This week’s New to Kickstarter board game is one I had the chance to play, and its called Vikingar. This review is based on three play-throughs with the first player reaching three achievements crowned the winner of the game.
I have to say this is my first non print and play prototype I have played and I don’t know if its normal or not but the quality was actually better than some of the games I had bought from retail!
Introduction to Vikingar
In Vikingar you play as a Viking clan and must use your long ships to explore the world map, made up of a central game board and 24 territory tiles. The tiles are drawn and placed randomly so every world map will be different giving it excellent reply value.
The game is won when a player reaches the set amount, chosen before play and giving different lengths of play time, of achievements and finds a card leading to Valhalla. These achievements are:
- Bravery Cup- When you lose a ship due to combat move the matching score cube forward one.
- Wealth Cup- When buying treasure during the construction phase move the matching score cube forward one.
- Hero’s Cup- When you defeat a mythical monster move the matching score cube forward one
- Conquerors Cup- When you destroy a city move the matching score cube forward one.
- Looter's Cup- When you destroy a place of worship move the matching score cube forward one.
- Strategy Cup- When you destroy a Fortress move the matching score cube forward one.
- Bloody Cup- When you destroy another players Longship move the matching score cube forward one.
- Cursed Cup- If in a round you score the lowest amount of points move this cube forward one point. (great catch up method and keeps everyone in the game no matter how bad you are doing)
To fully complete an achievement players must win the requirements of the above a set number of times, for example Bravery x 5, Bloody x3.
The map represents Midgard and is dotted with points of interest that you must explore or conquer. The game's map has four sections:
- Centre piece - The open sea and starting place for all long ships
- The Northern Kingdom - The closest area to the open sea
- The Southern Kingdom - The next area towards the outer edge
- World's End - The outer most edge and the area where when visiting you will draw a card and try to find Valhalla in order to trigger the end of the game.
In Vikingar there are also five different types of locations, which are as follows:
- Fishing Village- Loot these
- Cities- Loot or build an outpost
- Place of worship- Loot or build an outpost
- Fortress- Loot or Pay a toll
- Mythic Quests - Slay a legendary creature
In depth turn action
To start you place the main centre piece face up and then 24 tiles face down around this. Players chose the clan they want to be and take the representing achievement chart, long ships and outpost tokens. Each player than places two ships into the centre.
You then place the runes in the bag and along with the gold place these beside the board. Finally you agree on the amount of achievements that triggers the game's end and proceed to the turn phase. Each player draws turn tokens and the player with the lowest value goes first.
There are four turn phases in the game:
1- Use Long ships
- Movement - These actions are very in depth but in basic turns you can move one adjacent space and if moving onto a different territory type you draw a card from the corresponding deck of cards.
- Actions - This is where you will either build attack or try and kill a mythical quest all depending on what tile you are on.
2- Trade - Collect one gold per outpost you have.
3- Build Long ships - You can build one ship per turn for free and depending on the achievements you have achieved, more ships can be built for two coins. When a ship is bought it's placed in the open sea tile (centre of the board). Purchase Treasure is done in the same phase as building and this advances the Treasure cup achievement cube once per turn for three gold.
4- Maintenance - In this phase all players return boats to active mode (flip the chit) and the runes get placed back into the bag. The player who scored the lowest amount of points moves the Cursed cup cube forward once.
You then draw turn tokens and start again and keep doing so until someone has reached the amount of achievements required and they are the winner.
Rather than the usual dice, Vikingar has used runes and these not only keep in with the theme, but add a new dynamic rather than just rolling for the highest number. Each rune has two sides, an active (symbol) and inactive (blank), and the idea is to drop the runes from around 10cm height onto the centre of the board and how they land determines the number of points. The player with the highest number of points wins.
There are two types of combat, player vs player and player vs board events (cities, fortress’s and more). Defeating a different type of place gives varying amounts of gold but the more gold you can earn means the more runes you must defend against. A player is chosen to throw the defence runes when attacking the board.
There is an abundance of Viking games out there now but I must say the artwork on this game really adds to the theme. The use of runes instead of dice is a masterstroke and again really adds to the theme. You feel like you are a Viking exploring conquering and finding treasure.
The game is so simple to pick up and play, I would say the 9+ age limit on the box is a tad too high for regular younger gamers. The cards match the theme, the iconography is simple yet effective and I get the feeling the people over at Jackbro have really done their homework with this.
If I had to pick a bad point its that the location icons can sometimes be hard to see but Jackbro have already acknowledged this and when it goes to print this will be rectified.