Runes Way is a deck of 31 hexagonal cards that are designed primarily for playing games in the live action role-playing (LARP) world of Empire which is run by Profound Decisions. Players do not need to know anything about LARP, The Empire or runes to enjoy the games or to create the Runes Way labyrinth puzzle.
Runes Way was successfully kickstarted in 2021.
Runes Way comes with rules for three quick and simple real-time mini-games designed by The Guild of Good Games called The Runes of The Way, The Way of The Runes and Runic Skein. There is a further turn-based solo or cooperative game challenge called Paragon's Path. The cards can also be combined together into The Runes Way Labyrinth puzzle that forms an elaborate structure with hidden meanings for those who seek its secrets. Finally, the cards may also be used for divination purposes using the Wheel of Meaning method of Rune-Reading.
There are 2 similar but slightly different standard editions of the Runes Way deck (the Blood Red Runes Edition and the Empress Lisabetta Memorial Edition). These may be combined together to increase the number of players who can play the different games, and to add variety and additional challenge to the gameplay.
The Runes Way cards each feature six runes from the world of Empire. One of the runes on each card will match exactly one other rune on any other card. The Runes Way cards may be placed adjacent to each other to connect matching runes along adjoining edges, enabling cards to be connected into a line - this has similarities to how pieces connect in dominoes. Since the shapes of many of the runes are similar, it can be challenging to quickly spot which runes match correctly.
(2-6 players; 3-5 minutes or 5-10 minutes if playing with two decks).
Players simultaneously try to collect cards from a central stack by aligning one edge of the card in their hand to the top card of the stack. When the runes on adjoining edges match, the player shouts "Runes Way!" to take the card from the stack into their hand. The winner is whoever has the most cards when the last card is taken.
(2-4 players or 2-8 players if using two decks; 3-5 minutes).
Players simultaneously try to play cards from their hand so that runes match with cards in front of them, and so create a line known as their 'Way'. Each player creates their own Way which can bend but cannot branch.
The first player to place all their cards wins.
2-4 players or 2-8 players if using two decks; 3-5 minutes).
Players simultaneously play cards from their hand to the table by aligning matching runes on cards adjacent to each other. Cards may border multiple cards but only if all adjacent edges have matching runes. The first player to place all their cards wins.
Having constructed the labyrinth, secrets can be found within by tracing the path through it. There are many hidden meanings concealed within that have theological significance in the world of Empire for those interested in the Way of Virtue and the Labyrinth of Ages.Tracing a path through part of the Runes Way Labyrinth
A bonus feature of Runes Way is that all 31 cards in a deck can be combined together as a puzzle with the runes aligning on adjacent card edges. This forms an elaborate labyrinth with gaps in the borders between and within cards forming a path which weaves a way through the smaller labyrinths in the centre of each card.