Use code FREE-PS5 with any order and get entered into our PS5 Giveaway!

Menu

A mystery box filled with miniatures to enhance your RPG campaigns. All official miniatures and for a bargain price!

Buy Miniatures Box »

Not sure what game to buy next? Buy a premium mystery box for two to four great games to add to your collection!

Buy Premium Box »
Subscribe Now »

If you’re only interested in receiving the newest games this is the box for you; guaranteeing only the latest games!

Buy New Releases Box »
Subscribe Now »

Looking for the best bang for your buck? Purchase a mega box to receive at least 4 great games. You won’t find value like this anywhere else!

Buy Mega Box »
Subscribe Now »

Buy 3, get 3% off - use code ZATU3·Buy 5, get 5% off - use code ZATU5

Buy The Game

Awards

Rating

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

You Might Like

  • Looks fantastic on the table
  • Quick turns leaving minimal downtime
  • Really encourages tight teamwork
  • The random discard mechanic adds a lot of tension

Might Not Like

  • Difficulty doesn’t seem to scale well at different player counts
  • Can feel a bit repetitive if you get stuck doing one job

Have you tried?

Find out more about our blog & how to become a member of the blogging team by clicking here

The Siege Of Runedar Review

The Siege Of Runedar Review

In the once-mighty fortress surrounding the abandoned mines of Runedar, a small group of dwarves are stationed to keep the fires burning. Their weapons and tools are old and worn out through disuse ever since the gold was depleted from the mines beneath their feet. However, by sheer chance they have just discovered a rich vein of pure gold! The trouble is, an army of orcs caught wind of this and have surrounded the fortress, determined to steal the precious hoard. Knowing that they have no chance of holding off an army this size indefinitely, the dwarves decide to do what they do best: dig their way out, taking as much gold as they can carry with them! But as if things weren’t bad enough, there are greedy goblins living under the mountain, and they’re not going to let the dwarves pass through their territory for free.

The Siege of Runedar is a co-operative deck-building and dice-rolling game for up to four players. To start, each player takes a dwarf figure and a matching deck of twelve starting cards, which represents their rather basic equipment… and the ever-present threat of the orc army.

Components

The fortress itself is an exceptionally cool three-dimensional game board built into the box of the game itself. The inside of the fortress consists of a workshop for each of the three crafting resources, the tunnel where you’ll be digging your way out, and a central chamber where your gold is being stored – that’s where the orcs are furiously trying to reach, and if an orc ever makes it there one of your twenty pieces of gold will be stolen and lost forever. In addition, players can climb up onto the walls of the castle to fight off invaders, and from there climb higher still to the towers, enabling them to shoot their crossbows at enemies before they enter the fortress.

I’ve played this game with various friends at home and at my local gaming meetup in the pub, and the response to seeing the board is always a unanimous “that’s so cool!”. During the game when you have a horde of orcs, trolls, siege towers and catapults surrounding the fortress, you could be forgiven for thinking this was a cardboard version of the Battle of Helm’s Deep in the Lord of the Rings. Finally, there are the five big wooden blocks that slot neatly into the side of the fortress, representing chunks of the tunnel that players need to dig out – each of which hides two randomly-selected goblin tokens that you’ll need to deal with before you can resume digging.

All of the figures are cardboard standees, and I appreciate that these show both the front and the back of every dwarf, orc, troll and goblin. Still, I am a sucker for minis and I’m positive I’m going to end up buying a bunch of minis to replace these standees (the orc, goblin, troll and siege tower miniatures from the excellent Journeys in Middle Earth fit the bill rather well)!

Basic Rules

This is a fairly simple game to learn, but with a surprising amount of depth. Every time you shuffle your twelve-card deck, you randomly discard two cards face-down. You might get lucky and lose one of the two orc cards… or you could end up having none of the crucial dig cards that you needed to progress. On your turn, you draw five cards from the remaining draw pile, and you play all of them. Players are allowed to discuss what they will do on their turn based on their cards, but cannot be specific about exactly what actions their cards do (e.g.: you could say “I’m going to be able to kill a lot of orcs” but not “I have five combat dice to roll”).

First of all you must play any orc cards you have. These make you draw from the 50-card siege deck, which causes enemies to spawn and possibly move, or they can summon the weapons of war: the siege tower and the catapult. If one of these weapons is already in play, it activates; the siege tower causes a ferocious troll to appear in your tunnel (and you have to kill it before you can dig any further), while the catapult permanently removes one of the ways you can upgrade your cards. Like a lot of co-operative games, there are lots of ways to lose the game: if all the orc figures are out, if a total of five trolls have spawned, if the catapult activates five times, if the orcs steal all of your gold or if the siege deck is emptied. And there’s only one way to win: dig out all five tunnel blocks and beat the goblins inside!

