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Runebounding, Part I: Base Fantasy

J Updated
Runeboundaries, part I: Base fantasy

Game Information

There Will Be Games

Often derided for the "generic fantasy" of its setting, Runebound was the adventure game that may have opened the door to the modern era of legacies.

I own everything ever released for Runebound (As with everything that follows, I'm talking about 2nd Edition; 1st Edition existed for less than a year before being revised.) That's 28 different expansions; some of which were just deck enhancers (artifacts and/or encounters to flesh out the base set's offerings); some of which are wholly niche overlays for the different player roles (the class decks); and some of which are scenarios that largely just change the end goal, but others which change the way the whole game is approached. But no matter if the world as you knew it has ended (The Cataclysm) or if you're adventuring from the polar caps (The Frozen Wastes) to the blazing desert (Sands of Al-Kalim), you're still in Terrinoth and mechanically it's still Runebound. It's that flexibility and malleability of both game system and setting that I think has made it last in the minds of much of its audience.

One of the main complaints lodged against Runebound and Terrinoth, in general, is that it's "generic fantasy". There is no central theme that sets it apart from the standard Tolkien clone. And it's true. Terrinoth is all elegant forest elves, straight-laced humans, demon-crazed barbarians, undead, dragons, and a few orcs and dwarves mixed in. Alongside them are creatures unique to Terrinoth (Razorwings, Ferrox, Bane Spiders, etc.) but which don't really deviate from the norm, as it were. This ain't Jorune from (way, way) back in the day. When comparing Runebound to the game that is its closest (and most famous) parallel- Talisman -you can line them both up as being pretty bog-standard, thematically. The only edge that the latter had was nostalgia because, mechanically, Runebound is the significantly better game.

Runebound Board and Minis

The most basic element is the dice in hand: Runebound uses d10s as opposed to the d6 of Talisman. That alone allows for both a greater range of outcomes in combat/skill tests/challenges/whathaveyou, but also in the design of those elements. You have greater variability in the level of challenges which can be tailored to present more variety in actual gameplay. Plus, Runebound has three traits for combat and tests (Mind/Range, Body/Melee, Spirit/Magic), as opposed to the two of Talisman. And, at the most basic level, despite it still being a roll-and-move situation, just like Talisman, there are more varied results on the movement dice and greater freedom of where to go around the board. Combine that with the ability to select an adventure level that individual players feel ready to deal with (as opposed to simply drawing the dragon off the top of the deck and dying in your first turn (fun!)), and Runebound is simply the sounder choice for allowing players to engage that essence of the game: adventure. This was, I think, designer Martin Wallace's intent: sound mechanics that allow for a plethora of choices, even if packaged in a familiar setting.

But those two elements set up a potential conflict: If Terrinoth is as milquetoast as many say, is it fun to be adventuring through Bog-Standard Land? Given that the game sold well and the setting expanded into two editions of Descent, Runewars, Runewars Miniatures, Rune Age, Battlelore 2nd Ed., and another edition of Runebound, I submit that the answer has to be: "Yes." Is it a mindbending experience into a whole new concept of fantasy literature? No. But, then again, neither is Gloomhaven. On the downside, among the mix of Challenges (stuff you fight), Encounters (stuff you do), and Events (stuff that affects the whole board/game), almost none of them are tailored to any area on the map except the cities, occasionally. For example, you'll find Encounters that cite Forge or Tamalir as part of their conditions for completion, but nothing similar exists for the Shadow Peaks or the Whispering Forest or the Bitter Downs. Those are just fanciful names on the map. That kind of flavor incorporation had to wait for the large expansions (Island of Dread, etc.), which emphasized that kind of questing approach.

Runebound Cards

However, there are elements of the world that do carry over from the main game and throughout the various scenario expansions (4 large, 6 small.) One of the most prominent is the Priesthood of Kellos, which is one of the central aspects of the small Avatars of Kelnov expansion, but also shows up as (sigh) crusaders in Sands of Al-Kalim and elsewhere, for example. Similarly, the necromancer Vorakesh, foremost lieutenant of High Dragon Lord Margath (the final boss in the base game) is referenced many times throughout both the original cards and the expansions... which is kind of odd, given that Vorakesh himself is only a yellow (second level) Challenge in the game, so you can often run into things connected to him that are more fearsome than he is. Given the presence of Margath, there is also a regular theme of dragons, in both regular and hybrid human form, that is present in the base game.

