List Price: $49.95
Your Price: $39.95
(Worth 3,995 Funagain Points!)
Notify me if/when this item becomes available:
(you will be asked to log in first)
from 11 customer reviews
Please Login to use shopping lists.
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.
I truly love this game. It would probably be better to call it a game system. There are so many expansions both small and big-box that keep this game new and exciting. You are going on a quest, earning gold, fighting evil creatures and gaining experience.
Downtime between turns is a factor, I would keep the game at 2-3 players. You take the role of different heroes each game and gather allies, weapons and artifacts along the way.
I'm a big fan of fantasy role-playing style games; and so when I heard about Runebound (Fantasy Flight Games, 2004 - Martin Wallace), I was intrigued for several reasons. For one, it was designed by one of my favorite game designers - Mr. Wallace, who has produced the incredible Age of Steam, Liberte, and more. Also, Fantasy Flight games are all about fantastic themes and components, so I had high expectations. I didn't get around to getting it for various reasons, so by the time I got Runebound, it was the Second Edition, newly published in 2005.
After one game, I was hooked. I immediately wanted to play another game and even had an enjoyable time playing a solo version. After several plays, I pronounce the game extremely fun and look forward to playing it again. I'm not sure I'll want to play the game again with four or more players, but it's extremely fun with two or three, and even playable with one. With various ways to upgrade each character, and interesting, thematic events - Runebound has quickly become one of my favorite games of this genre, and I'd be eager to play it often.
Each player chooses one of twelve character cards, each with a different set of statistics. Characters have hit points, ranging from four to six; stamina, ranging from two to four; Mind, Body, and Spirit values, ranging from zero to five; Ranged, Melee, and Magic damage, ranging from one to two; and a special ability or two. Each player receives three gold, and the rest of the gold, along with piles of wound, exhaustion, and experience counters, are placed in piles near the board. On the board, adventure counters in colors blue, green, red, and yellow, are placed in corresponding spots all over the board. Piles of challenge cards (one for each adventure color) are shuffled and placed by the board, as well as a "Market" deck. One card from the market deck is placed face up in a card space that corresponds to each city on the board. One player is chosen to go first, and then play proceeds clockwise around the table.
On a player's turn, they will be moving a plastic piece that corresponds to their character around the board - starting from a central city, Tamalir. To move, a player rolls five movement dice (unless they have any wounds or exhaustion - in which case they roll four dice). Players may opt to roll fewer dice, removing one exhaustion counter for each die not rolled. When moving, a player can move their figure through different terrain hexes, as long as they use a die that shows a matching terrain type. A player can use any die face to move into a town or may elect not to throw any dice at all and simply move one space in any direction.
If a player lands on a town, they enter the market phase. During this phase, players draw the top market card and add it to the market stack that corresponds to the town they are in. Players then may buy any of the available items, or hire an ally, if they have enough money. Players may also sell items back to the bank at half price or may buy healing (discarding one wound for one gold). The different items that can be bought have different abilities and help the hero do better in adventures. A player can only carry two weapons and one armor and may have only two allies. Any item/ally discarded or sold is placed at the bottom of the market deck.
If a player lands on an adventure, they turn over the top card of the corresponding adventure deck. If the card is an event, the event is placed next to the board, and the corresponding actions occur. Events show a number on them (from I to IV), and are discarded if they are lower than the current event in play. Encounters are similar to events, but only happen to the current player, who must accomplish a task or test to win a reward, etc. After a player resolves an event or encounter, they draw another card, until they get a challenge card. Once players have defeated the challenge, they take the adventure counter off the board and place it face up in front of them. Each adventure counter is worth experience points from one to four. Some adventure counters on the board (marked by sunburst spaces) are replenished whenever an event card is drawn.
