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Awards

Rating

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

You Might Like

  • Easy to learn, hard to master
  • Cracking crunch for its size
  • Super solo game
  • Infinitely replayable
  • Portable

Might Not Like

  • Some might find the Runes simplify the base game

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Squire for Hire Mystic Runes Review

Squire for Hire Mystic Runes Review

My first play of Squire for Hire was an instant hit. Not because I won. I lost. Hard. Although I suppose doing so badly in just 10 minutes is some sort of an achievement in and of itself!

No, I loved it because of the quick playing, solo, puzzliness of the patching cards and scoring going down in Squire town. And as a result, after only 3 plays, I ordered the expansion Mystic Runes. And I am glad I did because it is more of the super Squire for Hire gameplay, but with added items and squires. Which means more delightful decision dilemmas each turn!

Mystic Marvels

I won’t go into Squire for Hire right now as you folks are here to find out about this expansion. But there is a review and how to play guide for Squire for Hire which can be found by clicking here

So what is Mystic Runes, and do you need it? Well, as mentioned, it is an expansion for Squire for Hire. It’s actually a standalone expansion that can be played  as it is or combined with the core game to increase player count from 1-2 to 4! And technically you don’t need it. But if you like the base game then you are going to want it. Because it gives you more of the good stuff!

Spellbinding Stuff

And when I say “more stuff” I mean it! I mean more Loot to add to your bag. More potential point scoring to be had. More unique Squires to play. But, as with all good things,, there are also more junk items to factor in. But the new powerful runes may well mitigate some of the trash and help manipulate your bag in ways previously unseen!

Let’s look at the new runes very briefly. In the base game, you always have to place cards on top of the cards forming your existing bag. But no longer! With a Hide Rune, you can place the next card underneath an existing card so long as it still obeys the usual placement rule of the Story option you have chosen that turn. A Morph Rune allows you to treat one Loot item as another during end game scoring. And finally, the Void Rune which will remove the value of any junk items around it. But that little glowing red ball of hotness cannot be covered up by another card or “used” as an item in a future Story.

Rune-d?

Now, these are all pretty positive things when trying to place cards and align items for maximum point scoring. Having powers that can allow you to mix up your bag contents could make the base game easier and sometimes the Void and Hide Runes do make all the difference. But I find that the more decision options I have, the more delightful dilemmas it creates. Particularly in solo mode where the winning condition is a minimum sore (and which ramps up if you are playing an epic solo game combining both decks!). You always want the maximum points possible. But now there are more ways to achieve it. Which creates the best type of AP for me. Successful inventory management just got even tougher.

Plus, I confess that I made a rules goof in my first play as I thought the Void Rune negated points for any adjacent item (whether Loot or Junk). And that made choosing/using that card more difficult. In honesty, I’m still at the stage where I need all the help I can get. But I am improving and tipping the stats in my favour. As such, when I need to level up the crunch, that house rule will come back into play.

And the 4 new Squires have their own unique ways of persuading you to pack and place. Again, their preferences in terms of items and how they alter the junk scoring are varied. And I have found more success with some than others. But rather than that being a balance point, I think that is more my perception and preferences. Mainly because they each offer bonuses based on a mix of adjacent small and large items. And that, combined with the random draw of the Loot cards puts everything on a pretty even keel. Although I still believe collecting Junk items to cancel out their negative values is a risk (yes, Musca, I am talking about you!).

Pack Your Bags

It seems funny to talk about theme when it comes to a micro game. I mean, there’s not much to work with when there are only 18 cards. But Squire for Hire and Mystic Runes really does make me feel like I am packing my bag! And now I have more things I can try to cram into it which is great!

There’s also been a slight re-design in Mystic Runes, and the Rune powers are now also printed on the back of the Squire cards which helps avoid having to get a magnifying glass to read the tiny inner-box details which is helpful!

Final Thoughts

I love the base game, and this is a big extra dollop of its awesome Squire sauce. When I want a big game or feel generous enough to invite others into my #greedygamer solo sessions, this expansion lets me do that. But likewise, when I want to indulge in even more inventory management-based play with cute wintry critters, this combined with the original or just on its own, is the game for me!

Zatu Score

Rating

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

You might like

  • Easy to learn, hard to master
  • Cracking crunch for its size
  • Super solo game
  • Infinitely replayable
  • Portable

Might not like

  • Some might find the Runes simplify the base game

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