Updated: Apr 12
Published by GREIFERISTO and Bonjour, RONE: Invasion is a deck- and dice-building post-apocalyptic combat game that follows on from RONE, which we featured on Board's Eye View back in 2019. RONE: Invasion is not an expansion, however. It's a standalone game which has both competitive and cooperative modes of playing. In competitive mode, two players fight to the death whilst cooperative mode allows one or two players to take on the invasion. In the prototype version shown here on Board's Eye View there was a three-scenario mission to complete but the full game will include something like 30 scenarios.
The dice you use can be customised by screwing in different pips to suit your strategy. There have been a few other attempt at physical dice modification, most notably in children's games like Atlantis Treasure published by Lego, but I’ve not really seen this in a combat game like Rone: Invasion so it’s a fun addition.
On your turn you draw as many cards from your deck as you like but only you can only play those for which you have resources. Every time you shuffle your deck costs you health, and unplayed cards can damage you too (although they also provide stored resources for next turn) so it becomes an interesting decision as to how many cards to draw.
Resources are gained from rolling your four dice, but unused resources from previous turns can be stored and used too. As noted you can pimp up your dice over time. Lastly, many played cards come with 'spare parts' which can be spent on obtaining new cards for your deck, improving your dice and gaining a technology card. Technology and player cards are permanently available, although some need to be refreshed after each use.
This might all sound quite complicated but given each turn plays in a similar way you do quickly get the hang of how to play and can instead focus on how to win! The actual combat follows a fairly traditional shield/health melee/range-attack format. We found competitive unsurprisingly swingy, with one player battering the other on their go before the tables turn and the battering is reversed. It’s undeniably fun, and a good way to learn the rules, but for me the cooperative game has more longevity. In cooperative and solo mode the invasion sends a series of enemies in your direction but you try to strike first and eliminate them before they can get you.
The sample scenarios in the prototype version were rather easy but the designer, Stepán Stefanik assures me that the full scenarios are being calibrated to ensure they are suitably challenging in the finished game. Interestingly, my wife and I approached play in very different ways: I was bolshy and drew many cards each turn, whereas she focused on playing everything drawn and improving her dice. This was a good sign that the game didn’t force any one particular strategy on players. We found ourselves increasingly drawn to RONE: Invasion and played it many times while we explored new strategies and honed our play. We'll be looking forward, then, to seeing the published version following the game's upcoming Kickstarter campaign. Click here to check out the campaign.
(Review by Paul Moorshead)