How To Play: Runewars – Setup, rule summary and strategy

Dominate in Runewars by mastering resource management, crafting powerful armies, and strategically controlling objectives. Apply these advanced tips shared from my experiences and watch as your enemies crumble before your unstoppable strategy!


Welcome to the ultimate primer on ‘How To Play Runewars’! If you’re looking to dive into the thrilling world of fantasy battles, strategic unit deployments, and epic stories, you’ve targeted the right guide. Navigating the diverse landscapes of Terrinoth and commanding armies to victory can be a complex task, but fear not, for we’re marching in to light your way—starting with the basic rules and then delving into winning strategies that can elevate a chieftain to a legend.

In this guide, we’ll outline the essential rules so even beginners can quickly assemble their forces at the ready. But understanding the rules is just the formation; mastering the game requires strategy. We’ll dissect winning formulas that have been tried and tested, both on the scars of this narrator’s own battlefields and that of allies and rivals alike. From the intricate choices involved in army composition and savvy resource management to the timely and tactful control of strategic objectives—rally your troops, sharpen your swords, and prepare to conquer in the realm of ‘Runewars’.

What’s in the box

  • 196 Plastic Figures
  • 4 Faction Sheets
  • 9 Custom Dice
  • 8 Hero Sheets
  • 56 Command Cards
  • 4 Reference Cards
  • 234 Tokens & Markers
  • 20 Caravan Cards
  • 24 Tactics Cards
  • 38 Objective Cards
  • 28 Season Cards
  • 60 Resource Cards
  • 40 Unit Cards
  • 16 Hero Cards
  • 22 Land Pieces
  • 4 Sea Pionties
  • 2 Coastlines
  • 16 Map Tiles (double-sided)
  • 4 Home Realm Tiles
  • 10 Victory Point Markers

How To Play Runewars: Rules Summary

Setting up the Battlefield

First off, my friends and I always gather around the table because setting up Runewars properly is crucial for the flow of the game. Start by:

  1. Choosing a scenario from the game guide
  2. Arranging the hexagonal terrain tiles to create the unique game map
  3. Once the map is set, each player selects their faction and collects the corresponding units, cards, and tokens
  4. Distributing four unique hero units among the players, chosen either by draft or at random
  5. Placing mountains, rivers, and fortresses as dictated by the scenario
  6. Drawing resource cards to determine the starting resources for each faction

Understanding Gameplay

With the map set, we dive into the gameplay:

  1. Play proceeds in rounds comprising ‘Order’, ‘Heroes’, ‘Battles’, and ‘Refresh’ phases
  2. During the ‘Order’ phase, secretly choose and then later reveal orders that will determine your units’ actions
  3. Move hero units in the ‘Heroes’ phase and use them to explore, gather resources, or combat enemies
  4. Fight battles using a mix of strategy and dice rolls during the ‘Battles’ phase
  5. Finally, manage your resources and ready for the next round in the ‘Refresh’ phase

Owning the Path to Victory

Grabbing the win in Runewars means:

  1. Accumulating a set number of dragon runes, usually six, before any other player does
  2. Managing resources cleverly and maintaining a strong military presence on the battlefield
  3. Strategically deciding whether to quest, battle, or accumulate runes based on the dynamic state of the game

Navigating Special Rules & Conditions

There’re some nuances that can turn the tide:

  1. Seizing opportunities by following the unique scenario objectives
  2. Utilizing each faction’s special abilities to your advantage
  3. Adapting to event cards that can suddenly shift the game’s balance

Best Runewars Strategies

Mastering Runewars: The Pinnacle of Resource Management and Expansion

As someone deeply ingrained in the soul-stirring world of Runewars, I can’t stress enough how pivotal resource management and timely expansion can catapult you to victory. The commitment to excel in the art of allocating your resources wisely and expanding your empire with precision will determine your success or downfall on the battlefield.

Understanding Your Resources

Firstly, always know your resources like the back of your hand. Wood, food, ore, and magic are the lifeblood of your empire, enabling unit recruitment, structure building, and advancement.

  1. Analyze the ebb and flow of your reserves. I’ve learned the hard way that overextending without backup is a surefire path to defeat.
  2. Adjust your strategy depending on your resource inflow. Flexibility is key, as is pivoting when necessary.
  3. Remember the adage ‘short on wood, short on victory’? Trust me, without wood your army’s backbone crumbles.

The Art of Expansion

Expansion requires foresight. Secure regions rich with resources swiftly yet cautiously as early expansion can be both a boon and a bane.

