Cooperative Board Game Review: Rising 5 – Runes of Asteros

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Rising 5: Runes of Asteros

Credit: Holy Grail Games
Designer: Gary Kim, Evan Song

Publisher: Holy Grail Games

# Players: 1-5 players

Playtime: 30mins

About (from BGG):

A long, long time ago, the ancient King of Asteros confined the brutal monsters in the Rune Gate and sealed it with four divine runes. But five days ago, a mysterious evil power opened the gate and changed the code. Asteros is haunted by fear and disasters again! The wise leader ORAKL asked the Council of United Planets and they sent four famous agents: EKHO, HAL, ELI and NOVA. ORAKL and the four brave agents begin to fight against the evil powers to save Asteros. They must find the Code to reset the Gate and confine the monsters again. People call them “Rising 5”, hoping they will be able to restore peace on the planet.

Rising 5: Runes of Asteros is a co-operative deduction and adventure game with a mobile phone application or a games master. Players must find the answer Code with the four Runes in the right arrangement before the evil power devours the planet. Players can explore the planet to collect energy or clues and to fight against evil monsters.


Rising 5 is another of the few games that we actively sought out at Essen in 2016. Unfortunately the table was always full and we had to watch other people enjoying themselves and admire the beautiful art at the sidelines. Luckily we had pledged on Kickstarter and would receive our very own copy sometime soon.

When my hubby originally backed the Collectors Edition (he’s a minis fan), I questioned his decision, but now, having played Rising 5, I think he made the right choice; the minis really bring it to life and the bright yellow box is both striking and beautiful.

Although gameplay is relatively simple (and I’m pretty good at logic/code breaking games) for some reason we both struggled with our first game and lost terribly. Not deterred, and having finally deduced what the different stages of the signs really meant (the rules are a little confusing) we immediately played again. Everything made sense this time and we won without breaking a sweat.

Rising 5 has both simplicity and sufficient challenge to make it both a beautiful and elegant game to play. It’s perfect for when you don’t have much time and/or if your brain isn’t up for something more complex. The minis are good quality and quite satisfying to move around the board – I’m sure the standees do the job but I’m with my hubby on this one, there’s something satisfying about these minis. Even though the game is part digital, I’m pleased to say that the app doesn’t get in the way of the analogue gameplay experience (we use the silk cubes and only use the app for setup and code checking).


Credit: Holy Grail Games

I particularly like the mechanic behind the Blood Moon in that it doesn’t immediately activate – it gives you 1 full turn before it takes effect, hopefully giving you enough time to mitigate the effect and in some instances preventing you from losing the game. I actually like it so much it’s made me re-think how I implement one of the mechanics in one of my games.

After the first 2 games we added in the extra content – a concern I do have for this game is whether it will stand up to repeated gameplay as there are a rather limited number of event and artefact cards which may make the game, with increased familiarity, more ‘card counting’ than ‘game’. Some people may love this and consider it as part of the puzzle, but I find this aspect less desirable.

I’ve played Rising 5 both 2-player and 3-player and I must say I much preferred 2-players. I also expect it plays pretty well solo. Although it works with 3-players I’d suggest there isn’t quite enough going on to keep everyone occupied as well as the problem that the game very much lends itself towards alpha players. It’s therefore vital that everyone can see the status of all the signs at all times but the logistics of this (with more than 2-players) isn’t immediately evident. I’d therefore suggest this is the ideal game to play with your partner / housemate / good friend after a hard day at work but perhaps not one for your game group.



Although I wouldn’t class Rising 5 as one of my all time favourite games it fills a need that we often have; it’s short, simple and has the right amount of challenge, but perhaps most importantly it’s really fun to play. It’s one I foresee regularly getting onto our table.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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