Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de

RONE: Invasion


Štěpán Štefaník


No. of Players:



G@mebox author Lutz Wildt writes about the game:

After briefly trying out RONE: Invasion at SPIEL '21 and '22, I finally had the opportunity to play a full battle, as I had a prototype of the game at my disposal for some time. Let me tell you: it was pretty epic! A Kickstarter campaign has already been successfully funded. A campaign is now running on Spieleschmiede to launch a German-language version as well.

[RONE: Invasion]

Click on image to enlarge!

In RONE: Invasion by GREIFERISTO, two players compete against each other with their armies and try to eliminate the opponent's life points. The army consists of a leader and a starter deck. Sounds like a classic deck builder at first, if it weren't for a few dice, a plethora of small colourful screws and a screwdriver on the table. Unlike other deckbuilders, at the beginning of a round you are not allowed to simply draw a certain number of cards from your draw pile, play these cards from your hand and thus activate them. In order to bring the hand cards into play and perform their actions, it is necessary to roll the dice in RONE: Invasion. Only when the required resources are rolled, the hand card can be used. In addition, the resources rolled can also be used for other purposes. For example, unused resources from the dice can also be stored and collected on a player board to be used later for strong actions. Just as the starting deck is quite limited at the beginning of the game, the dice are also initially only very rudimentarily equipped with resources. Fortunately, the cards played also have another function. Often they have spare parts on them, which you can use immediately in one phase of the game to improve your deck or your dice.

I admit, this sounds a bit confusing at first, and to be honest, I haven't even listed all the special features of the game yet! I probably won't manage to do that in this review either, and it's not absolutely necessary. However, once the game is set up, it almost takes care of itself. The detailed player board shows all the possibilities of a move very well. This also illustrates another special feature of the game very well. In RONE: Invasion, there is not only a discard pile in which the cards used in a turn are played. In addition, a garbage dump is also shown there, onto which the cards are played that could not be activated because no suitable resources were rolled. Both piles of cards are shuffled back into a new draw pile when it has been used up. However, both piles work differently. The garbage dump in particular can hide its villainous side well at first, only to show it with all its might when the draw pile is empty. This has to do with the fact that although you get resources back for the unused cards in the amount of the potential activation costs, the cards on the garbage dump reduce your own life points when you refresh the draw pile. All in all, running out of your own draw pile is not as inconsequential as in other deckbuilders. Since in RONE, unlike in other deckbuilding games, you can draw as many cards as you want at the beginning of a round, you should keep a close eye on this disadvantage, otherwise you will lose a battle very quickly.

[RONE: Invasion]

Click on image to enlarge!

As already mentioned, both the starting deck and the equipment of the dice with resources are very minimal at the beginning of the game. The first rounds are therefore rather short. It is therefore advisable to strengthen your deck. This is done by drawing three cards from a general recruitment deck using a Spare Parts action and placing one of these cards in the Training Centre. There the cards are trained in the following rounds by placing screws on them until a given number is reached and the card is considered trained and may be placed on the discard pile. With another Spare Parts action, one may tick off a resource on the die by replacing a neutral screw with a screw of a specific resource. With the enclosed small screwdriver, simply replace the neutral screw on the die with a desired resource screw! As more resources become available with each roll of the dice during the course of the game, more and more cards can be activated per turn, which significantly increases the flow of the game and gradually builds up the strength of one's army. The actual battle and the actions of the armies are mainly determined by the card actions. In addition to clear and targeted attacks on the opponent by means of melee and ranged attacks, card actions can also be used to recycle cards or to copy card actions. So, there is not only an influence on the equipment of the deck, but one can also try to delay a refreshing phase and minimise the then occurring negative effects.

[RONE: Invasion]

Click on image to enlarge!

In RONE: Invasion, the different mechanics interlock very well. At the beginning, you certainly have to get familiar with the different use of resources that are rolled and the different action possibilities of the phases. After a few rounds, however, this is no longer a hindrance. Instead, you realise the tactical possibilities of the different phases and the finely graduated balance that arises from the different ways of using the dice results. In the course of the game, you become more and more immersed in the action and almost intuitively prepare attacks on your opponent's armour and life points. Some may think that RONE: Invasion is too luck-dependent because of the dice rolling. Certainly, I have to admit that luck plays a certain role. But since you can influence the sides of the dice and skillfully adjust them to the strengths of your army, I don't think luck is an overpowering factor. In addition, due to the great variation in the possible uses of the resources, you can also adapt your plan well after a roll. The quality of the material is really very good even in the prototype. I thought at first that changing the screws might be a bit annoying. However, this was not a problem.

I am already looking forward to SPIEL '23, where RONE: Invasion will hopefully be available as a final game! I really liked the combination of deckbuilder and dice game! Especially the intense exchange of blows with the opponent and the tactical possibilities in building your own deck make RONE: Invasion an epic game with high replay value. There is even a cooperative variant that you can play together or alone against an automated invasion. Unfortunately, I was not able to test this, but I can imagine from studying the rules that the card-controlled opponent will also offer a wonderful exchange of blows here. If you want to know more about RONE: Invasion, you still have until 18.02.2023 to take a look at the German version of the campaign on Spieleschmiede, or you can view and pre-order the English version of the game via Kickstarter. It's worth it! Simply epic!

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