Session Report: Rune Age

This is an older report of a session of Rune Age, the deckbuilder from Fantasy Flight. I played a number of times before trading it away, but it’s a cool, little game.

I picked up Rune Age over the weekend, and have been consistently schooled with each solo game I’ve played (both Dragonlords and Cataclysm). I didn’t realize how tight things are when you’re trying to beat the game, rather than another payer. I tried a few games tonight, and finally managed to win using the elves — and a 9-card deck.

The difference was that I had a very specific strategy in mind this time: I needed 6 influence and 5 gold per turn, and I needed to ensure a hand full of Demons and Pegasus Riders. No extra influence, no extra gold, no unnecessary units. I didn’t waste time attacking things that didn’t matter. If I were going to pull this off, it was going to need to be an exercise in efficiency.

I started off buying two extra Deepwood Archers, and used them to capture strongholds. I didn’t buy any more after that, as I only needed them to get my influence engine running. For the first few turns, I built up my deck carefully. Aside from those two archers, I only spent gold on expendable Storm Sorceresses. I hung on to them for defense and for quick boosts of influence. I love that they’re self-destroying, as they make deck thinning ever easier. When able, I bought Pegasus Riders.

As for influence buys, I followed this plan faithfully:
When I had 2 points, I bought a Battle Cry.
When I had 4 points, I bought a Forced March.
When I had 5, I bought a 3-gold.
When I had 6, I bought a Demon.

Once I got to the point where I had 6 influence-producing cards available (3 strongholds, Dawnsmoor, and Rally Support), I started thinning my deck. I had already wiped most of the 1-golds with Forced March, and began removing Archers and (occasionally) Sorceresses with it as well. I also fed them to attrition-die enemies whenever possible.

I was able to fend off the enemies that came my way, with the exception of that 12-strength Dragonlord, who slammed me for 10 damage. Other than that, I only got hit with the 3-point instant and one round of the 2-damage-per-turn guy (who was still on the table at the end of the game).

I had made sure to defeat the enemies that gave bonuses against the big boss, which was important because when I went after him, I already had a couple of units already in my discard pile. Before the final battle, I burned some 3-gold with my Forced Marches, and during the fight I used my influence on the Pegasus Riders to get to the Demon at the bottom of my deck. I ended up doing 19 points to the Dragonlord, and taking him out. Had I waited another turn, I could have done some major overkill, but I was worried about getting ganked for my last 5 health. When you lose 8 games, you REALLY don’t want to drop the ball on a victory.

In the end, my deck was:
Demon x2
Pegasus Rider x3
Forced March x2
Battle Cry x1
3-gold x1

Some people have said that the deck-building in Rune Age is a secondary component, but in a solo game I think it becomes key. Strategy and efficiency is really necessary to pull off a win in these brutal scenarios. It was pretty rewarding to know that I earned the victory myself, and didn’t just luck into it. I’m really digging this game.

Now all I have to do is figure out what the heck to do with the other three factions…

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