Unbreakable Bonds

It’s a game day extra here at spalanz.com!

As it’s Fantasy Week here, in celebration of the blog’s third birthday on Friday, I wanted to talk a bit about the upcoming Unbreakable Bonds expansion for Runebound third edition, which provides a co-op/solo alternative to the game.

There hasn’t been a great deal of news for the new edition of Runebound for quite some time, which has had many folks fearing the sky would soon be falling on the game. But feat not! This bad boy is coming in the third quarter, with new stuff (including new heroes) to add to the game.

To start with, there are five scenarios presented in the expansion – two new ones, and co-op/solo versions of both base game scenarios and Caught in a Web. I like this idea a lot, as I feel it could leave the door open for FFG to produce further co-op/solo expansions that do the same for any subsequent expansions they put out. I’m sure plenty of people will complain that this not only requires the base game, but also other expansions in order to play, but I’m sure there are plenty more completionists for whom this won’t be an issue. And the smaller expansions FFG have put out so far seem so packed-full of stuff, I don’t think you’ll be wasting money on them…

The way that combat is being handled in this expansion has interested me a great deal, as rather than having specific rules to essentially bolt-on a monster AI, there are new “combat boards” for four different monster types, along with the respective combat tokens. This could well future-proof the game for Unbreakable Bonds to work with whatever is next for Runebound third edition – though of course, we’re still waiting to see any kind of big box expansion come out here.

It’s definitely an interesting twist, and has come at a time when I’ve actually been on the cusp of trading off this game as one that I haven’t played since my first foray almost a year ago. I might just keep hold of the game and wait to see what Unbreakable Bonds has to offer me, after all!

Lair of the Wyrm

Hey everybody!
It’s game day here at spalanz.com, and today I thought it’d be cool to take a look at some expansions for Descent 2nd Edition, a game that I first featured on the blog here back in 2015: let’s look at the Lair of the Wyrm!

Lair of the Wyrm

The treacherous Wyrm Queen Valyndra has awoken from her slumber, unleashing her foul hybrid minions on the countryside to burn and raid as they please. Her lust for gold has lured her from her lair, and now it’s up to a few brave heroes to drive her back into hiding and destroy her cruel servants!

The first expansion for Descent, Lair of the Wyrm came out in 2012, and is what I suppose you could now call a small box expansion for the main game. As such, it comes with more of everything, which is never a bad thing as far as I’m concerned! We get new items, new enemies, and new heroes, as well as new tiles and five new quests that link into a new campaign to go on as we delve into the lair of Valyndra, the wyrm of the title.

First of all, let’s look at the heroes. We get two: Reynhart the Worthy, and High Mage Quellen. Reynhart is from the warrior archetype, and comes with a new Champion class, while the mage Quellen brings the new Geomancer class with him. Both of these allow for more options for all manner of heroes, of course, which is something that I always enjoy seeing.

Again, the item cards provide more of the same, though a new aspect of the game is introduced through something called Secret Rooms, which allow you to place a whole new tile that can be searched, in a mechanic that feels very similar to the secret door cards in DungeonQuest. Unlike in that game, you don’t start a whole new area of the map, but rather continue on with the current quest once the Room has been resolved, but it just feels very similar, and I thought I’d mention it!

Lair of the Wyrm

Moving on to monsters, there are only two new types included here: Hybrid Sentinels (the bat-like creatures) and Fire Imps (those little dudes coming out of the flames). The fire imps in particular tie into the theme of the expansion, through the new condition of Burning! Yes, if being poisoned and all the rest of it wasn’t enough to worry about, you can also catch on fire in the dungeon! Well, it makes sense, because you are delving into the dragon’s lair…

Lair of the Wyrm

Valyndra herself is a Lieutenant for the Overlord, and as such is sold separately as a miniature, though there is a large cardboard tile the size of her base to represent her in the game if you don’t want to add the mini. She’s pretty huge, and very detailed, and I can’t imagine anyone who wouldn’t want to have this model on the tabletop as a final boss monster. Valyndra comes with all the usual lieutenant pack stuff, and the Overlord in general gets some nice new toys in this box, including the new Punisher class that can be pretty brutal on the heroes.

