Rune Age - Board Game Box Shot

Rune Age

| Published: 2011
Rune Age title

Publisher Video

An overview of the game, it's theme and components.
4:34

Fantasy Flight Games is proud to unveil its first exciting entry into the burgeoning deck-building card game genre: Rune Age, a game of adventure and conquest for 2-4 players. Set in the vibrant fantasy realm of Terrinoth (popularized by Runebound, Descent: Journeys in the Dark, Runewars, and DungeonQuest), players take control of one of four warring factions, setting out to build up their armies, take control of cities, and obliterate their foes.

Designed by Corey Konieczka, Rune Age is unique in that it is driven by scenarios, setting the parameters of the game. Each of the four included scenarios presents different objectives for players to construct their decks around, ranging from competitive to fully cooperative. Will you wage war against each other in search of the legendary dragon runes? Or will you pull your forces together and face the deadliest storm Terrinoth has ever seen? The choice is yours.

Rune Age factions

Gameplay in Rune Age centers around players working to develop their individual deck of cards. At the beginning of the game, each player begins with a small assortment of cards in their deck, drawing five cards each turn to carry out their actions. Each player’s deck represents their faction’s military strength and capabilities. These decks will be formed with their faction-specific Unit cards and a central collection of Neutral Unit cards, Tactics cards, and Gold cards.

While players begin with limited cards in their deck, through cunning and strategic use of their available cards, players can expand their deck to create a destructive force of their own clever design. Will you create brutal deck of formidable Units? Or will you rely on Gold and Influence to acquire neutral forces and powerful Tactics?

User Reviews (21)

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3
My First Game Tip
Noble
7
43 of 44 gamers found this helpful
“Deckbuilding's new recipe has 7 secret herbs and spices.”

We’ve all had fried chicken(well a lot of us have). Fried chicken with crumbs alone gets a bit old and you need to throw some new things in to add a little spice. This is exactly what Fantasy Flight has done with Rune Age. They have added their own secret ingredients to the deckbuilding genre.

Scenarios, Co-operation, Factions, Influence and Attrition are just a few of the new things Rune age brings to the table. Scenario driven deckbuilding is just plain awesome sauce. Each new scenario gives a definitive goal to achieve. A few different neutral cards to buy with influence which will aid in your quest to either dominate your opponents, defeat enemies, defend your home realm or help you on your road to glory. Each scenario will also force you to build significantly different decks for each faction and the Co-op scenario will have you build different decks depending on what role you are going to take in the coming challenges. Will you start slow and build influence first so you are a late game behemoth while your ally rushes a strong military deck clearing the early enemies and events away to buy you time? Will they turn on you in the last moments brother against brother?

Each Faction has their own set of mechanics that set up fun combos to take advantage of. A Footman heavy early deck from the Daqan Lords faction will quickly build military strength with little cost as each Footman allows you to look at the top card of your deck and put in your hand a Footman if revealed if not you can choose to discard or place the card back on top. Combining later with Knights who allow you to reveal the top card of your deck and as long as it is not a unit card of 3 strength or more draw it into your hand this allows extra chances to draw more Footmen out find Tactic cards or gain gold for purchasing new units.

Influence is used to purchase neutral cards and gold and is a new currency that can be gained via conquering cities and securing stronghold’s. Influence cards stay in play and can be exhausted to pay for the card or cards of your choice. They refresh at the beginning of your turn ready to be used again.

Each battle against an Enemy card is never a sure thing, the attrition die is rolled and up to two of your units can be destroyed and their strength will not be added to the final battle sometimes thwarting your attempts to defeat your enemies.

There are a more new things going on in Rune Age and I will not try to cover them all, but suffice it to say that if Dominion is getting a little old, your Thunderstone games are taking a bit too long or Nightfall’s all out warfare is not your groups style Rune Age is going to offer you a new flavor that your sure to enjoy.

