News for August 2011
Ancient Guardians 2
A look at the Latari Elves in Rune Age, the deck-building card game
Rune Age | Published 24 August 2011

A strange and distant people, the Latari Elves are known for their martial prowess and unparalleled longevity. More than that, however, these guardians of the great forest of Aymhelin are revered for their potent command of magic. It is this arcane understanding that has elevated their status in the Wizard’s Council, further bolstering their already significant influence over Mennara. But as a new darkness threatens to engulf the land, will all their power prove enough to persevere?

Earlier this month, Fantasy Flight Games released Rune Age, Corey Konieczka’s dynamic scenario-driven deck-building card game. Offering a number of design innovations new to the deck-building genre, Rune Age places players in control of one of four factions as they set out to meet a range of compelling objectives.

But whether you recently picked up Rune Age and have yet to fully explore it, or a copy is still waiting for you at your friendly local game store, you may have questions about how its four unique factions play. Today, we’re pleased to present the first in a series of articles highlighting the factions of Rune Age.

Masters of Influence

Among Rune Age’s many intriguing design elements is the use of three different resources: Gold, Influence, and Strength. Typically, Gold is used to purchase units (which provide Strength), Influence is used to acquire Gold (along with neutral cards), and Strength is used to claim cities (which produce Influence). This multifaceted approach to resource management delivers plenty of interesting strategic choices, while partly laying the foundation for each faction’s unique play style.

The Latari Elves, for example, are the masters of Influence. Elven unit special abilities tend to offer effects that either generate or capitalize on Influence, making it easier for them to gather this important resource quickly. Their Deepwood Archers allow a player to refresh a city or stronghold, meaning that Influence-producing cards can be exhausted again and again throughout a single turn, potentially making multiple purchases. Meanwhile, their Storm Sorceresses provide both an effective unit in combat or a quick two Influence.

On the Battlefield

Speaking of combat, how can the Latari Elves hope to stand against the military strength of their foes? Battles aren’t won with Influence, after all (the special ability of the Darnati Warrior being an obvious exception). One answer lies in another Elven advantage: hand management.

Assuming you’re able to translate your Influence advantage into a few powerful neutral units, the trick is to consistently get those cards into play. But while other factions may be at the mercy of random chance, the Latari Elf player has a few opportunities to control the cards in his hand. The first is the Pegasus Rider, which lets you draw two cards and keep the one you want. The second is a frequently overlooked rule that lets you spend influence to hold onto cards during the Discard Hand step of your turn.

On a one-to-one basis, you may spend Influence during the Discard step to keep any number of cards in your hand! Novice players often underestimate (or simply forget) this amazing opportunity. Feeling that they must spend every available resource before their turn ends (thereby maximizing efficiency), they overlook the potential for stacking their hand with the perfect combinations.

But by saving a bit of influence to hold on to a few choice cards, you can set yourself for the next turn, or ensure that you remain protected through the incoming assaults of your opponents. Even if you don’t have anything worth holding on to, you can always bluff; your opponents may be less likely to pick a fight if they’ve seen you pay to leave one or more cards in your hand.

In the end, the successful player will be the one who best uses his faction’s natural advantages, and for the Latari, that’s a mastery of Influence and the rapid acquisition of the game’s neutral cards. Good luck, and check back for more on Rune Age in the coming days!

Rune Age is a deck-building game of adventure and conquest for 2-4 players. Set in the fantasy realm of Terrinoth (Runebound, Descent: Journeys in the Dark, Runewars, and DungeonQuest), Rune Age puts players in control of one of four races, vying for dominance in a world embroiled in conflict.

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Comments (2)

Published: 8/24/2011 8:05:31 PM

Very nice, can't wait to see the rest!

I wonder if this was in response to a forum thread discussing the elves (particularly their difficulty).

Published: 8/24/2011 7:09:46 PM

 There's a lot to be said for a faction that can build resources faster than any other in the game.

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