Rune Stones – Queen Games – Review

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I have totally enjoyed my experiences with Rune Stones. I have played it a few times and it seems like I enjoy it more each time I play.

ben

MeepleGamers

9/10

Publisher: Queen Games


Designer: Rüdiger Dorn


Artist: Dennis Lohausen


Game Type: Deck Building


Game Type: Hand Management


Initial Year of Release:2019


Age Range: 10+


Expected Playtime: 60


Number of Players: 2-4

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Theme and What is it?


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9/10

The life of a druid can seem mundane. That is only because people do not see the bigger picture. One aspect summoning has is repercussions all the way through to the end of a very powerful spell. The little choices at the beginning can change the overall effect at the end. These choices are what make life very unmundane, if you ask any druid. Choices and consequences are the essence of the druid’s purpose. When combined you will see how strong a druid really is and how much potential druids have. So, never underestimate those choices. They may seem inconsequential, but they always turn out to be the things that make other spells successful or a complete failure.

Rune Stones is a deck-building/hand management game for 2-4 players.

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Gameplay Mechanics


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9/10

Rune Stones is played over a number of rounds until a player reaches or exceeds 65 victory points. Each round a player can choose to take one of three actions. They can Summon a Creature using magic points from cards in their hands. This is the deck building aspect of the game. They select a card from the card track and pay the cost listed under the card. Cards in the track slide to fill in the purchased cards and new cards are added to the most expensive areas of the track. The longer a card is out, the cheaper it becomes as it moves along the track.

Another option for an action is to Play Cards. A player selects two cards from their hand and plays these cards to gain the card’s effects. Effects include gaining resources, new cards and victory points. Once a player has resolved the effects of both cards, they must discard the card with the highest number (each card in the deck has a number) back to the general discard pile. The card with the lower number is discarded into the players discard pile and will be reshuffled to form a new deck.

The last action is to Forge Artifacts. To do this, players spend their gem resources at any of the dwarven forges to purchase artifacts. Each forge has a different cost depending on the artifact at the forge. 

After the player performs one of the above three actions and has at least two different colored artifacts, they may trade in those artifacts for victory points and a Rune Stone. Rune Stones grant special abilities that give more power to the player. Players can hold off on trading in artifacts for rune stones. The more artifacts that a player trades in at one time will give them more victory points. The first player to get 65 victory points triggers the end of the game. The round finishes and the player with the most points wins! 

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Initial Impressions


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9/10

I was very excited to get Rune Stones to the table. The way it uses the hand management mechanic is very interesting. It forces players to decide which cards are worth playing because one of them will get discarded and will not be available to them.

I was able to make it through the directions with no problems. Set up was a breeze. It took 10-15 minutes to go over everything with the person I played with. We played a couple practice rounds to make sure we had everything correct. Once we got into the game it moved at a very nice pace, even with some tough decisions to make. 

The game lasted just over an hour. It felt like it flew by. Player turns happen quickly and you are busy trying to decide what to do before it gets back to your turn, especially in a two-player game. 

On the initial play I was trying to feel out the game and balance the deck building aspect with the hand management. I don’t think I did great, but I still enjoyed myself and I am looking forward to getting Rune Stones back to the table.

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Game Build Quality


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9/10

Queen Games did a fantastic job with Rune Stones. I did not come across anything component wise that I thought was lacking. I was glad to see strong, solid components and cards. You should be happy with what you get in Rune Stones.   

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Artistic Direction


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9/10

Queen Games did a fantastic job with Rune Stones. I did not come across anything component wise that I thought was lacking. I was glad to see strong, solid components and cards. You should be happy with what you get in Rune Stones.   

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Fun Factor


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9/10

Deck building is one of my favorite mechanics. I love how it fits into Rune Stone. What makes it even more fun is the rule that forces players to discard the “better” card when they use card abilities. I say “better” because the higher the number on the card, the better it is, yet it may not be the best card for the strategy you are taking. 

This hand management mechanic is wonderful fun. It makes for some tough decisions that really will make or break your game. Are you willing to give up a powerful card to gain the momentary ability? Should you hold into it? If so, for how long? Lots of questions run through your mind and because player turns are short, so you have to answer these questions quickly.

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Age Range & Weight


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9/10

The age recommendation for Rune Stones is 10+. I feel that if a 10-year-old who has some solid board game experience should do just fine with this game. If they are not familiar with some of the mechanics, they might struggle with it. I would maybe say 12 or 14+ would be a little more realistic recommendation. 

As far as heaviness, Rune Stones is not too heavy. I was able to learn it and teach it without difficulty. I think it comes down to decision making. Younger players might not have those skills developed enough to be competitive.

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Conclusions


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9/10

Rune Stones definitely receives my Trifecta Of Awesomeness Award. In order for a game to get this reward it must display excellency in the three categories of gameplay, quality and art. Rune Stones knocks it out of the park in all three categories. 

I have totally enjoyed my experiences with Rune Stones. I have played it a few times and it seems like I enjoy it more each time I play. The mechanics are well thought out and work together to create very dynamic choices. The game build is right up there with the best I have ever seen. The art is immersive and works perfectly with the theme. Three of the most important things to consider when thinking about your next game purchase.

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