Rune Age is a deck building game from Fantasy Flight and is set in the Runebound Universe.
You would probably know by now that I love my deck building games as I run the Thunderstone (old version with all expansions) as a league at the club. Only exception is Dominion – HATE it…….
I am really, really looking forward to getting my Lord of the Rings Deck Building Game when it arrives in stock at Milsims in March… but it’s Rune Age we’re here to discuss…… so on with the review.
The game is for 1 – 4 players, and has 4 different scenarios you can play. Two can be played solo (yay!). They are:
Resurgence of the Dragonlords
This scenario is designed for players who enjoy a well-rounded experience. At it’s heart, the scenario is a race to defeat a powerful enemy, but with direct player confrontation sprinkled in . It is possible that no one defeats the objective and all players lose.
Can be played solo and this is the one I shall use as my review.
This scenario is designed for players who want outright confrontation and player elimination. This scenario lasts until only one player is left standing. The game varies each play because of the random dragon rune power cards that provide players with unique powers.
The Cataclysm is designed for players who enjoy working together as a group to defeat a common enemy. The key is survival – at all costs. Just be mindful of selfish, backstabbing players who are only looking out for themselves. The other solo adventure.
The Monument is designed for players who dislike player elimination and do not enjoy other players mucking with their strategy. The main player interaction in this scenario is fighting over cities as well as drafting the popular neutral cards before your opponent drafts them for himself. Ultimately, this scenario is a race against your opponents to acquire the most gold to win the game.
So… What’s in the box???
The components are colorful and well made, the quality is high.
There is a comprehensive rule book, although there were a few questions when we played that took some digging to find the answers…
The 4 piles below the rules in the picture are the 4 races partaking in the game:
The Latari Elves - Greatest of the Eleven Tribes, the first people of Mennara.
The Daqan Lords - A union of lords, great in power and prestige, an ancient coalition held together by long tradition of nobility and rule of law.
The Uthuk Y’llan - Cruel, barbaric, and infused with the blood of demons. The First Darkness lives again!
Waiqar the Undying - Waiqar the Magnificent, Waiqar the Conqueror, Waiqar the Betrayer. Master of Zorgas and Lord of Mists.
These decks contain the cards that form the Barracks – your troops and your strongholds. More on this later. The top card represents your Realm and you have 20 Hit Points.
Under these in the next row are Neutral Units, Tactic Cards, Dragon Rune Power Cards (only used in the Runewars scenario), the Attrition Dice and the damage tokens 1 & 5 value.
Next row are the 4 scenario decks.
Then the last row holds the city deck and the 3 gold decks.
Quite an impressive display for such a small box!
The Game Setup
The set up is simple and the layout is compact in the table center.
1.) Choose your scenario.
2.) Choose your Race.
3.) Determine the first player.
4.) Place your realm card in front of you.
5.) Build your Barracks.
6.) Populate Terrinoth – place the following: Gold, neutral Cards, Cities, Damage Tokens, Attrition Dice.
7.) Gather starting resources – Each player takes five “1″ Gold, and three “1″ cost units from his Barracks.
There is a table that tells you how many cards to place on the setup depending on the number of players.
Shuffle your deck of 8 cards and draw a hand of 5.
8.) You compile the event deck according to the rules (there are different levels of cards) and place the objective card where it can be easily identified.
You are now ready to play!
So, I will play a solo game of Resurgence of the Dragonlords using the Waiqar the Undying deck.
TURN 1) I turn over my hand and find that I have 3 gold and 2 Reanimate.
During my turn i do the following step:
Step 1.) Refresh exhausted Cities and Strongholds (I don’t have any yet).
Step 2.) Perform actions. During this step I can perform any no. of actions including Combat, spending gold, spending influence. I can do any no. of actions any no. of times as long as I have the cards to do so.
So I have 3 gold, I could buy 3 reanimate or a skeleton archer and a reanimate, but I decide to buy a Necromancer from my Barracks. The Necromancer allows me to draw two cards from my deck and if a Reanimate or Skeleton Archer is drawn put 1 into my hand, otherwise the cards are discarded.
I can do no more so I draw back to 5 cards (to do this I have to draw the remaining 3 cards, shuffle my discard pile and redraw another 2 cards). This ends my turn. NOTE: ALL players redraw to 5 cards at the end of each players turn. This means that if combat has taken place during a players turn, those involved ALL draw back to 5 cards.
Although we did not realize it at the time on Sunday, when you have influence to spend, you can spend 1 influence for each card in your hand you wish to keep instead of discarding at the end of your turn.
The Event Phase
At the end of ALL players turns (I guess you could say the round), The Event Phase occurs. This is when the nasty things can happen…..
I turn over the top Event card and find it is Slumbering Dragonlord this is an Enemy Card.
