Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de

Rising 5 - Runes of Asteros


Gary Kim & Evan Song

Portal Games


No. of Players:



G@mebox publisher Frank Schulte-Kulkmann writes about the game:

To be honest, I would not have given this game a closer inspection if my friend Ignacy Trzewikzek would not have told me to do so, since already the cover reminded me of the rather mediocre Guardians of the Galaxy movie. However, sometimes it is good to let a friend correct your prejudice.

My irritation grew when he actually told me that it was based on Mastermind, a classical code breaking game which was released back in 1971. I had played it a few times in my youth, but in the modern world of boardgames I would have called this game to be rather outmoded indeed. So is Rising 5 just a new version of this oldtimer, spiced up with modern graphics and a space theme to generate sales? No, it ABSOLUTELY isn't - I couldn't have been more wrong ideed.


While it is true that the core challenge of the players remains to find a code of four coloured seals, the whole mechanism of codebreaking has been very cleverly enriched by several mechanisms which turn the game nicely into a full family game. The players jointly will take control of five hero characters who have to break the code of the seals before their planet is lost, and the players use their hands of character cards to move the character cards around and perform actions on different locations at the planet. Monsters must be defeated, allies recruited and artifacts uncovered to help them on their quest, and all actions must be done with a high efficiency because it is one possibility to lose the game when the code is unbroken and the deck of action cards is used up. So, the players have to discuss which actions they should perform, and they also have to chose wisely which characters they should use for the action, since the activation of a character also means that they will use the character's special ability, allowing an additional bonus action which usually is quite helpful.

The defeating of monsters is quite important too, since the deck of action cards also contains interruption cards at certain intervals. When an interruption occurs, the values of all monsters still on the board will be added up, pushing a corresponding counter towards game over quickly if too many monsters are on the board. So, the players have to defeat monster's efficiently, and even though combat is dealt with by using a dice, outcome can be modified if more than one character are at the location of the combat.


The defeat of monsters on the other hand will generate energy cubes, and whenever a certain amount of cubes has been collected the players may trigger a codebreaking action to see how the current aligment of the seals corresponds to the code they want to beat. Here modern technology once again is helpful, since the position of the gamemaster which was needed in Mastermind is replaced by a smartphone app which allows all players to play together instead of one of them managing the game. However, the game may also be played in the oldfashioned way with a gamemaster if your mobile's batteries are empty…

Even though Rising 5 is no strategic heavyweight, the game is a great and entertaining family game which seems to have a high addiction factor. The level of difficulty can be influenced by adjusting the number of interruption cards in the deck, and designers Gary Kim and Evan Song nicely succeeded in dusting off the old classic.

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