From the Depths: Rune Age

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03 Dec 2018 23:00 #287394 by Jackwraith

The definition of what a deckbuilder should be.

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04 Dec 2018 02:23 #287395 by Dr. Mabuse
Lovely stuff! I have been a fan of Rune Age since it came out. You nailed what I love most about it, the interaction between players and the scenarios. This needs more love!
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04 Dec 2018 08:04 #287399 by Jackwraith

Dr. Mabuse wrote: Lovely stuff! I have been a fan of Rune Age since it came out. You nailed what I love most about it, the interaction between players and the scenarios. This needs more love!


Thanks! I agree. It's a very underappreciated game, not least by Fantasy Flight, which didn't put a whole lot of effort into promoting it, since it was released just before they took the turn into Star Wars land (X-Wing) and pretty much lost sight of everything else. I was just commenting to my local group the other day how I had a stack of FFG "small box" games, like Rune Age, Infiltration, BBTM, and Battle for Rokugan that we could get a ton of plays out of, despite their small packages.

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04 Dec 2018 08:42 #287404 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic From the Depths: Rune Age
I do feel like this one got lost in the FFG churn of the time, good pull.
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04 Dec 2018 10:58 #287422 by Jackwraith
And I'm going to be annoyed at that lead picture all day, dammit. How did I not notice the glare when I first submitted it?

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04 Dec 2018 11:35 #287429 by Hadik
Replied by Hadik on topic From the Depths: Rune Age
Nice review. This also a really good solo game. Challenging as hell. It beats the LOTR LCG, even with the Terranoth IP.
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04 Dec 2018 19:11 #287482 by Michael Barnes
I think this is an excellent game and as one of the first post-Dominion deckbuilders, it was the most progressive at the time. But the approach feels a little scattershot- I think Konieskca had a handle on what to do with the mechanism, but not quite how to implement it. It feels, despite its quality, like a rush job from FFG trying to get into the Dominion market quickly. I’ve alwways felt like a second edition was warranted for this one.
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04 Dec 2018 19:25 #287487 by Vysetron
Replied by Vysetron on topic From the Depths: Rune Age

Michael Barnes wrote: I think Konieskca had a handle on what to do with the mechanism, but not quite how to implement it.


Repeat until the end of time. Corey's a hell of an innovator but needs developers/testers that'll rein him in something fierce.

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05 Dec 2018 03:47 #287504 by mads b.
Replied by mads b. on topic From the Depths: Rune Age

Michael Barnes wrote: I think this is an excellent game and as one of the first post-Dominion deckbuilders, it was the most progressive at the time. But the approach feels a little scattershot- I think Konieskca had a handle on what to do with the mechanism, but not quite how to implement it. It feels, despite its quality, like a rush job from FFG trying to get into the Dominion market quickly. I’ve alwways felt like a second edition was warranted for this one.


For me Rune Age is one of the few deck builders where the mechanism actually makes sense. You build your army (buy cards), but don't always have your units where you want them (hand). In that way the deck building part sort of makes the game feel like it has a spatial element - especially in the rune wars scenario. (Which I sadly haven't played that much). And the way all the factions feel different and are to be played in different ways speaks to me of pretty good development.

So I don't see what changes would merit a second edition, but maybe I'm just missing something. What would you like different about the game?
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05 Dec 2018 11:17 #287521 by cfmcdonald
The factions have very linear designs and play out in a very obvious way. There are few, if any, surprising and clever card interactions to discover. I could play Dominion essentially forever without getting bored, but I found Rune Age was basically played out after a couple of games.

This review pretty much sums it up: boardgamegeek.com/thread/698863/thoughts...-experience-rune-age

As I recall, several of the scenarios also have serious design flaws that make them not work as intended. The one I remember is Quest for Power from the expansion.
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05 Dec 2018 12:20 #287526 by Jackwraith

cfmcdonald wrote: The factions have very linear designs and play out in a very obvious way. There are few, if any, surprising and clever card interactions to discover. I could play Dominion essentially forever without getting bored, but I found Rune Age was basically played out after a couple of games.


Some people could play Solitaire forever and not get bored, either. It all depends on what you want out of a game. I don't care for Dominion because it's not so much playing a game with other people as it is sitting in the same room with them while playing a game. Later expansions may have changed that situation, but I didn't last long enough playing the regular game to see if that happened. The contrast to me is the point that I made in the article: Rune Age demands player interaction in order to function. That's what makes it a multi-player game to me.

As pointed out by Alex Martinez in the first response to Merric's review (and valid opinion): one of the key aspects to Rune Age is how you use the cards you already have, rather than constantly being encouraged to add more. Also, I think there's a small stumbling block in Merric's experience with the game in that he stuck with the scenarios as presented (i.e. he didn't alter the neutral card setup.) In the back of the main rulebook, there's an optional rule suggested that, once players have experience with the game, allows them to include whatever neutral cards they like in any of the scenarios. I know he felt that the game lacked variety because of that impediment. With the expansion and the inclusion of mercenaries, the possibility for neutral card variety is pretty expansive.

