Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Rune Age

With the amount of deck builders on the market how do you decide which to buy? Do you go with the flawless gameplay, numerous expansions but rather dry theme, or do you go with a more thematic combat driven fantasy deck builder? My advice, try the later path, you won't be disappointed.
 Rune Age has rules for 4 different ways to play, 100% Cooperative, 100% player vs player, a mix of both and 0 combat.

Unlike other deckbuilders, there are two different types of currency in Rune Age. Gold and Influence. Gold is used to buy new cards from your faction to add to your deck and influence is used to buy neutral cards. Influence can also be used to keep cards in your hand instead of discarding them at the end of your turn, the cost is 1 influence per card kept. Rune Age also gives players 2 card pools to build their deck from, a personal one and a card pool neutral to all players.

Personal Faction Decks

Every player is given a Home Realm card based on their faction, this card is used to keep track of the damage done to you. You start with 20 hit points and if you reach zero you lose.

These are examples of units that are available from a faction deck. Their cost is located in the bottom right, and their combat value in the top left. These units are different for every faction, however they are not all useful in every scenario which means your card selection is fairly limited.


Gold works like other deck builders, it is shuffled into your deck and drawn randomly. You buy gold with Influence and there are three different values available.

Influence works similar to land in Magic the Gathering. You gain influence from cities and instead of discarding a city card after it is used for its influence, it is kept in front of you and turned sideways until the beginning of your next turn. The number inside a circle and surrounded by crystals tells you how much influence each city generates.

Faction City

These cities are found within your faction deck, and although their names are changed, their value and cost is the exact same for all faction. You can either buy one of your faction cities for 4 gold or take it over with a military strength of at least 2.

Neutral Card Pool

Every game there will be neutral cities in addition to your faction's cities, in order to gain control of a city you must play cards from your hand with an equal or greater strength than the city. The trick to cities is that you can take them off other players, in order to do this you must tie or beat the city's strength value PLUS any combat cards the defending player chooses to play. Note that some cities also increase your defense value (the number under the influence value) if you are attacked, this is especially important in the Cooperative and Pure Player Combat versions.
Neutral Cities
Neutral Cards
These vary depending on the scenario and are range from units to combat enhancements to additional card draw. Neutral cards are purchased with Influence Points but otherwise function the exact same as cards purchased from your faction deck. The symbols in the bottom left match with specific game scenarios and are used for initial setup.

The event deck: This mechanic is not unique to other games but is still nicely executed in Rune Age. There is an event deck and after all players have gone there is an event turn. Some of these cards affect all players while others effect only the leader. The backs of the event deck match specific scenarios, and the coloured circles below the seal show what stage of the event deck the card falls into. The stages are shuffled and stacked so that 1 is on top of 2 etc.


Although Rune Age is a deckbuilder that doesn't mean it can't have outstanding components. I like all the artwork, the coloured seals on the backs of the event decks are a nice way to quickly organize and break out for each specific scenario. The tokens in Rune Age are fairly generic, but did not tear when I punched them out and they are not overly small. The game comes with 1 custom die that is nothing special and hardly worth mentioning.

Who would enjoy playing Rune Age?

Casual Gamers: Because you can easily tailor Rune Age to your specific tastes, it's essentially 4 games in 1, it has awesome replay value. Pretty much no matter what you're looking for in a deckbuilder, Rune Age can do it. Deckbuilders are already friendly to casual players, Rune Age is very accessible because of the different ways you can play it and that is the most important part of a 'casual game' to me, how often/easily does it make it onto the table. However because of the limited card selection, and limited expansion selection there are nowhere near the amount of combinations that you can find in other deckbuilders, lots of cards work great together, but this still might be a put off for anyone more serious than a casual gamer.

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