Friday, September 2, 2011

Rune Age: Fantasy Flight Games' entry into the deckbuilding arena

Rune Age is a deckbuilding game for 2-4 players by Fantasy Flight Games.  It takes about 45-60 minutes to play a game with an additional 15-20 minutes allotted for new players.

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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