Runebinding Solo – First Impressions of Solo Playing Runebound

A month and a half ago I bought Runebound to add a game to my collection. The intent was to use it both for solo play and when people come over. So far I have only tried it solo, and am positively surprised.

It seems solo playable games have been a growing thing at the moment. After listening to Uncle Atom’s and Wargamer: Fritz’ takes on the subject I wanted to dip my toes into this. I like my boardgames, so an addition was welcome too. Right now apart from friendship breakers like Monopoly and Risk  I only have a few mini games and Mice and Mystics. (Actually there’s no “only” about Mice and Mystics, it’s just sort of bookmarked for special occasions as the story is so intriguing.)

I had been drooling at Zombicide a while, Black Plague to be specific, and was almost going for that for a moment. Silver Tower was also a very close one, but in the end I wanted to see more than just GWs stuff. Runebound was one of the games I came back to, and in the end I found it to be quite cheap compared to, e.g. Zombicide, the nature of the game also lets on a broader set of scenarios than Zombicide (depending of course on how wild expansion designers dare be). Runebound also allows for a deeper fluff experience as you can combine different games to expand your impression of the universe.

So far I have played five games all by myself (without Eric Carmening it too badly) and I am enjoying deeply. I have only been facing Margrath the dragon with four different heroes but they all seem different enough to warrant quite different game styles. I started with the fightier characters, with a more apparent approach and the wizards elude me a bit – giving me an initial thought of depth after cursing that the game was too easy for solo play. With only five games at hand it might be just down to luck. (Multiplayer games I project to be very hard.)

The big surprise for me is how relaxing it is.

While setting up and pushing through a game takes around 60-90 minutes: That’s including all distractions caused by hares in the flat. But sitting there rolling dice and trying to play both enemies well and getting your hero to the point where you can take down the arch villain takes you very far away. It’s also very different from sitting and painting – I get almost that cosy relaxed feeling I get from plowing through a good book two hours straight. Right now that exact feeling has been a hit.

Do you solo play boardgames? What’s your impression of it? 


3 responses to “Runebinding Solo – First Impressions of Solo Playing Runebound

  1. My experience of solo playable board games is limited to Firefly the Boardgame, which has a solo scenario. I think I have had quite a different experience than you, since I have mainly been bored. Partly due to the very long set-up time (15+ min which correlate to the large space required for the game) and partly due the lack of opponents that you can discuss strategy with (or something else more or less game related).

    Board games are for me strongly associated with a social interaction (even in the case of Risk or Monopoly) and I’m generally not convinced by the the idea of solo boardgames. But this is, like I said, strongly influenced by Firefly the Boardgame.

    Runebind looks fantastic, based on your pictures. Does it require much space?

  2. For me Solo play is not challenging Multiplaying. Indeed, the social aspect is indeed a major part of boardgaming. Solo play allows you to keep playing at all times even though no peeps are around to play with. Admittedly some days I am happiest locking myself up with my bunnies.

    It’s also contemplative, or meditative. In solo play I find enough brain activity to keep my mind busy or distracted from all pressing matters. It still isn’t overwhelming or requiring brain actions on the level of computer games (that can leave me rather tense from time to time). A bit like patience with cards, I think.

    I’d say it takes about as much space as Firefly – any basic boardgame really. Five packs of cards, some player cache space and you’re good to go. Much less than Arkham Horror that is.

    (I heard a lot of good stuff about Mage Knight too. But that takes a LONG time to set up, and MUCH space too, allegedly.)

  3. Pingback: Unbreakable Bonds – Runebound Coop/Solo Expansion Unboxing and First Impressions | Poison Tail's project work-things·

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