Lair of the Wyrm is also used in the co-op scenario Dark Elements, which successfully blends the base game with the expansion in a new and exciting way. The co-op scenario plays a little like Shadows of Brimstone, if you’re familiar with that game, whereby the heroes are progressing through the quest in the light of a single torch that illuminates only a few squares around them. The elements involved in this quest include both enemy units from Lair of the Wyrm, along with the Elementals from the base game and – my favourite enemy type so far in the game – merriods! If you’re looking for a great co-op expansion for Descent, and want to use the bits from Lair of the Wyrm, then this is definitely it!

Descent Dark Elements

Lair of the Wyrm is an incredibly flavourful expansion to the Descent line, and definitely worth picking up if you find yourself in need of some dragon goodness for your games (and let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want dragon goodness in their games?) As of the time I’m writing this, I believe it’s getting quite difficult to find, being one of the earlier expansions for the game, but definitely worthwhile picking up if you can!

RuneWars, the Miniatures Game

Hey everybody,
Today’s game day is all about this bad boy that was announced last week at GenCon: RuneWars, the Miniatures Game. Yes, I’m still reeling!

I mean, wow!

First of all, something I talked about briefly in my GenCon blog last week is how big for the company this development is. FFG have previously made wargames, such as Dust Warfare, but for years now they appear to have been happy to produce more regular board- and card-games. Edging back into the market that is still primarily dominated by Games Workshop is a really interesting development, especially considering the fact FFG license Warhammer. I find this really interesting, and can’t wait to see where they go with it!

The game itself looks a whole lot like X-Wing, with movement dials and templates, even the upgrade cards. I actually can’t decide if this is a good move or not – though it does feel right that FFG have their own mechanic for all their wargames. The rank-and-file thing I can kinda take or leave, though I know a lot of wargamers like that. Something that put me off the idea with Warhammer was how it would limit the modelling options of some units, as you’d need to get them to fit together. However, it seems as though it won’t matter here, as the models are pre-assembled (but not pre-painted)

With all the templates, dials and cards, not to mention the custom dice that are also involved, it looks like the game could get a bit messy, but I suppose that will depend on how the rules for army-building work – I mean, the only video overview of the rules I’ve come across from the convention so far suggests games last no longer than 90 minutes, so I don’t imagine armies will be that large…

At any rate, this game looks pretty epic, and I’m actually really excited to see FFG launch this game with the Terrinoth theme! While some folks are sharing their uneasiness over what this means for Battlelore, not to mention their relationship with GW, I’m sure it’ll be a hit, and as I’ve already said, I look forward to seeing what they do with the line in the future!

Exciting times ahead!

GenCon 2016!

Hey everybody!
It’s GenCon 2016, the best four days in gaming, and this is my attempt to round up all of the stuff that I think looks particularly amazing as the weekend rolls on!

Warhammer 40k Death Masque

Let’s start with something not announced at the con, but is definitely worth a mention all the same – Death Masque, the new boxed game for Warhammer 40k that appears to be replacing the current intro box, Dark Vengeance. Games Workshop are really pushing Deathwatch stuff, it seems, following the Overkill boxed game earlier in the year. Along with the game, which features Harlequins vs Deathwatch Marines, they’ve got the new codex and data cards available for pre-order this weekend, to allow for quite the launch for the latest additions to the 40k line. I really like the whole Deathwatch idea and lore, so will no doubt be picking up the codex next weekend, though the box set might have to wait for a while. Especially seeing as how I’ve got so many other projects on the go!

