Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Tuesday 30 August 2016

"I enjoy raiding!":- Vikings

Game: Vikings

Publisher: Z-man

Designer: Michael Kiesling


We Vikings are being given a bad name nowadays, everyone thinks it's just about the conquest! Taking your land, killing your men, destroying your homes, that's simply unfair! We are a proud race, our reputation is everything so I'm here to set the record straight: we don't just go around murdering and destroying!  We pillage too! People always forget the stealing!

Vikings is a 2-4 player Viking placement game in which you take turns buying pieces of land to add to your tableau and assigning Vikings to work for you on your islands. The game works around a unique rotating board section that varies the cost of land pieces as you go along.

Vikings is a game of 6 rounds, 3 of the rounds score only your yellow meeple who earn you money, the other 3 rounds are scoring rounds where (almost) every Viking actually does their job. Each round you place a pile of tiles out, these tiles are a combination of island starts, middles and ends, along with ships seeking to plunder your lands. Every tile is paired with a Viking meeple, when you buy a tile you get both the land and the Viking, and if you place the land in the correct place you can place the Viking directly on it.

Vikings set up for a 2-player game, each player has a starting land tile on their tableau that serves as a starting point which they can place a viking on later.
Vikings are placed out in colour order so you’ll always be buying miners early and ferrymen late, you also cannot take the free Viking unless it’s the last in that colour, but when you do the circular pricing indicator rotates to the next available Viking. This means that the longer you wait to buy a tile you want the cheaper it is, you just have to make sure you get it before someone else does. This creates a nice push your luck mechanic when you can decide to spend much more money to ensure you get what you want, but you could save a lot of money by taking risks.

There are 6 different Viking colours in Vikings, black meeples fight off ships, which otherwise block Viking actions, red meeples earn you fixed victory points, green meeples earn points dependant on other meeples on their row, yellow meeples earn you money and blue meeples feed everyone at the end of the game. In addition there is end game scoring bonuses based on having the most islands, the biggest continuous island and the most remaining ferrymen, which are the grey meeples. Ferrymen let you take Vikings out to islands if you weren’t able to place them when you bought the island.

The market rotates as rounds go on so the prices for certain tile/viking combinations vary.
The land placement and unique buying mechanics really add a lot to Vikings, the game does feel better with less players as you get to have a bigger tableau, it would have been nice to have an extra round or two for a four player game. For a game that we found randomly at a car boot, Vikings has left us very pleasantly surprised, with mechanics which don’t seem to compare to anything else I’ve played, I’d strongly recommend trying Vikings when you get the chance!


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