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Store:  Strategy Games, Ding & Dent
Edition:  Runebound
Series:  Runebound
Theme:  Fantasy, Adventure
Format:  Board Games


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Ages Play Time Players
12+ 120-180 minutes 2-6

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Product Description

The dark lords are gathering, ancient powers are awakening, and a chill has fallen across the land. It is a time of danger and rising evil. It is a time of fear for the weak and powerless. It is a time of heroes willing to face the darkness and bring the light of hope to a realm covered in shadow.

In Runebound, you and your friends play heroes in a fantasy realm full of monsters, perils, and treasure. The realm is yours to explore as you wish: Visit the Mountains of Despair, brave the Whispering Forest, or shop for magic items in the Paradash Bazaar. Wherever you go, adventure awaits you -- and because the game changes each time you play it, you'll never have the same adventure twice.

Product Information


  • 12 hero cards
  • 72 adventure cards
  • 84 market cards
  • 50 gold counters
  • 12 hero counters
  • 6 plastic stands
  • 60 wound counters
  • 42 exhaustion counters
  • 50 adventure counters
  • 60 experience counters
  • 6 undefeated adventure counters
  • 5 movement dice
  • 1 20-sided die
  • 1 map board
  • 1 rules sheet

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.2 in 5 reviews

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One of the best fantasy board games I have ever played
August 20, 2004

I think this game was very well done. In terms of the detail put in to make it more realistic and fun. The only long board games i like to play are fantasy ones, and this game length works perfectly. The combat it really a mix of D&D and Magic the Gathering, (which I like). In all i think this is one of the best fantasy board games I have ever played. Thank you.

Adventure game that hits the mark
June 27, 2004

Runebound is a fun, challenging, and well done adventure game. The components are first rate, rules clear and easy to grasp (though combat needs some attention to how it is done a few times but is really very easy), and it is open to all sorts of possibilities to further your gameplay.

There is a problem with the first player getting an advantage, so we have used the advanced rule which reduces the movement dice rolled on the first turn. Seems to help from what I have seen. The advanced rules BTW can be downloaded on Fantasy Flight's website. There are other very good suggestions as well on the Boardgamegeek website to enhance your gameplay, and perhaps improve on what is already a very good game.

The games I have played have been pretty close. I myself have had the bad experience of failing a challenge, getting knocked out, and losing 3-4 experince points, and money quite early in TWO games. I was able to work my way back into the fight and came close to winning one game, and felt ready to challenge the red cards in the other. In no way was I disappointed or feeling like I was out of the game.

The events add great variety to each game, the challenges are ever changing, and with so much more options, it has really set the game apart from Talisman which it seems to get compared to. Talisman it ain't, and thankfully so!!

I recommend the game to anyone who enjoys playing a game of adventure. It offers a nice break from the strategy and Euro style games.

Very glad I ordered this game!

A worthy successor to Talisman
June 19, 2004

Since the 1980's the large and devoted Talisman following has been looking for a replacement for the classic game, but none has yet emerged. Personally, I've been looking for a replacement since selling my complete 2nd edition on Ebay for over $500. (Such collections are almost impossible to find now, and fetch top dollar if they are available). With Runebound I believe we finally have Talisman for the next generation.

First, the (minor) criticisms:

1. Play balance. Certain items greatly unbalance the game and house rules may be necessary to deal with them. Fortunately this game is perfect for house rules and variations, and some are already on the Web at sites such BoardGameGeek. The advanced rules provide some interesting variety as well

2. Once someone gets the lead (usually the person that moves first), they can be difficult to catch.

3. Movement. While the movement dice and mechanic are very clever, it is a little clunky and can slow down the game. I think this might have been better addressed with a 6-sided die and penalties to move into certain terrain. Kudos for creativity though.

4. Repetition. After perhaps a dozen or so plays the games can start to seem the same. Future expansions are necessary and are already in the works.

Of course, Talisman also suffered from many of the same problems and these were addressed over time both by the manufacturer and by the gaming community. None of these detracted by the tremendous enjoyment the game provided.

Now for just some of the pluses:

1. Game components: Great quality, especially the game cards, which remind one of Magic cards (and many can be tapped during the game just Magic cards).

2. Encounters: Giving players the choice of difficulty of encounters using color-coding is a great idea. Also you are never exactly sure when the game will end since there are 2 ways to win and you can never be sure when the final battle will be fought (unlike Talisman when the first player to the center won, unless you used the alternate endings).