Fantasy Flight Games are always the company I’m most interested in at GenCon, so let’s move on to see what they’re currently up to. In recent years, they’ve taken to making most of their announcements in the weeks leading up to the convention, saving just one or two showstoppers for the actual event itself, and 2016 is no different there. I’ve already talked about the new Star Wars dice game here, but let’s take a look at what else is going on…

Imperial Assault is getting a new small-box expansion later in the year, centred on Jabba’s Palace. Looks amazing, though this is a game I have unfortunately barely played, so I’m questioning the need to actually buy this when it launches. You can bet your ass, of course, if I manage to make this game into a regular thing, I’ll be snapping it up! Jabba is also one of the new hero/villain releases accompanying the game, as well as a new Luke Skywalker.

Mansions of Madness is a Descent-style game that I’ve owned for years but never gotten round to featuring on the blog. It’s a really great, thematic game, but there hadn’t been any news on it for a long time, until FFG announced the new second edition a couple of weeks ago. Looks to involve an app similar to the Road to Legend app for Descent, though I’m currently undecided – I’m not about to go buy the second edition, owning all of first edition anyway, but I’m not sure if it would be the same experience. The game launched at GenCon, anyway, and seems to be getting a lot of hype from folks across the internet, so there is that!

More exciting from my perspective is the new Arkham Horror LCG. I’d heard about this recently as a rumour, but the announcement last week really got me excited for what looks to be an awesome gameplay experience! Looks similar to Elder Sign in parts, though the RPG-like feel to the whole thing has got me incredibly excited, so this is definitely on the Christmas list!

Doom is a classic of the boardgame world, though I’ve never had the opportunity to play it previously. All I can say on this right now is, the miniatures look incredible! And speaking of miniatures…

Runewars Miniatures Game

I was honestly not expecting this, and I’m still not entirely recovered from my shock following yesterday’s announcement! The “original” Runewars is a game I’ve played but once, though it’s still fantastic, and I’ve been wanting to feature it on the blog for a while now. Set in the same universe as Rune Age and Battlelore, it’s a game I’d thought dead, especially given the popularity of Battlelore nowadays.

It’s not just the fact that this is a new game set in the Terrinoth universe, this is a huge deal for FFG. A rank-and-file miniatures war game is a huge thing for any company, and to see them do this really warms my heart, as it feels like we’re seeing more games that have that juggernaut feel to them from the company. Horus Heresy, Runewars, and Twilight Imperium are all games that fit the classic mould, and it looks like FFG are perhaps making a return to that style of game here.

Very exciting times are ahead, I feel!

What’s been going on at the In-Flight Report this year, then?

Interesting stuff there, looks like FFG are making a lot of these app-driven games since X-Com…

Announced a while back, Legend of the Five Rings has another year to go before it arrives, but that should allow for FFG to make it pretty awesome. I’m not slavering for it, but it’s probably going to be picked up when it comes out, so there is that! Any LCG from Fantasy Flight is amazing, after all!

Looks like a pair of “expansions” to second edition of Mansions of Madness, which feature content from the first edition core set and expansions. Seems like second edition might be worth looking into more deeply after all!

X-Wing Wave X

Wave 10 for X-Wing (sorry, Wave X!) is coming, with ships from Rebels and The Force Awakens. I’m genuinely surprised they’ve managed to keep going so long with this game, I thought they would have shifted to a cards-only supplement style of expansion before now!

This is here because I still can’t get over my shock!

I’ve been seeing a lot of positive vibes around this game across Twitter, so I’m thinking that I’ll definitely try it out once it’s released…

I still can’t get over this Runewars announcement…

While there was a lot of amazing stuff coming out of the In-Flight Report this year, I’m more surprised by what hasn’t been announced at GenCon this year – a new big box expansion for Eldritch Horror, and anything about Warhammer Quest the card game. I find this lack of anything fairly suspicious, so it’ll bear keeping an eye on in the future, I think…

But what about the other companies out there?

Star Wars and Carcassonne… I don’t even… I mean, why?! Carcassonne is a good game, but I feel that perhaps some of the expansions for the main game have shown just how far that game can be taken, so instead we’re getting a lot of re-skins, which I suppose are okay if you like the theme, but seriously, why don’t you just get the main game? Hm.