Some people may complain that there are not enough cards to choose from or that 4 scenarios are not enough. These are very valid complaints but must be weighed against the cost of the game and the amount of play you will actually get out of the base set along with the new and exciting combat and currencies Rune Age brings to the table. Along with the great possibilities for very inexpensive expansions. Here in Australia I managed to get the game for the price of 2 movie tickets and that’s not counting food and drink, granted movies are expensive down under but the amount of gaming goodness I have experienced so far greatly outweighs a night at the movies and there is a lot more to come.

All in all I can heartily recommend picking up Rune Age to anyone who enjoys deckbuilding and wants to add a little spice to the genre.

 
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5
Intermediate Reviewer
Gamer - Level 3
8
23 of 23 gamers found this helpful
“A dynamic, asymmetrical, scenario-driven deck building experience”

Rune Age is an asymmetrical, scenario based, deck building game where the victory conditions change from last man standing to cooperating for a shared victory. Each game players will select a scenario, each scenario having an unique victory condition, an unique event deck, and a set of neutral cards. Each player will also select a faction to play as; each faction’s unit cards are unique, and only that faction may draft those cards.

Players spend their turns performing actions. Players can spend their gold to draft their private units, or spend influence to draft neutral cards, gold cards, and to keep cards in their hand for the next turn. Players can also play their cards for the actions printed on them, or they can engage in a combat action, spending strength, either against a neutral city (which awards influence per turn), another opponent or against a comment enemy drawn from the event deck. When a player is done with his actions he must discard any remaining cards in his hand, unless he spent influence to keep them. Once the last player ends his turn an event from the event deck occurs. Play continues until the victory conditions on the objective card are met.

The asymmetry of Rune Age, while balanced, does force players to form their strategy based on the faction they are playing. By employing 3 resources (gold, influence, and strength) the game forces players to weigh and judge how they want to play the scenario. Gold is needed to draft more units, and units are needed for combat or influence, while influence is needed to manage your hand and purchase the neutral cards. Tension is further added by the effect of the events in the event deck, each one commanding attention from the players.

The four scenarios are radically different in their objective and event decks, which give players an immediate breadth of choice with regards to the type of game they will play in any given session. The main difference between scenarios is the level of player interaction, from virtually none, to an all out war of elimination. Each scenario does dictate which neutral cards are available, which can make repeat plays of the same scenario seem rather static. Nonetheless, the game feels dynamic and worth replaying as the combination of scenarios and factions add dimension to the game; however, this can work against the game in that some players may refuse to play a certain faction and/or scenario.

 
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6
Canada
Gamer - Level 6
9
33 of 34 gamers found this helpful
“Four deckbuilders in One”

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.

For a full review, complete with detailed picture aided explanations go to http://toddsboardgames.blogspot.ca/2013/03/rune-age.html

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.

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.

Currency

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.

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.

Components:

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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6
Unicorn Clan - Legend of the Five Rings
Gamer - Level 6
Novice Reviewer
8
30 of 31 gamers found this helpful
“Faction based deck building, some replay flaws”

The other reviews here give Rune Age a great deal of well-earned credit. Rune Age is a deck building game, wherein each player chooses one of four factions with their own set of exclusive cards to pull from when growing your deck. This gives the game a unique twist on other deck building games where all players pull from the same communal set of cards, making each deck look very similar.

The four factions are, essentially: generic humans, elves, undead, and barbarians. Each faction has a 1, 2, 3 and 5 cost unit, each with progressively higher strength and more powerful abilities. At least one of these units is intended to use its ability against enemy players, while the others are just as effective against both player and non-player opponents. All players also have a set of three identical stronghold cards they can purchase through the course of a game. There will also be a set of three neutral cards and some neutral cities for all of the players to buy from.

Cards cost one of three resources: gold, influence, or combat. There tends to be a circular scheme in which these resources are acquired… Gold is used to buy units, units then provide combat to conquer cities, and cities provide influence to get more gold. There are a few exceptions, but that general rule proves true for most of the cards.

