Mechanisms — Artwork — Components. These are the “MAC”Daddy of what generally makes a great game in this humble board game journalist’s opinion. And I was able to check off all three of these boxes quickly as I started to research Rüdiger Dorn’s new game Rune Stones –> my Kickstarter highlight title for campaigns ending within the next seven days.
From Queen Games, Rune Stones is expected to play in 60 minutes for 2-4 players.
I would like to start my discussion of this game by giving a quick overview of the mechanisms that garnered my attention:
- Deck-building. Generally, I enjoy deck-building in games and Rune Stones includes that element. Everyone will have a starter set of cards and they will want to improve that deck throughout the game by purchasing (summoning) new cards from the available market. The market will constantly be flowing, thus the cost for creatures may adjust after each turn. An interesting twist on the deck-building is that you will see your deck dwindle as well over time — not necessarily in a deconstruction manner, nor culling — but through the method of playing cards.
- Playing cards. Each turn, a player will play exactly 2 cards from their hands to gain resources, utilize special effects, and gain victory (might) points. The catch is that one of these cards will be removed from your deck. Every card in the game has a unique number (1-99) plus some starting wizards cards in the 100 series. Of the two cards played, the higher number will be ‘used up’ and removed from the game. Because of that, when summoning a higher numbered card, a player needs to be aware that it will probably end up being a one-time use card — while lower-numbered cards will be multi-use as they will get discarded and re-used.
- Combos. This system makes combo creation very important. Find strong one-time use powerful cards to summon, but try to build your deck’s “combo-engine” from the lower number creatures that are summoned.
- Rune Stones. Throughout the game, resources will be acquired to obtain artifacts. These artifacts can then be used to eventually acquire Rune Stones. Obtaining these will be vital to a winning strategy as these will give you significant powers to use the rest of the game.
- Victory Point End-Goal. One thing I like about the set-up of Rune Stones is that it is a race and not just a predetermined number of rounds to get through. By providing a victory point end-game trigger, the heat is on to make good choices early and consistently. Personally, I like that kind of play where the efficiency of every choice matters.
Beyond the fact that Rune Stones sounds like a really enjoyable game to play, the artwork is top-notch. Now, the style isn’t necessarily what I enjoy the most, but I can definitely appreciate the quality of the work that has gone into the design of the cards and boards.
The components also look great for this title. The Rune Stones appear to be thick, a good size overall, and easy to read. I like the chunkiness and design on the scoring markers. These gems also look nice as well — I love the physical touch of the gems in Century: Golem and these look like they will feel nice to acquire and trade in similar fashion.
All of that points to a game that I would hate to miss out on — I really want to get a chance to try Rune Stones (which is set to fulfill this October). Even better, the price falls into a really nice range for a game of this style and quality — you can acquire the base game with just a $45 pledge (shipping may run you about $12 in the U.S.).
Well, that’s my F.O.M.O. highlight of the week. I hope everyone is having a boardgamerrific August. Comment below with what you have been playing recently.