What is this game about?
Rune Age is a deck building game set in Terrinoth, the same fantasy world that provides a backdrop for Fantasy Flight games such as Descent and Runebound. Rune Age is not one single game. Instead, it has four different scenarios for players to choose from. Two of these allow for solitaire play, one focuses on player elimination, and another is competitive but with minimal player interaction. Each player takes on a different race, with options including elves, barbarians, generic fantasy humans, and the undead. Each player will be able to acquire some cards that are unique to his or her race and some neutral cards, which are available to all and specific to the scenario.
Rune Age has several interesting mechanics that work together in the game—you can use combat, influence, or gold to make things go your way. The combat system has players set down military units from their current hand, then roll an attrition die to determine how many of them survive.
How does it play solo?
There are two solo-playable scenarios included in Rune Age. One, "Resurgence of the Dragonlords," is a race to build a good deck and gain enough strength to take out one very powerful enemy. In multiplayer, this scenario is a race against other players to accumulate enough firepower. When playing solitaire, you are racing against an event deck—when it runs out, game over.
The other solo-playable scenario, "The Cataclysm," is a test of endurance. It is playable either solo or cooperatively, but either way the goal is to outlast the event deck. Bad things will keep happening, and it's your job to handle them all.
Rune Age also has an expansion called Oath and Anvil, which adds some variability to the game. It includes two new races, as well as cooperative (rather than competitive) rules for "Resurgence of the Dragonlords."
Rune Age is a beautifully-produced game with some very interesting concepts. I particularly like the added influence and combat mechanics. Deck builders can always use a little more spice.
But speaking of spice, Rune Age is bland on the whole, particularly for solo play. Although you can get some variation by playing as different races and trying different strategies, the solo scenarios just aren't interesting enough to keep me coming back. "The Cataclysm" can be challenging, but I'm not interested in trying to survive without a more satisfying end goal. "Resurgence of the Dragonlords" doesn't offer enough variety to justify repeated play.
If you want to pick up Rune Age to play with a gaming group, it might be a solid purchase. But for pure solo, I would recommend you pick up a different deck builder. (Or, if it's Terrinoth you're after, stick to Descent or Runebound.)
I love deck builders. If it's a deck builder, I am going to want to try it, guaranteed. But I think that Rune Age lost something when it tried to be all things to all people. It's like a rock and roll supergroup—it just doesn't add up to the sum of its parts.
Overall Rating: 2 stars
5 stars — I love it!
4 stars — I really like it.
3 stars — I like it.
2 stars — It's okay.
1 star — Meh.