Runes Trading Card Game
Runes is a trading card game set in the Land of Forgotten Runes, the world being realized by the Forgotten Runes Wizard Cult team & community.
At its most basic level - Runes is a 1v1 card game where players will use cards, represented as NFTs, that they’ve collected through playing the game or exclusive gifts.
At its most advanced level - Runes is a complete multimedia experience where social, gameplay, and creator cultures collide. It is a malleable portal that gives players the tools they need to transport themselves & friends (or strangers) into a setting of their choosing.
View the List of Runes Trading Cards here.
Runes Origin Story
Although no one knows with certainty where the game was first played, Runes is a cordial practice that supposedly originates from The Tavern, a now infamous establishment that is tucked away in a remote Brown Hat village.
While The Tavern today is more or less formally known as such - this is not a name it chose for itself, rather its patrons chose for it. For years and years The Tavern didn’t have a name as it didn’t need one, seeing as it is a place with no equal. Brown Hatters from the region would need just say “The Tavern” and anyone who knew, knew. The Tavern is a simple structure with simple offerings, but all those who visit it can recognize its unique wonder even if they can’t quite articulate why. Long wooden tables that stretch across a large singular room, while obviously worn from years of service, somehow seem more well equipped to perform than ever. The interior of the walls are decorated with weathered tools of various trades, as it is tradition for tradesmen far & wide to retire their most prized possessions in this sacred place so they can energize the next generation of laborers. The bartenders, masters of a friendly yet unassuming dance - are able to make all feel welcome, from the social butterflies to the distant recluse. And the beer... oh the beer. One sip of the house nectar & whatever ails you is cured. People have tried to replicate the recipe as it isn’t a secret, yet not one single attempt has been able to yield something as good. This is why one only need say “The Tavern”.
And as for Runes, the story goes that the game finds its roots in the childhood game Tic-Tac-Toe. One day as some tavern-goers were trying to make a row of 3, a particularly “happy” player slammed a wooden disk down on the table & chipped an opponent’s piece. To the inebriated this action was obviously way more satisfying than a gentle placement of an item, so the game then briefly transformed into a gauntlet of bashing & bludgeoning. But after one too many spilled pints & shattered mugs, the barkeeps decided to yet again evolve the game to keep the newly found fun, but lose the barbarism. And that is the birth of Runes that we know today. Now players strategically place cards on a grid while only figuratively bashing & bludgeoning - with the goal of controlling the most cards by the end of the game.
Since its inception, the world of Forgotten Runes has embraced Runes as its own, bringing it into bars & homes & other places of gathering all over. Regional, national, and international tournaments dub grand masters & champions. Some individual cards being more famous than kings & queens. Yet it’s something that wizards & non-wizards alike, of all ages & cultures & hats, can enjoy.
Lands far and wide have their own unique rules that they overlay on-top of the foundational ones, some additions being tame and others quite imaginative. No rule or variation however causes the game to lose sight of its purpose: Players engage in a battle of wits, but more importantly a bonding of souls.
Up for a game? The lore behind the free beginner cards.
Runes is an ancient art, a game that to most seems to have always existed. There are a select few who remember its birth, but they keep this story to themselves as to not taint what the game has become.
Medium Apollo of the Cosmos is not one of these ancient wizards, but he knows the most important thing about Runes: it binds. The bonds created through shared experiences are some of the most powerful spells in the Runiverse. People sit down to play a game, but little do they know they are performing magic. They enchant the other, they enchant themselves.
An invitation to play and the acceptance. Sealed with a nod, handshake, a smile...
Presenting yourself to another, coexisting in the same space. Vulnerable...
The flipping through the cards as you find your hand to play with...
The positioning of the board, in between the two players. A bridge...
Placing the cards on the board, allowing a story to unfold. A story within a story...
The resolution of the game, the acknowledgment of the victor. A celebration...
And the departure. Separate but now tethered by magic.