The last thing to note are the objectives to win the game. There are numerous different victory conditions to pick, from being the first to kill a dragon, to being the last man standing. Each objective card dictates which neutral cards are available for use in a given game, and comes with a deck of event cards that flip each turn and hinder the players’ attempts at winning.

Rune Age really is a fun game. The factions are suitably different from one another, all of the art is fantastic, the price tag is fair, and the different objectives ask for different tactics. I’ve really enjoyed this game and am always excited to play it again. One serious downfall it has is the small pool of cards to pick from when building your deck. Each faction has only four units to pick from, and players will quickly understand which combination of those units is best, and future games will begin to look the same. That being said I very much recommend Rune Age and am eagerly awaiting expansions.

 
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4
Scorpion Clan-Legend of the Five Rings
Arrowhead
9
41 of 43 gamers found this helpful
“Great use of deckbuilding mechanics”

Components: Being as big a fan of good components as I am, I have to say that Fantasy Flight has never let me down and Rune Age is no exception. Their cards have a nice, sturdy feel to them with a fantastic satin finish. The Runebound universe has always been populated with fantasic art pieces and Rune Age is no exception. Every piece of artwork jumps off the cards and the overall layout of each card is very clear and crisp. Of couse, since this is a FFG release, it comes with a nice set of heavy card stock damage tokens and a proprietary “attrition” die.

Rules: As with all other games in the genre, Rune Age’s primary mechanic revolved around drafting cards using in-game resources in order to create an effective deck. Where this game deviates is in it’s use of faction specific “barracks” (pools of cards for each of the game’s 4 factions) as well as neutral cards (which can be purchased and used by players of any faction). In addition, the game ships with a number of scenarios which will effect how players interact with one another as well as the game itself. Scenarios determine which cards make up the event deck and this in turn provides challenges beyond the other players in the game.

Gameplay: For all it adds/changes/tweaks to what may be considered the “classic” deckbuilding format, Rune Age is very easy to pick up and play. Each faction has it’s own quirks and playstyles which shift between the different scenarios and the event deck adds a nice layer of neutrality during some of the more cutthroat and competitive scenarios. It may take players a few turns, or perhaps even a few games to fully grasp all of their options and understand how both faction and neutral cards can be combined to produce the most advantageous effects, but from my experience, each and every turn spent learning the game is just plain fun.

Overall: Rune Age is a wonderful addition to the burgeoning deckbuilding market and a worthy carrier of the Runebound mantle. FFG did a very good job of creating a game that will be familiar to fans of the genre and fans of the IP without forcing the marriage between the two. Every time this hits the table, I am excited to play it and I sincerely hope that FFG will continue to support the game with future expansions including more units for each faction, more neutral cards and (most of all) more scenarios.

 
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2
Gamer - Level 1
9
37 of 39 gamers found this helpful
“The scenarios make the difference”

Rune Age is rapidly becoming one of my favorite games. The four different scenarios in the base game have something for every gamer in my game group.

Scenario Reviews:

“The Cataclism” features full coop play for gamers looking to work together. Players win together if they make it through the entire event deck. They lose if a single player’s home realm is destroyed. (Though look out for the “Brother Against Brother” event card. Someone could get greedy and win it all themselves!

“Runewars” is quite the opposite. This scenario is popular amongst the wargamers in our group. Featuring player elimination and facilitating and promoting direct conflict. Games go relatively quickly though, so they shouldn’t be siting out for long.

“Resurgence of the Dragonlords” is a little in between. Players have an uneasy partnership as they have to work together to defeat the enemies in the event deck. The whole time they are strengthening their deck to become strong enough to defeat the scenario card itself. This is the way to win this one. Good middleground.