One aspect that defies "typical" fantasy is the selection of different types of heroes. Of the 41 total in the game and all expansions, 1/3 of them are represented as women. That's not spectacular, but it's certainly a step forward from most of its ilk published around that time. Furthermore, the variety of species is more interesting, with only three elves, five orcs, and three dwarves represented, but alongside a lizardman, a yeti, a minotaur, a snow sprite, an undead, and several other unusual entries. In fact, orcs and dwarves are far better represented in the list of heroes than in the encounters out in the world. Despite the presence of places like Forge (clearly intended to be the standard dwarven city (in the mountains, named appropriately)), suggesting that Terrinoth is a Tolkien knockoff doesn't always quite live up to examination. Similarly, the player roles are split fairly evenly between wizard (13), warrior (13), and rogue (10), in true Diablo style, with a few more in the "hard to define" category (like Red Scorpion, Kirga, and Annen the Trailblazer.) That breakdown roughly conforms to a focus on Magic/Spirit, Melee/Body, and Ranged/Mind combat/tests, respectively, but there are variations even within those identities. Battlemage Jaes, for example, excels in both melee and magic, but moreso the latter. Similarly, Vyrah the Falconer is almost as adept at melee as he is at ranged combat.

Sir Valadir

Also, character skills are often important in determining what type of playstyle they possess. Jump and Climb are obvious and can be exercised frequently throughout the adventure card decks. But skills like Diplomacy and Lore, such as those possessed by Andira Runehand, can be just as prominent, not only in dealing with Encounters, but also against many Challenges. One thing to keep in mind is the importance of Stamina. Just as in Descent, Stamina is a resource to be used. If you don't use it, you're not maximizing your opportunities. A case in point is how many hero abilities come at the cost of Exhaustion counters. Some of them are kind of ancillary benefits. Aurim the Sorcerer can skip the Melee phase in combat by taking 1 Exhaustion, for example. Others are tied directly into the character's identity. Eliam the Dervish can keep swinging with his best trait (Melee) by spending Exhaustion. But sometimes, as with most character-driven, skill-based games (think Heroes of the Storm if you've ever played), passive abilities are what you want. Bogran the Shadow automatically succeeds at any escape tests. That may not seem great early on, but when you get into those blue and red Challenges, late in the game, when you're hauling around some nice gear that you don't want to lose and you draw something overwhelming, skittering away might be the best option. Similarly, Ispher heals 1 Wound at that start of each of his turns. That's good no matter where or when.

Speaking of nice gear, as with most adventure games, one of the more important features is the fat lootz. Runebound does not let one down in this respect. Rather than just depending on a random draw, Runebound actually gives you something of a menu, in that you're not pulling magic swords off of dead Ferrox. You're getting cash, which can then be exchanged for goods and services(!), meaning magical stuff/friends and healing. Each city has a Market stack that shows what's on offer in those locations, which encourages basic strategies of taking on a certain level of Challenges nearby in order to accumulate the cash needed for an item you really want. No more drawing the Runesword and simply winning the game. Now you have to work for it and, uh, get there first. Because the Market deck becomes quite large with all expansions included, we've gotten in the habit of using the Bazaar rules from BGG, which split up the deck into 4 categories: armor, weapons, allies, and magic items. That way, people don't have to constantly be churning items (since you're limited as to what you can carry of each) if something useful isn't showing up in any city's Market stack. This approach also tends to speed the game along a bit, since heroes can better shape their gear strategy and become more adept at taking down the tougher Challenges.

Teleport

The lootz from those Market card expansions also incorporate a little of that flavor that is absent from some of the adventure cards but still mostly around the cities, where you have things like the Helm of Frostgate and the Waraxe of Dawnsmoor, the Vestments of Kellos and the Chalice of Tamalir, the Ram of Nerekhall and the Unicorn of Forge. The magic item stack is where you'll also find the namesake runes in all shapes and forms, from the ones that burn your enemies (Immolate) to the ones that keep you in the money (Everfull Purse.) As most of the final enemies/red Challenges in the base adventure also function as these runes once you've slain them, there's at least one more consistent theme that isn't entirely routine (runes instead of rings...?) In our games, most people have accepted the prominence of allies (more attacks in different phases, plus serving as blocking dummies) and armor (keeping oneself alive to keep adventurin' is key.) But being able to advance more quickly and knock off higher challenges is often the province of weapon and runes (and allies), so you can't ignore the other decks. Of course, the aforementioned occasional requirement to "get there first" brings us to the question of PvP, which is as present here as it is in Talisman.

