Thursday, January 28, 2010

From the Darkest Depths of Mordor....

We were the last bastions of humanity. The gates of the underworld opened and spew forth vile and foul beasts. The ground shook, and brought out the remnants of heroes long past, but they were not who they were before. We were forced to live in the far reaches of the realm. For beyond the ancient  cities who's great walls border he dark veil that descends on them, we had to abandoned all hope of rescue. Swarthy men, heroes of epic battles, now under the spell of lies under the onslaught of unnatural beings. All that is left for humanity to do is to rally troops and hold the hordes off until we can gather the stones, but we are losing ground. hope is fettering, as if we eek a victory over the mounds of undead, right behind them come the never ending demonic legions...yet we continue forth, like a machination who only lives for the surge forward to death!

And that is no Joke. For last night I got a chance to play FFG's new monster title Runewars. It's a few parts Starcraft, a few parts Twilight Emperium, and about a billion parts of, well parts. As usual, the bits them selves are top notch. I love how the terrain comes with 3D plastic mountain passes.

In our game last night we had three players. I played the Humans and the other two had the Undead and the Demon hordes. Great Chapel vs. Evil. I like those odds. Our undead player lucked out as he had a path through city tiles that went directly to his realm, while I was surrounded by neutral beasts that I had hack and slash my way through. My objective card allowed me to get a free dragon rune if I could create three stronghold upgrades, so I decided to try and bunker up my frontier, and make a wall of force that no evil could surpass. It was a good plan, but my diplomacy in trying to gain some allied creatures sucked balls! And ended up having to battle more times than I needed to. That in itself weakened my forces considerably.


The undead however, were rampaging through all the city tiles, and gaining a considerable army along the way unfettered. He was also collecting a sizable set of heroes and awards from quests. And here is where I was left a bit confused. You gain heroes, that you use for quests, to gain more materials to help you with more quests to get more stuff. Fine, but how does that help me win the game?? I think I was missing a card for that strategy, as Heroes never seem to help in gaining dragon runes. So what good are they? I'm sure in further play that will become apparent.

Suffice to say, the undead player began his onslaught onto my weak areas of defense, and began doing a stand job barreling through into my frontier. I took the next two turns jacking up wood to pile on the recruits of siege weapons and archers.The undead surge's days were numbered.

The Demon player was uncontested for a while, as he was isolated beyond mountain ranges and heavily fortified neutral spots, so it took him a few rounds to get into the fray.

 I will definitely need a few plays to figure out strategies as it seems like certain "items" work better if you take certain routes of play. The battles are cool. Not just a straight dice fest, but it take distinct phases routing/special powers/combat then resolution. This is done by drawing cards that have pretty good balancing effects. I think player elimination would be difficult to do as being most players with their 8 actions per turn want to keep a balanced strategy that not only makes battling effective, but defense, and growth.  I also like how the game has anti-turtling effects with the draw down of troops in the winter season vs. food production. Otherwise, because it's a multiplayer wargame, they tend to be a huge game of chicken and cold-wars just let the troop pile up. The game takes a while, and they even have an "epic" setup for those who think 3-4 hours is not enough! But overall I like the game.


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