The remnants of the Daqan forces gathered to begin the solemn work of burying their dead. Their capture of the Uthuk stronghold had been a costly one... too costly. Had it all been a trap? Would the vile demon-worshipers really sacrifice so many of their own just to draw their enemies in? The fortification had made such a tempting target, seemingly undefended as it was. But as the knights made their way into their newly claimed stronghold, the horrific truth became clear: the Uthuk had reduced everything of value to ashes. Even the servants had taken their own lives in a twisted ritual. Surveying the smoking ruin, the Daqan Lords could only reflect with despair on the hollowness of their victory.

With Runewars in stores and on tabletops all over the world, it’s a perfect time to discuss the wealth of strategic options available. Today, we’ll take a look at some of the fiendishly nasty tricks of the Uthuk Y’llan, in the context of an overall strategy focusing on threats, backstabbing, and psychological warfare. The Uthuk are a corrupt race of villainous abominations, so embrace your evil side and love every second of it!

in Runewars , much depends on the initial setup of the board, as well as the location of a player’s home realm. Ask yourself the following when making this important choice: Will you have access to the resources you’ll need in the early game, namely food? Are you hemmed in by a choke point, a position that is both blessing and curse? Will you be surrounded by tough neutral creatures? Can you acquire quick access to a city? Will you be forced into competing with a neighbor too soon?

Of course, these are considerations that all players must face, regardless of their chosen faction, but don’t take them lightly... since they’ll have repercussions throughout the entire game.

That being said, what faction-specific strategies exist? Here’s one: The Uthuk Y’llan begin with more Tactics Cards than any other faction, and their Faction Sheet contains the most potential to earn more. Capitalize on this! Tactics Cards are a great way to inject a wickedly fun “gotcha” element into Runewars . But while they can carry devastating effects, their psychological value is perhaps even more effective. Whenever an opponent begins to consider aggression against you, grin knowingly and tap your massive deck of Tactics Cards against the table. Maybe even throw in a shrug, a chuckle, and a “Good luck with that!” It doesn’t really matter what you have... what matters is the perception of what you might have.

But how do you ensure a steady stream of new Tactics Cards coming into your hand? That begins with initial setup. When playing as the Uthuk, you might consider positioning yourself near whatever city will give you the most Tactics Cards on a Rally Support order , and near as much ore as possible (this will help facilitate your card income in the late game). Later, when you build your first development (ideally on your home realm’s Stronghold), build the Training Ground . Finally, every fall when you’re given the option of collecting Influence Tokens or a Tactics Card, choose a Tactics Card (a difficult sacrifice, yes... but necessary to this overall plan). Soon, you’ll have a suitably intimidating collection of dirty tricks up your sleeve, and your opponents will look forward to your turn with dread and dismay.

To fully appreciate the value of Tactics Cards, let’s look at an example. One great way to both spread your empire and be a thorn in your opponents’ sides is to establish Strongholds in remote areas of the board. But won’t such a Stronghold be an attractive target, and be easily taken over? Not necessarily, if you have a flair for negotiation, intimidation, and deceit... but more on that later. You’ll find that a Tactics Card called Lost City is a great way to get a foothold near an opponent, but to pull off an especially impressive combo, you’ll also need a Brilliant Maneuver card. Here’s how the combo works:

In a given summer, send your Hero deep into enemy territory, the whole time assuring your opponents that he’s just harmlessly questing. Then, for that summer’s Order Card, choose Recruit . Wait for your turn to come around, and launch your trap! Before executing your Recruit order, play Lost City . Your new Stronghold will spring up just in time for a modest army of units to arrive to defend it, and if you're lucky enough to have a Reinforcements card, toss that in too!

Now, you’ve set up a remote Stronghold uncomfortably close to an enemy home realm... but you’re vulnerable; since your opponent will want you out of his back yard as soon as possible, he’s likely to launch a hasty counterattack. If you caught him off guard, you may have as little as one season before he’s able to respond. You don’t have much time to lose.

In the very next season, play a Harvest Order Card , the objective of which is to build a development in your new Stronghold (the Supremacy Bonus). No, you’re not entitled to that Supremacy Bonus (since you Recruited in the summer), but that’s why you saved that Brilliant Maneuver .

Here’s where the Uthuk Y’llan shine: for your development, build your defensive Bonus, the Hungry Spawn . This nasty little token, which deals four damage to attackers at the end of the battle, ensures that anyone who wants to evict you from your new home will incur heavy losses in the process. Additionally, inform your would-be attackers that you’re packing a Summon Lightning ( Blackmail is also good) and a Scorched Earth , and if they try anything funny, you’ll blow the whole place! If you’ve got a hand of between five to ten Tactics Cards, you’ll have a plausible bluff, and since they will have to invest so much in taking over an area that may result in little real gain, they’ll think twice about picking a fight with your new Stronghold!

In short, armies are expensive, but threats are cheap. Your Stronghold should be able to hold its ground with relatively few real units, armed only with the threat of excessive expense to any potential attackers. In the end, it’s a win-win situation for the Uthuk Y’llan player. Either you keep your Stronghold (if only for a short time, it’s still profitable), or your enemy spends far more on removing it than you did on building it!

Thoughts? Comments? Do you have a favorite Runewars strategy, whether for the Uthuk Y’llan or any of the other factions? Share it below!

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.

More News [+]