AAR- Runewars, Battle at Greenfire!

One Thursday last month, no CSW club members were available, so I trekked down to 95th street to see what Greenfire Games in Oak Lawn had to offer Runewars players. It was a slow day, but Mike, one of the owners graciously offered to play.

We both fielded Daqan and as I had two boxed sets painted and ready to play I lent him some figures. He also broke out a box of the new "Daqan Infantry upgrade" set and we each added a character or two to our infantry box.

Our chosen units and upgrades were as follows, each of us coming very close to 150 points. Here's a few of our unit arrangements:





Preparation for a runewars game involves 4 steps:

  1. Unit Selection
  2. Scenario Selection.  We choose the "Supply Raid "scenario and we each placed 3 loot markers on the opponent's half of the table. The scenario called for 4, but the smaller table made 3 a better choice.
  3. Deployment card choice. We selected the "Skirmish" deployment in which each side sets up near their table edge. I had one less point in my army than Mike so I deployed my first unit and had initiative (Dibs on moving a unit if we both have units of the same initiative) for the first turn. We ended up trying larger units so I had 4 and Mike had 3, including one gigantic 9-tray infantry unit.
  4. Terrain placement. The scenario card determines how much of each terrain type will be present, terrain cards determine which types and the players then choose from the cards which specific terrain to use. We mutually choose "Ruined Walls" and "Raised Terrace" because they looked coolest. I had brought along homemade 3d versions of all the 2d card terrain tiles that come with the game. Look for an upcoming blog about these later.

The Battle

After deployment we got down to the game itself. Not surprisingly all the loot counters were grabbed by the end of the first turn. Moving uncharacteristically fast (due to a lucky cast of the runes allowing for faster movement) my Rune golems did manage to occupy the crumbling ruins immediately.

On my right flank Kari and my unit of spearmen got moving.

Mike's massive "Death Star" of infantry did the same.

On the second turn, the cavalry managed to come just short of clashing.

In the Third turn things heated up a bit.

Using her special ability Kari was able to launch a powerful ranged attack at Mike's Cavalry.  This softened them up right before my cavalry charged in.

Using a shift action my rune golems leaped out of the ruined walls and advanced on Mike's golem.

Back at the Cavalry scrum, Mike's horsemen stuck back giving as good as they received.

Kari's ranged attack had tilted things in my favor and his cavalry were wiped out on the next turn. Following that my horsemen dashed ahead, collecting up the dropped loot token.

Seeking a good vantage from which to shoot, Kari jumped dramatically up on a rock.

After the Cavalry fight, Mike's Rune Golem fell...

... and after collecting the loot tokens he droped, my Golems returned to sulking in the ruined walls.

After a few turns of delicate maneuver Mike's massive spearmen unit had finally bypassed both pieces of terrain and was turning to face my flank.

Unfortunately my forces were already well away and he only had one unit left.


I already held a majority of the loot counters and my infantry didn't have any of them so I wheeled them about and sent them strait into the teeth of Mike's massive infantry unit.

At this point I accidentally triggered the "Unstable Geomancer" ability of my magician, an upgrade in my spearmen unit. It did a tiny bit of damage to his infantry block but far more damage to my own units. When the two units finally collided the results were spectacular.

The combination of upgrades and his dice roll was such that even if my unit had been at full strength it would have been wiped out in that first melee.

Learning a valuable lesson from this, I proceeded to spend the last turn and a half moving my units as far as possible from his infantry unit.

The End

Despite the dramatic elimination of my Spearmen, the points were quite decisive.  In Runewars you get points for however many units you have left as determined by the arrangement of trays corresponding to the unit card.  For example, I had lost 1 of my 4 trays of Cavalry but the only unit arrangement (as determined by the unit card) that I could form was the 2 tray arrangement, so I got the minimum points for that unit.

In the scenario, each loot token is worth 20 additional points, so combined with my existing units I won with a clear lead.


Post-Game Observations:

I've only played this game 3 times now and each time I feel like I learn a lot. A few thoughts, some of which are quite basic but bear repeating:

  1. Pay attention to your upgrade cards. Accidentally triggering "Unstable Geomancer" could have been a game-changer if it had come earlier.
  2. Pay attention to your dial. Remember to match your action and modification colors. Several times in this game I accidentally chose the wrong modification or mismatched the colors resulting in no modification.
  3. Over 100 points probably requires a bigger table than the 3x3 "skirmish" size. I'm not sure our 150 point game required the full 6x3 table that the game recommends for a 200 point game, but 4x3 or 5x3 would have much better suited the game we played.
  4. Big units can be hard to move. When it finally made contact, Mike's 9-base spearmen unit was devastating. However, it was hard to maneuver (really only had one lane of advance) and had I wanted to I could have easily kept my units out of reach for the entire game. A larger table might help, but it still seems like one should be wary of tying up too much of one's army in one unit. On the other hand, a faster unit like the Cavalry might benefit more from a larger size.
  5. More units is often better. In this game, having one more unit gave even my small 4 unit force a big advantage.

Despite the learning curve, I think we both had a great time. Mike was a gracious opponent and we both remarked that Runewars is a game that reveals new secrets the more you play.

The "Infantry Upgrade" pack turned out to be fairly useful as well. It provides 4 characters that can be added to your infantry units. Each fig has 3 different ways it can be used so the variety of upgrades is huge.


-Karl Paulsen

Chicago Skirmish Wargames.



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