Card Game Variant for Runebound

Runebound 2nd Edition is a fantasy adventure board game where the players move around the board, fighting monsters, acquiring items/allies and competing to defeat High Lord Margath or collect three dragon runes.

A major criticism of the game is that play is drawn out, with characters gaining power slowly. Movement around the board also becomes laborious when there are a smaller number of players and competition for hexes is low. Particularly aggressive players can also make life tough. If one or more players gets a lead, it can be hard for the other players to catch them.

Presented here is a variant of Runebound that does away with the board and movement dice, turning Runebound into a card game. The play time is fast and it supports the same number of players as the base game. Interactivity has been removed but for competing on buying items and the rules assist losing players to help them stay in the game.


1. Remove the game board, character miniatures, encounter tokens and movement dice. These are not used.

2. Remove the event and encounter cards from the adventure decks. Many of these cards affect movement or specific cities on the board. Remove the equipment cards Wings of Regiroth and Teleport as they only affect movement.

3. Divide the equipment deck into four stacks, containing all items of cost 1-4, 5-7, 8-10 and 11+ respectively. These stacks will be referred to as the green, yellow, purple and red equipment decks, corresponding to the adventure decks of the same colour.

4. To start the game, draw 3 + X cards from the green equipment deck, where X is the number of players, and place the cards in the middle of the play area. These cards form the market.


Each player takes their turn as follows.

1. Draw a card from one of the encounter decks and resolve it as normal.

2. Buy any equipment from the market.
Once the player has finished buying, the market is refreshed back to its original size. The colour of the equipment deck to draw from corresponds to the highest colour adventure card that was drawn during all players' last turn.

Rule Changes

Players may no longer heal at a city.

Cards that mention "before moving" are now "before drawing an adventure card".

Any card that affects movement is to be ignored. Some of these cards will be unbalanced as they are now weaker, consider removing them from the game.

Overall, the core game remain unchanged. The players still race to gain power and eventually fight enemies from the red adventure deck. The combat balance is largely retained, but player interactivity is lost. The variant plays fast, plays well solo and is also portable, as only the decks of cards are required.

Design Notes

Market access at the end of each player's turn increases the availability of items and allies. No healing at a city increases ally attrition and the need for healing items, which is balanced by the easier availability. Splitting the equipment deck ensures players do not access the more powerful items earlier in the game, which can disrupt balance.

The market refresh rules are designed to give slower players access to better items, to help catch the leader(s).

It is not necessary to remove all event and encounter cards, but it is not worth keeping the entire mechanic just to include a few extra cards.

Solo play is identical to normal play with the victory condition being winning within a target number of turns.