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  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Custom dice and custom meeples
  • A range of mummies to fight
  • Hand management and card placement dovetail in sync
  • Entertaining level of peril

Might Not Like

  • No ‘difficulty meter’ challenge setting
  • Rulebook glossed over a couple of rules
Find out more about our blog & how to become a member of the blogging team by clicking here

Run Run Run! Review

Run Run Run!

You and your fellow Catventurers exchange grinning glances at one another. You’ve made it to the vault of Tutankhanine, cursed pharaoh, but a rich one, at that. As you reach out to grab some glittering loot, a mechanism starts to clank and grind. Blast! Your route out now lies blocked. And what if that noise attracted unwanted attention of the pharaoh’s mummy guards? The light of your meagre torch supply begins to look worrisome and dim. The only way out of here is to venture further into the tomb… Run Run Run!

Run Run Run! is a co-operative hand management and card placement game by The Flying Games. It’s by French design duo Bruno Cathala and Anthony Perone. Cathala needs no introduction (oh, go on then! Here’s a blog about his admirable portfolio. Perrone’s recent design Dive provided compelling mechanisms (featuring translucent materials, in particular). Will Run Run Run! leave you feline fine? Or is it a cat-astrophe?

Run, Furries! Run!

Your aim in Run Run Run! is to escape the pyramid’s labyrinthine tunnels, by locating the exit. But you cannot win unless you have also eliminated all mummies that are within the tomb, too. You suffer an instant loss if any of the mummies ever reach the pharaoh’s vault. You also lose if any one player has to discard their last card, meaning they have no hand of cards remaining.

All players start with a hand of five hexagonal cards Room Cards. These have varying paths that lead out of one, some, or all six sides of the hex. They’ll also feature different symbols or room types. They have a range of outcomes that occur when placed. Your group’s communication must stay limited, though – the air must be too thin to waste it on idle chitchat! (You can – and should – discuss strategies with your teammates. You cannot describe the specifics of your hand, though.)

Your turn starts by you rolling a Mummy Die. It’s a six-sided custom die; three sides are blank, and three show a mummy silhouette. If you roll a blank, then nothing happens… For now. If you roll a mummy, then the pharaoh’s mummified guards are awakening! You place one heart chit on the top face-down Mummy Card. If this is the fifth (out of five) heart placed on the card, then that Mummy Card flips. There’s four different Mummy Cards, each with their own threat. The mummy has five health (the hearts), and it enters the layout on a Room Card of the players’ choice. Rather far from the vault then, wink-wink!

Stop! Mama Time

If there are any mummies in the maze and you rolled a mummy symbol, they move one space closer to the vault. If they enter a room where one (or more) Catventurers are, then the mummy stops and attacks them! This is a default stated quota of damage, described as per the Mummy Card:

The beige mummy attacks by removing one Room Card at random from the Catventurer in that Room. As long as this Mummy is in the maze, you roll an extra two mummy dice at the start of each turn. So three dice in total! That means as many as three mummy movement, and up to three more hearts added (to the next face-down Mummy Card).

The white mummy attacks by removing one Room Card and it adds one extra mummy die. It also moves one extra space (it’s one of those terrifying fast-shambling-zombie-mummies!). The grey mummy removes one Room Card, and also removes two torches’ from the group’s supply. The Olive mummy, meanwhile, removes two Room Cards.

As you can already tell, these mummies are a threat! The reveal is always a group wince moment:

what’s the damage? All four are on par with regards to being bad news. Remember, you lose the game if any of them reach the vault. Or if any player loses their last Room Card. That’s why the olive mummy is can get mean – it can wipe out a player if you’re not careful. But the white one with two extra Mummy Dice? Ah-uh. *shakes head* You can’t let that sucker stay out too long!

Hexploring The Tomb

On your turn, after the Mummy Dice, you can either Explore a Room, fight a mummy, or regroup. When you Explore, you pick a Room Card from your hand and place it into the layout. You have to obey two golden rules with placement:

1) Tunnels must line up. Walls have to touch walls. Rooms always have to lead back to the Vault.

2) You must be able to move your Catventurer onto the Room Tile you’re placing. (Without moving through a Room with mummy in it.)

Your basic movement allowance is up to three Room Tiles on your turn. You can move further than that, but you have to discard a card to do this. You then get to move up to as many extra Rooms are there are tunnel exits on that card.

After moving, you then have to light up the Room, spending a torch from your supply. If you’ve run out of torches: uh oh! You have to add another heart onto the top Mummy Card. And if it’s the fifth heart? It awakens straight away and enters the maze! Then the active player receives Room Cards equal to the number of tunnels they connected on their turn. Then you activate the effects of that Room Tile, if any.

