In April, we announced the upcoming release of Oath and Anvil , an expansion for Corey Konieczka’s deck-building card game Rune Age . With the Oath and Anvil expansion, Rune Age receives even more options, strategies, and replayability; as two new factions enter the fray, existing empires are bolstered with never-before-seen units. Meanwhile, two new scenarios, plus new Event, Tactic, and Neutral Unit cards for use in any setup, bring new variety to your experience.

After an early release at Gen Con 2012, Oath and Anvil will be on store shelves in just a few more weeks. In the meantime, expansion designer James Kniffen agreed to sit down for a short interview.

All-New Options

Q. What were your chief design goals for Oath and Anvil ? How does Oath and Anvil succeed in meeting those goals?

A. Our main design goal with Oath and Anvil was variety. We are maximizing the deck-building options available to players by adding new units for each race, as well as two brand new races! Our purpose here is exemplified through Mercenary cards, a set of neutral cards added randomly to each game.

We also wanted to expand the game vertically to reward experienced players, the players who know how to achieve high gold and influence totals. Both the Mercenary cards and the new Mythic faction units include cards whose power and price are unrivaled.

The Dwarves of Dunwarr excel at hoarding gold, then using it for destructive purposes. Click to enlarge.

Q. Oath and Anvil provides a great opportunity to learn something about two of Terrinoth's races, the Orcs and the Dwarves. Mechanically speaking, how do these two races "feel"? What are some of their most interesting faction strengths?

A. The Dwarves of Dunwarr know how to hold a line! They're able to protect the larger units, who need to last until the Resolution step and discard gold to pump their strength. Gold bloat can be their downfall, though, if they can't draw enough units for combat.

The Orcs of the Broken Plains are the perfect foil to the dwarves. They achieve brutally high strength with ease if their player can get down to zero cards in hand. On defense, however, a single gold card stuck in their player’s hand can entirely undo them. To avoid this situation, the Orcs can cull their deck easily, but their slash and burn tactics might leave them high and dry in the late game.

The Orcs throw everything they have at their foes. When the Orc player’s hand is empty, his opponent should be worried. Click to enlarge.

Q. One of the most interesting aspects of Rune Age is its scenario-based play, and the fact that each scenario presents a unique way to experience the game. Please talk briefly about the two new scenarios in Oath and Anvil . What makes them unique and engaging?

A. Ascent of the Overlord , the first one-vs-many scenario, pits the Overlord player against the other players. The Overlord revels in constantly growing strength thanks to the Event deck, which entirely favors his reign of terror. The remaining players must use neutral cards to protect each other while probing the Overlord's defenses, forcing him to waste his strongest units.

The Quest for Power encourages players to fight over territory in the form of Landmark cards with special abilities. The strategic depth of the scenario comes in deciding which ones to control and when to take them, because you are limited to controlling two at any time. Overall, there is a pleasing level of player vs. player combat without player elimination. Bargaining is common and there's never a runaway lead unless everyone let it happen.

Thanks, James! Keep checking back for more on Oath and Anvil , and look for it to invade store shelves soon!

Rune Age is a deck-building game of adventure and conquest for 2-4 players. Set in the fantasy realm of Terrinoth (Runebound, Descent: Journeys in the Dark, Runewars, and DungeonQuest), Rune Age puts players in control of one of four races, vying for dominance in a world embroiled in conflict.

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