News for November 2009
Protectors of the Forest 22
A look at a faction from the upcoming board game Runewars
Runewars | Published 06 November 2009

Pico’s ears perked up, then he chattered noisily and scurried behind a nearby bush. “What is it old friend? What do you hear?” muttered Ronan as he hastily smothered the campfire he had lit the night before. Pico had already disappeared into the undergrowth when his master heard it... a great rumbling from above. Rushing beneath the cover of a nearby tree, Ronan of the Wild squinted toward the eastern sky, where like a great black cloud, a massive flock of razorwings began to block out the dim morning light. Filling the air with piercing shrieks and the beating of a thousand wings, the vile demons flew westward. “Come, Pico,” commanded Ronan sharply. “We must hurry; the Elves must be warned...”

Welcome to the first preview for Runewars, the upcoming epic board game of conquest, adventure, and fantasy empires! Today, we’ll take a look at the one of the exciting factions in Runewars, and we’ll explore some of the mechanics that make each faction unique.

We’ll begin our tour of the factions of Runewars with a look at the enigmatic Latari Elves. These forest-dwellers are from an ancient society, and their countless generations of experience and influence give them the edge in diplomatic situations. Their military might is not to be trifled with, however. Keen hunters possessing an uncanny oneness with nature, their innumerable Archers are renowned throughout all of Mennara... and in combat, their armies move with a wind-like swiftness.

To understand the unique personality of this faction (and indeed all four of them), we need to see how a Runewars Faction Sheet breaks down.

A Faction Sheet for the Latari Elves. Click the above image to enlarge.

The Latari Elves are a “Good” aligned faction, as indicated by the icon in the lower left corner of the above Faction Sheet, meaning that heroes that share this alignment are more likely to stay loyal (we’ll see more on the heroes of Terrinoth in a future preview). Just to the right of that information, you’ll see two more icons accompanied by numbers. These are the number of Tactics Cards and Influence Tokens that the faction begins the game with.

A peaceful people, the Latari Elves were caught unaware by the vile forces of Waiqar the Undying, and only reluctantly took up arms to defend their age-old way of life. That being the case, they begin the game with only one Tactic Card, the cards that offer surprising and powerful maneuvers in battle. Their ancient ties to the realm, however, give them formidable influence over its people and politics, so they begin the game with four Influence Tokens. These tokens act as a currency in several diplomatic situations, from adding neutral armies to your own forces, to claiming powerful political titles that can help you acquire Dragon Runes and win the game!

But how do you acquire more Tactic Cards and Influence Tokens as the game progresses? It is chiefly a matter of adeptly managing the dials on your Faction Sheet, which means controlling resource rich areas and harvesting those areas (through the use of Order Cards, which we’ll detail in a future preview) at opportune times.

As you spread your armies across the map, you’ll take over areas that entitle you to claim more of Runewars’ three resources: food, wood, and ore. Let’s take a closer look at the food dial from the above Faction Sheet.

The Latari Elves' food dial. By playing an "Acquire Power" Order Card as his seasonal order, this player could gain one Influence Token from this dial. Similarly, he could gain one Warrior unit by playing a "Recruit" Order Card. In either case, the dial remains unmoved unless a "Harvest" Order Card raises or lowers it.

The Latari Elves begin the game with two food, three wood, and two ore, meaning that their respective dials start out pointing at these numbers. Part of what gives each faction a unique play style, therefore, is the ease with which they can gather certain units, as well as Tactic Cards and Influence Tokens. With only two food icons controlled, the Latari Elves can claim one Influence Token whenever they execute the applicable Order Card. And if you look at their wood dial, you’ll see that they can quickly establish a sizable force of Archers, as long as they control enough wood-providing areas. When you play a "Recruit" Order Card, you may claim all units at or below the chosen resource's dial. In other words, the Elves may recruit two Archers based solely on the three wood they begin with!

Two resource rich areas, highlighting the resources they hold (the southern one provides three food and the northern one provides two ore). By controlling these areas and playing a "Harvest" Order Card, a player may readjust his resource dials to include his newfound wealth.

Finally, take a look at the right side of the Latari Elves’ Faction Sheet, which provides details on their available units. The number at the far right gives the Initiative rating of the unit to its left, so an Archer has an Initiative of one, while a Warrior has an Initiative of four. Other factions may have slower, more powerful units that occupy the “5” space of the Initiative track, but the Elves’ are generally quicker (though perhaps less robust) in combat, and this contrast is masterfully represented through this initiative mechanic. We’ll take a closer look at initiative and combat in a future preview, however.

Each unit also has its own special abilities, and they are indicated here. The Pegasus Rider’s Flying ability lets it soar over mountains and rivers that are impassible to other armies, and its Fast ability lets it traverse three areas in a single move.

All of this adds up to create a unique, immersive, and well-balanced experience for a player selecting the Latari Elves. This faction can grow its armies quickly through both diplomacy and judicious resource management, but they should strike early, or risk facing the formidable late-game units of their opponents.

Check back regularly; in our next preview we’ll look at one of the evil factions, and we’ll see the specific mechanics behind Runewars’ innovative card-based combat system!

Runewars is an epic board game of conquest, adventure, and fantasy empires. Two to four players raise armies, gather resources, and race to collect the elusive and powerful dragon runes in the high-fantasy universe of Runebound.

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Comments (22)

Published: 11/11/2009 10:54:27 PM

hmm... a bit derived from TI3? 

Published: 11/10/2009 3:36:44 PM

So...if I correctly understood, it will be possible to hire "neutral" monsters along the game, such as dragons, giants, demons, etc...