3. Combat: The combat mechanic is more involved than Talisman and also incorporates elements of D & D and Magic. Players have more control over combat without being bogged down in details. WARNING: Player vs player combat rules need to be tweaked.

4. Expandability: This is where Runebound shines. This game was made for expansions and house rules. You are only limited by your imagination.

Overall, this game combines many of the best elements of Talisman, Magic, and Dungeons and Dragons into a game system that can provide many hours of gaming enjoyment. This game was much anticipated and lives up to expectations. I expect it to be a big hit for Fantasy Flight Games and a very popular game with the Talisman and RPG crowd for years to come. Highly recommended.

by Edd A
Talisman on Steroids
June 04, 2004

If you like fantasy games ... sending your adventurer out into the wilds to seek treasure, fight monsters, and eventually defeat the lords of darkness ... this game is for you! It takes all the best elements of its rather abstract predecessor, Talisman, and beefs them up for a really fine, highly detailed gaming experience.

The board, components, and rules are all well done, with nice graphics and a well thought out theme. Unique movement and combat rules separate this from many other games of the genre. Finally, the game promises to be expandable (with new encounter and monster cards, I imagine), to keep the game fresh.

When you open the box you find a well-organized, and colorfully illustrated rules pamphlet; a game board depicting a landscape comprised of mountains, roads, rivers, plains, swamps, hills, and towns; several well-illustrated card decks; and two sturdy punchcards with all the playing pieces. All components are of exceptional quality.

After a few turns, reference to the rules is no longer necessary, as the basics of a turn are fairly intuitive. The unique movement and combat rules are the most difficult aspects, but are still not difficult for even the novice gamer to grasp.

Players randomly choose one of twelve characters with a wide variety of skills and special abilities, and the adventure begins. All are well balanced with no one character having any significant advantage over the others.

Characters move around the map using unique terrain dice. Movement rules are too detailed for this review, but they add significantly to the decisions a player must make. Additionally, certain characters can use their special abilities to effect the movement roll to their advantage.

As characters move, they reveal different adventures. These fall into four difficulty levels, with green being easiest and red the most difficult. The adventures also fall into three types; encounters, events and challenges. The encounters usually effect all the players equally. The events often give the player a chance to succeed at a particular task. The challenges are usually monsters and result in combat. Generally, players will seek green (easy) challenges first, and only tackle the harder encounters when they have accumulates some experience, items, and allies. As with movement, character abilites can affect the outcome of the adventure cards.

The unique combat method in this game is one of its best features. Without going into detail, players have a number of options from escaping, to selecting between ranged, melee, and magic attacks. It all flows very nicely, and gives a player a real feeling of control beyond the simple roll of a die.

Another great feature is the towns where a character may buy and sell items and allies, and buy healing for himself and his current allies.

The one drawback to this original version is the singular storyline. After adventuring for awhile, the players work their way up to fighting the monsters of the red deck, where they will eventually encounter the dragonlord himself. The victory conditions are tied to this single storyline, and while getting there is half the fun, the game will be much richer when FF releases some expansions that offer some alternate endings.

Too long for kids and too repetitive for adults
July 12, 2004

This game is a good kids game (easy to grasp, uncomplicated and very thematic) except for the length of the game. My 7 years old son likes to play it but he gets tired of it after the first 90 minutes or so, even with only two players. For adult gamers, this is a very symplistic and repetitive game. Your only goal is to go through countless almost identical encounters to get more experience/better items/allies so that you are able to cope with harder (bigger numbers) monsters. The game starts well but it irremediably leads to a really long and boring mid play, only to recover a bit of pace at the end (if you haven't left the game for then) because of the competitive ending.

I have played this game several times with both kids and adults. It plays better with fewer players (2 or 3) because the rythm is a bit quicker (the active player is the only one doing something while the other players just sit and wait for their turns to come up) and it is a really slow experience with more than four players.

Other problems are that the game is greatly unbalanced (even with the advanced rules that we've been playing with and some house rules) because of the inherent fighting oriented play (it really favors characters with heavy fighting capabilities while more movement/skill oriented characters are always lagging behind due to the lack of gold/experience), the absolutely luck-oriented combat/movement/market system (1-20 die for combat) that basically rewards luck over good play) and the lack of epic feeling of the adventure.

I have been and am a big fan of high fantasy settings for board games (heck, I grew up playing the excellent AH Magic Realm) but this game falls well short of making any impact in this field. The idea is good but it has been poorly implemented (and I would say that basically not playtested either).

Other Resources for Runebound:

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