The rest of your cards let you either move two spaces in any direction, including vertically or perform one of the actions listed on it: fight in melee, shoot your crossbow, make crafting materials or dig.

Combat is resolved via dice rolling, with enemies requiring a certain number of hits to die in melee combat, or a single crossbow hit in ranged combat for orcs and siege weapons; goblins and trolls can be trickier to kill.

Crafting lets you add a resource (leather, wood or iron) to an upgrade card, five of which are available at the start of the game in each of the upgrade slots on the side-board. When an upgrade card has all of its resources it can be taken into anyone’s hand on their turn by removing one of their cards from the game – but note that you don’t have to take a card just because it has been crafted, you can leave it for another player that might be able to make more use of it than you can.

There are three power levels of upgrades, ranging from marginal improvements over your starting cards, which are cheap to craft, to very powerful cards that can take several turns to craft but will let you perform great feats when you play them. It’s important to note that only the cheapest upgrade cards contain the ‘magic’ items, which are very useful as they let you move any distance and perform the action on the card. Trust me; you will want to get these in every player’s deck ASAP.

Lastly, there is the dig action. Depending on the difficulty level you pick, you’ll need to do between six and twelve dig actions to remove one of the five tunnel blocks – eight being the standard difficulty.

Over the course of the game, players’ decks will likely become more specialised. Typically I’ve found that one person ends up being weighted towards fighting off the enemies, while others focus on digging and crafting resources – but it’s important to try to keep your deck relatively balanced so that you can contribute at least a little bit towards whatever task is most urgent. For example, you can’t make resources if there are any orcs in their respective workshops, so you’ll want to be able to fight them off as soon as you can.

When you dig through a tunnel block, two goblins spawn. These are randomised, and require different things to get rid of them so that you can resume digging; some you can just beat up, some must be bribed with resources and others are going to make you dig even more before they’ll go on their merry way. As soon as you get rid of the tenth goblin, you win the game!

Finally, there are also five mercenary cards. These are very powerful single-use cards that can prevent certain enemy actions from the siege deck or simply kill a troll, goblin or orcs lurking in your workshops. They do cost two gold to activate, though, and your remaining gold dictates your final score so players determined to get a high score might resist using them unless they absolutely have to.

Conclusion

I quickly became enamoured with The Siege Of Runedar and it has already hit the table both in my house and at the pub many times, trying out different difficulty levels and player counts. The difficulty scaling with different player counts does seem slightly off, however. With lower player counts, upgrade cards cost more to craft. This is fine, but so far I’ve found it much easier with two players than with three or four. At four players, we just barely managed to avoid losing the game – we were one catapult launch away from losing, we had nine of ten orcs on the table and the siege deck was nearly empty.

Meanwhile in two player games, we’ve been barely half way through the siege deck when we won. So you might want to consider upping the difficulty level if you’re playing with fewer than four players (at least once you’ve tried it once on normal difficulty to get the hang of the game). That’s my only complaint about this game, really. Turns can start to feel a little samey if you’ve built your deck to really specialise in a single goal, but even then it’s really rewarding to be a valuable member of the team that can wipe out a whole bunch of enemies in one turn, or dig half way through the next block!

The board and the components are really nice, and after a turn or two it flows really quickly, leaving minimal downtime between your turns. The artwork is quite fun and cartoonish, so despite the violent theme I don’t think anyone would object to younger gamers joining in. The mechanism of always secretly discarding two cards keeps every round tense as you might take your five cards and draw no orcs, but then your next round… well, you could get very lucky and have no orcs, but you might have a really bad time and get both of them at once.

The crafting mechanism encourages teamwork because a greedy player taking all the best cards leaves everyone else underpowered, and the team will suffer massively from this. Combat is very quick, and the randomisation of the goblins, trolls and siege deck guarantees a different challenge every time. I’m very confident that this will remain popular in my regular group for a long time. They’ve even included a ‘Chronicle’ sheet to record your victories and losses, along with your score, which has already made different groups determined to do better than others!

Zatu Score

Rating

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

You might like

  • Looks fantastic on the table
  • Quick turns leaving minimal downtime
  • Really encourages tight teamwork
  • The random discard mechanic adds a lot of tension

Might not like

  • Difficulty doesnt seem to scale well at different player counts
  • Can feel a bit repetitive if you get stuck doing one job

Zatu Blog

Find out more about our blog & how to become a member of the blogging team by clicking here

Join us today to receive exclusive discounts, get your hands on all the new releases and much more!