I am thinking of getting Rise of the Runelords or Skull and Shackles. From your experiences, which game would you consider better, and is there even any noticeable difference in between the two games? From what I have heard so far, the two games are pretty similar. Is that true, or are there differences in the two games that make one better than the other? What are the differences, if there are any, in between the two games? If I knew the differences maybe it would help me on deciding which game I would rather have. You can also give me your own opinion on the two games.
Skull and Shackles has two main changes from Rise of the Runelords.
- The boat mechanic. This mechanic is completely new to S&S, but I don't think it adds to the game overall. The rules for it are not intuitive. Your party will have a boat in most adventures and have opportunity to fight other boats.
- General iterative rules development. Despite what I said about the boat, S&S is a better game than RotR just due to them having another chance to write the rules and balance things. Specific things I liked better
- More skills are useful in challenges
- Characters are better balanced
- The rulebook is much better organized
- As they went thru the RotR adventures they used certain templates on the cards. These are incorporated as basic rule terms in S&S. These leads to more clarity.
Overall, unless the pirate theme doesn't appeal to you I'd recommend skipping Rise of the Runelords and starting right in Skull and Shackles.
You didn't ask, but this advice holds even if you consider the newer release Wrath of the Righteous. WotR is much harder and has a few more moving parts than either of the other two sets. It's a fine second game to get, but if it is your first purchase in the Adventure game line it could lead to disappointment.