Only the best detectives may become heroes. And only the best heroes will save us from the approaching apocalypse. The prediction was right. Four seals, that had been marked with ancient runes, really did burst. And today, there is no longer anyone, who could tell us exactly, how we can use them. Only the best of the best can find the right combination of runes and save the world. But is there even anyone like that?
Game is hidden in a square box just a shade smaller, than is the standard medium square size. On the cover, we see heroes themselves analyzing runes and trying to put them together in the right combination. Time is shortening quickly for the world, so we rather quickly open the box and go join them in their search. Inside, we will be welcomed by rulebook and square game board with a map of the world. It has places for cards and scale for rune stones drawn on it. And then, there is another board with additional runic positions and a place for secret solution. Smaller board will be used only, if you decide to play the game without the elecronic app, that comes with it.
That does not mean, that we would have ended with the list. Box contains cardboard tokens of runes, another pile of sign tokens, cardboard heroes and their five stands. And then, of course, there are decks of cards – fifty-five character cards (eleven for each hero), twenty region cards, but also relics and artifacts. Each contains an icon specifying its use.
Individual game starts by players putting board on the table and cardboard cross on it, marking the gates and four rune positions necessary for salvation. It is here, where players place four randomly drawn runes at the beginning. But they will not stay there long as participants will have to guess the right combination. The secret and correct combination is hidden in application on the phone eversince you take photo of the starting seetup. Even before that, players put shuffled decks of cards next to each area on the board and reveal two starting cards for these regions.
Ring has to mark third starting position on scale of darkness, showing a place, where sun is still shining, and we all have hope. Portraits of figures begin the game on the board as well as four green cubes. Individual players are given a set of six cards. Heroes also have to add to common hero deck few red moon cards, determining the difficulty. Some relics are also revealed next to the board together with artifacts, while remaining sign tokens begin the game next to the board.
Even before first round of the game, players must start the application on their phone and take a picture of the current deployment of runes on the board. After that, players will alternate in turns, each of them passing through three phases of activities. First is simply revealing new region cards in case there is some vacant spot. Only then comes the time for real actions. Player gets the same number of action points as number of character cards they are willing to discard.
Points can then be spend for two major events and third one, that could end the game and will not be used so often. First option is to move character from region to region, which uses one action point to move to any position on the board (there are six of those and are framed by revealed region cards).
Cracks in the sealed gate are already large enough for evil in the form of various monsters to stretch through them into the world. Second action option is a chance to encounter with such a card of the region, where the player is located. After throwing away card for the event, player tries to roll one die against the strength, which is listed on the monster card. There is always both a reward and punishment in the form of shifting darkness indicator (towards red moon).
In battle, player can also ask their comrades for support. By sacrificing cards of the same character, that player represents, they can assist him remotely, increasing the attack value (adding it to the outcome of the dice roll). Another possibility is presence of multiple characters in one region. This means, that it is possible to join forces against stronger monsters. However, no matter how powerful the players are, there is always the possibility of loss, if dice rolls a moon symbol. It stands for an automatic defeat.
Players can also acquire artifacts or find chests. Defeating monsters rewards them with green cubes, which are needed to attempt to unlock the gate. This is third and final action, for which is necessary to pay with character card. Whenever players have collected all four cubes, they can explore the signs and try some new deployment. Every once again runes are set in a new positions in the middle, mobile application is needed to assess their success. Program reveals to team of heroes only, if some symbols are in the right place or at least whether they are part of combination, but in another spot. Thus, it is possible to gradually eliminatie and deduce the correct set of runes and close the rift in time.
At the end of each round, player draw back cards to have six again. Time to finish their investigation passes quickly also because once in a while, there appears a red moon (which was placed there by during setup) and moves forward indicator of darkness! Fortunately, defeating monsters is the right way to stretch that time and move ring one step back. Game then continues by wandering around the board, battling monsters, but also attempting to deduce a set of four runes. Players collectively win, if they guess their location right (app tells them). But whenever darkness pointer arrives at the end of the scale, their efforts came in vain. The same applies in a situation, where deck of cards characters is empty.
Rising 5: Runes of Asteros puts players in front of a difficult task. In the face of monsters of darkness, they are trying to solve a puzzle. But the logic is not everything, because there is also some fighting to be done. And those are decided by dice!
This is another game out there, which uses a combination of electronical devices and board games. It is obvious, that the symbiosis will be increasingly frequent on the agenda. It may seem like a step back, because it returns us again to those digital resources from which we tried to escape through board games. On the other hand, if these elements are used wisely, they can enrich the game experience. Rising 5 can also bypass the phone, if one player takes on the role Gamemaster. But that puts him in a position, when he does not participate with others. At this moment, phone makes sense and allows all the players to be involved in the game on one side.
Accompanying application is handled really well. It is full of graphics, effects, but it is also good to use and navigate. It fulfills exactly, what would be expected from it. It comes for both major operating systems, namely Android and iOS.
It is evident at first glance , that if it was not for deduction element, game would be quite ordinary and nothing exceptional. Fortunately, gameplay itself with specialized skills says something else. And also playing time, which in most cases fits into a half-hour segment. And there is not too much cooperative games quick like this, which also offer a story (not counting Hanabi). Rising 5 is unique in this genre with the dice, combats and all.
During the game players need help from cards, which can be obtained by killing monsters or finding valuable chests. Both help heroes on their mission, whether by defeating monsters or gaining some needed resources. In addition, each of the heroes has one skill of his own, that can be used once per turn.
Game is also pretty solid challenge and deciphering run gives you a hard time. But you must not forget, that initial random deployment of runes gives you important information. Much more important, however, is to bear in mind special abilities of characters. Game seems to us a little bit easier in a larger number of players, which can better deal with battling monsters.
Rising 5: Runes of Asteros is such a cross-breed between thinking and dice. It takes part of each world, although it’s ultimately only made for some players. Luckily, there will be enough of them to make this game interesting. Rising 5 is certainly a fun cooperative experience. So if you like to work together with a bit of luck involved, then do not miss Rising 5.
Rising 5: Runes of Asteros is thrilling cooperative game, which tells the story of the battle with monsters. But they can not be battled by seasoned warriors as usual, but by heroes, who have something in their head as well. Hordes of enemies are coming through the rift, so the only way to stop the end is to find a correct combination of runes and seal the passage. This requires true deduction, because correct runes are hidden only in the phone's memory and applications on it. The game is quite tough, with battles depending on luck (victory in battle is never certain) and ranks among the shortest thematic cooperative games on the market. And this is the reason, why we can Rising 5: Runes of Asteros really recommend.