Learning The Game Using Realm Speak

This is a good way to avoid getting clobbered from having to read through the entire rulebook before being able to enjoy the game. Since Realm Speak will do all the game setup automatically and handles the game mechanics and record keeping for you, you can cherry pick your way through the rules as you sink your teeth into learning about the turn sequence and gameplay.

You should probably start by reading MRIPE Section 1 (about 12 pages). Keep the MRIPE rules and the "Least you need to Know Guide" handy as references. I found that when I really wanted to know the specifics about a particular rule, it is best to look it up in the Third Edition Rulebook.

  • There may be other useful suggestions concerning how best to best start using Realmspeak posted at the BBG website here'
  • The following example refers to Realmspeak v1.0.9.0

Game Setup

Realm Speak will let you deactivate combat, which is recommended at first. The standard game is 28 Days long, but you might want to lengthen the game while learning.

  • Launch Realm Speak and start a new game by choosing File then New Game from the drop down menu.
  • A game options menu will appear. On the Game tab find the Game Play Options section and select Disable Combat. I also suggest clicking the Advanced tab and activating the rule Dropping and Losing Belongs. Also under Robins House Rules tab activate Persistent Chits and Birdsong Rearrangement. Then click the Start button at the bottom of the window.
  • RS automatically generates the map by placing the hex tiles. Read MRIPE page 15 "Constructing the Map".
  • RS automatically arranges all the Monsters and Treasures on the Setup Card. Examine it by clicking on the small icon at the bottom of the character list window. Read MRIPE page 13 and 14 concerning the Setup card.
  • In the Character List window, click on the green "+" symbol and check out the various characters available. Reread the section on character cards in MRIPE page 7. Choose one of the fighters you like and then click on the Okay button.
  • RS will then prompt you to choose a starting location. Read MRIPE page 16 concerning starting locations. Choose a start location and click the box marked fetch inventory from random locations, then click Okay. If your character knows spells, you will be prompted to choose which ones are available to you at the start of the game. Ignore this for now. Just pick one and hit the Done button.
  • Click on the Setup VP button in the new window that has appeared. Read MRIPE page 16 about recording victory requirements and page 42 concerning Winning the Game. For now, set Great Treasures to 5 victory points. Then hit the Okay button.
  • Begin the game by clicking on the green button marked "Go". Read MRIPE page 17 "Placing Map Chits". You will be prompted by RS about allowing players to place chits. Click "No" (we want everything automatically randomized by the computer).
  • Take a look around the map and see the Dwellings locations and the Natives that start the game on the map. Read MRIPE page 17 "Revealing Dwellings". Find your character's marker at the starting location you chose earlier. (Make sure to play using the redesigned counters. In the "File" dropdown-menu at the top of the screen, choose "Options" then under Game Chits select "Remodeled Chits" and "Show Monster Numbers" also under Map View select "Show Clearing Numbers on Mouseover" ) Other Take a look at the Natives at your location by mousing over the Dwelling on the map. Reread MRIPE page 12 and see page 104 concerning Natives.
  • Click through the tabs with picture icons at the bottom of the window. Examine each of the tabs that records important game information concerning your character: Record Actions, Chits, Inventory, Spells, Discoveries, Native Relationships, Hirelings, Victory Requirements, and Character Notes. Read MRIPE page 8 "Personal History Sheet" to see how this information would normally be recorded in a FTF game.

Turn Sequence

RS is now waiting for the player(s) to record the actions they will take for the coming turn/day. 1 gameturn = 1 Day. The "Least You Need To Know" guide will walk you step-by-step through a turn and help you understand what Realm Speak is doing and what the program expects you to do.