When facing a challenge, players must fight the enemy depicted on the card. Some challenges require the player to make a test. A player, when making a test, rolls two ten-sided dice and adds the corresponding value on their card (body, mind, or spirit). They also add the skill modifier if they have it (ex. Ronan of the Wild adds two to climbing, hiding, and swimming tests). If a player rolls equal or higher than the number on the card, they pass the test, and take rewards / avoid penalties. The player then has the choice as to whether or not they wish to escape combat. They do this by making an escape test, using their mind skill vs. the mind value on the challenge card. If they are successful, they move away, and the enemy card is marked so that players know what space it's on. A failure to escape results in the player losing one hit point, and combat continuing (they can try to escape again, or simply start fighting.) Fighting occurs in three combat rounds - ranged, melee, and magic - in that order. A player must choose whether to defend or attack in each phase, but they can only attack in one of the three phases. If a player has an ally card, they can use the allies' stats and attack in one additional round with that ally. In each phase, the player rolls the two ten-sided dice and adds their combat value of that phase to the roll. If they roll equal to or higher than the number on the challenge card, nothing happens if they are defending. If attacking, they deal hit points equal to the damage they do in that skill. If they roll less than the number on the challenge card, they take the damage shown on the enemy's card, whether attacking or defending. Some enemies deal no damage in one or two of the phases. Hit points are applied after each phase, and the battle occurs until the challenge is defeated, the hero is "knocked out", or the hero runs away.
After defeating a challenge, the player discards the adventure card and takes the reward mentioned on it - usually treasure, but sometimes other things. Players also receive the adventure counter, worth experience points. Once a player reaches a determined number of experience points (determined by number of players) - they trade them in for an experience counter, which adds two to a player's mind, body, spirit, or stamina, or one to their hit points. If a player is "knocked out", they discard all of their wounds and exhaustion, lose their best item or ally, and go back to the nearest town.
Play continues until one player defeats the "High Lord Margath" (which is one of the red challenge cards), or collects three Dragon Runes (defeating three other red challenge cards). That player then wins the game!
There are a lot of other little rules that I didn't mention. Rules such as the way weapons and allies affect combat, combat between heroes, etc. Most of them are rather intuitive and can be picked up during the game.
Some comments on the game...
1.) Components: There are piles of tiles in the game, of various types and sizes. Fortunately, all of them are double sided, are different colors and designs and generally are easy to sort. I did have to put them all in plastic bags, to keep them from getting into a big mess in the box, which has a plastic insert that is basically useless except to hold the cards. The plastic figures of the heroes, which are just begging to be painted, look great and match the poses on the cards exactly. Speaking of which, the artwork for the game, done by a team of artists, is really exceptional. It's very thematic, and the monsters especially are very menacing and look rather threatening. The cards are of good quality and fit well on the spaces on the board. The board is very beautiful, and the terrain is put to good use. The movement dice are six-sided dice with symbols on them to match each terrain type. My only problem with them was that the symbols are in black and white, and the symbols for forest and mountains looked awfully similar, and for us were a bit difficult to tell apart. I colored on the trees with a green marker; but because the sticker on the die was laminated, it rubbed right off. I might find another way to color the dice, though, just to make them easier to distinguish. Besides this minor quibble, though, the components were excellent, fitting in a large square box.
2.) Rules: The rulebook is twelve pages of full-colored rules with a LOT of information on them, including terms, definitions, and diagrams. There is one example of a complete combat round with a challenge, which helps explain the combat much better than the rules can. I found that the game takes a while to explain, especially combat, but all in all, it's very intuitive, especially to those who've played role playing games before. The only thing that people have problems understanding, I found, was the fact that they can only attack in one phase. Once that's down, allies and weapons just work naturally.
3.) Difficulty: I think it's really neat how the game scales the difficulty. At first, the green challenges seem rather hard, and players struggle to defeat even the most basic of monsters. Soon, however, a player slowly accumulates experience and weapons, and they advance onto the yellow monsters, etc. The red monsters are hideously difficult, and only a warrior who is completely decked out with decent allies has a chance at them. Defeating the final enemy is VERY satisfying - it's not as hard as the final enemy in Return of the Heroes, but the buildup is better than that game. When you beat the final enemy, you've finished a long, satisfying journey.
4.) Downtime and Interaction: The two biggest complaints that are leveled against Runebound are that there is too much player downtime, and that the players don't interact. To the second problem, I say who cares; the lack of player interaction makes the game more enjoyable for me. Player vs. Player combat only hurts both players involved and seems pretty pointless. If I want to play a game where I can attack other players, I'll play a different game. As to downtime, it can be a bit of a problem, especially with more than four players. Personally, I enjoy watching others play on their turns and seeing how their "story" unfolds. The downtime in the game doesn't come from players dawdling on their turns, trying to decide what to do next, but rather from extended combat situations. And these I find exciting to watch, but I do realize that mileage may vary.
