As a gamer who is fairly confident in saying he had the first Magic the Gathering deck in the city, bought on a trip to Minot when I knew so little of the new game I purchased a single deck meaning I could not even play the game until I found a second one, I was an early fan of CCGs (collectible card games).
While there was an era when a new CCG hit store shelves on a nearly weekly basis, the genre has contracted to a handful of stalwart games that remain active with new material, while the collectable aspect has basically been abandoned by designers.
All that preamble brings me to this week’s game Rone.
Had Rone been created a decade ago it is almost a guarantee it would have been released as a CCG. It has that ‘feel’ to it, from the ability to build your deck from a variety of cards – all in the box rather than needing to buy packs to collect what you want – to how the game plays in general terms.
Perhaps in part because Rone has a sort of nostalgic feel based on the CCG memories, I rather liked this game from the outset.
“Rone is a strategic post-apocalyptic card game for 2 or 4 players. Players are immersed in a dark world full of destruction and suffering, a world where people are fighting to take back their place after a global nuclear war annihilated all achievements of the human race and all that was left was only a handful of usable resources. The remaining scattered groups of survivors are fighting amongst themselves for dominance over the remnants of the past. Now it is your turn to join the global war and recruit soldiers, battle machines, powerful hybrids, or tremendous mutants into your army. Equip your troops with the best available technologies and show all your enemies who is the ruler of the new order,” details the rulebook.
“Players are represented in the game by their hero and play units or one-time effects (tactics) in an attempt to destroy all cards from the opponent’s deck. The number of cards in the deck and the player’s hand is connected to the number of health points of the player's hero. For each point of damage that the hero receives, the player has to destroy one of their cards – from the top of their deck or from their hand. Once a player loses all cards from their deck and hand they lose the game. Because each card used by a player during the game costs them a life point, players are forced to play cards as efficiently as possible so that each played card does more damage to the enemy than to themselves.”
The use of the cards, those in your deck, or hand, representing your life points, and cards being lost when your hero is hit, is a great aspect of the game. I was tempted to say it was innovative, but there are far more CCGs and other combat games out there that I have played, so the mechanic might not be completely new, but it is a great one.
Cards in your hand become especially important because you can toss a card that may not be useful at a particular spot in the game rather than lose a good card off your deck.
“Players have to find a balance between investing in game control, which allows them to play cards more effectively, or investing in killing the enemy hero, which is the primary goal. This means that players should control their damage output wisely. One can easily feed the enemy graveyard with destroyed cards, which may turn the game completely against them - because of the recycling system which allows players to put cards from the graveyard back on the battlefield. So, instead of dealing massive amounts of damage directly to the enemy hero, waiting sometimes has its benefits,” details the rules, and again its bang on.
Recycling is a great mechanic as well, but the cost is high in cards being taken out of the game completely.
The card art is solid, if not amazing.
The iconography is good, and can be picked up fairly easily.
The fluff text, often a fun aspect of a game, is a tad small, so old eyes are not so happy with that aspect of the card.
The game seems fairly well-balanced. Our first game was just a random dealing of cards, and came down to my winning, and if I had not, it would have went the other way. That said I suspect if you customized the decks a lot, abilities such as invisibility and flying would be more coveted than most cards.
Still the few quibbles with this game are minor, and most everything of importance plays well, and old CCGers and newcomers alike should enjoy exploring this one.
Check it out at www.ronecardgame.com
Thanks to fellow Adam Daniels for his help in running through this game for review.