It is a time of war. The scribes and sorcerers of the land of Terrinoth, having begun to tap into the power of the mysterious dragon runes, have unwittingly set the wheels of conflict in motion. Though they comprehend only a fraction of these artifacts’ true potential, the rulers of the realm understand all too well that he who controls them controls Terrinoth. The leaders of Human, Elf, Undead, and Uthuk Y’llan raise massive armies and march against each other. At the same time, brave heroes venture forth from their home cities on perilous quests, with the hope of claiming a dragon rune for their king and eternal glory for themselves.
Runewars is an epic game of conquest, adventure, and fantasy empires for two to four players. Set in the Runebound universe, Runewars places each player in control of one of four factions, where he must spread a fledgling empire through the land, conquer territory, recruit heroes, and ultimately acquire enough dragon runes to dominate Terrinoth and claim victory!
Ever-Shifting Seasonal Conditions
The object of Runewars is to be the first player to control six areas (the hexagonal spaces making up the board) containing dragon runes. Dragon runes can be found as the reward for a hero’s quest, can be claimed as the spoils of a successful siege on an enemy’s stronghold, or can be awarded when you meet a secret objective! When combat becomes necessary (as it quickly will) players will find a wealth of strategic options in Runewars’s card-based combat system.
The game is played over a series of rounds, called seasons. Each season ushers in a slightly new set of gameplay variables—for example, in the winter, armies may cross the frozen rivers of Terrinoth—but during each of these rounds every player must choose an order to issue to his or her troops. Players may choose from eight available orders, including to harvest resources, mobilize their troops, or attack a nearby enemy, but once an order has been issued, it cannot be played again in the same year. Therefore, each player must judiciously select both his year’s orders and the sequence in which he plays them, all while balancing the sizable needs of his empire.
Customizable Board, Limitless Conflict
Runewars features a fully customizable board, consisting of a series of pieces (made up of various numbers of attached hexagons) that are randomized and fit together at the start of every game. Mighty forces will march across the heavily forested hills and valleys of the Latari Elves’ homelands, or through the plains and riverlands of the Daqan Lords. Brave heroes will quest amongst the deserts and crags of the lands of the Uthuk Y’llan, or through the scorched, ruined wastelands of Waiqar the Undying. The modular map pieces ensure that no two games ever play the same, while immersing players in a perilous world of high fantasy.
After positioning the tiles and forming the map, players distribute the neutral monsters (who roam the untamed lands between the starting areas) and set up their home cities. Building the map is only one part of beginning Runewars, however. Players will also choose a starting faction from four of Terrinoth’s great races.
Four Distinct Play Styles
While some factions are counted among the forces of good and others among the forces of evil, these alignments don’t ensure anyone’s safety. Old alliances crumble at the outset of the desperate, greed-driven race for the dragon runes. The Daqan Lords, a faction made up of humans aligned to the forces of good, has bowmen, knights, and massive siege towers at its disposal. Adaptable and versatile, the Daqan Lords are adept at both military tactics and diplomacy. Also aligned on the side of good are the Latari Elves. Enigmatic and magically adept, the Elves boast some of the greatest diplomats in the realm. But when diplomacy fails, they are prepared to wield their potent magics against the mightiest foe: formidable Pegasus Riders and powerful Sorceresses are just two of the units they control in battle.
The Uthuk Y’llan were once a band of peaceful nomadic natives, but foul demonic powers corrupted them, twisting their forms and their souls and transforming them into an army of the damned. Now, these evil-aligned barbarians and raiders seek the dragon runes with a blind fury, and should they find them, they’ll use their power to cast the world into an eternal hellish nightmare. Vile Flesh Rippers and terrifying Berserkers bolster the ranks of the Uthuk Y’llan, a faction that delights in battle.
Finally, the loathsome walking dead, usually mindless in their pursuit of destruction, have organized and unified under the evil influence of Waiqar the Undying. Alternately known as Waiqar the Betrayer and Waiqar the Necromancer, this enemy of all who live has sought the power of the dragon runes for decades, and plans to seize this new opportunity to rule Terrinoth forever. His undead armies, including Skeleton Archers and Dark Knights, make a horrific sight in battle… but he is not completely unversed in the ways of diplomacy, and has been known to seduce neutral armies with promises of power.
Embark on Perilous Quests
As the players march their armies across the realm, struggling for control of vital resource points and neutral cities, a second, far more subtle war simultaneously takes place. Heroes can be employed by any player, and once hired, they can be sent on quests across the land, resulting in the acquisition of powerful artifacts. These heroes can also lend their talents to mighty armies, or duel enemy heroes to claim their treasure. Has a rival’s hero just finished a quest? Perhaps his reward was a dragon rune. Attack him and claim his spoils for yourself!
Fans of Runebound will find many of their favorite heroes have joined the fight for the dragon runes. One Fist, Red Scorpion, Silhouette, and Mad Carthos are just a few of the familiar faces that can be recruited, upgraded, and dueled… and each hero has his own unique powers, lending the same beloved individual character flavor that fans of the Runebound universe have come to love.
Runewars, designed by Corey Konieczka (Battlestar Galactica, Middle-earth Quest), offers a compelling blend of several game mechanics, coming together in an experience that goes well beyond mere area-control board games. The epic wars for the dragon runes will see bloodshed the likes of which Terrinoth has never known. Muster your forces and make your claim to power!
The revised edition of Runewars offers the same fundamental game experience as the original edition, but is presented in a more compact package. This, along with a few key component changes, allows us to provide players with a better value than was previously possible.
If I own the original edition, do I need to purchase the revised edition?
No. Both the original and revised edition of Runewars offer the same fundamental game experience. Component changes (described below) are purely cosmetic.
How are the revised edition’s components physically different from those of the original edition?
There are four differences:
- The revised edition comes in an 11 5/8 x 11 5/8 x 4 inch box, about half the size of the original edition’s box.
- There are no three-dimensional plastic mountains in the revised edition.
- Faction sheets in the revised edition are not punchboard, but instead heavy card stock (similar to the Civilization sheets in Sid Meier’s Civilization: The Board Game).
- Map tiles that are too long for the revised edition’s box size have been split, with puzzle-cut connection points in the middle for quick assembly during setup.
How have the rules changed in the revised edition?
In addition to incorporating past errata, the revised edition of Runewars introduces a handful of key rules changes. Remember, however, that owners of the original edition need only download the “Revised Edition Rules Changes” pdf, to have the same experience.