In the magical land of Terrinoth, many adventures await. Dragons have raided the land and their armies and followers are everywhere, making trouble for the people. Rumors are that the dragons were summoned by the evil necromancer Vorakesh and now his undead minions aid them. Heroes emerge from different directions of the world to help save the land and to defeat the dragon lord Margath. If he is slain, Terrinoth will know peace again.
Runebound is a game of adventuring, battle and heroism. It is playable by 1 to 6 players. The players will be playing the heroes that have risen against the oppression of the dragons and their armies. By questing in the wilderness and defeating the enemies of the once peaceful lands, they will become legendary and in the end challenge the dragons themselves.
Each player selects a hero to play. This hero is represented by a miniature and a hero card that tells you the abilities and special rules of your hero. You will also receive some gold coins, which are represented by nice “gold coin” tokens. Gold coins are used, in cities, to buy new equipment, to recruit allies that will follow you around, and to heal your hero when he is fatigued or wounded.
The game is played on a board that has hexagonal spaces and every space represents some kind of terrain, like a swamp, plain, forest, river and so on. We also have a couple of cities on the map which are the resting stops where heroes can get new equipment and heal up if they have the money. On the side of the board each city has its own market space which tells us what items or allies are available in that city. This is pretty cool because if you really want that shiny new sword you have to go through hell and back to get to the town that sells it.
Runebound is played in turns and each turn has five steps. Let us go through these. Step one is the “refresh” step. Many of your items, weapons and armor will be exhausted when used to help you out. For example, most shields can be exhausted to prevent a number of damage points to your hero. In this phase, everything “refreshes” and becomes usable again.
Step two is “movement”. Movement is interesting in Runebound. Remember the terrains on the spaces on the board? You have special movement dice that have types of terrain on their sides. You roll these dice and depending on the terrain symbols that you rolled you must find a route on the map to match them. You will have to plan your routes carefully so your hero can reach the desired space.
Step three is the “adventure” step. This is the main step in the game where most of the action takes place. During the setup you will place many “quest” tokens on the map. These tokens represent the enemy monsters, creatures, adventures and traps that the heroes can defeat for experience. In this step you can attempt the quest if your hero is standing in the same space as a quest token. Tokens have four different colors, green, yellow, blue and red. This represents their difficulty and the experience that you will gain by defeating them. Each color has its own deck of “challenge” cards that you draw from when attempting the quest.
Quests will mostly be a battle between your hero and some monsters, and if you defeat them you will gain some rewards of which the most important is gold. You will also gain the quest token itself, which you flip and it will show you the number of experience points that you received. If there is another hero in your space, you can also challenge him to a duel and if you win you can take an item or an ally from him.
The fourth step is “market”. Only heroes currently in cities get this step. The first thing that you do in this step is draw a card from a “market” deck and place it on the market space of the city that you are in. Then you can heal, rest or shop items or allies that are on that market space. You can also sell your items (but not your allies! No slavery in this game!) for half their price by putting them in the market space of that city.
The last step is the “experience” step. this is the moment where you get to spend your hard earned experience for a good cause, on yourself! Depending on the number of players, the cost of advancing your character will be different. When playing a three or four player game, you need four experience points for this. When you spend the required amount of experience you get to advance an aspect of your hero. Maybe you want him to be better with ranged weapons, or magic, it’s up to you to decide.
That’s Runebound! The game goes on until you grow strong enough to slay either three lesser dragon lords or until you slay the mighty Margath himself. This game is very fun to play and easy to learn. The only downside is that, in my opinion, there is not enough player versus player interaction, but if you don’t care for that sort of thing, than this is a great game for you.