Valley of the Vikings (German Title)

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Category Tags , SKU ZBG-HAB304697 Availability Out of stock
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Awards

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Mix of strategy and dexterity
  • Excellent table presence
  • Quick to learn and play

Might Not Like

  • Dismantling/constructing components
  • Possible historical inaccuracies
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Description

Valley of the Vikings (German Title ML) - More Info Coming Soon

 

Valley Of The Vikings

So we all know that vikings liked to pillage and plunder. We’re reliably informed that they enjoyed braiding their beards and sharpening their axes too. What’s perhaps less well known is that once a year they would gather in a deep valley and bowl giant balls at colourful barrels. They’d do this until one person had accrued a fortune in gold and several others had fallen off the dock and got soaked. At least, that’s the premise of Valley of the Vikings (Tal der Wikinger), a kids dexterity game from Haba. Considering it won the Kinderspiel des jahres 2019, who are we to argue?!

Playing The Game

The first thing you might notice about this game is that the box is in German. Don’t panic, the rules are in English and the game itself is entirely language independent. Digging a little further into the box the components are good quality. The large game board is stored in seven pieces which lock together perfectly in a jigsaw style. Each player receives a longboat assembled from the same excellent quality card stock as the board in which to store their loot.

Players will take it in turns to bat a big plastic ball into the centre of the village, toward the four coloured barrels. When a barrel is knocked over the Viking token of that same colour will advance one space on the dock. When multiple barrels fall the active player can move Vikings in any order they choose. This can be important as Vikings leapfrog each other rather than share spaces. Each space on the dock has a reward in gold coins attached to it. These rewards are determined by the dock tokens which are randomly shuffled and dealt out before each game. Some dock tokens show gold coins, simply take that many coins from the supply when you land on that space.

Some show a Viking in one of the four player colours, if you land on someone else’s colour steal a coin from them, if you land on your own colour steal a coin from everyone! If your Viking moves off the end of the dock, whoops SPLASH! You return to the start of the dock without reward and everybody else takes the reward of their current position again.

Valley-of-the-vikings-conponents

Strategy And Dexterity

There’s two things that raise this game from a rather simple kids game to, what is in my opinion, a near perfect mixture of strategy and dexterity for young ones. First is the small rule that at the beginning of your go you can place any barrels the previous player knocked down in any available holes in the centre area. You see sometimes you’re going to want to advance your Viking, and sometimes you’re desperately going to want to stay where you are.

Sometimes you really don’t want an opponent to advance, and sometimes you’re maniacally trying to push them off the end of the dock. It’s great having the option to purposely position some barrels before swinging that bat. Along with the ability to move Vikings in any order you like, it adds a really enjoyable layer of strategy. Rather than just punishing the shaky handed, Valley of the Vikings rewards the strategic thinker and I think that’s neat.

The other awesome feature that I think raises the game is that regardless of player count, all the Vikings participate. So even if there’s no yellow player, if you knock over the yellow barrel that Viking moves up the dock and takes their reward. So they could take the last coin from the supply and trigger endgame, or they could even steal your coins! It’s like the worlds simplest Automa and it just makes every game that much more interesting.

Final Thoughts

Valley of the Vikings is easy to learn and fun to play. Each game takes 10 to 15 minutes which should match the attention span of even very young players. There’s an enjoyable strategy element mixed in to the good old ‘whack a ball at some barrels’ kid pleasing gameplay, which makes it engaging for a wide variety of ages and attitudes. The longboats are entirely aesthetic, serving no real purpose and the fact they have to be partly dismantled to fit in the box does increase setup time a little.

Let’s face it though, they look cool, and along with the other wood, plastic and cardboard components they give the game real table presence. I struggled to find anything negative to say about this game. I mean there’s a small possibility that it’s not 100% historically accurate?! Personally I strongly believe this is how vikings decompressed after a hard season pillaging Saxon monasteries but, maybe we’ll never know for sure. What we do know is Valley of the Vikings is simple, it’s quick and it’s fun. What more could you ask of a Kinderspiel des Jahres.

Valley-set-up

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Mix of strategy and dexterity
  • Excellent table presence
  • Quick to learn and play

Might not like

  • Dismantling/constructing components
  • Possible historical inaccuracies