News for November 2009
Where the Hellhounds Roam 11
The fourth preview for the upcoming board game Runewars
Runewars | Published 30 November 2009

“The demon-lovers are scum, but their gold shines just the same,” Bogran the Shadow whispered from the blackness of the cave. Silhouette’s stomach churned. “You’d sell out Terrinoth for a bit of gold? You’re a greater fool than I thought. If the Uthuk Y’llan win this war, do you know what they’ll do to us? To all of us?” She shifted her weight as she spoke, preparing to strike out, dagger in hand, in the direction of his voice. “Enough talk,” Bogran interrupted curtly. “My employers want what’s in that satchel. I watched you take it from that walking corpse, and I intend to take it from you. Whether or not I kill you in the process is your choice...”

Welcome to the fourth preview of Runewars, an epic board game of conquest, adventure, and fantasy empires! In the past three previews, we’ve looked at the mechanics of resource management, combat, and hidden objectives. We’ve also seen three of the four unique factions vying for control of the dragon runes.

Today, we’ll conclude our tour of these factions with a glimpse at the terrifying Uthuk Y’llan, and we’ll check out the neutral units populating the realm, as well as the mechanics behind winning them over to your side.

The Uthuk Y'llan Faction Sheet. Click to Enlarge.

Once a peaceful nomadic people, the Uthuk Y’llan were corrupted by otherworldly forces. Now, they worship horrible demons, practice human sacrifice, and mold their flesh in dark rituals to make themselves into twisted monsters. Selling their souls and extinguishing the last of their humanity, they have even learned the secrets of summoning foul beasts from the burning underworld. If they gain control of the dragon runes, they will turn the entire realm into a scorched wasteland and make Terrinoth a gift to their demonic masters.

The Uthuk Y’llan excel in combat. In addition to the four Tactic Cards they begin with, they also benefit from some of the most devastating low-cost units in the game, giving their army an exceptional “bang for the buck.”

The Flesh Ripper has the Fast ability, like the Daqan Lords’ Knight, but unlike the Knight, this terrifying abomination has an initiative rating of one, so it strikes first! Don’t make the mistake of underestimating the Berserker, however. This Uthuk shock troop can sacrifice itself to deal a savage blow to the opposition. Finally, the Warlock’s Rain Fire spell can quickly mop up your opponents’ meager forces, and the presence of a mighty Chaos Lord on the field of battle will strike fear into their cowardly hearts.

When wielding an army like this, diplomacy may be an afterthought. But how does diplomacy work? After all, why fight a mighty dragon when you can instead win him over to your cause, and use him to strike against your foes?

When an army encounters neutral units, the controlling player may choose to attack immediately or attempt diplomacy. As we established in an earlier preview, several game mechanics use the drawing of Fate Cards as their randomizer, and diplomacy is no different in that respect. Look at the three Fate Cards below. As we learned before, the four quadrants of the Fate Card’s face are used to determine the outcome of battle (they are also used to determine the outcome of hero duels, as we’ll see in our next preview). For purposes of diplomacy, however, direct your attention to the icon at the top of each card. Eighteen of the thirty fate cards display the first icon, indicating that diplomacy has failed and a battle must commence. Eight display the second icon, indicating that the neutral units retreat. And four others display the third icon, indicating that diplomacy was successful and the neutral units may join your army.

Three Fate Cards. Paying attention only to the icons at the very top of each,
notice that the first one indicates a diplomatic failure resulting in a battle, the
second indicates a failure resulting in a retreat, and the third indicates a success.

When a player’s units enter an area with unclaimed neutral forces, and that player chooses to attempt diplomacy, he or she essentially “buys” random draws from the Fate Deck, paying one Influence Token (up to a total of six) for each draw. That player then looks through the cards just drawn, choosing one Fate Card and accepting the consequences, good or bad, of that outcome.

But what forces roam the land, waiting to join a leader, or destroy him? Fans of the Runebound universe will likely recognize a few familiar faces from this collection of beasts and fiends.

Corrupted by dark magics, foul Sorcerers roam the land seeking new sources of power to exploit. The right leader, however, can convince even the most dangerous of these men to rally to his cause. Diplomacy is worth the effort; though physically weak, the Sorcerer’s Undying ability gives them supernatural resistance.

Flocks of vile Razorwings can often be seen above the skies of Terrinoth, preying on the unwary. Their flying ability allows them to go where others can not (like over mountains or unfrozen rivers), and they move with a speed well beyond that of other monsters. They can’t take much of a beating, but their quick attacks often leave their opponents stunned and unable to respond.

