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.

Get in touch by emailing thegameshelfblog@gmail.com

Saturday 28 July 2018

The Game Shelf Reviews:- Vikings Gone Wild

Game: Vikings Gone Wild

Publisher: Lucky Duck Games

Designer: Julien Vergonjeanne

Year: 2017

Vikings Gone Wild was the first Kickstarter project from Lucky Duck Games and seems to have catapulted them into a position of being a board game publisher to look out for! Vikings Gone Wild is themed off the viking strategy video game of the same name and since then, Lucky Duck have converted a number off app-based games into board games, with some great Kickstarter success to show for it!

In Vikings Gone Wild, players take the role of heads of clans fighting against each other to prove to the gods who is the best. You will have to find the right balance between investing in your economy and building up your town or growing your army to take glory in attacking the towns of other clans! In this deck-building game you'll be doing a whole lot more than just deck-building to be declared the best viking clan.


Vikings Gone Wild is a deck-building game for 2-4 players, so, much like you'd expect you spend your turns drawing a hand (of 5 cards) playing them, and then discarding played cards along with newly bought cards. If you need to draw a card and you have no deck then you shuffle the discard to make a new deck (with all your shiny new cards in) and continue. On your turn you will play cards to amass the two main resources: gold and beer, these can be spent to buy new cards or construct buildings. Buildings give you permanent benefits, such as a regular gold income or the ability to save beer from one round to the next. You can only have a limited amount of buildings until you spend resources to upgrade your town hall card.

Buildings also come into play with the combat system, you can attack other player's buildings using attack cards in order to gain victory points, some buildings also offer other rewards when conquered. Importantly there is no major effect on the defending player when they are attacked, in fact if you have a hand full of defence cards you may want to be attacked. Victory points are also available for defending your buildings with a bonus should you fully defend your town. If you don't want to attack your opponents you can also attack the dragon on the board for resources or other monsters which occasionally appear in the common market.

Victory points are gained for attacking/defending, but also for completing objectives, each player has 2 objectives at any one time which are worth from 1-3 points when completed. The easier objectives have requirements like 'buy a military card' or 'build a building' while the 3 point cards are far more stringent. The game ends when the first player reaches 30 victory points at which point the 4 end game objectives are scored, at 6 points each they can hugely turn the tide of the game.

Amy’s Final Thoughts

I greatly appreciate how combat in Vikings Gone Wild is less threatening than in other games. Sure, your town might have been ransacked, but it doesn't actually hurt you (with one exception). This also seeks to balance out the power of buildings: while having a ton of free resource generation sounds great these buildings have next to no defence so are essentially free victory points to anyone gathering a big army.

Combat is against buildings and the attacking player is rewarded with victory points (or a resource or two) but the opponent's buildings or VP total is not harmed. In fact defending buildings when attacked can earn you points.
It has certainly felt during our games that getting behind on resource generation is a huge disadvantage, particularly a lack of gold which seems to gate off the best buildings. If one player manages to get a large set of buildings they can be drawing 8 cards a turn at the same time as having a huge amount of goods to buy cards, this can make turns disproportionately long and a little tedious for other players. Fortunately when this begins the game should be close to ending. Generally speaking Vikings Gone Wild is a little slow to play for a deckbuilder, attacking and defending does slow the game down and the large resource stashes at the end game do little to speed this up. On a similar note the lack of any way to remove cards from your deck does somewhat reduce the impact of getting good cards, particularly late in the game.

The art is cartoony, but charming and it's clear that a lot of love has been put into this department. Though on many cards they do seem to have gotten a little mixed up between vikings and dwarves, perhaps this is a reference to the source material which I am unaware of. The wooden resource tokens are a lovely touch, particularly the wooden beer barrels, and I like how having a wooden token is distinct from having a card that gives you resources (only the wooden tokens can be stored from round to round). Vikings Gone Wild is a solid deck-building game with a good amount of player interaction without any outright aggression (ironically) however it can be quite punishing if you get left behind.

Fi’s Final Thoughts

Vikings Gone Wild mixes deck-building and tableau building in a way that I've never really seen before. When you are able to purchase cards from the central supply, you wither purchase combat or special cards for your deck, or you buy a building for your town. Both are valuable and it can be difficult to judge which are the best options, but I really like the opportunity to be really selective about your strategy. Most victory points are available for attacking other player's towns, but there are other routes to success that rely less heavily on combat. Another aspect I like are the small objective cards that give 1, 2 or 3 victory points for achieving something specific on your turn. With so many options on the board, this can really help to guide my choices in the early rounds of the game.

Direct confrontation in games is something I avoid. With deck-builders, I have no problem in playing game like Star Realms, where the sole purpose is to whittle the other player down to zero health. However, games where the other player can destroy what I've been working towards are no fun to me. Fortunately, Vikings Gone Wild has a pretty unique take on combat where it is worth victory points to attack but the person you're attacking is not heavily affected. This definitely made the game one that I would even consider playing, and ultimately enjoyed quite a bit.

In spite of the fact there's a lot to enjoy about Vikings Gone Wild, I really didn't enjoy my early plays. They were spent watching my opponent speed ahead with exciting turns and cool things to do whilst I struggled to make 4 gold to upgrade my town hall. After further successful games I see that this was totally my fault, but I would warn that an early mistake by an inexperienced player can really ruin the experience for everyone at the table. I've now got to the point where we now have tighter and more enjoyable games, but I've still not figured out a preferred strategy, which really speaks to the number of alternative routes you can take and means that the game has good replay value. Since you can alter your deck strategy or your town strategy, there's plenty to explore.

Vikings Gone Wild is a great example of a deck-building game taken to the next level with new tableau building elements and interesting combat. It may not have the deck-building intricacy for die hard deck-building fans but it adds a whole lot more into a rounded board game.

You Might Like...
  • If, like us, you're not too keen on take-that combat, Vikings Gone Wild is a deck-building game where combat is a strategy but it's not too detrimental to others players.
  • Beer is a resource, which is awesome, much like some of the other viking artwork and humour.
  • Tableau building and deck-building combine really well in the game.
You Might Not Like...
  • Inexperienced players can get a little stuck if they don't upgrade their town hall early.
  • The deck-building is quite basic with very few cool combos etc.

The Verdict

7/10 Vikings Gone Wild certainly rewards multiple plays and familiarity with the different strategies. It stands out for it's integration of tabelau building as well as an interesting approach to combat and so it still has a place in the crowded deck-building genre. 

Viking Gone Wild was a review copy kindly provided to us by Lucky Duck Games.

No comments:

Post a Comment