Some are Room Tiles with torches already in them. Great news! You don’t need to spend a torch from the supply; it’s pre-lit. Others are dead-end Sarcophagus Rooms, but they provide a bonus Sarcophagus Token. You reveal one at random; there’s six different types of tokens, with one of them being a Trap (another Mummy awakens!). The other five are good, though. Extra torches, draw bonus Room Cards, or creating secret tunnels between Room Cards. Careful though, because mummies can use these secret tunnels, too! These tokens are a gamble, but they can prove useful with good timing later on. Plus, you don’t have to spend them straight away.

Many of the Rooms have one of three symbols on them – the eye of Horus, the ankh, or the Omega. Forming these in certain patterns is the crux of the game. The Room Tiles are hexagonal, and if you can arrange three symbols of a kind to form a triangle, you get a +5 torch bonus. Without torches, you can’t explore Room Cards without guaranteeing extra hearts on the next Mummy Card! Once you’ve activated three cards to gain this reward, the same cards cannot get used again to trigger another pattern.

If you place three different symbols in a triangle, you place a cog chit on them. Do this three times and you locate the tomb’s Exit Card. It gets placed immediately upon completing the third cog. And with it, the Boss Mummy enters the scene…

Big Bad Mama Boss Fight

This is a mega-mummy, and it starts on the Exit Card, itself. It will have between 8-12 hearts on it (card-depending; you play with one of three each game). Its movement works the same as the regular mummies. Their attack powers are all rather strong, though! One wipes you out of four cards in one hit! Yikes. How do the intrepid Catventurers fight back, then?

Instead of exploring, you might opt to fight a mummy within the maze. Again, your movement is the three-card rule I mentioned earlier. When you reach the mummy, you can discard a card(/s) to gain Combat Dice equal to the number of tunnel exits on said card(/s). These dice are custom and have actions on them. You apply the actions after the roll.

Three of the six faces are Attack symbols – the mummy loses one heart token. One face means the attacking Catventurer gets an extra Room Card. (Handy, because you’ve spent a Room Card to attack in the first place.) One is a footprint, meaning they can move to an adjacent Room after the fight. (Again, useful, because if you don’t move, and neither does the mummy next turn, it fights back.) The final face is a question mark, which is an asymmetrical ability bonus. Each Catventurer has a different ability bonus: get +1 torch, +1 Room Tile, +1 Sarcophagus Token, or +1 damage. These abilities made us consider which of us should fight and which should explore.

Once a mummy loses their final heart, they get removed from the maze. The regular Mummy Card then gets shuffled back into the four-card mummy deck. But this means it could come out again, once the next fifth heart gets placed. It’s amusing when this happens: the undead mummy is back for more punishment! The good news is that once the boss mummy enters the maze, no new mummies dare join in. This is the beginning of the end! You need to eliminate all the mummies once Big Mama’s in the game. Do that, and you win!

Limited Communication

The nature of the co-op card placement reminds me of Helvetiq’s Bandido. You can’t tell each other your exact tunnel cards, but you’re permitted limited communication. This means you can state which sections you can deal with, or intend to complete. But if asked, you cannot state: “I have an ankh card with three exits.” While a hurdle to overcome, it’s gratifying when you co-build a practical layout.

You have to be smart with your hand management in Run Run Run. While it can be tempting to throw cards away for extra movement, you’ll also need them to fight the mummies. This means certain Room Cards (ones with multiple exits) are super-strong for combat. It’s painful when a mummy attacks and it removes that card at random, though! But if you can play a multi-tunnel card that links many Rooms, you earn one Room Card per tunnel you link! In classic Cathala style, the options are clever, while remaining simple and elegant.

You’re somewhat forced to tackle both patterns, simultaneous. You need torches (so three of a kind) or else it speeds up the rate at which mummies enter. But you can’t forget your main goal of building a trio of cogs (three different symbols). That’s how you trigger the Exit and the Big Bad Mama Boss Fight. It’s inevitable that mummies will enter the fray throughout. There’s a 50|50 chance of you rolling the mummy symbol at the start of each turn. Of course, you cannot afford to ignore them, or they’ll trundle towards the vault, ending the game in a loss.

Deciphering Hieroglyphics

The rulebook did gloss over a couple of details for my liking, with regards to the finer facets of the rules. One thing that confused me was: when do mummies attack? Is it only when they enter a Room? They answer is (after I did some digging), if a Catventurer starts their turn in a Room with a mummy, the zombie in loo roll doesn’t attack on autopilot. Instead, upon a die roll matching its symbol, it still shambles towards the vault. It’s greed overpowers all. If you roll a blank, it doesn’t move and attacks you, though. This seemed to contradict the rulebook’s explanation that a mummy stops moving as soon as it enters a Room “occupied with one or several players.”