Legendary meets Buffy as the next IP @upperdeckent

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Having recently bought the boxset to rediscover my love for Buffy, this is perhaps some of the most exciting news to come out of Gen Con for me this year! A co-op game sounds super interesting, and I love the Legendary thing, so definitely going to snap this one up when it comes out, that’s for sure!

Mythic Battles Pantheon from Mythic Games/Monolith…#gencon2016

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Okay, so I had the game Mythic Battles, and I sold it after having never played it in the 2+ years of ownership. These miniatures look so incredibly beautiful, however, that I may have to keep an eye on this bad boy…

The Trederra invasion is on! (Brimstone)

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Flying Frog haven’t officially shared anything (yet), but a few people have been posting up pictures of the stuff they’re picking up as part of wave 1.5 of Shadows of Brimstone, and it does look kinda neat, I have to say. I’m still a bit bummed by the fact that I don’t have a lot of the stuff that I backed, but as many others have pointed out, the kickstarter was a hell of a deal, so I’m not complaining too loudly!

What’s very interesting, to me, is this news:

It’s interesting to me because I don’t have a lot of games with this theme, but it’s something I would like to explore in more depth. The fact that it’s going to be a kickstarter is not exactly getting my juices going, but y’know, I think FFP might have learnt from the Shadows of Brimstone experience, and perhaps things will be better this time around. I’m cautiously optimistic, though I might pass until it actually hits retail, so I guess we’ll see how things pan out. Of course, I’m quite sad they’ve had to put all of their other games on hold while they fulfill the SoB pledges, as I’m keen to see where they take Fortune & Glory, and A Touch of Evil, next!

Of course, FFP don’t have the only Oriental-themed game coming soon:

My favourite game designer, Eric Lang, has come up with, well…

…with beautiful minis, as always!

I should try to contain myself, though that might be very difficult!

That’s all for now! I’ll be updating here whenever I find more interesting stuff to share, so don’t think it’s over yet!

New Runebound

Happy Tabletop Day, everybody!

I’m very excited today, as I finally got round to playing the new edition of Runebound that was released back in November. Having bought it at the time, I was still unconvinced by the changes from second edition, which remains one of my all-time favourite games. However, the announcement of expansions had gotten me interested, and so in the spirit of the day, I’ve given it a whirl! And it was amazing.

While this new edition of the game is still set in Terrinoth, and follows some old favourite heroes on a very familiar map, the game feels a lot different to the old version, almost to the extent that you’re pretty much playing through a new experience. I was learning the game as I went, so it took me over 2 hours to play through (solo), and I didn’t read any of the lore on the cards as I was making sure I was getting the mechanics right, but I have to say, the experience is really smooth, and you get the gist of it really quickly, thanks in part to the new method of writing rulebooks.

Runebound 3

The game is no longer merely a ‘level-up until you can destroy the bad guy’, but a scenario-driven game that uses a timer somewhat reminiscent of the doom track ideas from the previous iteration. The time track is run through twice, first comes Act One, then Act Two, which interacts with the scenario in some way. Each scenario has a set of ten story cards, which are drawn at set points on this timer track, and most of them have a Quest effect that usually benefits you in some way, though the picture above is a bit of a hindrance as well.

This benefit often takes the form of giving Lore tokens, which have some way to interact with the scenario: I was playing the Ascendance of Margath scenario, and Lore tokens here give you the boon of reducing the big dragon’s health when you eventually fight him.

On your turn, your hero has three actions to choose from among moving, resting, training (gaining skill cards, more on this shortly), adventuring, and shopping. You no longer throw all five dice all the time, but have a speed that denotes how many dice you can throw. Movement is also different insofar as many of the hexes have rivers running along their edges, and you need to expend the water side of a die in order to cross it (rather than choosing to spend, say, a forest side to move into a forest space). This does present some interesting options, though there is also a wild symbol that can be used for any terrain type. There are only four Free Cities on the new board, but a multitude of smaller features, such as strongholds and shrines, which you can often interact with in a manner similar to cities (healing and trading, for instance).

