After having purchased and played the game. I have spoken to others and read reviews calling for expansions.
I had a rather unique idea that no one I've discussed it with seems to have considered. A Secret Depoloyment Deck.
A deck that would be divided by cost and placed 'face down' with the cost to purchase on the card backs. When a player wished to purchased one of them, he would spend the required Gold, Influence, or Strength, then draw the top 3 cards, keep 1 of his choice, and return the other 2 to the bottom of its deck. The chosen card would go into the players' discard pile so as not to be seen and would only be uncovered when the player plays it from his hand. The deck could be divided into 3 piles based upon Cost & Strength of cards and could include neutral allies, traps, ambushes, intrigue, and special weapons. Nothing overpowering, but providing some interesting variables. This could add a lot of tension, uncertainty, and flavor to an otherwise very good game. I can't think of any other deck building games that have a similar mechanic and Rune Age seems to be perfect for it, especially due to its direct conflict themes. It would also create variability that some are suggesting the game is missing without having to produce hundreds of cards.
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A neat idea for another game.
This really wouldn't suit Rune Age since your idea seems purely competitive in design. Rune Age can be played as co-op and even solo, so the idea of having a new mechanic designed with a competitive game in mind short changes a lot of the game design.
I think the simplest way to expand Rune Age is to offer new faction cards at varying costs, as well as new neutral cards for each scenario. This would open up a lot more replayability and variety where it's currently lacking. The existing game has so much room for expansion (and needs it) I don't think a new deck mechanic should be added, at least not yet, just new cards.
Question 1: How do you discard it without revealing it to the table? Are you suggesting that it should be inserted into the middle of the discard pile? The bottom of the discard pile?
Question 2: If the cost of the cards are written on the backs, doesn't that raise the problem of notifying players of the next card in a player deck that is otherwise completely random and secret? What if you only purchased one card from the deck that costs 2 gold? If that card was at the top of your deck after you drew 5 cards, you would know what card is coming up next. Also, if you've already played the card once, the other players would also see what card was coming up next.
I like your ideas, I just want to refine them. For the first question, I think the solution is to rule that the gold cards used to purchase that card are placed on top of that card and then placed in the discard pile. That way it's hidden, but you have a clear rule for where the card goes in the discard pile. For question number 2, I'd say the cards should have normal backs, but should be divided by cost and then shuffled separately and placed in piles of increasing cost from left to right. If knowing which pile was which really became an issue, they could just include tokens that are placed right by the corresponding deck, or you could use gold-card cards to signify which pile is which.
Now I don't think this idea has to be competitive. The core game has different neutral card for different scenarios and these decks could work in a similar way, with different cards being included depending on the scenario. For example, trap cards used against other players would be excluded from "The Cataclysm" scenario. It's a really nice idea. I like it.
With the Oath and Anvil announcement of Mercenaries, a randomized neutral deck, you may have got your wish.
"Some said the thunder called the lurking fear out of its habitation, while others said the thunder was its voice."
H.P. Lovecraft, The Lurking Fear
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