5.) Combat: I enjoy the combat system; it allows a player to make meaningful choices, while at the same time adding a healthy dose of luck. Should I attack with the skill in which the enemy is weakest or the one in which I deal the most damage? Should my ally attack, giving me a chance to hit the enemy an extra time, but at the same time possibly killing the ally. For me, I found the allies good "speed bumps", cheap friends that I could throw to the enemy as a bone while I hit them again.
6.) Experience: Gaining experience is critical to a player succeeding in the game. Having a "+9" in melee combat is much better than a "+3" and will certainly give a player confidence. Should a player take hit points, combat bonuses, or exhaustion bonuses? Either way, players start with a customized character, and slowly make them even more customized, which allows a player to try the game again in a different way.
7.) Items and Allies: Some of the items are extremely powerful, although fairly expensive. If a player can save up and get a powerful item early, it can make their life easier for a while. For me, "Touch of Death" became a very friendly card in one game, and I feared dying - not because of the loss of gold, but because I didn't want to lose this powerful item. There are a TON of items and allies included with the game, and I doubt a player could get the same configuration on a character in two different games.
8.) Expansions: If a player DID want more variety to the game (and I could see the monsters getting old after a while), there are several small expansions (which add different types of cards) and at least one large expansion - the Island of Dread, which will keep the replayability of the game going for a long while. Make no mistake, I am perfectly content with the base system, but I enjoy it so much that I would love to play these expansions and add to the experience.
9.) Fun Factor: For me, the fun of Runebound was taking a weak hero and making them more powerful, using experience, items and allies. It's more about the journey than the destination, to use an old cliché. The game evokes so much theme through the flavor text, the use of weapons and allies, that I just have a blast every time I play.
Except for Twilight Imperium, I think that Runebound is my current favorite of the Fantasy Flight big box line. I enjoy fantasy roleplaying games, and this one is just an excellent one that keeps me thinking about it long after the game is over. A game like this, where you transform into a hero who saves the land from the Dragonlords and gain cool weapons and friends along the way is one that I am always willing to play. Players seeking a confrontational game in which they can constantly effect what their neighbor does may be disappointed, but those seeking an RPG experience in a board game will likely have a good time.
"Real men play board games"
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.
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!
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.
Complex but sometimes incomplete rules allow for variances in play and differing results each time of play. Easily setup board, game pieces and movement/attack dice sequences. Most heroes, combats and upgrade cards are useful and adaptable. Needs more definition of goal strategy and character/ally strength upgrades.
This game really surprised me.
From the top quality of components, board and cards (typical Fantasy Flight high standards) to the clarity, examples of play and design of the rules book, I was impressed from the start.
And the game really works. If you're into RPG or fantasy adventures games, but not wanting to have a Game Master or wanting to write in a lot of overlong sheets, this is the right game for you.
Some people have said that this game is best with 3 or 4 people. I disagree. The probably reason they mention this is because the eventual downtime between players. This is because RUNEBOUND is totally a typical "a player completes all his steps before the other player's turn" game. But, once all the player know the rules (and they are fairly simple), a player can finish his turn very fast. I even played it with 7 players (reducing the number of experience point to upgrade level) and everybody had fun.
Another clear advantage for Runebound are the expansions. Make no mistake, the adventure that comes with the basic box (Rise Of The Dragon Lord) will allow you to play at least five sessions (or more). But, knowing that there are gorgeous expansions runebound readily available, you should not worry about lack of replayability.
If the game scaled well, it would have earned five stars; but unfortunately 2 players is where this game shines and so I feel justified in the four stars.
Basically, the players take a random character from the deck, each with its own special abilities and stats. The characters are varied and somewhat unbalanced. Some characters are only effective when teamed up with specific allies, while others are pretty effective all on their own; add an ally to them and the game gets over-powered for that character. While this makes for a varied game, it can also be frustrating if you are trying to compete with the other players to “win” the game.
As for set up, it takes about 10 to 15 minutes to complete. It's putting all the tiny adventure tokens (gems) on the board that takes the most time as some of them (such as the green gems in the forest) can be hard to see. However, there are only four small adventure decks to shuffle and one large market deck (that contains all the allies). Get one person to shuffle and the other to put out the gems and the game is setup in about five minutes.
The game starts with all the players in Tamaril, a central town that has no loot in it to start with. This is to prevent the first player from getting cool stuff before the rest of the players and makes for a good central starting point.
