Its hiding somewhere in the fog. I feel its stinking cold breath. Even when I sleep, I feel it breathing behind my neck. It do not even sleep, it’s a state on the verge of waking in the fear that cold steel will come out in front of me, and the last thing I see will be a deadly grin. The enemy is hiding at the border of visibility and is waiting for the right moment. We must chase him back to his cursed frozen holes!
This dark story is behind a box named RuneWars: Miniatures Game. And it will be told from the beginning to the end by designer Andrew Fischer. This is the 2017 novelty that Fantasy Flight Games has prepared for us under the supervision of Henning Ludvigsen as a reaction to lost Games Workshop licence. The game is then distributed in Europe by Esdevium Games.
Everything evil and good hides in a giant box that is really extremely tall. Inside, players will find the cardboard components needed to build eight command wheels with swivel castors. They assemble as well as round counter. Setup involves the preparation of a battlefield of given dimensions three times three feet (do you have such a large table?).
Individual players choose their side (Daqan or Waiqar) and get not only command wheels, but primarily groups of soldiers. Before the first game, you need to build, link, bind and glue them into being. These units are then placed on a plastic holder in groups. Exception is the biggest monsters, that manages to occupy whole four square by itself. These troops will stand on the opposite sides of the battlefield (as well as their corresponding cards) and will wait for company in the form of cardboard motion templates and distance rulers, but also several tokens and dice. All this is set aside for now.
Each battle has exactly eight rounds, except premature end when there is no opponent on the other side of the battlefield. Generals each turn choose a combination of action and value on their command plate. Their pairint clearly tells what the player in this round will want to do with his units. The first on the line is, of course, movement. With its help, players can either march their units or move them sideways. These are two separate instructions, the speed of which is determined by the number on the same icon.
The movement itself is carried out with the help of the corresponding cardboard template. For each type of movement, a specific strip is in the box. It is enough to place it to the corner of moved unit and then move entire assembly along its length. In the course of the movement, however, the unit must be free and must not skip over any figures and avoid enemy miniatures (and obstacles) in its trajectory.
Other possible actions include recovering from the consequences of past encounters (such as panic or stunning) and chance to rotate on current position. Players can use the modifiers already selected during first phase of their turn (on second dial). This will allow the units to turn (at the cost of losing part of the speed), but also to increase effectiveness of its attack.
As soon as the enemy troops touch each other, they have to fight. To do this, however, the general needs to choose the action of melee or ranged combat. This means, that player can always respond to the situation on the battlefield only during his next turn. Depending on the type of attack selected and the type of units involved, each rival receives a set of combat dice printed on the troop card. They can use hits (common and critical, that ignore armor), fear, precision or energy (which activates some unit capabilities). Damage caused by the defenders always corresponds to the number of notches by which the units are adjacent (on their common black base).
However, the affected unit is injured only if the number of hits is at least equal to its defense. For this blow, a specific miniature in the group gets its injury token, but it can only withstand a certain number of hits. Once it has received another token, infantry unit is instead removed from the cluster and there remains a void space on it. As a result of the battle, defenders can also be forced to test morality in case of losing.
The battle continues with maneuvers, attacks, and attempts to defeat the opponent until either a total of eight rounds are played or a moment, when one of the battling sides has lost last piece under their control. The winner is the only survivor or player, who has gathered the most points. These are the result of the value of all the units still standing on the battlefield and their improvements.
RuneWars: Miniatures Game is a tactical game where you can experience epic battles exactly as the box promises. Players are trying to maneuver around a big battlefield and be better than opponent. Sometimes it is not easy at all, although the battlefield is large, there are many conflicts.
It can be more than just man on man, because they can also be done as ranged. Opportunities are even richer because some soldiers offer special skills. And it is just possible to use these abilities for energy from dice and change the results of the battle.
But these are just the basic rules. In the course of a game, generals can occupy the terrain and gain various benefits or vice versa. Enemies can be accessed from side, where they are more vulnerable. There’s even magic in the game. But we have not yet mentioned task cards, that will allow players to get more points in the end. This is especially useful when it is clear that the battle will not end with any premature victory.
Game is pretty sophisticated and full of exciting moments. This, of course, results primarily in the inclusion of the dice, that make up the battles. It’s definitely not just X-Wing maneuvering on the ground. The game is quite different and interesting, although it has many similarities to other games on the market. It is obvious that RuneWars is trying to compete with Games Workshop, who shut their licence collaboration with FFG down.
Of course, there is a long playing time that perfectly binds to these maneuvering battles. So book at least two hours of your time. Since there are only two armies in the box that are totally different in a unit set, you can only experience a clean duel. No more adversaries. The more tuned can this whole fun be.
Huge gameplay of this game is, of course, hidden also in its wonderful workmanship. But it has two sides of the coin at the same time, because it is also the reason for a really high price tag. It makes the RuneWars: Miniature Game into a collector’s thing. If you invest almost 3000 crowns (100 dollars) in the game, you may also expect to buy some expansion packs. Well, in this case, the total price tag is going up even higher. So be prepared, because its still worth it!
+ movement using cardboard templates
+ beautiful miniatures and total processing
+ secret planning
+ exciting combat
+ tactical maneuvers
+ perfectly balanced for two
+ special unit skills
- secret planning means a bit of extra luck