Fans of Descent: Journeys in the Dark know the power of the ravenous Beastman, with its terrifying command ability bolstering its attack. These fearless hunters are more than a mere collection of grunts; the scholars of Terrinoth have unraveled a complex tribal hierarchy that allows them to organize and plan quickly on the battlefield. Many so-called “civilized” armies have underestimated the Beastmen, paying the price in blood.

Legends say the in the early days of the Uthuk Y’llan’s corruption, they hastily opened a portal from the burning underworld in the hopes of controlling the dark forces found within. They failed to tame the vicious Hellhounds, and many lives were lost, but perhaps you can succeed and add them to your army. These tough units can spread their fiery attack to multiple targets!

The ancient and powerful Dragons, once masters of the dragon runes, rarely become involved in mortal affairs. Recent events, however, have prompted them to take to the skies over Terrinoth in greater numbers. Their flaming breath ability allows them to dispatch their enemies quickly, bypassing defenses. If they can be convinced to join your cause, they will prove themselves powerful allies.

Finally, the massive Giants have left their treasure-holds in the crags and mountains to test the worth of Terrinoth’s armies. Lesser troops buzz about these lumbering brutes like flies, and they are extremely difficult to wound, but once enraged, they fight with a berserker-like abandon. Their rage ability allows them to deal more damage the more wounds they take!

Check back next time when we take a look at heroes, questing, and dueling!

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 (11)

Rust
Published: 1/10/2010 8:22:10 PM
#11

 Are these the same Uthuk from Disk Wars?

Acebob
Published: 12/2/2009 1:24:26 PM
#10

The nice thing about having a small deck is that there is less chance of being screwed by the cards you need being at the bottom of the deck. Say the deck was 100 cards or so and you happen to have a lot of triangle units and all the fate cards that have useful triangle icons are in the bottom of the deck, you'll be going through many battles before they start showing up. But with a smaller deck the likely hood of this happening decreases. This way, armies comprised of a mix of units are more viable than armies comprised of mostly one type of unit.

HellBoundOL
Published: 12/1/2009 4:28:33 PM
#9

this games looking better and better, cant wait to see a  full list of mini's, havent got to paint anything lately!

Sevej
Published: 11/30/2009 10:19:57 PM
#8

 @darkkami: I think it's due to the strategic (as opposed to tactical) nature of the combat. You send some units to an area but how they will actually perform depends on the units' nature. Also if the 'once every other turn' stuff needs bookkeeping.

TheKingOfBlades
Published: 11/30/2009 7:53:51 PM
#7

with only 30 cards it seems like the fate deck will get shuffled every other turn; that will get quite annoying. I wish they had a bigger fate deck and instead of drawing one card whenever you attack I would prefer having a hand of cards and chosing the one you want to use. Like how starcraft worked

Sausageman
Published: 11/30/2009 3:16:21 PM
#6

@darkkami

Would it help if you imagined those cards are D6 - on a 1 you Rout, 2-3 you Miss, 4-5 you Deal wounds and 6 activates Fury....  Happy?

How is this different?

Seriously, you are getting worked up over nothing.  The Warrior Knights 'fate deck' works fine, and I see no reason why it won't work fine here too.  My only concern with the fate deck here is that it only contains 35 cards.  I expect this will see a LOT of action, and sleeves will be a must!

Was considering buying Twilight Imperium for months, and just as I was about to ask for it for Xmas, I saw this.  I am now waiting - no doubt in my mind.

Scott4263
Published: 11/30/2009 1:21:35 PM
#5

I'll agree with Sepayne, This game does look better with each preview. Now the question will be when it comes time to play what race will you take? I'm thinking this or the undead. Although knowing my friends we might have to roll a dice for it! (We all tend to take evil over good!)

I think this is going to be a must-have for myself. Can't wait for it to come out.

sepayne7l
Published: 11/30/2009 1:07:07 PM
#4

Looks better and better each preview. This looks like a classic.

Seboss
Published: 11/30/2009 12:25:07 PM
#3

The new sculpts don't seem very detailed. I guess the scale is fairly smaller than Descent/Runebound.

mylastnerv
Published: 11/30/2009 12:05:27 PM
#2

Again . . . I just can't wait to get my hands on this game. We've broke out the old school Battle mist as of late to get ready for this monster of a game.

bitva
Published: 11/30/2009 11:23:33 AM
#1

Nice, new sculpts of familiar monsters. I guess the dragon will be completely new, bypassing the undead design of the Descent version.

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