He must be really brave to ride on that dragon
For some time now, Miss B has been eyeing up the copy of Rune Age with a mix of expressed feelings. At first it was terror at the picture of the undead necromancer on one side of the box, but more recently this mutated into interest, and then near-obsession with the picture of an elf on another side. Eventually she managed to persuade me to get the game out so she could try it.
Rune Age is another flavour of deck building card game, but here there are a small number of shared cards that you can acquire along with a few more specific to your faction — and everyone plays a different faction, which all work in very different ways. Furthermore, there are effectively three currencies: gold, influence, and military strength, each of which can buy certain cards, many of which provide a different kind of resource.
Another little quirk (some would say major selling point) of Rune Age is that in the basic set there are four different scenarios to choose from, and these set objectives so that the game could be a pure cooperative game (well, almost — one event card gives an option for a solo victory) at one extreme, or a full-on last-man-standing war. Miss B chose the competitive scenario where the aim is to be the player to defeat the big bad boss monster and which allows, but does not require, attacks between players. This scenario also has events which cause damage to players after a few turns, so that’s a big incentive to get yourself in gear and go for the win, as it is entirely possible that everyone will lose.
It took a little while for Miss B to get the hang of things, but she got into making reasonable decisions after a few turns, though neither of us really ended up with particularly efficient decks. As we usually do with deck building games, we generally put our cards on the table during our turn and played them from there, which meant that if necessary I could offer advice to Miss B. This was needed a few times as she hadn’t yet developed a feel for combos in this game. We did attack each other a little bit to steal cities, and this didn’t prove to be a problem.
Eventually we got to the point where we were attempting to defeat the boss dragon, and after an attempt each and some nasty events (which, when you get to the endgame, start recycling scarily fast), it was looking like we would both lose. Miss B was launching her do-or-die attack (I, having failed in the previous turn, would not have survived long enough to have another go myself) and needed a good draw from her deck. Now this is one of those rare points where I “tweaked” probability a bit. I figured she had about a one-in-three chance of drawing one of the cards she needed, so when I reshuffled her deck for her (I generally do the shuffles at the moment to speed things up) I ensured there was something decent on top.
I’m not sure if I did the right thing there, as it may have been a worthwhile experience for us to both lose. But it made for some good excitement as she was still relying on a not-awful die roll to seal the deal. So that was a win for Miss B.
I think Rune Age is a little fiddly to be playing with Miss B, largely due to the levels of indirection brought about by the currencies, but if she wants to play again, that’s fine by me.
The verdict from Miss B (aged nearly 6¼): “It was 10 out of 10, if it was out of 20 it would be 15. I liked the part where there was 12 fighter skills to get the dragon as a prize. That was quite a lot but not as high as the 18 dragon which made us win and I got it.”
The game: Rune Age (Fantasy Flight Games), 1 to 4 players aged 13+.