Thanks to bad planning, I wasn’t at home to receive my delivery of the Runewars Miniatures Game (RMG) when it was released on Thursday, and thanks to the Bank Holiday in the UK, I wasn’t actually able to pick up the parcel until Saturday, so I have been somewhat delayed in posting about it.
RMG is the brand new game from Fantasy Flight Games and marks a new venture for FFG as they move into mass battle miniatures wargames for the first time. Their previous miniatures games (as opposed to boardgames with miniatures) have been X-Wing and Star Wars: Armada, both of which are essentially skirmish games (low model count, moving models individually) so this is something brand new.
First thing of note is the box size – this is one of FFG’s large square boxes, much like games such as Star Wars Rebellion or Imperial Assault. This usually indicates that the game contains a lot of stuff. The box weight isn’t as heavy as some of these titles, but this is because it does not contain quite the same volume of cardstock, which tends to be quite heavy.
Opening the box reveals the rule books for the game – of which there are three (more of which later)
Under these are the sheets of cardstock – three sheets of double sided full colour thick card.
Under those is the box insert, in which lies the cards, dice and figure bases.
First inspection reveals the apparent lack of miniatures, but these are hidden under the box inlay – the inlay is there to support the cardstock sheets, so could probably be dispensed with once all the tokens and card accessories have been punched.
As I said, there are three sheets of cardstock to punch:
One contains all the movement templates used in the game, plus some tokens and a double sided scenery piece depicting a pond or a walled enclosure. A second has more tokens, some order dials for one of the factions, and another piece of double sided scenery, this time with a stone dais on one side, and a wood on the other. A third sheet has a number of dials, which are used to create the command tools used in the game, and some more tokens.
There are a number of zip-lock bags, which contain the dice, cards and figure stands – these are further divided into Infantry, Cavalry and Characters/Monsters.
There are two bags of plastic miniatures – each contains one of the factions for the game:
- Daqan Lords (Human)
- Waiqar The Undying (Undead)
Each large bag contains several small bags, in each small bag are the figures for one part of a unit.
For example, on bag contains all the parts for 4 Spearmen. It’s worth noting at this point that the miniatures are not on sprues, and are multi-part – in the case of the Spearmen, you have to attach the arms. The plastic is somewhat soft, and the parts are designed to push together without the use of glue.
Fellow Podcast host Mike Hobbs has a more in-depth look at the miniatures on his blog:
The game has three books. Learn To Play, Rules Reference and Lore Guide.
The Learn To Play book contains all the basic rules for the game, and has a quick-start guide to get you up and running straight away. It’s well laid out with a large number of explanatory diagrams, plus several pieces of game art scattered throughout.
The Rules Reference contains advanced rules for army building, a complete A-Z guide to all the key words used in the game, and what they mean, and also some optional rules of play. This is essentially the ‘Advanced Rules’ for the game.
The final book is the Lore Guide. This contains a full background to the miniatures game, including fiction, artwork for the game and ‘fluff’ for both factions – whilst not needed to play the game, it is this book that will immerse the players in the world in with RMG takes place.
The production quality of The Runewars Miniatures Game is extremely good – though given that it’s a Fantasy Flight Game, you would expect nothing less. The rule books are printed in full colour on good quality paper, and are well laid out. Separating the basic and advanced rules, and then providing a separate book of ‘fluff’, means that players are not overwhelmed with a single large rulebook which is difficult to navigate. Seasoned wargamers will find these easy to use – they are targeted to ensure that gamers who have never played a miniatures game before have an easy-to-learn experience.
The punch cardstock is thick and has a good finish – again high quality – and the tokens, command tools and movement templates are robust, which is good as these are likely to see a lot of use.
The miniatures are well detailed and easy to construct. Being of a slightly soft plastic, players may be confronted with the odd bent weapon, but this is a minor point with what are otherwise very good miniatures. Fantasy Flight’s miniatures have improved massively in recent years, and these are again some of the very best they have done – obviously this is the vital component in a miniatures game and they appear to have pulled it off very well indeed.
As far as the game itself is concerned, this starter box provides each faction with an army of around 100 points. This is sufficient to play the ‘Skirmish’ variant of the game. The ‘full’ game of Runewars requires armies of 200 points, so players will have to purchase several expansions, or even another starter box, in order to play the full game.
Purchasing an additional starter set for the game has its advantages – an extra set of movement templates and dice for example, as well as each player then having a full set of general upgrade cards available.
The starter box is certainly the better deal when it comes to the number of figures provided for the game. However units are not just made up of miniatures, but also have associated upgrade cards. The expansion boxes contain additional, different cards than what are available in the base set, which means that players who want the full range of actions and abilities for each unit will have to consider buying the individual expansion boxes – it’s the same purchase model that FFG have used for X-Wing.
Initial impressions of The Runewars Miniatures Game are very good indeed – I can’t wait to bring this to the table.