Lastly is “The Monument.” this reminds me of the race for advancement in RTS computer games. Direct conflict isn’t allowed, so it’s a good choice for your pacifist friends who enjoy more of a solitaire or euro experience. Just get as much of a money producing deck as you can and build your monument.

These scenarios are what make this game stand out from the other deckbuilders (of which I own most.) Great fun, and I look forward to future expansions!

 
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5
9
49 of 53 gamers found this helpful
“a DBG that doesn't fell like a DBG, ”

the was one of the games I didn’t plan to buy at Gen Con, but it was too much fun.

I’ve played Rune Wars once and liked it, but this plays under 45min with 3 players and under a hour with 4 players and has a great feel. I’ve played every race and I look forward to trying it solo. I’ve liked exploring all the differences and strategies for each race. Keep that discard pile big for the Undead, the human want a thin deck with all their big guys in it. Good stuff here.

It doesn’t feel like a deck building game to me. It’s an army manipulation building game to me, based on the scenarios. And that’s where it shines. FFG really can support this or fan-created scenarios can breath continued fresh life into this game. And the tug of war for the cities. Plus to two diirent resources, gold and influence is great.

Fantastic artwork, great game mechanics, quick playtime, different army strategies, and multiple scenarios. FFG has a real winner here.

This may sound weird, but it kinda feels/reminds me like an old TSR ccg, Spellfire, which we loved, but that game was unbalanced, this one is far from that, plus it’s all in a nice small travel size box, even if it’s all sleeved.

 
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7
Knight-errant
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
Intermediate Reviewer
The Big Cheese 2012
10
47 of 51 gamers found this helpful
“Best Stand Alone Game of 2011 (Thus Far)”

Learning the game is so easy, I can see that mastering it would take at least a few play throughs. Just to show how easy it was to learn, I did a 2 hour event learning how to play it. The next day, I was running to separate groups through playing the game.

There are 2 resources used for buying cards. One is influence, which mostly stays in play, like Magic the gathering lands. One is gold, which is cycled through your deck. I like this mechanic, as your hand does not get overloaded with non-combat cards.

There are 4 factions that are playable in the game. The Elves are probably the hardest to figure out. Once I figured out some strategies with them, I found them to be extremely powerful. The Chaos faction can be powerful, but is a bit temperamental and unpredictable (makes sense right!). The Human faction has some fun mechanics for throwing out a ton of guys in battles. Also, the staple to this game is the Footman unit. Which I found that every single separate group that played the game made jokes involving the Footman. It was actually quite funny how it happened with every group. The final group is an undead faction, which is the only one I did not have the chance to play. But getting creatures back from your discard into play and digging up a bunch of extra guys from your deck is fun times.

2-4 players is what this entry suggests. If you want some solo play when nobody else is available, or you want to practice some strategies, you can definitely give it a shot in several of the scenarios. 12+ age is probably a pretty accurate assessment of the maturity level needed to play the game. 45+ minutes is probably going to be the average game length, and the first couple of games will be 30+ minutes in excess to this. If you have all experienced players that are good at deckbuilding games, this game could take less than 30 minutes.

Conclusion:
I love this game, and that is not understatement. I could have played it all through GenCon, and that might have gotten tiring, I emphasize the “might”.

 
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1
10
34 of 40 gamers found this helpful
“The Deck Builder for all types of players”

There are four modes of play included in the game which make each game experience different from the last. An all out destroy your opponents death match, a race to build a monument, a race to develop a large enough army to take out the Dragon Lord, and a co-operative survival mode that tests the whole group’s ability to build a deck.

Each of the four races needs to work a little differently in each mode of play, and even within each mode there are different ways to play each race.

A great little game, one of the easier deck-builders to set up and teach, with more a more focused theme. A little gem for sure!

 
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5
Gamer - Level 4
Knight
10
14 of 16 gamers found this helpful
“Many games in one”

It’s all in the scenarios
I’ll go into the other aspects of the game in a moment or two but I wanted to start here as it’s what has really picked this game out from the crowd for me.