Runebound is a competitive game. The object in the base adventure is to kill Lord Margath before anyone else does. Doing that can be enabled by taking a really good item off someone else (two players in my group will forever hold a mild grudge over the Rage Blade) or simply making it harder for them to progress. Consequently, you can interact with any other player in the same space if you choose to do so. It could be a negotiation and a trade. Or it could be full-on assault. Fantasy worlds are like that (Just read the news...) Combat is handled the same as it is against Challenges (ranged, melee, magic; before combat effects as applicable), except that the defender can't try to escape. Howevah, as noted earlier, the map of Terrinoth allows for much greater freedom of movement than the enclosed rectangle of Talisman, so it's usually not extraordinarily difficult to avoid other players if you choose to. The complicated time is when there are only a few blue or red adventure tokens left on the board and they're what everyone is gunning for. But them's the risks out in the generic world.

The class decks are important here because they're the "most optional" part of the full Runebound collection; essentially because they drastically encourage PvP interaction. The majority of the cards in the six decks are to be used as targeted attacks or Challenges against opposing players. If you'd rather throw down with each other before taking on Kyros and the Giant Lords, the class decks are a surefire way to do it. Keep in mind that they do add both complexity and, consequently, time to the average game. However, they're also a great way to add a little spice to scenarios that you may have played before.

Runebound Dice

And it's that "scenarios played before" thing that gets me. I'm big on story in games. That's why I lean toward thematic games over their Euro counterparts. I tend to want my memories of a play to be something I could relate with a beginning, middle, and end; not just a recounting of how I scored two more points than my opponents. Modern legacy-style games, like Gloomhaven, have fully embraced that concept and I think Runebound was a minor bridge in getting to that level when it comes to adventure games. Formerly, expansions for this style of game were add-ons. You could play Talisman with the Dungeon and the City and the Timescape, but it was still Talisman. Runebound's focus as its small and large expansions moved along shifted from "still just Runebound" to "still Runebound, but in a much different way." The small expansions largely change how you interact with cities and with the endgame. But the large expansions each have a story to tell of their own. The map changes (land bridges in Island of Dread, sandstorm in Sands of Al-Kalim, etc.) based on how the story progresses. The way you proceed through the game goes from killin' stuff and gettin' stuff to completing quests that shape the game and tell a story about your time in the jungles of Zanaga or wherever else. These are stories that can be told that go beyond just the competition with other players but, instead, get a lot closer to something like Tales of the Arabian Nights, where the scoring is almost incidental to what you did and where you went. That, to me, is what an adventure game is all about.

So, that's a dive into the base game of Runebound. In part II, I'll talk about the six small "quest" expansions which, again, range from mostly endgame-focused, like Avatars, to changing the way the game functions, like Cult of the Rune and The Cataclysm, and the class decks. In part III, I'll go over the four large expansions and how they transform the experience.

There Will Be Games

Marc Reichardt  (He/Him)
Associate Writer

Marc started gaming at the age of 5 by beating everyone at Monopoly, but soon decided that Marxism, science fiction, and wargames were more interesting than money, so he opted for writing (and more games) while building political parties, running a comic studio, and following Liverpool. You can find him on Twitter @Jackwraith and lurking in other corners of the Interwebs.

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Articles by Marc

Marc Reichardt
Staff Board Game Reviewer

Articles by Marc

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Rliyen's Avatar
Rliyen replied the topic: #312232 20 Jul 2020 11:25
Challenges as put out if Talisman and Runebound were DMs.

Talisman (mean fucking drunk): Here. You enter the hills. You encounter a Dragon. You're starting level? Too bad, fuck you, lose a life.

Runebound (you heading to blue and red challenges as a starting character): Do you REALLY want to do that? Nothing but sorrow will come of it if you continue.

