Kickstart This! #195: Ruination
Designer: Travis R. Chance (Heroes Wanted, Legendary: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Path of Light and Shadow)
Artist: Roland MacDonald (Battle Line, Escape Room: The Game, Undaunted: Normany, Werewords, Western Legends)
Publisher: Kolossal Games (Neolithic, Omen: A Reign of War, Western Legends)
Genre/Mechanisms: area majority/influence, civilization, miniatures
Funding Status: At the time of this posting, Ruination is already fully-funded. Pledges currently total more than the initial funding goal, with 3 days left to go on the campaign.
Player Count: 2-4
Solo Mode: no
What It’s About: “An area control game with miniatures set in post-apocalyptic Eurasia.”
How It Works: “As a horde leader, you will compete against your rivals to prove yourself worthy to the Khan. This will be measured in Victory Points (VP). VP is earned in many ways throughout the game, but primarily through participating in, and winning, battles. The end of the game is triggered after a player has invoked the Khan’s Fury. A player can invoke the Khan’s Fury in a number of ways: gaining 10 or more favor or glory, gaining 30 or more VP, or playing the last card in an action deck. After the Khan’s Fury has been invoked, players will complete the current round and then play 1 additional round. The player with the most VP at the end of the game win.”
Until the end of the game is triggered, play progresses in a series of turns, beginning with the starting player and progressing clockwise each turn. On a turn, the active player 1) Chooses and resolves an action, 2) Resolves all battles, and 3) Checks army limits.
Gameplay revolves around 3 action card decks: the Move Deck, Recruit Deck, and Scavenge Deck. Each deck will have one face-up card displayed at all times. On their turn, the active player simply chooses one of the 3 face-up cards, then 1) Resolves the chosen action, which is different for each card, 2) Gain all the Favor and/or Glory on the card, and 3) Gain the bonus of the chosen deck type. Let me explain the bonuses of the various deck types.
When taking a Move Card, the active player either chooses 1 territory they already control, and moves any number of units from that territory into adjacent territories, OR chooses 1 territory and moves any number of units the control from adjacent territories into that territory.
When taking a Recruit Card, the active player recruits units with a combined cost of 3. Grunts cost 1, brutes and raiders each cost 2. Players can either recruit into a territory where they already have units, or any territory in their home region that doesn’t already contain enemy forces.
When taking a Scavenge Card, the active player either chooses 1 territory they control and gains resources of that type equal to the number of units there, OR gains 1 resource from each territory where they have 1 or more units. Then the active player can use resources to acquire 1 Advantage Card from the market.
After the first part of their turn, the active player must resolve battles in all contested areas, and may choose the order to resolve them. Each player involved takes 1 die for each type of unit involved (grunt, brute, raider, and exile), and dice indicated on the exile card of the specific exile involved, any dice indicated on the player’s Advantage Cards, and the player further advanced along the favor track also takes the favor die. Players then roll dice and assign the resulting Strength Icons and Special Icons to gain Strength or activate tactics on their tactic board. A player may never have more than 15 Strength or inflict more than 6 casualties. Blessing tokens can also be spent to alter die rolls. After all tactics have been resolved, the player with the highest total strength wins the battle. The winner gains a Blessing token for each blank die result, advances their casualties on the battle board to a maximum of 6, (if the winner is the active player only) gains 1 VP for each defeated unit, and kills units of their choosing from their army equal to casualties suffered. The loser gains a Blessing token for each blank die result, kills units of their choosing from their army equal to casualties suffered, and retreats all remaining units to adjacent territory that does not contain enemy forces. If there is no territory, they retreat to a territory in their Home region without enemy forces. If there are no such territories, all of their units are killed.
Players can also fight non-player forces called Nomads in a similar manner.
Finally, players must check their army limits. Players are allowed to have more than 6 units in a given territory during their turn, but not at the end of their turn. Any territory they control exceeding 6 units results in the player having to kill the extra units.
Comparisons: At its heart, Ruination is an area control game featuring card play and skirmishing miniatures. Some similar games include Blood Rage, Cyclades, A Game of Thrones: The Board Game, Inis, Kemet, Rising Sun, and War of the Ring.
What Should I Pledge?:
$70 Raider Pledge: includes the Ruination base game and the Khan’s Decree Expansion.
$105 Brute Pledge: includes the Ruination base game, the Khan’s Decree Expansion, and the Playmat.
All-In Total: In the continental U.S., you’re looking at $105 for the Brute Pledge plus $12 in shipping for a total of $117.
Ruination completes its Kickstarter on Thursday, March 26th and tentatively ships in May 2021.