  1. Expand when you have the military might to defend newly acquired territories.
  2. Monitor enemy movements rigorously to strike a balance between growth and defense.
  3. Use expansion to cut off opponents from critical resource locations; it’s a competitive thrust I advocate for.

Exploiting Resource Tiles

Dominate resource tiles to maintain a production edge over adversaries, and don’t shy away from seizing contested tiles – showdowns there often turn the tide in your favor.

  1. Choosing the right time to take over a tile takes intuition. Push when you sense hesitation.
  2. Tactful usage of heroes to conquer resource-laden tiles can be a gamechanger. I’ve won many a skirmish with a hero-led push on a key tile.

Mastering the Art of War: Strategic Army Composition and Unit Deployment in Runewars

Know Your Units

First off, intimately understand the strengths and synergies of your units. Infantry can hold the line, archers provide powerful support, and cavalry can execute game-changing flanks. For instance, during one of our sessions, my archers turned the tide of battle by positioning them behind a secure line of infantry, safe from charging cavalry.

Synergize Your Forces

Next, knit your units into a cohesive force. Begin by pairing swift cavalry with units that can slow enemy advances. This combination allowed me to control the pace in a crucial clash against a friend’s army.

  1. Link units with complementary abilities.
  2. Use terrain to your advantage when deploying.

Adapt with Intelligence

Finally, embrace flexibility. Your deployment should react to enemy moves. In one nail-biting game, a sudden repositioning of my spearmen forestalled a flank attack, sparking a discussion about the depth of Runewars’ strategy long after the game ended.

  1. Scout enemy positions before committing your forces.
  2. Keep reserve units to exploit eventual gaps in enemy lines.

Mastering the Board: Strategic Objective Control in Runewars

Winning in Runewars isn’t just about sheer force—it’s about cunning, guile, and timing. How To Play Runewars effectively often boils down to strategic objective control. Here’s how you can sharpen your tactics.

Identify Key Objectives Early

Firstly, familiarize yourself with the map’s layout and pinpoint the objectives that offer the greatest strategic advantage. Prioritize these in your game plan.

  1. Look for objectives that can blockade your opponents or enhance the power of your own army.
  2. Remember, the fight for important objectives begins before units even clash.

Mobilize with Purpose

As you advance through the game, always align your troop movements with your strategic goals. Don’t just react—anticipate.

  1. Consider not just your current position but also future expansions and objective claims as you deploy forces.
  2. Moving units without purpose can spread your forces too thin to maintain control over key points.

Timing is Everything

Seizing objectives requires perfect timing. Launch your offense when it can be most effective, disrupting your opponent’s plans while solidifying your hold.

  1. An untimely strike might yield an objective temporarily, but holding it is another game.
  2. Sync your actions with the round’s order of play to maximize your impact.

Adapt to the Battlefield

Flexibility is crucial. The game’s dynamics will shift, and so must your strategy for controlling objectives.

  1. Be ready to pivot away from objectives that become over-contested or less strategically valuable as the game develops.
  2. Exploit openings created by your opponents’ blunders or overextensions.

Master Runewars: Forge Your Path to Victory

In the quest for dominance within the world of Terrinoth, skillful strategy is paramount. By adopting clear approaches to Resource Management and Expansion, mastering your Army Composition and Unit Deployment, and strategically seizing control of Objectives, your empire can flourish and outshine your adversaries. Remember, flexibility and adaptability are your best allies as the winds of fortune shift throughout the game. Each session of Runewars is an opportunity to refine your strategies and embrace the larger-than-life adventures it presents. Knowing how to play Runewars effectively is a crafting of diplomacy, war, and daring actions.

Gather your troops, manage your resources wisely, and always stay one step ahead of the competition. Explore innovative tactics, keep an eye on the ever-changing battlefield, and relish the victories ahead. May your banners fly high over the lands of Terrinoth, as every game of Runewars is a testament to your prowess and guile. Good luck, and may the most cunning and tactical player reign supreme!

Want to know what we think of Runewars? Read our detailed review of Runewars here

Jamie in his proper element: With all of his board games
Jamie Hopkins

With years of dice-rolling, card-flipping, and strategic planning under my belt, I've transformed my passion into expertise. I thrive on dissecting the mechanics and social dynamics of board games, sharing insights from countless game nights with friends. I dive deep into gameplay mechanics, while emphasizing the social joys of gaming. While I appreciate themes and visuals, it's the strategy and camaraderie that truly capture my heart.