Runebound 3

Skill cards are gained through training, though you do start with a basic hand of them. When you train, you draw three cards, then discard down to your hand size, so this can be a useful way of cycling through unwanted cards. Whenever you test an attribute, rather than rolling a d10, you instead draw a number of cards off the Skills deck and, for every card with a starburst icon on the top-right, you score a success. This means the deck is going to cycle through a few times during a game, especially with more people playing.

The attributes are body, mind and magic, much like second edition, though a major difference here is how you level-up. When you complete adventures, you don’t take the adventure jewel token from the board, but instead you take the card. You then use these cards to essentially “buy” skill cards – the icons along the top of the cards show how many adventure cards you need to discard in order to buy them. I find this really interesting as, not only does it mean you can level up after potentially only completing one adventure, but you actually get useful skills to use in the game, rather than just buffing your stats in a specific category.

Runebound 3

Adventures come in three types: combat (orange), social (purple) and exploration (green). These three decks have all types of cards within each but, as a rule, the green deck will have more quests – requiring you to interact with a specific hex on the board to gain benefits – while the social deck will have more events – cards where you can essentially choose what happens – and the orange deck obviously has more enemies. Rather than going through progressively more difficult colours of enemies, the orange deck will have enemies of all levels for you to face.

Runebound 3

Combat is where the biggest (to my mind) change comes, and one of the most controversial changes, at that: combat tokens. Instead of d10s, each hero starts with three combat tokens specific to that hero, and has the option of buying items at market in order to gain more tokens to add to the pool. Enemy cards always start with five combat tokens, and when Act 2 hits, a sixth token is added. Final boss monsters also add a seventh token to the mix specific to that monster.

These tokens have various symbols on them, such as shields for defending wounds, axes for hero damage, skulls for monster damage, the lightning-bolt icon (“surge” for you Descent fans) to trigger a character ability, etc. There’s also a double-up icon, that one roughly in the centre in the above photo, which allows you to place another token on top of it in order to double the effect, and a feather-icon that allows you to flip one of your tokens after casting if you don’t like the result (the smaller circle on each token tells you what’s on the reverse). Lastly, there’s a kind of splatter-type of symbol that represents magical damage specifically.

During a combat round, you take your token pool and “randomize” them, before casting them either like dice, or flipping them like coins. I treated mine essentially like dice, though tried to do a bit of a flourish as if I were casting runes or something! Simple things. Some icons are golden on the tokens – the person with the most gold icons has initiative and goes first. In the case of a tie, the monster goes first.

The rules state that another player takes control of the monster when you fight, and decides the order of battle etc, but I was playing solo in order to get to grips with the rules, so just cast them all at once, and always chose the most beneficial act for the monster. It wasn’t as complicated as it might seem, and I actually got knocked out a couple of times as a result of dealing double damage to myself… At any rate, Runebound 3 appears to be a pretty decent solo experience, much like the second edition.

I actually really enjoyed the combat tokens aspect of the game, which surprised me because it was the aspect I was most unsure about. The fact the dice are blank plastic cubes that you put stickers on kinda put me off, but the tokens felt like the worst part to me. The fact that FFG have actually released duplicate tokens struck me as a lack of faith in their durability, however the cardboard is the usual FFG stock, and I’m usually real careful with my games, so I hope they’ll be okay for a long while yet.

Runebound 3

The scenario I was playing, Ascendance of Margath, was a lot of fun. Once Act 1 ends, Margath is spawned on the board by means of a token, six or seven hexes outside of Tamalir. Once Act 2 is over, at the end of each round you roll all five dice and move him one hex for every wild space rolled – if he gets to Tamalir, it’s game over. The first couple of times, I either rolled none or 1 wild side, so felt a little cocky and tried to keep going in my adventure, which I’m glad I did because it allowed me to gain one final skill before the final battle on the outskirts of the city!

