Relic Runners is the newest game to be published by Days of Wonder and is a medium weight game with more meat on it than something like Ticket to Ride.
In Relic Runners you play an adventurer exploring jungle ruins trying to find and capture relics. You do so by building a network of paths that create a virtual web across the board. It’s easy to learn but being good at it and maximizing your victory points takes skill.
At the start of the game, the board is bare and the players are located in the base camp. They get one movement per turn and when at a ruin or temple they can spend a rations pack to dig. Each level of a dig site offers a different reward and when all levels of a ruin or temple are removed a relic is discovered.
The most common action in the game is to dig at a ruin because when you do you get to place a pathway onto an adjacent path. Although you only get one movement per turn, moving across a path is free so you want to chain as many of them as possible. It’s also important because once relics are discovered, players must chain together pathways leading from one reclic to another. They then complete what is called a ‘relic expedition” and score two times the number pathways that connect the two relics.
What really keeps Relic Runners fresh is the lack of perfect information. Each temple offers various rewards. If you visit a blue temple you score a random amount of victory points. If you visit a beige temple you gain extra abilities. If you visit a purple temple you get to take various bonus actions.
In addition to what happens on the board, each player also gets a tableau with a tech tree on it. The trees are small, but because you get three tokens that can all move up the same tree or different trees it offers a lot of options. To do well in the game you will need know the right moment to take advantage of each tree.
Not only is the game fun but the component qualities are above par. The tiles are thick and have a nice weight to them, the colors of everything pop and work well together, but the best by far are the relics. There are twenty relics and they are gorgeous! Both the details of the sculpting and the paint look amazing.
We’ve played Relic Runners multiple times since getting our hands on it. I even prefer it more than Ticket to Ride because of its additional depth. We’ve also already used it as a gateway game for a novice gamer and it worked great. Currently you can order the game from the Days of Wonder website.