I ended up messaging co-designer Bruno Cathala himself to clarify this for me. To his credit – and I doff my cap to the great man – he replied with the above explanation. However, not all people who read this rulebook might be so inclined – nor know of a way – to contact the designer to get an answer. Neither is it ideal for a designer to become bombarded with messages about rules queries! Rulebook writing is an art form in itself. You have to sometimes scribe it in painstaking detail.

When you assume your audience knows prior info, they can misinterpret core details. My incorrect initial assumption of that rule made the game so, so brutal! And I could have gone on to dismiss the game as an unenjoyable design.

’90s Cartoon Network Villains

The components are brilliant at providing stunning table presence. The mummies themselves are custom meeples. They’re side-view bipedal canines in a cliched mummy pose, arms outstretched. They’re plainer colours in comparison to the Catventurers, giving them an ancient feel. They’re also bigger, providing an extra layer of subliminal threat. The four cat meeples, in classic bright player colours, hold a torch aloft.

Cats have a strong relationship with Egypt; many believing they brought good luck. Anubis, as a jackal, is the canine rival in this regard. But could the adventurers here have been human, or indeed any animal? The cynic within knows that the Venn Diagram of cat fans and board game fans has a healthy crossover. So did the art team go for cute cats, for strong box art to help assist with sales?

I can’t deny, however, that Camille Chaussy’s art style is cartoony, anthropomorphic and child-friendly. The box suggests for ages 8+, and the art fits this target market. The mummies have a ’90s Cartoon Network villain vibe, making them perfect antagonists. The iconography on the mummy cards and the Sarcophagus Tokens is logical to digest. One curious symbol choice was that of the Omega symbol for one of the three Room Cards. The Eye of Horus and the ankh are obvious choices, but Omega as the third symbol feels a tad out of place. (I could be misreading the Omega symbol as the Shen – which means ‘encircle’. Which is what you’re aiming to achieve: create a circling loop of symbols to advance.)

The iconography on the custom dice is pleasing and easy to read. The chits are of a strong quality cardstock – an odd juxtaposition to the thinness of the cards themselves. The hexagon Room Tiles are interesting from a card-placement point of view. But boy, they can be tricky to shuffle! There’s also player aid cards – no written text on them, but (too-small) images. Have your glasses close by.

Final Thoughts On… Run Run Run

Gameplay offers a 1-4 player count, but to my own tastes, Run Run Run! shines at three or four players. This could be due to the mantra ‘many hands make light work’. It seemed harder the fewer players participating, no doubt. Harder, but not in an equal ratio to more enjoyable. You can divide the damage out with more players. (If two Catventurers are in the same Room when a mummy enters and attacks, you can split the Room Card loss punishment between the two of you.) With two players, the need to use the Cooperate action could be greater. (You get to regroup for free movement, you gain free cards, and can exchange Sarcophagus Tokens.)

Overall, Run Run Run! provides an entertaining level of peril. You feel like Brendan Fraser when you knock out The Mummy for its final heart, and who doesn’t love that movie? The 50|50 nature of the mummy die is an ideal weight for a family co-op experience. The goal is always identical: unlock all three cogs to locate the exit, then beat up the boss. It’s a game of two halves. Once you’ve found the exit, you don’t need to worry about running out of torches any more. But you do need to ensure you don’t run out of cards…

The fact you fight one (of three) bosses each game, plus a random array of regular mummies throughout, provides variety. After five or more plays though, I would worry a little bit about its replayability. One could argue the same about the go-to daddy of gateway co-op games, Forbidden Island. Instead of a deck of (Flood) cards, here you’re fighting against, in essence, the mummy dice. Run Run Run! feels a smidge ahead of Forbidden Island with regards to complexity of rules. But here, alas, there is no difficulty meter that you can adjust to make the game harder/easier. You’re at the mercy of the dice gods…

Run Run Run! looks charming on the table, and the box is accurate when it says 30 minutes estimated game length. With regards to its 8+ age rating, that’s also a superb amount of time to hold younger gamers’ attention spans! It’s not for kids alone, though. Adult gamers will still relish the challenge of this co-op hand management puzzle.

That concludes our thoughts on Run Run Run!. Do you agree? Let us know your thoughts and tag us on social media @zatugames. To buy Run Run Run! today click here!

Zatu Score


  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Custom dice and custom meeples
  • A range of mummies to fight
  • Hand management and card placement dovetail in sync
  • Entertaining level of peril

Might not like

  • No difficulty meter challenge setting
  • Rulebook glossed over a couple of rules

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