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From the Depths: Runewars
But this is a favourite game of mine and my group loves playing it when it hits the table, and it doesn't sit by itself in my shelves - TI3 keeps it company (and Tide of Iron looks down on it from one shelf above).
It is a magnificently designed game - the Season cards, the unit initiatives for battles, the card combat, the Neutral units you can try and recruit or have to fight, down to the Resources shown on dials on your player boards that also then determined what units you could recruit. Even the Heroes can just as easily be regarded as a alternative strategy option, and as for the length of the game well the simple answer is just to reduce the number of Shards to collect and/or how many years to play for.
Again, those Season cards were brilliant.
I don't recall that the heroes made the game faster. It always felt like questing was cool, but also something that took a lot of time. But we also constantly tried to house rule ways to add more runes to the board in order to actually contest the middle of the map. But while playing the game was a lot of fun, we never really had a cool finish.
One thing I did hate about the game though was setup. Setting up a reasonably interesting and/or balanced board was a pain, and I always felt like the game would have been better with a couple of pregenerated maps. But then again, I always hated building the galaxy according to the rules in TI because it usually resulted in someone being screwed over from the beginning of a 6-8 hour game.
mads b. wrote: One thing I did hate about the game though was setup. Setting up a reasonably interesting and/or balanced board was a pain, and I always felt like the game would have been better with a couple of pregenerated maps. But then again, I always hated building the galaxy according to the rules in TI because it usually resulted in someone being screwed over from the beginning of a 6-8 hour game.
Same. For the last several games of TI3 we played, we just used one of the pre-gens because the map setup was lengthy, often unbalanced, and generally a pain in the ass unless you had a group that really understood the nuances and wanted to exercise that part of the game. Even then, it still often ended up unbalanced. You're absolutely right in that Runewars would have benefited significantly from having 3 or 4 tested pre-gens to make setup easier.
That's also a great point about how the dials made unit production so quick. Everyone places two or three units without having to count stuff and everyone's resources are easily visible to everyone else, so very little chance for mistakes or shadiness. It's another one of those smart design points that was a little clouded by some of the other stuff going on in the game.
@dysjunct: If by "Runebound elements" you mean the heroes, again, I think there is some value to them, especially post-expansion. But I agree that they still feel like one of the more "foreign" parts of the overall design. But in order to create the fantasy version of TI3 (aka Battlemist), I think they felt like some connective tissue between this game and Runebound was necessary. Otherwise, you're basically creating a whole new universe when you already have one ready to go and also expand further into (Rune Age, etc.)
And it did to some extent. Maybe the game would have been better without them (I never got to play with the heroes as commanders from the expansion), but they certainly made the game *feel* different.
Shellhead wrote: I played Runewars once, several years ago, in a four-player game with just the base set. I felt like the game got in the way of itself and outstayed its welcome by a couple of hours. A variety of mechanics and chrome just bolted together, and the heroes felt like an underdeveloped element.
I think this was just not a game for you and your crowd, it has a fairly decent rating on BGG for an Ameritrash game and did the DoaM thing extremely well with enough differences to set it out from the crowd.