I was playing as Elder Mok, who has this really useful “surge” ability that allows you to test your Magic attribute +1, and deal magical damage equal to the number of successes you draw. When doing attribute tests like this, there’s a useful rule that lets you “exert” by discarding an unused skill card to draw another – as it turned out, this was exactly what I needed to do enough damage (plus those Lore tokens!) to destroy the big dragon and win freedom for Terrinoth!

Runebound 3rd Edition

I really enjoyed this game. I think I surprised myself just how much I enjoyed it, seeing as how I like the second edition so much that I was not entirely convinced this would be a good successor. Sure, when it was first announced, I was pumped, but once I got it in my hot little hands, I felt a little sad about things like the dice and the tokens. However, now that it’s spent some time on the table, I have to say, I’m sold. The game is re-implemented so well, I’m really looking forward to a long future with this side-by-side with the second edition.

The Revenge of Izrador!

Hey everybody!
It’s Tuesday, so it’s Game Day here at spalanz.com! Aw, yeah, time for a look at another boardgame this week, as I turn to the mythic expansion for Runebound 2nd Edition – it’s time to enter the Age of Shadow, with Runebound: Midnight!

Runebound Midnight

This game is mythic for a couple of reasons, I think foremost among them being just how rare this thing is nowadays. Heck, even when I bought it back in a second age of shadow, it cost me €100 on ebay. It was published in 2006 by Fantasy Flight Games as the second big-box expansion to the second edition of Runebound, in an attempt to crossover from the world of Terrinoth into Eredane, that of the Midnight RPG setting. While I find this setting completely irresistible, I get the feeling that the crossover wasn’t all that successful, and Midnight appears to have had a very short print-run, and then quietly dusted under the carpet, leading to ebay prices getting huge.

Runebound Midnight

The setting is the land of Eredane, or “the land under the shadow”. Basically, it is a fantasy land where evil has triumphed, and we’re now having to eke out a living in the wilds, away from the gaze of Izrador and his Night Kings. It’s just something that really speaks to me, somehow. I mean, take Star Wars for example. We haven’t really had a look at this yet, but the period between episodes III and IV is just so intriguing to me, because evil has won, and the good people are forced into the sidelines. Sure, there have been some incursions such as Dark Times, but we haven’t really had a chance to explore what it’s like to live in these dark days. Midnight shows us a world that is conquered by evil, and much like sneaking around in Mordor, it’s up to the heroes of the game to exploit the weakness of the Night Kings by destroying a powerful magical artifact, the magic mirrors, to even give good a chance at eventual victory.

Runebound Midnight

Much like Descent, Mansions of Madness, and the like, Midnight pits one player against the group, as one person takes on the role of a Night King. He or she will attempt to thwart the heroes and, if the threat level ever increases to 10, the heroes have no hope of victory. The heroes need to infiltrate the Night King’s strongholds to destroy the magic mirrors there; they need a total of 1 + the number of heroes in the game for a total victory.

Midnight isn’t like a normal game of Runebound, as several of the player steps are messed-with to create a wholly new experience. While other big-box expansions do this to some degree, none feels quite like the completely new game that Midnight is. The biggest change is the Night King step, for obvious reasons – let’s take a look.

The Night King’s turn always happens first, and involves a number of stages. First, the threat step, where he’s basically trying to increase the threat level to achieve his victory condition. He takes a doom counter and adds it to a pool, then rolls the two d10s – if the total is less than the current threat difficulty (which is set at the beginning of the game to 16), nothing happens, but if he equals or exceeds it, then all the starburst adventure jewels are replenished (there are no event cards in Midnight), the pool of doom counters is returned to zero, but the threat level increases by one. So right away, you can see that there is a chance to have the threat level increasing right out of the gate, but if you roll like me, you likely won’t be increasing it for several turns.

After that, comes the Patrol step. The Patrol is indicated by an undefeated challenge marker, and is moved much like a hero, rolling terrain dice and so forth. The Patrol is spawned at a Stronghold space, and can move to attack a hero, whereby the Night King player draws three cards from the deck corresponding to the hero’s level (level 1 is green, 2-3 is yellow, 4-5 is blue and 6+ is red) and chooses one to be the Patrol. An important thing to note here is that the hero cannot optionally engage the Patrol.