I like RB far more than Talisman because you're not on a Monopoly board. I agree with your points, and I would give my eyeteeth for the MIDNIGHT expansion, but the only thing against it is it does have a lot of downtime, especially with more than 3 players.

I remember Uba, many moons ago, stated she disliked Runebound because of the downtime and it felt like you were shopping, not adventuring. That comment stuck with me because it is true in a sense.
jpat's Avatar
jpat replied the topic: #312233 20 Jul 2020 12:06
Runebound 2e was my first "modern" board game, back when I was still playing D&D 3.5. I traded it off a long time back, but this article tickled some nostalgia and regret.
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #312234 20 Jul 2020 12:42

Rliyen wrote: Runebound (you heading to blue and red challenges as a starting character): Do you REALLY want to do that? Nothing but sorrow will come of it if you continue.


Exactly right. There's nothing wrong with dice or randomness in a game. Both of them add tension and excitement (and, it has to be said, can add irritation and frustration, too.) But GW's form of randomness is something that has always bugged me. This is my argument against Dungeonquest: No one wants to flip a tile and simply be dead to a spear trap. It's not entertaining for the player, no matter how much it might be in schadenfreude to everyone else. I like that Runebound lets you strategize about where you're going ("I can do these two greens and then a yellow and then run into Forge to see if I can get that Dragontooth Hammer."), rather than simply: "I guess I'll go here and see what happens."

Rliyen wrote: and I would give my eyeteeth for the MIDNIGHT expansion, but the only thing against it is it does have a lot of downtime, especially with more than 3 players.


I guess I should issue a correction. I don't own the Midnight expansion, either. I was never really interested in that world and I read some really poor opinions of it, so I decided against spending the $ at the time. To be honest, I kind of forgot it existed before just reading your post.

If you mean downtime, in general, re: Runebound, I can understand that. I do kind of hedge with the fact that I tend to find "downtime" issues overblown. When I'm playing a game, I'm actively interested in what other people are doing, both because it's usually entertaining (i.e. That's why we're playing a game together...) and because what they do might impact what I plan to do next. If someone pulls the Dragon Mail in Tamalir and doesn't buy it, maybe I head back there to get it.

Rliyen wrote: I remember Uba, many moons ago, stated she disliked Runebound because of the downtime and it felt like you were shopping, not adventuring. That comment stuck with me because it is true in a sense.


The shopping thing, I get. Since you are accumulating coins rather than stumbling across stuff, I understand how it can feel like that; like you're saving up to buy that cool, new game(!) Again, I've just found that it flows better with how I like to strategize, since you can orient your excursions around a particular town and then venture off somewhere else once you have your new toy.
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #312235 20 Jul 2020 12:48

jpat wrote: Runebound 2e was my first "modern" board game, back when I was still playing D&D 3.5. I traded it off a long time back, but this article tickled some nostalgia and regret.


I honestly don't play it that much anymore, but it's one of those games on the shelf that always has the potential to be played. My old group were fans, so we played a lot and people would always want to try new combinations of things. If I have the good luck to find a group like that again, I know I'll be glad that I held on to it for this long. Plus, it doesn't take up a ton of space on the shelf. I have the base game, class decks, and all the small expansions in the original box, and the four large expansions in the Frozen Wastes box.

I went looking the other day and prices are crazy, yo. It's too bad that FFG decided to be the licensed game company and abandoned all the Terrinoth stuff.
Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #312245 20 Jul 2020 15:07
And that Runebound 3rd never got any real steam, that version is supposed to be good.
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #312248 20 Jul 2020 15:32

Gary Sax wrote: And that Runebound 3rd never got any real steam, that version is supposed to be good.


