Yes, that is right. With 2 cores and at least 1 expansion, you can have up to a 9-player game of Rune Age.
"Wait, Tromdial! Rune Age is a game for up to 4 players. Putting two cores together would only make 8 players!"
Indeed, but unlike the core stand-alone which has 24 1-gold (that is 20 1-gold split 4 ways and leaving 4 1-gold left over), a second core box would give you 8 1-gold left over. Seeing as you only need 5 1-gold, 8 left over is plenty to make the 9th player!
"Do I have to play 9-Player Rune Age? I don't think I even have that many friends…"
No, but if you have sometimes an average of 5 or 6 people come over to hang out regularly enough, the base Rune Age will not cover that amount. An extra copy will almost seamlessly (see below about how easy it is to re-implement event cards to accommodate above 4 players).
There is also always the case that some people like to play more than one deck at a time, so multiple decks may be played by one player (assuming it's for co-op or *Allies against Overlord).
"Is gold cards the only reason I'd need to buy a second copy of Rune Age?"
No, there is multiple other reasons.
- Gold cards, as stated above.
- Neutral piles will be fuller with extra copies that reflect the increased player amount.
- Extra tokens needed for extra players and an extra attrition die for the other side of the table.
- Extra copies of Dragon Runes for Rune Wars scenario.
- Having a second set of each race makes rivalry for favorite race less an issue (duplicate armies: just like Starcraft and Warcraft in multi-player).
- Buying a second copy of the core only allows for the base scenarios to be played with higher amounts of players. If you want to play 9-player *Ascent of the Overlord and *The Quest for Power, you will need to buy Oath and Anvil twice too and any other upcoming expansions after this post to play those scenarios with more than 4 players.
- Buying a second copy of Oath and Anvil as well is exceedingly important for *Mercenary cards.
- Buying more copies of Rune Age is a way of telling Fantasy Flight to make more expansions for this awesome game.
"What won't get used if I buy a second copy?"
- Second set of event cards.
- Cities and *Landmarks (unless you house rule otherwise, see below for variant of that too).
"Hold up, I have an army of friends, Tromdial! If I keep buying Rune Age, can I supply my 20+ friends with Rune Age gameplay!?"
Uh, yeah, sure. Keep in mind though every time you add a player, the game increases its game length by 15 to 30 minutes. If you have 20 friends and 5 copies of Rune Age and its expansion, you are looking at somewhere between 5 and 10 hours to finish one scenario. Beginning with the 9th player below, just continue to add 5-1 gold, 2 2-gold, 2 3-gold, and 1 neutral card to each pile. Definitely bust out extra copies of cities and landmarks. Hope you all packed a lunch.
I recommend playing Rune Age with no more than 2 cores and 2 of every expansion available. This way the max is 9 if it ever came to that. Buy Ultimate Werewolf or another party game if you ever have a line of friends circling your house to come in and game.
Let's begin with Variable Set-Up from 1 to 9 players. This version is my recommendation, eliminating location copies of cities and *landmarks, and as more players enter the game the more competitive the game becomes in acquiring land cards. If you care more about equal opportunity of land cards, neutral cities are always 1 city above the current player amount, and *landmarks are always 2 above the current player amount. Thematically this is okay too, as extra copies of cities and *landmarks is similar to guilds and/or rival ownership while in the same city as an opponent.
1 Player: 9 1-gold, 8 2-gold, 4 3-gold, 2 neutral pile, 2 neutral city.
2 Player: 14 1-gold, 10 2-gold, 6 3-gold, 3 neutral pile, 3 neutral city, 4 *Landmarks (from *The Quest for Power scenario).
3 Player: 19 1-gold, 12 2-gold, 8 3-gold, 4 neutral pile, 4 neutral city, 5 Landmarks.
4 Player: 24 1-gold, 14 2-gold, 10 3-gold, 5 neutral pile, 5 neutral city, 6 Landmarks.
5 Player: 29 1-gold, 16 2-gold, 12 3-gold, 6 neutral pile, 5 neutral city, 6 Landmarks.
6 Player: 34 1-gold, 18 2-gold, 14 3-gold, 7 neutral pile, 6 neutral city, 7 Landmarks.
7 Player: 39 1-gold, 20 2-gold, 16 3-gold, 8 neutral pile, 7 neutral city, 7 Landmarks.
8 Player: 44 1-gold, 22 2-gold, 18 3-gold, 9 neutral pile, 8 neutral city, 8 Landmarks.
9 Player: 48 1-gold, 24 2-gold, 20 3-gold, 10 neutral pile, 8 neutral city, 8 Landmarks.
Continued: event card rules for going above 4 players…
A very similar post can be viewed likewise at Tony P.'s "Ok, I just ordered Oath and Anvil and I want any thoughts on more than 4 players at once…"