6 October 2015 | Runebound

Cast Down Your Foes

Preview the Combat Tokens and Battles of Runebound


Terrinoth is a realm filled with wonder. Lost ruins hold hidden treasure. Strange creatures dwell in the deepest forests and beneath the waters of lakes and rivers. The Free Cities are repositories of learning, magic, and craftsmanship. Yet danger lurks in the wilds between the civilized cities. Dark forces stir once more, waylaying travelers and attacking remote settlements. Rumors even suggest that a deadly threat from the past has arisen in a bid to cover the land in darkness. 

The realm of Terrinoth is yours to experience in Runebound, a board game of high fantasy and adventure for two to four players. In our first preview, we looked at the adventures that await you and the actions you’ll use to move across the realm. Next, we explored the heroes you can play and the countless ways you can customize your heroes with dozens of skills and assets.

The life of an adventurer is not merely travel and exploration, however. Sooner or later, you will draw your blade or open your spell book to do battle with your enemies. Today, we’ll look at the innovative mechanics used for combat in Runebound and examine an example of combat in action!

The Forms of Battle

In Runebound, you engage in battle whenever you draw an enemy adventure card from one of the three adventure decks. In addition, the two scenarios included in the game challenge you to battle and defeat a powerful nemesis in order to achieve victory. Therefore, you can expect that combat forms a crucial part of Runebound that you’ll experience in every game.

The large symbol on a combat token can be spent as a combat action. The smaller symbol provides a reference to the symbol appearing on the opposite side of the token.

Your battles in Runebound are resolved through the use of combat tokens, as shown above. Every player begins the game with three combat tokens unique to his hero, and you can gain additional combat tokens by acquiring assets, as we saw in our last preview. Similarly, the enemies that you face use a set of enemy combat tokens controlled by one of your rival heroes whenever you engage in battle. Once the first half of the game is completed, your foes become master enemies and the master token is added to the pool of enemy combat tokens, making them even more dangerous to fight.

When you engage in battle, you and your opponent controlling the enemy cast combat tokens simultaneously, shaking and tossing them like dice or flipping them like coins. Once both players have cast their combat tokens, you and your opponent take turns spending the results to deal damage, trigger special abilities, and dodge or shield attacks. 

There are seven distinct symbols that may appear on a combat token, and each offers a different type of combat action that you may harness in the heat of battle.

Physical damage: This symbol appears only on hero and asset combat tokens, and it allows you to deal damage with mundane weapons. As an action, you may spend any number of physical damage symbol to deal damage equal to the number of symbols spent.

Magic damage: This symbol appears only on hero and asset combat tokens, and it invites you to use spells and rune magic in battle. As an action, you may spend any number of magic damage symbols to deal damage equal to the number of symbols spent.

Enemy damage: This symbol appears only on enemy combat tokens, and it represents any type of attack an enemy or nemesis might make. As an action, you may spend any number of your enemy damage symbols to attack and deal damage equal to the number of symbols spent.

Shields: Shields represent your natural defense, whether that’s armor or defensive training. When you are about to take damage during combat, you can spend any number of shields to block an equal amount of damage. Spending shields doesn’t require a combat action. 

Agility: This symbol allows you to use your speed and wits to turn the tide of combat. As an action, you can spend this symbol to flip one of your tokens to its opposite side or to choose one of your opponent’s unspent tokens and force him to recast it!

Surge: Surges have no inherent ability, but most heroes and enemies have at least one surge ability that can be triggered by spending a number of surges. As an action, you can spend the required number of surges to trigger a powerful surge ability.

Double: The final symbol allows you to double the potency of your most powerful token. As an action, you can stack one of your other combat tokens on top of this one to double its symbols. For instance, if you stack a combat token that shows two magic damage on a double symbol, you now have four magic damage to spend as a future action.

Draw Your Sword

The variety granted by combat tokens and the many potential actions you can take each turn make Runebound battles tense, tactical engagements, filled with interesting choices. The outcome of battle is never certain, and the tide of battle can change in a moment. 

As an example of combat, Lord Hawthorne draws a card from the exploration adventure deck that launches him into battle with a deadly Dreadbringer ! The battle begins with both players collecting and casting their combat tokens. Lord Hawthorne casts his three hero combat tokens and a single combat token that he has gained from the Staff of Light , receiving a surge, a shield, a physical damage, and an agility. The player controlling the Dreadbringer casts the five enemy combat tokens and receives an enemy damage, a shield, an agility, a double, and a dash, which has no abilities. 

Before either player takes his first combat action, initiative is determined for the battle. Whichever player has more gold symbols on his combat tokens has initiative, and in this case, both players have two gold symbols showing. If players are tied for initiative, the attacker wins, allowing Lord Hawthorne to take the first combat action. 

As his first action, Lord Hawthorne spends his agility result to flip his combat token currently showing the shield. After being flipped, it displays two physical damage, setting him up for a strong future attack at the cost of some defense. 

Under normal circumstances, it would now be the Dreadbringer’s turn to take an action. However, Lord Hawthorne doesn’t want to see his damage symbols recast by the Dreadbringer’s agility. To avoid this, Lord Hawthorne decides to use his Reach ability to immediately take a second combat action. As his second action, Lord Hawthorne spends all three of his physical damage symbols to deal three damage to the Dreadbringer. The player controlling the Dreadbringer elects to use his shield symbol to block one damage. The rest of the attack makes it through unhindered, and two damage tokens are placed on the Dreadbringer. 

As a combat action, the Dreadbringer player stacks one of his enemy damage symbols on the double symbol, giving him a new total of two enemy damage when he makes his attack. 

It is now Lord Hawthorne’s turn to take an action. His only remaining combat token is a surge. He uses the surge symbol to trigger the Blind ability on the Staff of Light, flipping one of his foe’s combat tokens. Lord Hawthorne chooses to flip the enemy damage that is currently doubled, reducing the potential for incoming damage, but giving his opponent more surges. 

The player controlling the Dreadbringer now takes an action and spends his agility to flip his combat token that shows a dash to an enemy damage.

Lord Hawthorne has no combat tokens remaining, so he passes and the Dreadbringer player can take another action. He chooses to spend his enemy damage to deal one damage to Lord Hawthorne. Because Lord Hawthorne has no shield symbols, this damage is immediately placed on his card. 

Finally, the Dreadbringer player chooses to spend his two surges to trigger his Regenerate ability and heal two damage. With that, both players have spent all of their combat tokens, and the combat round is complete. Lord Hawthorne may attempt to retreat from battle or press the attack and begin a new round of combat with both players recasting all of their combat tokens!

Struggle Against Evil

Sooner or later in a game of Runebound, you’ll test your might in combat against one of the enemies of the realm. Take your first steps on the road to becoming a legend of Terrinoth when you pre-order your copy of Runebound at your local retailer today!

Join us in two weeks for a preview of one of the scenarios included in Runebound: the Ascendence of Margath.

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