Yeah. I traded my way into a copy of just the base game of 3rd, as I didn't pursue it when released, since I had so much for 2nd and still enjoyed playing it. The mechanics of 3rd are interesting and I'd definitely play it more if I could find a group that liked adventure games. But the prices/availability for 3rd's expansions, including one that supposedly really "completed" the game (Caught in a Web?) are as outrageous as the stuff for 2nd; probably because the print runs were so limited.
dysjunct's Avatar
dysjunct replied the topic: #312257 20 Jul 2020 17:46
For me, Runebound fell into the almost-fun category. I liked the corniness actually; the generic world didn't bother me. But games just took forever, and I never really felt any sense of attachment or payoff.
the_jake_1973's Avatar
the_jake_1973 replied the topic: #312264 20 Jul 2020 20:32
I find that games tend to take forever since many people will only pursue the higher challenges when they are almost certain to win. The Doom track keeps that to a minimum since it pushes the end game.
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #312266 20 Jul 2020 20:47
That's common. I was always the risk taker. Get one or two greens under my belt, maybe have picked up a cheap item or ally from a town and then hit the first yellow. Do well and that's a level (given our usual number of players) right there and you're rolling.
Andi Lennon's Avatar
Andi Lennon replied the topic: #312267 20 Jul 2020 21:10
Having never taken the runic plunge, would you say the base game alone is still enough to engage should i stumble upon one on the aftermarket?
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #312268 20 Jul 2020 21:40
Sure. I wouldn't mortgage the house for it (in a manner of speaking) but it's still an interesting game.
Ah_Pook's Avatar
Ah_Pook replied the topic: #312270 20 Jul 2020 22:33
Runebound always felt like more complicated Talisman, but the extra complications were just kind of busy work. The location dice sound neat, but in the end theyre just "hope you roll the three symbols you need to get over there, or else you wasted a turn". The combat sounds neat but then it's still just rolling dice without any real decisions, and it takes way longer than just rolling a couple of d6 once. The shopping is fun and the tiered challenges are a good idea, but I dunno. I probably would have kept it around but even however long ago I had it the expansions were OOP and wildly expensive. It was fun enough to play as long as you pile on enough house rules to make it play in a reasonable time frame.
MarloweSpade's Avatar
MarloweSpade replied the topic: #312272 20 Jul 2020 23:27
Still have my copy, along with the big boxes and a few of the Quest expansions, Market deck, and a couple Challenge decks. Every now and then I'll toss it on the table and have a solo romp, which works just fine for me - I'm also in it for "let's see what story comes out of this" more than anything else.

One thing that 3E has that I dearly wish 2E had are the Quest challenges with the tiered levels of success, keyed to specific map hexes. I think that alone was a huge improvement in the storytelling aspect of these games.

I think Hexplore It! is probably the best modern-day version of Runebound, with its go-anywhere atmosphere, freeform development, and better questing with a bit of survival tacked on.
jason10mm's Avatar
jason10mm replied the topic: #312277 21 Jul 2020 07:19
I too have virtually everything RB2e (except Midnight and maybe one of the little card packs) all squished into 2 of the big boxes. How much is that stuff going for you say....??

I think it is the movement dice thing that really slows the game. I forget now if I got an extra set just so the next player can roll and begin to plot out their move while the other player is working a card. Swapping out the colored quest location chits with glass beads really adds readability and some bling to the board as well.
the_jake_1973's Avatar
the_jake_1973 replied the topic: #312278 21 Jul 2020 09:05
I know this goes away from the original post, but the Exalted: Legacy of the Unconquered Sun occupies the same tier of adventure games for me, but with a decidedly more interesting movement and questing mechanic. My group likes both, so I don't foresee ditching either.


I am going through my stl files to find better Runebound figure replacements.
Shellhead's Avatar
Shellhead replied the topic: #312279 21 Jul 2020 10:07

jason10mm wrote: I think it is the movement dice thing that really slows the game. I forget now if I got an extra set just so the next player can roll and begin to plot out their move while the other player is working a card.


I've only played twice, but I agree that the movement dice seemed to slow the game down, though not as much as the combat system.
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #312281 21 Jul 2020 10:24

jason10mm wrote: I too have virtually everything RB2e (except Midnight and maybe one of the little card packs) all squished into 2 of the big boxes. How much is that stuff going for you say....??


It actually varies more than I first thought. You can get the base game for less than $30, but some of the card expansions are going for $50 and Midnight for $300, which is the real rare egg, I guess.

jason10mm wrote: I think it is the movement dice thing that really slows the game. I forget now if I got an extra set just so the next player can roll and begin to plot out their move while the other player is working a card. Swapping out the colored quest location chits with glass beads really adds readability and some bling to the board as well.


