In another of our regular board game spotlights, Zatu comes to in a motel, left eye bruised, wallet gone, hands bound. Bound by something strange. Carved stones. Runes. Runebound (Third Edition), the 2015 release from publisher Fantasy Flight Games and designer Lukas Litzinger. Yeah. Seamless.
Runebound is a fantasy adventure for 2-4 players set in the verdant but imperfect (given all the evil) world of Terrinoth. Players begin by choosing their enemy, either the Dragonlord Margarth (not a lord of dragons, but an actual dragon that some genius put on the honours list) or the Corpse King Vorakesh, so named after pouring alphabet soup into a silk bag of scrabble tiles.
Depending on which they choose, distinct cards and events come into play during the adventure, skewing the experience towards either lizards or cadavers.
There are six playable heroes, each with unique stats and abilities: Master Thorn, who has a beard and teleportation; Elder Mok, a goblin spirit shaman; Laurel of Bloodwood, a lady with a bow and arrow and coat; Corbin, a dwarf, a short dwarf; Lyssa, a lady; and Lord Hawthorne, who has quite a large sword.
Players must travel the land, dealing with a series of ‘encounters’, of which there are three types: combat, social and exploration. By completing said encounters, players can build up their characters by fighting, chatting, and exploring respectively, all with the ultimate goal of, y’know, killing a corpse. Or dragon.
For fans of Mage Knight, this game is often billed as a slightly lighter equivalent.
Fantasy Flight were originally comic book publishers, but branched out into board games with the release of Twilight Imperium in 1997. They are now the 5th largest board game publisher in the world.
Other well-known titles include the Game of Thrones card game and The Adventurers series.