  • Birdsong Read MRIPE Section 3 concerning Birdsong. Start by familiarizing yourself with the basic actions that a player can take each turn. RS will automatically determine how many phases your character has available per day. They are indicated by a blue square and a sun symbol. Click on the Record Actions tab at the bottom left of the window. Then choose your actions for the coming Day using the 12 action icons displayed (there are also hotkeys for each action). If you make a mistake or change your mind, click on the large red "delete" arrow icon to cancel the last choice. Once you are finished recording your action choices, click on the Send icon that looks like an open door. This effectively ends the Birdsong phase for your character.
  • Sunrise read MRIPE Section 3 concerning Sunrise. Note RS automatically displays the Monster Roll for the current turn.
  • Daylight Have the MRIPE Section 4 section on Daylight handy. In the RS window, click on the Play Next button to execute each of your action for the day in consecutive order. Consult the appropriate rules section in MRIPE Section 4 for each action you took. When all of your actions are complete, click the button labeled Done.
  • Sunset Read MRIPE page 29 concerning the End of the Turn.
  • Evening Skip this for now, since combat is not activated. In RS, a combat window will open up for each character at the end of each day, even if that character is not in combat. The reason for this is to give the character a last chance to activate/deactivate any items he/she might choose before the start of the next day, or in some cases it might make sense to cast a spell during this phase (like when the White Knight wants to repair his armor). If you ended your turn on a dwelling, there may also be a meeting with any Natives there. Consult MRIPE page 113 to see the Meeting Table. In any case, close the combat window by clicking on the End button.
  • Midnight Read MRIPE page 39 concerning Midnight. That's it! You've completed your first turn!

Exploration

Now explore around a bit. Consult the appropriate sections in MRIPE for the following:

  • Familiarize yourself with Native Relationships and how they react to your character.
  • Familiarize yourself with all the different actions.
  • Learn about activating/deactivating equipment in your inventory and when you can do it.
  • Then see how the prowling Denizens chits work. Learn about the relationship between the Monster Roll, the Clue/Sound chits, and the Setup Card.
  • Understand the concept of Blocking, and how your character can sneak around undetected by the Denizens by hiding.
  • Try and find the hidden Treasure sites. Search the site and loot a few to get a feeling for how it is done. Read about how Treasures set up is determined.
  • Learn which Natives sell ponies, workhorses or warhorses. Learn about the weight limit each animal can carry ( MRIPE page 102). Try and buy a mount and learn about movement bonuses. Try and collect any treasures/items you tried to collect earlier that were too heavy for your character to carry by using a mount. The Third Edition Rules has a pretty good section explaining horses.
  • Try and Hire some Natives (you will probably need to sell some of the treasure you have found to raise cash). Get a feel for being able to lead your Hirelings, and control your Hired Leaders.
  • Play a solo game without combat and try and see if you can successfully collect 5 Great Treasures within the 28-Day limit.

You will find that it is not so difficult to get a feel for the game.

Combat

Once you have the basic game-flow mechanics down, read the sections in MRIPE concerning Evening and learn about combat.

  • Start a new game with combat activated and choose a good beginning character. Fight some Denizens solo and learn about fatigue, how the L,M,H,T vulnerability system works and the sequence of phases during combat. Don't get frustrated when you suddenly get randomly killed.
  • Try and kill a Native Leader and loot the booty from the combat. If/when your character dies, just have the next incarnation of that character loot the booty instead. Sell off the booty and use the money to Hire a group of Natives. Now learn about controlling Hirelings in combat.
  • Once you have the basic mechanics of combat down, it is time to go more in-depth and learn some of the various character strategies that will improve your survival chances greatly. Learning these strategies and coming up with your own is in fact the gem that makes MR such a great game.
  • Learn about scoring victory points and play through a couple of solo 28-Day games and try to win.

Magic

  • Lastly, read MRIPE Section 8 concerning Magic to learn about spells and how to use them. Try your hand a playing one of the characters that cast spells. There are some great video tutorials that can help ease the learning curve. This is also a Magic Primer here on the WiKi and a good example for learning some fundamental concepts on how to cast spells.

All in all, you will slowly familiarize yourself with the rules the more you play, and I think have a much more enjoyable experience learning the game than just slogging through and memorizing large parts of the rulebook.