I got an extra set just so we wouldn't have to pass the 5 dice around the table and, like you say, other people could start rolling even while the current player was working on a quest or something like that. I've seen pics of the versions with glass beads for the tokens and that's certainly an upgrade.
Joebot's Avatar
Joebot replied the topic: #312282 21 Jul 2020 10:42

Jackwraith wrote: I got an extra set just so we wouldn't have to pass the 5 dice around the table and, like you say, other people could start rolling even while the current player was working on a quest or something like that. I've seen pics of the versions with glass beads for the tokens and that's certainly an upgrade.


I had glass beads for my version. It was a nice usability improvement, and it looked pretty sharp.

I played this game a lot with my oldest son when he was younger, but I've long since sold it off. I liked the game, but I never loved it. I feel like the best games are the ones where the game mechanics sort of disappear into the background. That never happened with RB. The damned movement dice always had to be pored over like you trying to decipher some ancient text. And combat was just so much math. Granted, it's not hard math, but it's a lot of math. By the time you've leveled up a few times and got a bunch of +1 modifiers, and maybe a decent weapon, you're just constantly adding and re-adding, over and over again.

RB would have made a fantastic iPad app. If you could hide all the clunky shit with movement dice and combat rolls behind a slick UI, that would have made a really fun game.

I have to say, I also still remember Ubarose's comment that the game is fundamentally about shopping. That was a brutally insightful comment that stuck with me for years.
Rliyen's Avatar
Rliyen replied the topic: #312285 21 Jul 2020 10:49
I like the idea of the 2nd set of dice.

I guess I'll kitbash a set for the next time we play. And we're definitely going to play the AH'esque Mists of Zanaga.

As for Midnight, I actually love the RPG, so that's why I want to get it. However, I'm not going to pay a kabajillion dollars for it.
jason10mm's Avatar
jason10mm replied the topic: #312289 21 Jul 2020 11:52
Since 95% of RB is cards I'm kinda surprised the packs go for so much versus some print your own version.

Guess the art and those little lines of lore go a long way...

I always thought RB could've reskinned a couple of ways to great effect (Heck, it screams for a Destiny skin). And some larger player aids could definitely track stuff better.

I feel like Mage Knight killed vanilla RB for me, but all the expansions promise more story.
Joebot's Avatar
Joebot replied the topic: #312302 21 Jul 2020 15:35
I can't believe we're two pages into a discussion of Runebound, and no one has made a Red Scorpion joke. Come on, people. Don't let me down.
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #312304 21 Jul 2020 15:44

Joebot wrote: I can't believe we're two pages into a discussion of Runebound, and no one has made a Red Scorpion joke. Come on, people. Don't let me down.


Believe me, I thought about it when I was writing, especially when citing the gender ratio of heroes to select. But I figured I'd stick with the positive, rather than the artistic foibles.
mads b.'s Avatar
mads b. replied the topic: #312309 21 Jul 2020 16:37
I love Runebound. I really wanted to try either Sands or Frozen Wastes for 2nd edition, but couldn't find them. I especially loved the idea of a space ship in FW.

But when 3rd edition came out I switched. The game was faster and I had more control both while building my character and during combat. I think 2nd edition did some pretty cool things when it came to storytelling (like how, if you defeated Mistress of the Ferrox, you could then use that card to defeat a Ferrox encounter), but 3rd edition is just better at it. Unfortunately i didn't buy the solo/coop expansion when it was available in stores which was a huge mistake.
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #312311 21 Jul 2020 17:30
I'm in the middle of writing part III of this series right now and about to start Frozen Wastes. The spaceship in the middle of the fantasy world is a story approach that's been used before, but I don't recall a board game that used it as a central element. But it used to show up in video games all the time. I remember both original Final Fantasy (Nintendo gray box) and Might and Magic III (Sega Genesis) both used it. But, yes, both of those expansions are really great additions to the game; for storytelling, world atmosphere, and immersion.

No argument about the mechanical change in 3rd. It does some smart stuff, having had more than a decade of design development to build upon. I'm also kind of regretting not snagging the expansions for that when I could have.
dysjunct's Avatar
dysjunct replied the topic: #312313 21 Jul 2020 17:45

Jackwraith wrote: The spaceship in the middle of the fantasy world is a story approach that's been used before, but I don't recall a board game that used it as a central element.


As far as nerd games go, the first that I know of was the classic D&D module Expedition to the Barrier Peaks .