The holy grail of board gaming…
…and RPG like game where all the players can play together and you don’t need a game master to run the game…
…and you can get that RPG experience in a single gaming session.
..add in solo play?
Enter Runebound 3rd edition.
If you have been following my blog or YouTube channel for a bit you know I am a big fan of dungeon crawling games. Take your character, level up, grab some loot and magic items, and fight your way to glory for a final showdown for the boss.
Runebound delivers this, and is in my top 5 RPG and solo board games.
You start out by selecting which quest to undertake- two in the base game, and of course being a Fantasy Flight Games release expansion give you more quests, characters, items, etc.
First base quest tasks you with stopping a dragon and the second quest has you stopping a necromancer.
It’s always necromancers…
How you do this is of course entirely up to you.
You explore the realm- a map with cities, mountains, forests, castles, and other locations. At select points on the map are adventure gems- one set for encounters, one set for exploration, and one set for social interaction. Land on the gem and your character draws a card from one of the decks that powers each type of encounter.
These are random, but based on the selected theme.
Could be a fight, could be a test of skills, a rumor to follow up on, or even a quest- visit a now revealed point on the map for further rewards and development.
This has you exploring the realm real time, gaining experience to level up skills, lore tokens to help with the main quest, and much needed gold to buy items and bling in the cities.
Now, while you are questing for glory, at the end of every game turn a timer gets advanced resulting in story cards being drawn from the story deck and resolved.
These represent the action of the dragon or necromancer in the realm- and really add to the atmosphere of dealing with and stopping their plans. At the end of the track, the main boss appears and you have to deal with them one way or another.
As you can experience and gold you can stop in a city and purchase magic items and gear to boost your power, or even purchase trade goods to deliver to other settlements for a gold reward- LOTS of ways to level up your character and solve/prepare for the end game.
An interesting departure from standard board game fare, and as such its expected to polarize players.
You don’t use dice.
You don’t sue cards.
You use runes.
Or cardboard pogs…
Each character starts with three of these runes- representing attack strength, magic, defense, or other special actions. As you buy items in the cities, they add more runes with powers to your casting deck.
When you “fight” you cast your runes on the table, while the monster or encounter uses a separate set of runes. From here powers are resolved and activated by playing single runes and countering them.
A very unique and dynamic system…
…and this is coming from a guy who LOVES dice.
In an encounter the monster’s runes are resolved by another play- the person to your right, but in terms of solo play its easy to also play the monster and resolve the attacks with the best rune powers available based on the casting.
A few people online have commented about the worry of the runes aka pogs getting warped or worn from being used over numerous games.
I have a few dozen plays in on the game and they are still ok.
FFG also sells a second sheet of runes and taken for $5 one can pick up and bank if needed.
The innovation and “something-different” of the runes is worth it in my opinion.
Lots of different ways to solve the quest and prepare for the boss fight.
Lots of different heroes to play in the game.
Different ways to explore and interact in a fantasy RPG-like realm.
Works solo & five more expansion for the base game if you are a completionist or want more quests.
Amazon currently has Runebound For $25 dollars if you are ready to accept the challenge.