one of the cats be a big box Talisman expansion)

Old Dwarf
Published: 11/14/2009 7:55:28 AM

Keeps Looking like a Winner-HOWEVER I trust The DWARF Expansion is in the works



Published: 11/14/2009 4:35:47 AM

Love the look and design of them!

Published: 11/14/2009 2:23:14 AM

I'm impresed by the game. It looks really great, I hope I'll get the oportunity of playing it and then I will buy it I think.

Published: 11/13/2009 11:53:59 PM

THIS IS FOR FFG. I don't mind the community saying what they think about my ideas, but please let FFG take them and decide if they are worth considering. THANKS

Giving my opinion before this game hits printers. I just can't stay away from this site. lol

Okay first I am loving the idea for the game and loving the theme. I am a huge fan of Runebound/Descent and Battlemist. However, I feel the art on the army sheets is a mess. Not trying to insult, most artist welcome constructive critiques. The art seems to be all over the place. I don't know how to describe it. The beautiful painting looks amazing but having it next to the toon like art hurts its beauty. The skeleton hands have that World of Warcraft style. I think they should look like the arrows from the elves just make the design more gothic. Please take away the purple stone layer. Add more to the image have and just use it as a background. That large purple area is becoming the focal point for the army sheet and smothering the painting. The dials don't seem to fit the style of art either. Maybe get rid of all the pink backgrounds for the units and make it transparent. The army sheet needs a border also. Something to draw the eye towards the middle. The blackness in the bottom left is weird too. 
I hope this is not the final design. I was thinking about maybe try putting the dials on the edges (top or bottom) like the Chaos Old World. If FFG can relay this back to the artist, I am sure he will take a serious look. Take a look at the Chaos demon sheets in the Chaos board game. Everything blends very well and syncs in those. The Twilight and Starcraft expansion sheets worked well too. 
IMO I think the weird blood splatter icon could be changed. Go with the classic blood from WoW Board Game. You want the player to be able to tell what the symbol is. I couldn't tell until I saw the fate card. Just remember KISS. Keep it simple silly. I will post my idea of a layout on the forums to get the image I think would work better to fit. It won't be posted until this weekend.

On to the second point. Many people on Board Game Geek actually were turned off by the "everything on one card" idea. It added WAY too much randomness for many players' taste. I wasn't bothered by it until I played Dungeon Twister and discovered that it is possible to remove luck from battle. 

Let's go with the example above. The archers have a 40% chance to miss. That I can live with, even though I would rather like to see more combats handled like Chris's Dungeon Twister. In that game you begin with a set amount of combat cards and once you play one it is gone for good. The +1 card I think always goes back to the hand. The issue I have is how specials are also random. My necromancer doesn't reanimate two corpse this turn...because? See what I mean? 

Having said all of this, keep up the great work. I am very glad that you are making this and I am sure it will be a great game for me, but suggestions on how to improve are what the articles are for, so I gave my two cents. 

Published: 11/13/2009 11:02:18 PM

Sounds great!  Really like the look of the game.  With an empire building and and conquest element, that look neatly combined with a luxurious production... should be a pleasure to play!



Published: 11/13/2009 8:47:23 PM

This is sounding better and better with each preview, REALLY makes one wanna spring for the game now, (of course thats what these sneaks are designed to do to ya!) but this one surely sounds like a winner so far! Great preview so keep em coming.

oh and as an aisde FFG: I only have VERY limited funds this season (most likely ONE purchase for myself, between board gaming and electronic....) so the quicker we get a price on this the better. I need to let the "bank" know what to expect!!  Good job though and keep em comin!!


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