This card, if you defeat it, will become a reward. It will give you 1 influence as indicated by the 1 in the gold circle top left.
Influence is used to buy the gold cards and neutral cards.
As it is not an instant card, the event phase ends and it is again my turn.
I again draw 3 gold and 2 Reanimate cards.
This time I look at the enemy, but I don’t have enough troops to attack and defeat it. The Reanimate card allows me to place another Reanimate from the discard pile onto the battlefield, sort of raising the dead! But at this stage of the game I don’t have a discard pile…..
So I elect to purchase a Skeleton Archer for 2 gold and another Reanimate for 1 gold. These and my remaining hand are placed in my discard pile. I draw the remaining 4 cards in my deck, shuffle my discards and draw the 5th card. This of course has yet again removed my discards and the Reanimates special power is useless…..
Event Phase 2:
The event card this time is an instant and must be played immediately. It is Rally Support.
When this card comes out, the first player gives it to the player on his right, so I give it to myself! Thank you!
This card also gives influence and remains in the players realm area.
I have drawn 2 gold, 2 Reanimate and a Necromancer.
So I decide to attack the Dragon.
I play the Necromancer and draw a Skeleton Archer and a gold. I put the archer in my hand and discard the gold.
I play the skeleton, his effect is that he can destroy an opponents unit that is equal or less than the combined total of all skeleton Archers in play. It does not help against Event enemies
You will notice that the Dragon has a picture of the Attrition Dice on the bottom left. I now have to roll and see if it destroys any of my units during the battle. Units destroyed this way are put back in the players barracks and may be re-bought.
I roll and…….
Next I play the Reanimate, there are none in my discard pile so I play the second. I count my attack which totals 7 and I defeat the Dragon and claim his as a reward.
He was a toothless Dragon after all! Maybe Undead don’t taste so good!
So I place with my other influence producing card. Just above my Barracks.
I now spend my 2 gold and buy another Skeleton Archer.
Time to use influence, I tap a card and purchase a 1 gold card.
I redraw to 5 cards and turn over the next Event Card.
Event Phase 3)
The card is another instant and a good one at that!
Bountiful Harvest allows the first player to draw 1 card and each other player 2, as I am solo I’ll only take 1..
With no enemies and only 2 Reanimate and 4 gold, I purchase a Stronghold from my Barracks.
Another card giving influence, I can now target the neutral cards or 2 Gold cards.
I do just that tapping 2 cards and taking a Battle Cry.
This card has the following text:
Resolution: Add 1 to each units strength in your army.
At this stage it is probably pertinent to talk about the timing of combat.
There are two types of combat:
Battle: This is combat that is against a target NOT controlled by a player.
Siege: This IS combat against a target controlled by another player.
Now, there are distinct steps within each of the different combat turns.
When a player conducts a battle, his goal is to secure a stronghold, neutral city, Enemy or instant.
1.) Declare Target
2.) Assault During this step, the player plays unit or tactic cards one at a time from his hand. If he wants to use a card’s When Played ability, he must do so immediately after playing the card. Using abilities is always optional.
3.) Attrition During this step, the player rolls the Attrition die. Destroy any units of your choice if 1 or 2 skulls are shown.
4.) Resolution Use the resolution abilities of all units, tactics or enemy cards.
SIEGE plays the same steps but without the Attrition step.
The game continues on this way until a player feels that they can beat the objective. Of course, the objective might disagree and actually beat you all! So to cut a long story short here is my last hand…..
I have drawn rather well, a Demon, a Necromancer, 2 Dark Knights and a Battle Cry
So I lead out with the Demon, followed by the Necromancer. Fortunately I draw a Skeleton Archer and a Forced March.
I discard the Forced March. (allows me to destroy 1 card to draw 2).
I then play the 2 Dark Knights and the Skeleton Archer (1 at a time)
I then play my Tactic Battle Cry and my Reward card Dragonlord Margath
Okay so lets take stock…
I have an attack of 19 looking good enough to take out the Objective Card Resurgence of the Dragonlords who has a toughness of 18.
The Attrition step is next and I roll a………
But luckily I have another Reward Card won earlier that allows me to re-roll the Attrition Die!
And I roll a…….
I choose to destroy the Skeleton Archers.
Now the Resolution Step kicks in.
So I now have 17, the Dark Knights get plus 1 strength for each other friendly unit in the combat, so that’s another 6 and the Battle Cry gives me another 4.
So that’s a total of 27 and the Big Fella bites the Dust!
I really enjoyed the first time I played this last Sunday at the Club, and the solo was not too bad and will definitely try it again.
I am really looking forward to playing with four players and the elimination scenario sounds interesting…………
There is an expansion (on it’s way from Milsims today ) that adds two more factions!
I hope you enjoyed this review, I highly recommend this game.
Truhlsrohk signing off, now where did I put the game…………..
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