I game in two distinct groups – my main gaming group (4 guys in their 30s and 40s) and amongst my family (age range more varied but starting at 7). As a consequence I tend to find the most value in games that can work for both.

Rune age offers a range of four scenarios in the base set. One is collaboritve, two are PvP (player vs player) and one can be played either way. The scenarios give the gameplay a distinct flavour for any given run through the game that supplements the atmospheric races that the players select on any given run.

The fact that the scenarios offer such a range of game-play really helps fit the game to the distinct gaming groups I play with. My family group tend to prefer thimgs towards the collaboritive end of the scale whilst my main gaming group are much keener on the challenges offered by PvP play.

The scenarios also help with replay value, offering a lot more distinct flavour.

The Races
On any given run through, each player selects from four available races (basically Humans, Elves, Undead and a Demonic-style race). Each race has its own deck of troops and their special abilities really offer a distinct flavour that makes the game a different experience for each different mix of races.

The races also have a really distinct flavour that, for a roleplayer or fan of fantasy literature, resonate really nicely. Elves are a slow-build race, humans are fast and are generally able to throw hordes of lower-powered units into any given battle. Undead pluck troops out of the discar pile to throw into play and can feel like an unstopable force early on. The ‘demons’ can injure themselves to bring about special effects of various sorts.

Components
The component list is pretty simple – a special ‘attrition dice’ used to destroy troops that attack certain scenario cards, a load of cardboard counters used to track various scenario victory conditions and then a lot of cards. The cards are split into the race decks and few different types of ‘neutral’ card such as gold, scenario cards and so on.

The components are all of excellent quality and whilst our cards are starting to show some wear now, I feel it’s from legitimate regular use rather than any defficiency. The counters still look pristine and the dice has a nice weight to it with clearly-defined symbols that are easy to pick out and have yet to wear at all.

Downsides
It’s hard to really criticise this game for anything at all in the base set. The only things that I found are when it is combined with the expansion.

In particular, the box design holds all of the cards in the base set and about 2/3 of the ones in the expansion. We redesigned the box, with some new carboard interior boxes to hold the new cards which solved the problem.

Secondly, one of the scenarios in the expansion isn’t very well balanced and we’ve had to house-rule it to balance it up somewhat.

These, though, are really minor minor things and unless you think they’re going to drive you mad they shouldn’t put you off from what is a great game.

 
Player Avatar
4
Critic - Level 2
Strategist
Gamer - Level 4
9
39 of 49 gamers found this helpful
“A Rune Wars feeling, in half the time!”

I love most of the games in the Runebound universe, but I don’t always have 3+ hours to play them. I also love most of the deck building games that I have played. This is a wonderful bridge between these two elements. It is easy to teach, and my buddies and I have had a lot of fun playing it. There are several mechanics that separate it from other deck building games, including the different scenarios and the ability to store cards in your hand instead of discarding them. The scenarios let you play a different style of game depending on what kind of game you feel like. You can play an all out death match, a heavy gold accumulating scenario, or others. This makes the replay value much higher, which is one of the most important factors in a game for me. It only takes roughly an hour or so too, but that Runebound feeling is still present. All in all, a great edition to any gamer’s library!

 
Player Avatar
3
I play blue
9
28 of 40 gamers found this helpful
“Lovely deck-builder!”

I like the game…really I do. First, the bad stuff:

The solo option is limited to two different quests. Looking forward to more quests to work on, but until then…

The rules are a bit of a fiasco to deal with. Took some extra playtime to figure out the mechanic. If you’re used to Dominion, the rules will confuse you.

The Good Stuff:

The cards are beautifully done and a nice high quality. The quests that DO come with the game incredibly challenging and fun to work on. I am looking forward to some new stuff for the game, but I’m not that kind of guy that whines about the game he just bought hoping for more. This game is packed full of fun stuff. If you like deck builders, get it. The game is worth it.

 

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