Although the factions might seem linear to you, at first, they do function quite a bit differently in the different scenarios and based on the competition that they're up against. You generally won't play the Uthuk the same way against the Orcs as you would against the Elves.

mads b. wrote:

So I don't see what changes would merit a second edition, but maybe I'm just missing something. What would you like different about the game?


I think what MB may be referring to is the variety of moving parts in the game, based on the triple currency system (strength, influence, gold), since it lacks the uniform approach in that respect of games like Dominion. Rune Age can occasionally make you feel like you've missed out if you go hard in one direction (strength), as opposed to another (influence), and you're not sure how you could have redirected yourself to cover all the bases that you needed to cover. Some factions do, of course, play better with one currency than with others (Elves: influence; Dwarves: gold; Uthuk: strength; etc.)
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05 Dec 2018 16:39 #287542 by cfmcdonald

Jackwraith wrote:

cfmcdonald wrote: The factions have very linear designs and play out in a very obvious way. There are few, if any, surprising and clever card interactions to discover. I could play Dominion essentially forever without getting bored, but I found Rune Age was basically played out after a couple of games.


Some people could play Solitaire forever and not get bored, either. It all depends on what you want out of a game. I don't care for Dominion because it's not so much playing a game with other people as it is sitting in the same room with them while playing a game. Later expansions may have changed that situation, but I didn't last long enough playing the regular game to see if that happened. The contrast to me is the point that I made in the article: Rune Age demands player interaction in order to function. That's what makes it a multi-player game to me.


I don't want to get too derailed on a discussion about Dominion rather than Rune Age, but Dominion is absolutely an interactive multiplayer game. In fact it's a terrible as a solitaire game. The core interaction is that of a *race* game, you have to pace your strategy against what others are doing in order to win the race. If you're not making decisions based on what others are doing you will lose badly. Additional subtlety is added because there are two ways to win the race (empty 3 piles or empty provinces) so you have to judge if you can beat someone by racing in a different direction. Moreover, there are cards (in the base set!) that let you directly attack other players and defend against the attacks of others. That's the same kind of interaction as Rune Age. It just isn't *political* since you can't target your attacks.

Jackwraith wrote: As pointed out by Alex Martinez in the first response to Merric's review (and valid opinion): one of the key aspects to Rune Age is how you use the cards you already have, rather than constantly being encouraged to add more. Also, I think there's a small stumbling block in Merric's experience with the game in that he stuck with the scenarios as presented (i.e. he didn't alter the neutral card setup.) In the back of the main rulebook, there's an optional rule suggested that, once players have experience with the game, allows them to include whatever neutral cards they like in any of the scenarios. I know he felt that the game lacked variety because of that impediment. With the expansion and the inclusion of mercenaries, the possibility for neutral card variety is pretty expansive.

Although the factions might seem linear to you, at first, they do function quite a bit differently in the different scenarios and based on the competition that they're up against. You generally won't play the Uthuk the same way against the Orcs as you would against the Elves.

mads b. wrote:

So I don't see what changes would merit a second edition, but maybe I'm just missing something. What would you like different about the game?


I think what MB may be referring to is the variety of moving parts in the game, based on the triple currency system (strength, influence, gold), since it lacks the uniform approach in that respect of games like Dominion. Rune Age can occasionally make you feel like you've missed out if you go hard in one direction (strength), as opposed to another (influence), and you're not sure how you could have redirected yourself to cover all the bases that you needed to cover. Some factions do, of course, play better with one currency than with others (Elves: influence; Dwarves: gold; Uthuk: strength; etc.)


Yeah, I dunno, I haven't played the game in years, but I don't remember any interesting subtleties about how you play different factions depending on the situation. The strategy felt rote and one-dimensional. But I do admit I don't remember the details that well at this point.
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06 Dec 2018 04:16 #287571 by mads b.
Replied by mads b. on topic From the Depths: Rune Age
I have mostly played the Runewars and Cataclysm scenarios, so I'll take your word for it when it comes to imbalance. But I have played the Cataclysm a lot of times solo and coop, and even without changing the neutrals it didn't feel samey to me. Especially not after adding in the expansion units. Or rather, the small changes the event cards and cities made or whether or not you had a hand full of gold early on is usually enough for me to make games feel different even with the same faction.

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06 Dec 2018 12:50 #287610 by southernman
Another Rune game from FFG (after Runebound 2E - which I then bought and we are absolutely loving) that I haven't heard of even though I've had Rune Wars for quite a while and rate it highly. And it seems to be on the rare/oop wagon now so I won't even be able to try it out ... glad people enjoy FFG games though instead of just bagging the company for not doing a GW and spending 40 years on making a pretend place to place their one game in ;-P

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