Apollo knows this magic all too well. Growing up, he played Runes with some of his best friends in various basements, kitchen tables, and local card shops. They spent countless hours sparring, laughing, bonding. As Apollo grew up, naturally him & his friends played less as responsibilities blossomed. But this didn’t sit right with him. What Runes gave him & his friends growing up was lacking in the world around him. People walked past each other without recognizing anyone. They occupied the same space without really coexisting. They interacted but those interactions were shallow, without meaning. And when they parted ways, nothing persisted to bind them.
Feeling the weight of a world without magic, he walked to a park him and his friends would frequently play cards in during the hot summers. He sat down & with his head in hands, found himself lost and asking himself a question he didn't know the answer to. As he lifted his head, hoping to see the answer in the Cosmos above him he was greeted by a little girl standing next to the table.
Girl: Up for a game?
She reached out to him, and in her hand was a small pile of Runes cards. He accepted.
She gleefully sat down and placed the board in between them. The two played dozens of games. He flipped through the cards that he knew all too well but felt like he hadn’t seen in an eternity. They laughed and cheered each other on. He felt that feeling. The magic that he was missing.
Girl: Apollo, the world needs people to bring it together. You don’t have to live in a world without magic.
Apollo: But how?
The little girl smirked. She took a card out of a chest pocket and placed it face down on the table.
Girl: You know what to do!
A light breeze started to blow just hard enough to push the card off of the table. Apollo bent down to pick up it up & when he finally rose she was gone.
He looked at the card & on it he found an image of himself. She was right, Apollo knew what he had to do. He traveled back to his childhood home & gathered all of the Runes cards that him and his friends used to play with.
Now, whenever someone is looking for respite, craving a connection, or needing a touch of fun, Apollo is there with cards in hand.
Apollo: Up for a game?
Runes is a highly configurable game that allows players to play however they like! Therefore, it's possible for games to look a bit different depending on the settings chosen during the lobby creation stage.
Currently there is only 1 game type, 3x3. This is the standard game type that is a 1v1 game mode where users choose 5 cards each & play on a 3x3 grid.
Potency is a mechanic that was introduced to balance the game so that players can't always simply choose all of the best cards in the game.
In general, the better the card, the higher it's potency. However when players begin a game they can select a "Potency Cap" which sets a limit to the total potency your hand can encompass.
For example if the potency cap for a game is 20, then when a player selects cards, their combined potency must equal 20 or less.
This number will likely vary based on things like:
- Game Type: game types that allow more cards in your hand will likely require a higher potency)
- Level of play: avid players and collectors might choose a higher cap since they have a fuller collection to pull from. Conversely, newer players might choose a lower potency cap so that they can utilize the free beginner cards more effectively.
This simply put is the number of games a player needs to win in order for a match to be concluded! Ties do not count towards this number.
Before every game commences players need to select their cards (unless they are playing a game mode that doesn't require the selection of cards).
If a potency cap has been set during the lobby creation, then the combined potencies of the cards selected need to be equal to or less than the potency cap.
It might also be the case that other game types limit the cards that can be selected.
The player/team with the most cards under their control by the end of the game wins!
As mentioned in the Setup section, games of Runes might look quite different depending on how the game is set up.
In general, players take turns placing cards on the board. By default when a player plays a card it enters the game under their control. If the card was placed next to another card that is under the control of the opponent, then you compare the numbers of the two cards that are touching. For example, if Player 1 played a Emerald Slime to the left of Player 2's Muush then the right number of the Emerald Slime (3) would be compared with the left number of the Muush (1). In this case 3 > 1 so the Muush would go under Player 1's control.
The game continues on like this until the entire board is filled with cards! At the end of the game you tally up the number of cards controlled by each player and the player with the most cards wins!
Now, here are the caveats that come when playing specific game modes.
At the end of the game in order to determine a winner, Player 2's score is increased by 1. This is to offset the fact that they only got to play 4 cards, whereas Player 1 got to play 5 (since there are only 9 card slots on the board and Player 1 goes first).
For example if at the end of the game:
- Player 1 has 5 cards & Player 2 has 4 cards, the game is a tie.
- Player 1 has 4 cards & Player 2 has 5, Player 2 wins.
- Player 1 has 6 cards & Player 2 has 3, Player 1 wins.