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Monday, 24 April 2017

Runewars Unboxing

In my prior post I mentioned I picked up a copy of Runewars from Salute this year, and I thought it would be timely to do an unboxing. This is a Fantasy Flight product, and the only other foray into their ranges for me is (like many others) through X-Wing. This is a bit of a different beast, however, and I'm interested into how it's going to pan out.

Now the first thing to say is that the box is BIG. I mean, it's not huge from an X-Y dimension front, but it's DEEP - deep enough that you can't really hold it in one hand (at least, not if you have hands my size). If you can, then you also need to be strong, because this thing is also HEAVY. This gives you an immediate feeling that you're getting quite a lot for your £75-£80.

Opening the box confirms that feeling:

There is ZERO space between the box lid and the contents - you're presented with rulebook, Learn to Play guide and Lore Book, FFG Catalogue and wrapped token sets up front and personal. I noted (with some amusement) that the token on the bottom right-hand of the photo above was a "Proof of Purchase" token just like in X-Wing (that I've yet to find any use for!).

Taking a closer look at the token sets, these include the order dials that look like an especially interesting mechanic for this game, which I think might set it apart from some of the other similar games out there. Also recognisable are very X-Wing-esque movement profiles, but I resisted the temptation to open this pack until later.

I also mentioned above that you get three books - a Learn to Play, Rules Reference and Lore guide. Taking a closer look at these reveals no real surprises - the Learn to play features lots of graphics:

The Rules Reference is less colourful (mainly having a lot of text references, as you might have guessed):

Whereas the Lore Guide is very nicely and lavishly illustrated, which is very welcome and lends a real sense of professionalism and the feel of a polished product to the whole package.

Now I know that I'm really wanting this set to get into the minis, ennjoy painting them and maybe use them for D&D, but all of this stuff so far also has me intrigued and excited - it feels like a product that's had a lot of thought put into it, and it's been produced with FFGs signature marketing skill. As I've said many times, I'm not a natural fantasy player, but this already has several hooks I'm liking. So let's get into the minis.

Well, removing the books and token pack reveals this clever tri-compartment card divider, which could have been blank but is instead nicely rendered in a single-colour print of the box artwork - again just giving that feel of extra polish. In the centre compartment are all the other bits you need to play the game - dice, bases, cards etc:

Removing the card divider then gets you to two large press-seal bags:

Inside these are more bags of the minis

So where do we start? Well, with the big minis of course! The first one I looked at was the Carrion Lancer - this is made up of 5 pieces plus the base. These all come without any sprue attachments or major cleanup required:

The detail on the minis is really nice, despite the simplification necessary for this sort of 2-player boxed set economy. Here is the smallest piece, the lancer torso:

The models are designed to be push-fit, though everyone will cement them of course. Still, the fit is excellent right out of the box - here is the completely push-fit assembled mini - no glue used here at all

This is impressive stuff, and as we turn to the other large mini - the Rune Golem - we're not disappointed here either:

Looking at the smaller commander pieces, FFGs ingenuity in how they've split these pieces up really comes into its own - this again is push-fit, and you would never guess how it's been split to make it - I'm looking at it now and I can't even remember, and I made it!

The other really nice thing about these commander minis is that although they come with these scenic bases, they can be taken out of them to mix them into larger units, which is a simple but clever thing to do.

So let's move onto the rank and file troops. For me, I think this is where this set really sets a good standard, as not only are the designs good, but the level of repetition is low - you multiples of each sculpt, but there are four sculpts for the basic units, which keeps these units from looking too "samey" - it's also one of the things that usually drives up cost in 2-player sets. Here are the skeleton archers:

And here are the melee versions:

Now you only get melee versions of the human faction:

BUT  you also get a mounted unit - only four strong, but again, two different sculpts, which I wasn't expecting.

So what are my first impressions? They're good - this looks like a very well produced and well thought-out game, which I'd expect, but the level of polish and presentation is extremely high. The minis themselves are very cleverly constructed to be able to be push-fit and played with, and although I'd personally never do it, it is possible. The minis themselves are good - not GW multi-kit good, but with the compromises needed for this sort of product, they're very high - compared to Mantic's Dungeon Saga, for instance, they're definitely superior.

You get a lot of product for your money, and it doesn't feel like FFG have scrimped on it at all - which is a good thing, I want to feel like they are respecting my investment. Some people have commented that they could have cast the two factions in different colours, and whilst that's true and would have allowed a clearer experience for new wargamers, I'm not sure that this set is really aimed at them, and I personally like the grey plastic - it makes it feel more like a miniatures game than a board game.

So, as an initial impression I'm going to give it a good 8.5 out of 10, maybe even a 9. The limitations on the minis just pull it down a little, but not much given the understandable choices FFG have made as a manufacturer. I hope the gameplay lives up to these first impressions!