Finally, the Night King gains gold that he can spend to influence combat or spawn more patrols. He can also level up, by spending gold to increase his ‘shadow power’ – replacing the green jewel icon on his character card with a yellow one, and so forth. These shadow powers can be pretty debilitating to heroes as the game progresses.

But onwards to the heroes!

Runebound Midnight

The heroes of Midnight are a disparate band of chaps trying to survive, and as such have been noted as being distinctly weaker when used in other Runebound games. At any rate, there are some pretty cool alterations made to the hero step, let’s take a look!

A hero still rolls five movement dice, but rather than just using these to move, they also have other abilities – for instance, you can spend one die to try to heal, rolling it and, if the terrain symbol matches what you’re currently on, you will heal as you find a healer sympathetic to the resistance. You can also use the dice to barter, which involves matching movement dice to the terrain you occupy, and drawing market cards every time you match that terrain.

Runebound Midnight

The market deck is completely replaced in Midnight, which is also a really nice idea. The main game market deck is used as goods, because the economy has no real value since Izrador gained power. The Midnight market deck has got a lot of grungy stuff like the scavenged wargear and suchlike, it’s all really nice and thematic, I have to say!

Also thematic is moving into towns, which heroes now have to infiltrate – you make either a Sneak, Jump or Diplomacy test (so, the three basic attributes) at 10 + the cost of your highest-cost item. If you succeed, you can interact with the town as per the usual Runebound rules. This also applies to sneaking into Strongholds, though that will normally involve something far more ghastly!

Runebound Midnight

During an Adventure, the Night King tries to influence the combat by rolling dice equal to the hero’s level, trying to match the terrain symbols to those on his character card – he can only choose one feat to influence, but for each matched terrain symbol rolled, he increases the toughness of the combat in that feat by 1. Someone like Sunulael has a good chance of doing this as all of his influence is in the hills, while Zardrix will increase the ranged value by 1 for each road rolled, but the other two feats rely on marshes being rolled. However, there’s an important rule in Midnight that has the potential to save the day here – there are no allies in Midnight, so a hero can attack in multiple phases if he has unspent experience counters: for every two counters, he can attack in one additional phase. This is potentially why the heroes have been seen as weak outside of Midnight, as they really shine with the additional rules of this particular expansion.

During the Experience step, you have the chance to upgrade your grungy Midnight market item into a Covenant item, by using one of your face-down goods cards as an upgrade. It’s something that sounds really amazing, but usually ends up (for me, at least) being a bit hit and miss, as the regular market item’s effect becomes a special effect of the Midnight market item – matching these things to create something truly epic happens exceptionally rarely, in my experience.

Anyway!

Runebound Midnight

The goal of the game, for the heroes, is to destroy the magic mirrors, which are placed by the Night King at the start of the game. The players need to infiltrate the stronghold and defeat a red challenge in order to destroy the magic mirror, and can do so by teaming up. The Night King still attempts to influence the combat each round, and the red challenge itself also gains a bonus to its life equal to the number on the magic mirror counter. When going up against a magic mirror, a hero cannot use the attacking in multiple phases rule, unless the hero specifically has this ability anyway. When heroes gang up on the stronghold, they still act independently, so you need to go through all three phases before the next hero attempts the challenge. If defeated, the heroes gain 4 experience points and the magic mirror token, and once they’ve gained their victory number, it’s all over for Izrador!

Runebound Midnight

This is actually a really fun game. It’s very different from normal Runebound, and not just mechanically. It feels like a completely new world but with a vague semblance of the normal Runebound rules. Something very obvious, there isn’t really any emphasis on magical abilities in Midnight – crucially, there are no runes in the game! I mentioned sneaking around Mordor earlier, and this is precisely what it feels like to me – you’re in an evil land, trying to avoid the notice of the bad guys while bringing about their doom.

