What is Rynaga? The Fantastic World of Eric Torres

Ian Johnston By Ian Johnston, 5th Aug 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/nhj0kj20/
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Games>Board, Card & Casino

Learn more about the fantasy world of Rynaga, created by Eric Torres, in this review of his first book and the game Iconica.

A Strange New World

It's a labour of love, craftsmanship and wonder. So far, the fantasy world of Rynaga lies mostly behind the curtain in the mind of Eric Torres, but what we've seen so far is colourful and bright. Torres not only writes and illustrates his books, he publishes them himself from his own press. For him, the quality of the product is clearly as important as the content.

As with much self-published work, there is good reason to be cautious, especially when so few reviews are available. However, I see artists like Torres as part of the new economy that allows creators to sell directly to consumers. It's a rebirth of the cottage industry. Last year, I decided to take the plunge into Torres' world, picking up cards for Iconica, and the book The World of Rynaga: Prelude.

Iconica Review

The cards for Iconica are collectable, but otherwise the game in no way resembles popular CCGs. Each card is sturdy plastic and measures five by seven inches, and not meant for shuffling. The cards contain information about a character (faction, class), a track for his or her health, and a list of six offensive and defensive moves. Players draft a team of three from the available cards, and a big part of the game is understanding the strengths and synergies of the cards. The game can be played with two players, or in teams of two. Each set includes a rules pamphlet, and a cheat sheet explaining important symbols.

Once players have selected their team the game begins. It is a duel to the death. Each player on their turn roll two six sided dice, and can choose from the results which one of the six abilities on their three characters to activate. They can be attacks dealing damage or inflicting status effects, or healing or defensive moves. When you have eliminated all your opponents team members you win.

It's a simple game with some opportunity for combos, but mostly it's in your best interest to have a wide variety of moves from a mix of character classes.

In terms of design, each card is attractive with a limited colour palette, and striking minimalist character design. My only complaint is the health track. Each character is immune to certain status effects depending on how much health they have. However, you keep track of health with a solid black block, obscuring your immunity. My solution is to place the block one spot above the character's actual health, but that can be a bit confusing as well.

The World of Rynaga: Prelude Review

More of a tease than a work of fantasy fiction, The World of Rynaga: Prelude is structured as a series of post-cards sent by an explorer to an unnamed recipient. Each one features Torres minimalist, stylish and iconic art made up of simple shapes and bright colours. There's not much in the way of story: the protagonist wanders the world giving us glimpses into many of the fantastic places of Rynaga. What little story there is hints at a larger conflict between the native peoples of Rynaga and the alien Sarion. The pacing is hurt by each plot event needing to fit on a single postcard, and the adventure itself doesn't really pay off at all. Torres has made the world and the writing suitable for what he calls a “Kidult” audience. Perusing the whole book will take an hour or two at most. It really is a brief look at what could be a rich fantasy world.

Conclusion

Overall, I rate Iconica and The World of Rynaga: Prelude quite highly because of the quality and style poured into them. Torres has set the indie bar quite high with his work so far, and I only hope to see more of Rynaga in the near future. His books and games are available through his Etsy store.

Tags

Board Games, Fantasy, Fiction, Review

Meet the author

author avatar Ian Johnston
Ian writes about geek stuff, mental health, and sometimes real estate. He loves books, board games, RPGs, fantasy and science fiction.

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Comments

author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
6th Aug 2013 (#)

Thanks for this review - looks interesting - siva

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author avatar Ian Johnston
7th Aug 2013 (#)

Thanks Siva! Eric has a new book launching imminently, that I've pre-ordered, so I'll have a review of that up soon enough.

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