English language edition of Wikinger
List Price: $34.95
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(Worth 2,795 Funagain Points!)
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Each player is the leader of a band of Vikings. His task is to scout and then settle the islands off the coast of his homeland. As the Vikings uncover the size and shape of the islands, each band seeks to control as much of these new lands as possible. The bands build yards and churches and invite goldsmiths, scouts, fishermen, and nobles to settle on their island to establish the most profitable settlements. But, warriors are also necessary! As, the islands soon attract ships bound to attack them to pillage the new settlements.
This game was a plesant surprise.
Everybody I played it with enjoyed it a lot and wanted to play it again right away.
It is not a battle game. It's a strategic and simple game, with a very good rule book, amazing graphic design and pieces.
Unfortunately, it's only for four players, so you'll have to go with a small group of people.
RIO GRANDE did a great job of releasing it in English language.
When first approaching Vikings, I wasn't sure how the game mechanics worked. It looked a little like Shadows over Camelot with the round table and a little strange with the T-squares graphically showing Fishermen (blue), Goldsmiths (yellow), Scouts (green), Nobles (red), Warriors (black), Ships (with the one main mast), and Boatsmen (gray) in ascending order.
In my mind I kept thinking of Tony Horwitz's new book, A Voyage Long and Strange, where he described Norsemen as accomplished boardgame players for an indoor pastime. I suspected this evening of a two-player game (can be played up to four) was going to yield some fascinating results. Also, it is good to think of one's heritage.
The T-squares with their beautiful graphic depictions immediately became apparent as rows to match island tiles to. The turn (with a total of six rounds) involves these phases:
So far the mechanics appear fairly easy. Once a color on the wheel is exhausted--for example, the blue fishermen--then, the wheel is rotated with the "zero" showing at the next available color. Scoring is clearly explained with a small scoring for rounds 1-3-5 and a large scoring for rounds 2-4-6. A final scoring is held at the end of the sixth round.
It would probably be wise to go into the mechanics of some of the tiles. The tiles at the beginning of the game (not advanced tiles)are placed in six board outlines with an equal stack for each set. Tiles include edges of islands, half islands, and edges of other islands. The final scoring indicates that it is important to finish as many islands as possible. That could be three tiles or, as many as, eight plus tiles. If a player purchases a ship, special rules apply. The ship must be placed in the first three columns. You cannot continue the ship row until all three ships are housed in the first three columns. The ships threaten other columns. For example, reading down, if you have a ship in the first column as well as a goldsmith and a scout, the points are not counted for the these Vikings in the small scoring and the large scoring. To protect the other Vikings from the ship, you need to acquire Warriors to repel the ship during scoring rounds.
What you have to keep in mind is all the problems with the different types of Vikings. For example, let's say you pay three coins for a noble (as the wheel is adjusted, starting with zero). You may immediately place the noble on the island tile paid for. However, suppose the island tile doesn't fit the row for Red Nobles; then, the island tile has to be placed where it will fit. To understand the fit,l one has to consider land to land or sea to sea. If the island tile doesn't fit anywhere on the T-square rows, then, the island tile has to be discarded. If the noble looks up and sees a ship a few columns higher without any protection from a black warrior, then, the noble will not be scored in the large scoring rounds.
These tricky strategies for placing island tiles add to the game's enjoyment. One has to think ahead about the hazards of placing Vikings and island tiles. For instance, in the final scoring the Vikings have to be fed by the fishermen. One fishermen placed on an island tile feeds himself and four other Vikings. One loses points on the final scoring if the Vikings cannot be sufficiently fed.
Try another fascinating part of your turn. You pay four coins for a scout, and no island tile in the Scout Row will accommodate the Viking. You, therefore, place your Scout in the Boatsmen row, hoping during the large scoring to send the Scout to one of his or her island tiles. If not, in the final scoring the Scout, who cannot be fed by the fishermen, and remains with the Boatsmen, may lose you points. Planning is the name of this game, and one has to watch the development of island tiles placed around the wheel with the wooden followers.
The island tiles can serve you well in the final scoring. You could receive, for example, five points for the longest island. You would receive seven victory points for the most islands completed. You receive points for the goldsmiths at the end of each small and large scoring rounds (three). The ships have a numbered imprinted in the upper right hand corner that tells you how many points you can lose if the ships are not repelled by warriors.
The game also comes with advanced tiles and advanced scenarios. No one game is like any other game. I liked the variety in the game and the constant need to plan ahead. My partner and I did make some mistakes by not placing the Viking ships in only the first three columns of the Viking row, but a rereading of the rules corrected that error.
Overall, the game plays well with the constant need to have enough gold coins. More gold coins can be obtained at any time by subtracting victory points to acquire the coins. I only ended up with 54 points in the final scoring, while my opponent ended up with 71 points.
The voyage and the way it was played made the difference.