And the "red faction" (the barbarians of the desert, I presume), as you can see in the photo of the back-box, contains some strange creatures (it's hard to distinguish well their shapes in that of them looks like a kind of big lizard...) which look very very interesting.

Yeah: it really sounds like THE "definitive" game on its category....

Published: 11/10/2009 10:02:17 AM

This is shaping up to be one kick ass game. I am already sold on this one. Now it is just the task of waiting for it to arrive at my FLGS!

Diamond Knight
Published: 11/10/2009 4:09:31 AM

Amazing! Definitely getting it!

Published: 11/9/2009 8:13:14 PM

I WILL buy this bog box. Stunning!

Published: 11/9/2009 2:01:36 PM

 Advance orders???

Published: 11/8/2009 10:45:34 AM

Hey andirueff,


I don't think any of us can know 100% for sure... but here's what I thought from the preview.

I think the dials move up as you control resources(regions/spaces on the board) of the corresponding type.
I think Order Cards contain cards that allow you to 'harvest' a particular resource.


Q. there are few things i dont understand. "aqquire power", do you get 1 influence and move arrow one space back, move down to 0, or does it stay in same space.

I think whenever you're able to claim what your dail says you can have, you take each item from the number it's pointed to and each item from all lower numbers as well.
If my dial for 'food' is at 3, I would get to take 2 fighters and 1 influence.


Q. "recruit" my arrow is on place 3 in the woods resource, do i get 1 archer and move down the arrow, move down to 0 or do it stay in same space, also if i have it on 5 in woods resource can i recruit 3 archer at once?

When on 3 I think you would get 2 Archers and 1 influence and move the dial down to 0. If the dial was on 5, I think you would get 3 Archers, 1 influence and one Card and then reset the dial down to 0.


Q. "harvest" reset your dial. do this mean i put my dial on 0? or do i rearrange all 3 dials to the resource numbers i currently control.

This is tricky... If the only way to increase your dial to a higher number is by regions you control then I think that this means you do reset the dial down to zero. Then at some point after everyone has taken their turns and control of regions possibly changes then you set your dials back to their new settings; which may or may not be the same as last round/season.


I think When you play one of these Order cards it will allow you to 'harvest' everything (units, influence, etc.) from where the dial is pointing and everything else below it (all lower numbers). Then the next step of playing this harvest card (oder card?) is you have to reset your dial back to 0(zero) because you have just taken everything you have produced.

I would guess this happens every season (season = round?). So you spend each season trying to defend what you have while at the same time trying to get your dial as high as possible by aquiring new regions so that come 'harvest' time you'll be able to reep as much as possible (hopefully that will be more each season). Or maybe you can harvest as soon as you have a havest card(s)... not sure about that.

Big Head Zach
Published: 11/8/2009 10:27:27 AM


I am willing to bet that these order cards function similarly to the ones used in Twilight Imperium (and by transitive property, Puerto Rico, San Juan, and Race for the Galaxy), in that there are a number of orders that can happen on a turn, which affect all players, but the one who actually chooses the order gets the "Supremacy Bonus", further helping them in a certain action. I notice there are numbers at the bottom of each order card - these may be the order in which these cards get played after they are selected (again, like in TI3/RFTG), or they may determine your initiative in other parts of the turn; the order in which you move/attack, or the order in which you pick orders on the next turn, to balance out picking a powerful order on this turn.

So, Acquire Power means everyone gets Influence tokens based on what their resources allow (2, given the example, 1 from food and 1 from wood, as both of those symbols are at or below the arrow on the dial), but the player who picked Acquire Power also has the option to use some of that newly-gotten Influence out-bid someone else for a title (paying more for it than the previous owner).

For "Recruit", you'd get all the units at or below the arrow for one dial (in the example, choosing Wood gives you two archers), and then the player who chose Recruit can get units for an additional resource type (in the Elves' case, they could pick Food and get an additional Warrior, or pick Ore and get an additional Sorceress).

Harvest would mean that you set your dials to whatever you currently control - so there might be importance in planning out your moves/attacks so you can claim a resource-granting territory before Harvest time.

All of this is blind conjecture, but given previous FFG offerings and also some very popular/loved mechanics, this is my best educated guess. Crunchy stats and the whole "everyone gets to do something, but I focus on one thing and get privileged actions" sound like a great combination.

Published: 11/7/2009 3:06:06 PM

there are few things i dont understand. "aqquire power", do you get 1 influence and move arrow one space back, move down to 0, or does it stay in same space.

"recruit" my arrow is on place 3 in the woods resource, do i get 1 archer and move down the arrow, move down to 0 or do it stay in same space, also if i have it on 5 in woods resource can i recruit 3 archer at once?

"harvest" reset your dial. do this mean i put my dial on 0? or do i rearrange all 3 dials to the resource numbers i currently control.

thx in advance.

looks like a great game (TI meets Fantasy for 2-4 player? sold!!) and looking forward to the next previews

Published: 11/7/2009 8:01:52 AM

More and more interesting. I'm looking forward to some of the reviews when the game is released as well as more information. Right now its on my "want" list!

Published: 11/7/2009 4:45:14 AM

The game looks sweet, can't wait to see more of it. Nice preview, I think this will be for me a must buy! I love the world of terrinoth so this game is for me.

Published: 11/7/2009 1:19:38 AM

Not only looks great artistically, but covers all the aspects of Battlemist in new and detailed ways; it seems nothing was simply discarded from Battlemist. Also like the references to Runebound and Descent. Word of Vaal is a nice throwback.

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