In a normal game of Runebound, you have allies to hook up with, and magical abilities from the various runes that give the game its name. There is something of a high-fantasy feel to it as you play glamorous warriors or highly skilled mages, but in Midnight your armour is rusty, your robes are grimy, and you’re skulking in the shadows.

That can be absolutely amazing, and every time I’ve played with this expansion I’ve had a huge amount of fun. But it can be a bit wearing, you know? It’s a terrific theme, but it’s not a theme I like to return to again and again. Back in 2011, I rated this a 7 on boardgamegeek, and I think that still stands. It is a fantastic, thematic expansion, but of the big box expansions for this game, it certainly isn’t as good as some of the others.

Check out my other Runebound blogs:
Runebound (core game)
Island of Dread
Sands of Al-kalim

Catching up with FFG

Some very exciting things have been coming out of FFG over the past couple of days, some of it already announced at GenCon, but some new. Let’s take a look!

Under the Pyramids

To start with, the very exciting news about Under the Pyramids, the new big box expansion for Eldritch Horror. Last year saw Mountains of Madness come out, which brought a sideboard to the game, along with a lot of additional bumph that you can see in my blog here. Under the Pyramids seems to be following that template, with a new board that depicts – unsurprisingly – the Egyptian desert. Two new Ancient Ones, of which only Nephren-ka has been spoiled, along with eight more investigators and a whole host of other new bits. I’m guessing Nyarlathotep will be the second Ancient One, though given the breadth of lore for him in the mythos, he may be better-placed in a box by himself. We’ll see, though.

Something that sounds like a lot of fun is the Museum Heist adventure – no idea how this will work mechanically, but it just sounds like a lot of fun!

Hoping we’ll get this for Christmas!

Descent Treaty of Champions

Just announced today is the seventh hero and monster collection for Descent – Treaty of Champions! Looks very much like more of the same, really, though take a look at those miniatures! Those demon lords look absolutely amazing. Interestingly, while I said this was more of the same, there is a new monster group, the Crow Hag! An interesting-looking mini, some strange cultist-like character with a huge mace of some sort… interesting!

Always great to have exciting options for a game, anyway!

Warhammer Conquest What Lurks Below

Have I mentioned the new cycle for Warhammer Conquest? I’m not sure…  At any rate, the next cycle is expected to begin at some point, and it mainly deals with interacting with the position of planets. Capitalizing on the fact the deluxe expansion, The Great Devourer, will be released by the time this hits, we’ll also be getting Tyranid cards, and the fourth pack, What Lurks Below, brings a new Warlord to the faction. In keeping with the first cycle, it also looks like the Space Marines will be focusing on a new chapter, this time Black Templars. Interesting, as I’d have thought we’d be seeing something like Blood Angels or Dark Angels first. At any rate, I wasn’t actually intending to keep buying Conquest packs after the Warlord cycle ended, but FFG are always so very good at keeping me hooked on their card-crack!

Imperial Assault Return to Hoth

I realise I’ve not mentioned the other big, exciting expansion announced back in GenCon, Return to Hoth! I’ve actually played the skirmish game once, and thoroughly enjoyed it, but have wanted to play more before featuring it on the blog. Anyway, it’s a really exciting game, and Return to Hoth looks like it has some very good additions to this! The miniatures include HK-droids, Wampas, and a Mon Calamari hero, all of which look excellent.

The associated ally and villain packs also look good – Princess Leia, Dengar, and some Snowtrooper chaps, all look fantastic! Interestingly, there is a lot in this box that seems to support the skirmish game, including a four-player variant, which makes me wonder if FFG are keen to support this aspect above anything else. It does kinda make sense, given the opportunity for organised play. The skirmish game is certainly the more popular aspect as far as what I’m seeing locally, at any rate.

Another one for the Christmas list, anyway – all four of these things are coming before the end of the year, anyway.

Finally…

X Wing Imperial Raider

The Imperial Raider is apparently in stock at my local store, though it is so overdue that I don’t think I’ll actually believe it until I’ve seen it with my own hands!