Wednesday, August 13, 2008

More Bloody Vikings

One of the more recent games to arrive on the scene in my regular group is Vikings. This is not to be confused with Eketorp, another game about Vikings.

Vikings is a pseudo auction game. There's a big wheel on the center of the board with 12 numbers, 0-11. You array 12 random land tiles around that wheel every round, and pair with each tile a random viking unit from one of six different colors. Then each player in turn buys exactly one pair off the wheel, for the price of the number facing it. You can't buy the "0" unless you're out of money, or that pair is the only one with a viking of that color remaining. When the 0 is taken, the wheel spins around, making the next lowest pair remaining worth 0, and so on. Eventually, the price on every pair declines, and eventually, every pair in the round is bought by some player. You must then take the pairs you purchased and array them on a personal board in a way to score points and earn more money, with each different color of viking helping you in different ways.

The strange wheel mechanic is very clever, and puts a neat little tension in "how much is it worth to pay for something I really need" vs. "taking something not as good because it's cheap." We've played the game a few times and found it possessing enough strategy to be interesting, but with enough randomness in the way tiles and vikings are pulled to keep a player from always running a sure path to victory (from what we've seen).

But it is one of those games where a whole world of agony can transpire as other players take their turns in between yours. So while the box says it supports 2 to 4 players, and it's not bad with 4, I've found it far more enjoyable with 3.

The game does have an "advanced" variant that brings strange action tiles with "special game text" into the mix, but we have yet to try this variant. So far, the original has been satisfying enough for us.

It's not "the best game I've played in ages," but it's quite good. If you play board games regularly with a small group of only three or four total players, it would be something to consider adding to your collection.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great little game.
Yeah, the wheel is clever and very fun. And we haven't felt the need to play with the "advanced" rules, even after something like 10 games.
We just like it the way it is, I guess.