Play begins with a role of the five terrain dice that can be a bit difficult to learn how to read. Each die has two or three terrain symbols on it that corresponds to a terrain on the board. Trying to count up the symbols and then figure out how to move you character can be difficult. However, we learned to use the dice like stepping stones; putting each die its appropriate terrain on the board and "walking" the character across the dice to ensure proper movement is maintained.
Essentially, each character rolls the dice attempting to move their character towards an adventure gem. Each gem corresponds to an adventure deck, with each stack increasing GREATLY in difficulty. In fact, once you get the level 3 encounters, you have a good chance of dying from them with a single bad roll.
Characters move from gem to gem, gaining treasure and tokens until the magic number of five is reached, and then the players head into town to buy items, allies, and to cash in the gems (in groups of five) for stat bumps, like extra ranged, melee, or magic attacks.
The adventures themselves are varied, but after playing the game three times with just two players, we have seen all the adventures and read all the flavor text. This began to take away from the game as we didn't get into the adventures any more and had encounters such as, "they're 'bees', kill em". In addition, we had seen about 3/4s of the characters and had played most of the interesting ones.
The game itself takes about 3-4 hours to complete, though can be competed faster if you are competing with another player by acquiring 3 red rune adventures or fighting the Big-Bad, High Lord Margath. Either of those two conditions causes you to win the game. The end adventures are very tough and so players will continue to fight monsters until they can handle the lower adventures without difficulty. There is still a good chance, even with a powerful character, that a single bad roll can kill you.
Finally, there is a certain anti-climatic feel to the end of the game. If you are competitive there will be a race for the last rune (the third) to win the game and it basically comes down to who happens to be closer to the red ones and is ready to handle them. So the end game is not much of a race rather than an uphill climb to catch-up with the person who starts tackling the final adventures first. Once they’ve hit their third, which is generally identical to all the other red adventures, the game ends.
Despite Runebound’s shortcomings, it’s still a very fun game to play and we look forward to talking some of the expansion decks and boxsets.
Runebound's instructions were easy enough to understand. After running through a trial round with the guys and recognizing a few misunderstandings we were underway with game one. All in all things went smoothly from the perspective of game mechanics. There were some ambiguities from the rules such as hero vs. hero fighting and whether damage/fatigue is to be removed upon a hero's death (yes, it is), but all in all the game played smoothly.
The game itself was enjoyable. This game certainly doesn't offer the deep strategy of a game like Settlers of Catan, but it's a fun fantasy board game. Dice (and thus randomness) affect a large part of this game's results. This game features one 20 sided die used for everything, but movement and 5 6 sided dice with terrain symbols for movement. Thus one of the things to note is that the frequency that certain movement hexes appear on the dice is very different from the frequency of others making is far easier to travel on roads vs. swamps as an example.
This game also features scenarios (and includes just one) opening the doors for Fantasy Flight Games to expand on this title. I just looked at their website and they seem to have a pretty good FAQ up and, as a bonus, some Advanced Rules that were not a part of my game. I also see they're coming out with a new version... hopefully that just means new rules for my old pieces.
In a nutshell the game is played as follows. 2 - 6 people each have a hero with some set of abilities. Then there's some victory condition set... the default scenario's victory condition includes getting 3 of a given item or killing the bad guy. Obviously I'm omitting all of the reasonably well written flavor text that the game includes. Every turn each player moves, possibly enagages in some sort of 'adventure' which comes down to rolling the dice vs. your hero's skills, and possibly buying stuff or hiring allies in the market. As you complete adventures and acquire things your character naturally becomes more powerful and can complete more difficult adventures of which there are 4 levels. Eventually someone completes a victory condition and wins. There is no 2nd, 3rd, ...etc place.
As one reviewer wrote the game can grow long in the middle. Each player's turn does not involve any of the other players (with the possible exception of hero vs. hero combat which doesn't appear to be something that is frequent). This got to the point where we (5 players) were trying to take turns in parallel as best as we could. One player would roll their move and then while they resolved their adventure the next player would be determining their move.
In summary, this one isn't going to become a classic, but it's a solid fantasy combat oriented board game that we were able to enjoy and have a desire to play again. I don't, however, envision that this game will be played again and again and again and again for months (we game every other Friday). Perhaps it's similar to Munchkin in that matter... once you've read all of the cards and done the adventure it's time to put it back in the closet only to bring out again for a game or two next year. I happen to love the fantasy genre so this game is a keeper for me.
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.
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).