3 January 2017 | Runewars Miniatures

Take Command

Preview the Command Tools of Runewars Miniatures Game


Something stirs in the north. Long has the thirteenth barony lay dormant, but now, another village is swallowed by the mists each day. Late into the night, distant screams can be heard drifting across the hills. Waiqar the Undying is coming, and his legions will destroy every free city they touch. Only the bravest of the Daqan can stand against the coming tide…

The world of Terrinoth unfolds before you—a realm of stunning beauty, terrifying creatures, powerful magic, and brutal warfare. For years, the land has known an uneasy peace, but evil is stirring beyond the mists once more. Waiqar the Undying leads his undead forces into Terrinoth, and the Daqan Lords have called the baronies to war!

You are the general of a mighty army, commanding hundreds of warriors in pitched battle. In Runewars Miniatures Game, a game of epic, rank-and-file, fantasy warfare for two players, you have the chance to achieve greatness by leading your army onto the field of battle and crushing your foes. Still, you can’t accomplish your goals simply by throwing your troops carelessly onwards. You’ll need to strategically command every unit, guiding them through forced marches, charges, ranged volleys, and vicious melee combat. 

Today, we’ll begin our series of Runewars gameplay previews with a look at the command tools you’ll use to control your units in the game!

Anatomy of a Command Tool

In Runewars Miniatures Game, your command tools are the most important asset that you have at your disposal. Every unit has a completely unique command tool, and by setting its dials, you’ll determine exactly how your units act, whether they’re launching arrows, incanting powerful magics, or spurring their horses into a crushing cavalry charge. 

Every command tool is composed of two dials. The dial on the left is the action dial, and the dial on the right is the modifier dial. As you can see above, the action dial features a variety of symbols: 

March: This action allows a unit to move forward on the map. To move a block of units, you’ll simply align the movement template with a front corner of your unit, and slide your unit forward. You can see an example of movement in the diagram below, and we'll explore more in a future preview.

The Reanimates execute a march order, moving along the battlefield using the movement template.

Shift: The shift action is similar to march, but it allows you to move your unit in any direction—forward, sideways, or backward. Instead of placing the movement template only at a front corner, you can extend the template from any corner. Like the match action, we'll explain shift in more detail in a later preview.

Reform: By choosing to reform, you can rotate your unit on its center point to face in any other direction. Whether you’re pivoting to face a unit that’s slipped behind you or simply turning to prepare for a flanking assault, using the reform command to change your facing can be incredibly useful. 

Melee Attack / Ranged Attack: When you reveal one of these actions, your units can attack! Every unit has a unique die pool that’s rolled in combat, whether you’re crossing blades with the enemy or firing arrows and magic from afar. The results you roll can deal damage, trigger special abilities, or panic enemy units, and depending on your units’ formation, you may be able to increase your damage or reroll your dice. We'll explore combat in more detail in a future preview.

The Reanimate Archers fire at the oncoming Spearmen!

Rally: Waging war is hard on your warriors, and the rally action allows you to remove harmful bane tokens and ready any exhausted upgrade cards. Upgrade cards don't ready automatically in Runewars; you must use a rally action before you can use your upgrades again.

Skill: This action corresponds to a special ability listed on the unit's card, ranging from stunning enemy combatants to spewing bile on your foes. Even if a unit doesn't have a skill ability on its own, many upgrade cards feature abilities that can only be triggered by selecting the skill action.

Each round, your unit will perform the action shown on its dial, but in the heat of battle, you can’t expect your units to respond to orders instantaneously. Command tools must be set at the beginning of every round, before any units have activated. Then, even if the tides of battle change during the round, your units already have their orders, and they will carry them out—even if it’s detrimental to your cause. 

At the Ready!

Of course, your command tool decides far more than just what action your unit will perform this round. You can tweak your units’ actions with your selection on the modifier dial. These modifiers could allow you to turn or wheel, transform a march into a charge, increase your defenses, or deal additional damage in combat. But you can’t simply choose any modifier you want to accompany your action—you need to consider your unit’s current stance.

Every action on the dial has a stance, denoted by its color. When you select a modifier for your action, the stance of your modifier must match the stance of the action. In other words, if you choose a blue action, you must choose a blue modifier to go with it. Some modifiers are white, however, and these modifiers can be successfully be paired with any action. 

For instance, in the dial shown above, the Daqan Lords player has chosen the march action for a unit of Spearmen. He doesn’t just want them to march straight forward, however—he wants them to turn to one side as they march. Accordingly, he has selected the turn modifier on his modifier dial. The Daqan player could also have selected any of the other blue modifiers or the white modifier, depending on the current battlefield situation.

The final aspect that you need to consider is the initiative value associated with your action. Every symbol on the action dial has a white initiative number, shown in the upper left corner of the action symbol, that determines when your unit will activate. During the activation phase, all units with an initiative of one will activate first, followed by all units with an initiative value of two, and so on. 

Because every action features a different initiative value, planning ahead for the coming round is incredibly important. You’ll need to predict what your opponent’s units will do, and when they will do it—but knowing for certain is nearly impossible. You may wish to charge an enemy unit, but can you be sure that unit will still be there when your charging unit arrives? Is it worthwhile to have your unit bolster its defenses for an attack that may fall elsewhere? Predicting your opponent’s actions is one of the keys to victory in Runewars.

Compounding the complexity of commanding your army is the fact that every unit has a completely different tool, featuring different actions and modifiers with unique stances and initiative values. A unit of Oathsworn Cavalry, for instance, may be able to charge quickly, but take a long time to maneuver into a new position. A unit of Spearmen might be able to attack quickly, near the beginning of the round, but if they hold their attack until later, they can strike for significantly more damage. The differences between your units make every army feel different, and the choices your command tools force you to make add new layers of strategy to every game.

Lead Your Forces

Commanding an army with dozens of figures is no simple task, but the first step to success is understanding your command tool. Next time, we’ll return to the battlefields of Terrinoth with a look at the mechanics of movement in Runewars Miniatures Game.

You can pre-order your copy of Runewars Miniatures Game at your local retailer today!

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