Product-Ruins: Death Binder
Producer– Heavy Punch Games
Set-up/Play/Clean-up– 90 minutes per player (1-2 players)
TL; DR– the real card based Darksouls. 81.3%
Basics- Can you find out why they want to kill you? In Ruins: Death Binder you wake in a cave next to a body. Monsters instantly hunt you and the people you find want you dead. Can you find out the mystery of the cave?
Base mechanics-This game is a reverse deck builder. You start with a MASSIVE deck of cards. The campaign has you move from room to room and encounter monsters, events, rest areas, or a crazy combination. When you fight monsters you are allowed to play melee attacks or spells up to an amount determined by your current value, starting with three. Monsters take different amounts of damage depending on their vulnerability. More vulnerability means more damage from that type. If they are not dead, you take damage. Events are decisions or fighting obstacles. After you play a round of cards, you are allowed to save a few of those cards, but not all. Just like a deckbuilder when your draw pile is done, you shuffle your saved cards, and draw again. Monsters and events both give you experience. At fires you can spend cards to heal and experience to level up. You will then move through the dungeon to find bosses and solve scenario cards to discover the mystery of why you are in the cave.
Mechanics– This game is very simple, but engaging. You quickly play cards and move through the dungeon. It’s a fast game that isn’t overcomplicated. The idea of a reverse deck builder is a new one for me, and I am honestly excited at the idea it provides. 5/5
Theme-Honestly, this is a great game for the emergent story as you work your way through your adventure. It’s simple, but compared to other games, this does feel like the most Darksouls game I have seen in a long time. It’s even more Darksouls than the Darksouls card game. 4.5/5
Instructions– These rules are not good. The mechanics are simple, but turn write-ups are way in the back of the book, rule explanations are spread out all over, level up explanations are put in a diagram explaining the pieces, and many other things just don’t read well. Once you understand it, it’s not bad, but it’s just a jarring start to the game. 2/5
Execution– This is a well executed game! Check out the pieces in this video: https://youtu.be/bJk_HbNg3Y4 The box is well made. The cards are good quality and look nice and read well. The tableaux are well done and it feels nice to move cubes. I love how well this is made. One thing I think is a pain is small cards. I always hate small cards. That said, this is a solidly executed game. 4.75/5
Summary– This is a great game with one major flaw. I love the mechanics. I have NEVER had a game where losing cards hurts as much as this one. The theme is amazing. It’s got great environmental storytelling. The pieces and parts are solid and well done. The major flaw is the rules. It’s a ROUGH start, but once you get past that, you will enjoy it. Solid game with a fun theme and great mechanics overshadow bad rules in this fun game. 81.3%