[The Gentleman Nerd is a weekly column written by Jason McMaster and is dedicated to the more discerning tastes of the refined dork. Due to Jason's extreme nature, most of his columns will be subtitled 'Why I Love...' or 'Why I Hate...' - in case you were wondering.]

RuneboundThe only kind of problems that you need to worry about are the ones you didn’t create. There’s a world full of hapless bastards that will fall into your traps, if you set them correctly, and provide you with hours of free entertainment. Hell, you don’t even have to know that you caused the problem to enjoy it. That brings me to Runebound.

I had wanted a new game to kick around, so we headed down to mall to look at their game shop. I regretted it immediately because malls, other than being a beacon for the insipid and dull, are full of things that are just begging to be smashed. It takes all of my willpower to not take a baseball bat to the limitless kiosks that have popped up selling cell phones and coffee mugs featuring dog pictures. The only way to get through it is to keep your head down and focus on your goal. My wife refers to my walking style as “soldiering.” I never liked that description.

Once I reach the game store, I was pretty pleased to discover that they have a very nice selection. What’s less nice is discovering that they’ve marked everything up to twenty percent more than any other store. The copy of HeroScape they had in the store was priced at sixty dollars, when you could go down to the Wal-Mart two miles away and buy it for forty. However, after braving the mall, I wasn’t going to go home empty-handed, even if it meant that I had to take an upswing to the jewels for it. Though notoriously generous, I have problems spending money. I’ve stood in a store for hours staring at something, deciding if it was worth it.

RuneboundYou know, there are certain types of people that wear their lifestyle. I’m not one of them, thankfully, but you can easily spot the ones who are. There are certain types, of course, but the easiest to spot is the geek. The geek is not only comfortable in his or her habitat, but is absolutely not self-conscious in the outer world as well. That’s why so many chubby people have ponytails. When I looked back to the counter of the game store, I saw the geek to end all geeks. Chubby, shoulders and glasses covered in dandruff, wearing the most impressive mullet/ponytail combo that the world has ever seen.

You could smell his distaste for us as we entered the store. It was fifteen minutes ‘til closing time and this man was ready for the booster draft. I had to think quick. The least ludicrous priced game was Runebound; it was actually marked at the MSRP. I’d been hearing good things about it, so I decided to go ahead and buy it. We quickly headed home. I had some serious drinking to do.

There’s something inherently wrong with letting the guy who’s drinking the moonshine read the directions. I’m quite capable of reading game instructions and teaching others how to play, but I’m usually sober when I do that part. After chugging down a few mason jars of magic, I wasn’t in any position to tell people what rule does what, but I was nominated so what the hell could I do? I’ll tell you what I could do, I could belligerently shout out orders to those who didn’t have the fortitude to take control of a situation. That’s what led to the incident.

You see, Runebound comes with two ten sided dice. I didn’t think much about it, so I threw one back in the box. “It’s a friggin’ back up dice”, I slurred to myself, “who the hell needs a back up D10?” I had seen nothing in the rules that said it needed two, so I just set it aside. After Brian had taken care of his usual game stopping habits, we began to play.

RuneboundThe idea behind Runebound is that you’re out to kill this Dragon Lord guy… or something. There are expansions that add more cards and quests, but I don’t have those. So, you go around the board, getting encounter cards and collecting experience to level up. Eventually you kill that rat bastard and its all money, baby. You see, you have to kill a monster to get the experience counter to trade in for stat upgrades. That’s where the incident comes in.

We were all starting out, stomping around the board and attacking the easy monsters. Well, this would have been great had the monsters been actually easy. We had been playing for about an hour and a half when we noticed that we had sure been dying a lot. Everyone had been dying a lot. On occasion, Voge would ask if we were supposed to use that other die. Hell no, I said, that would make the game way too easy. Eventually he grabbed the book away from me and read the bottom of page two. That’s the page that says you‘re supposed to use both dice. Everyone stared at me.

That’s why you should never let the drunk guy read the instructions.

[Jason McMaster is a freelance writer who has written for Gamasutra, GameSpy and several other publications. He’s currently working on a few small projects and updating his blog, Lamethrower, as often as he can.]