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RUNEWARS MINIATURES GAME: LATARI ELVES EXPANSION [If you are not yet familiar with the core game, I'd recommend having a l...






[If you are not yet familiar with the core game, I'd recommend having a look at my earlier review to get familiar with many of the terms I'll be using.]

This first expansion to the Runewars Miniatures Game brings a substantial balanced package of bowmen and cavalry along with an appropriate new hero and special unit that constitute a whole new race to join the fray.  Elves may be a familiar form, but really what fantasy world would be complete without them?

Even easier to assemble than the already simple to combine components found in the core game, the whole package was finished with minimal application of a little glue within 10 minutes.  The same solid standard and quality of definition in the sculpting remains a significant feature of all these figures.  It is slightly blocky, but this does help with the task of painting.  Only the Aymhelin Scion is slightly disappointing when compared with the magnificent appearance of the special units of the two races in the core game.
The simplest of assembly, just add the head - no glue needed at all. Most of the other poses for the archers needs only the single addition of the bow and arms with two spots of glue.  Even the cavalry units merely need the head and torso [modelled in a single piece added to the animal body and the spear arm glued in place.
Along with the figures come the essential Command dials for dispensing their orders during the game.  As with the core game, one drawback is that each type of unit comes with only a single Command dial.  So, your largest force, the sixteen Deepwood Archers, can be mustered only as a single formation from two up to four stands of 4 units each.  There is no way to break these down into two separate formations of  8 units each  divided between two stands.  A further drawback is that to field the largest formation possible [six stands of 4 units each]

Such flexibility would, I feel, help sell the product even more, as the price for this expansion is fairly substantial with an RRP of £59.99 and most suppliers discounting it down to approx. £47.  There's no doubt that you're getting an interesting addition to your forces.  

Manoeuvrability with striking power is the keynote of this race so far.  This starts with the Leonx Riders,  whose fusion of lion/lynx in their name conveys their ferocity and darting ability.  High initiative and speed make them an unpredictable force, especially as the new Hero in this expansion, Aliana Summersong, links directly with the Riders as their champion. 

She adds a mortal strike [i.e. a guaranteed hit] to all her melee attacks and deals two panic tokens as well making her opponents more likely to fail morale tests.  With her Command dial offering several movement options on the left wheel combined with a range of modifiers on the right wheel there's a great potential for dealing out nasty surprises to your opponent.  Obviously if you are facing these as opponents, remember you've be warned what to expect here!

When you match this with the solidity of the other unique figure in this pack, the Aymhelin Scion, you've got a formidable combination, as these tree creatures can immobilise units they collide with or those who collide with them.  Added to that is their power to stun!  Need I say more!  Perhaps, even more unexpected is their ranged ability - I imagine long, powerful branches lashing out with devastating effect.

Finally, the Deepwood Archers form, for the moment, the "grunts" of this race, though a further expansion will bring you pure infantry.  As archers their ranged fire is always useful and they too are typical of the light-footed speed associated with the elven folk.  Beside all these figures inherent facilities, the expansion brings new upgrades and keywords. 

As usual some of the upgrades relate purely to the special units, but there's an interesting and substantial range for the archers of which Trumpet, Raven Tabards and Packleader's Spear are just a few.  Just as the fact that you do not have enough figures to field the Deepwood Archers in their largest formation is a disappointment in itself, it also means that you cannot access the full range of the upgrades.   Nevertheless, as I indicated in my original review, this miniatures battle game has a great deal of flexibility and I certainly intend to allow myself a little licence in availing my battles of as much of the variety as the cards contain.
Trumpet, Raven Tabards and Packleader's Spear[front]
Trumpet, Raven Tabards and Packleader's Spear[back]

At first I was less than happy that the brief 6 pages of additional new material contained only half a page of new rules.  One page was instructions on how to assemble the figures [a barely necessary provision], two pages of narrative storyline, a page of components and a full page advert for the companion app to Descent: Journeys In The Dark.  However, looking beyond the all to brief written rules, you fortunately find that much else new is located the combination of the two new terrain pieces [one large and one small] with  the two cards that explain them.
The Dimoran Fissure

Though once again technically, as the terrain is double-sided, you can play only two out of the four at one time, there is no reason not to designate any of your home-made [or for that matter professionally produced terrain that you may have bought] as such places as the Wildroot Patch or the Dimoran Fissure.  The latter is a particularly nasty place to avoid as units within range one suffer an automatic wound in the End Phase of a turn.

In this respect for figure gaming, I've never been a great lover of cardboard terrain, attractively produced though these are and would much rather have solid 3D stuff on my tabletop.  Still, if you're pressed for time, they're great for a quick slap 'em down on the table and let's get started - and the Latari Memorial [seen below] has a remarkable 3D quality all of its own.

 A last modest, but useful feature of the product is the storage element.  The outer box itself is rather flimsy, but inside is a stouter cardboard sleeve and best of all is the pre-formed plastic container which comfortably holds all the figures when assembled and put in their stands, along with terrain and cards.  

So, as I hope you'll agree a worthwhile first addition to your expanding forces, if you've chosen to follow this new system and potentially a good buy too if you're just looking to expand your fantasy figure collection. 

RRP – £59.99
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