A Runebound Ramble

That Disastrous Second Game

Ok, so I’m going to start out by pointing out, I (and by I, I mean my team) won the first game, the fact that I lost the second game is not the reason it was a disaster :P !

Firstly there were five of us with two of us playing on the same team. My littlest brother has a form of Cerebral Palsy called Worster Drought Syndrome, so the mechanics in Runebound are a little beyond him, but the story telling element is something he loves! So while I got to make levelling up decisions he rolled the dice and took credit for killing stuff.

So what went wrong? I feel the problem was three fold:

  1. As I mentioned last week, the erratum for this game is very important. Losing your experience gems is really bad for you. We reached the stage where people could kill enough stuff to get 3 experience points but would die, losing those points and not being strong enough to take on the remaining adventures.
  2. All of the Events came one after the other. Due to poor shuffling after the first game, the events ended up next to each other, somehow, amazingly, they were drawn in quick succession from the green, yellow and blue decks, meaning that the adventure gems were not replenished in an equal fashion throughout the game.
  3. The final reason was that the players were over eager. Having already played the game before, they lost the cautious nature they fostered during the first game. Players moved on up to higher level gems long before they were ready, losing weapons, gold and experience in the process.

The game finally collapsed through player frustration. Unable to level up and unable to defeat the remaining challenges three of us dropped out, leaving only my younger brother (but not youngest as he had to go to bed). He uncovered Margath and reduced the Dragon Lord to a single wound before Margath’s fiery breath spelt out THE END in Mad Carthos’ charred remains.

A Quick Fix

Other than shuffling the events into the decks properly, what else can I do to fix the problems when playing multiplayer Runebound? Here’s what I tried. Please note most of these suggestions come from this document from Board Game Geek.

  1. Faster Levelling Up – Instead of 4 points each level will now cost 3 experience points.
  2. Inexpensive Healing – 1 Gold heals all your wounds in town.
  3. Starting Equipment – Each player starts with one 1 gold item/ally, the remaining 1 gold items/allies are distributed equally to the markets.
  4. Recovered Treasure – After losing a combat, you discard your highest value item/ally as usual, but it is placed with the challenge that defeated you and may be recovered by whoever defeats the challenge.
  5. Pass the Dice – Always let the next player roll their dice and plan their movement while you enjoy your turn.


So, how did that work out for me? Well we got the playing time down to under 3 hours. However over cautiousness returned, which probably lengthened the game, as players tried to avoid fighting harder monsters, fighting and killing greens long after they stopped needing to roll to hit them.

It’s odd, but no one (other than me) seems to opt to take the +1 wound or +2 stamina upgrades, I wondered if this is generally true in most people’s games of Runebound.

I’m hoping as familiarity with the rules increases and decision making becomes second nature that we will shave a further hour off the playing time.

Game 4

Now, two games after changing to the faster ruleset we’ve got the playing time down to just 2 hours. Also the game was much closer too as all the players had dragon runes. My team won with two dragon runes and Margath in a nail biting fight that came down to the wire.

Really good fun! Glad I persisted through the initial problems because now we’re all having fun!