Author Topic: Vikings - Board game (with photos)  (Read 2820 times)

Offline franks

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Vikings - Board game (with photos)
« on: February 06, 2017, 02:10:47 PM »
Thoughts and impressions after 4, (two-player games)

Apparently we can't get enough of Vikings! They seem to even be more popular than Cthulhu, certainly in the board game realm.

I have owned the Zman edition of this Michael Kiesling title for a little over a year, (if memory serves), and have just gotten it to the table. I understand HiG is the original publisher in 2007, so maybe they were ahead of the curve on the Viking crazy with this one.



For me, this game goes toe-to-toe or tête-à-tête with Isle of Skye with 2 players! I have only played Vikings with two at this point, though I have played IoS with all counts. In both games you acquire tiles, (all be it in a very different method), then the tiles are placed on your own tableau for point scoring.

Game play basics: I’m not going into detailed game play descriptions in this review. The game centres on an enjoyable roundel mechanism of a tile market. There are variable costs for the randomized tiles and Meeples that are drawn and placed beside the pricing wheel. As tiles and meeples are bought the wheel can change its position thus revaluing the remaining pieces. This is a key point of the game mechanic and strategy.


Veeples???

The next, arguably the most important, game play mechanic and strategy is placing those hard earned tiles and Meeple into your player area. There are key decision points, (and accompanying rules), for placing those pieces. Those choices will make or break your game.



The various meeples represent differing skills and bonuses that are associated to them and their position of the tableau. The main ‘threat’ in the game are invading ships. These can cause havoc for the meeples in your play area but if you are able to block their advance, these can be turned around into various bonuses.

Theme: There is very little here that makes one feel like a Viking but the general art direction and graphic layout help to give it some cohesion. Expansion of the island tiles are as close as you can get to any kind of feeling that fits the theme. In the end the game itself will keep me coming back and not the theme. This isn’t uncommon in the genre of these games nor is it a real detriment, IMO.

Components – Meeples are great but I do have at least three Meeples that came with either a missing head altogether or the horns off their helmet, the pieces still do the job but there could have been better QC in this one that I got.


Full set up at start of game: Please note: we substituted metal coins from 'The Best Damn Gaming coins - Kickstarter (that we also use of Isle of Skye). The other modification here, we draw the island tiles from a bag rather than set them up at the top of the main action board. This saves set up time. We use a coin in their place, seen at the top left of the photo, to keep track of the round. The white draw bag came with the game and we added the second darker bag draw the Meeples 

Interaction and intensity: The biggest and arguably the only player interaction is in the tile selection. This is also the best tension in the game. It can be a little nerve wracking as the tiles and Meeples get placed, as you formulate your plans that will transfer into to your tableau and as you vie for the tiles/Meeples against your opponent. In fair comparison to Isle of Skye, I would say the tension in this similar phase of the game, is even more pronounced in IoS.

It’s one of those games where you have to work with what you’ve got. Though in the end the general feeling I was left with was one of accomplishment. The end of the game feels like it comes a little quickly but regardless of that I do think the play length is just right. It doesn’t overstay its welcome. I can see getting in a game in about 45 minutes once you've got the rhythm.

There is much more I’m going to leave out of this review other than to say we played with one of the two variants that come with the game, called the Progress version. We include the ‘Special Tiles’ in our first plays, (and wouldn’t play without them), for us these add a needed depth to the game and see it as relatively easy to incorporate. (They generally enhance game play bonuses that are already part of the game.)


The tiles near the top of this set up are the Special Tiles, not the draw stacks for the islands

In the end and importantly as a two-player game, it’s a toss up for me on my current preference of Vikings or Isle of Skye. I like both methods of attaining tiles; though IoS might be a little cleaner in that department and also with more direct interaction. As for the tile placement, IoS would also have a slight lead with a little more to think about. I also feel both games have strong strategic elements.

I don’t think one has to own both but in my mind they can stand on their own. So far in my experience the final scores might be a little more balanced in IoS. I need a few more plays of Vikings to get a better sense of that aspect. I’ve over accentuated the 2-player count in this overview because from what I’ve read on various BGG reviews, IoS might also be a better game at a higher player count of four people.

The BGG complexity/weight rating for this title, (2.54), which I think is a good representation. It’s quite easy to pick up though there are a few fiddly rules to keep in mind along the way.  Just as a point of interest Isle of Skye as a slightly lower rating as mentioned above at 2.27. Despite the small difference I think they are also on par for complexity.

My personal rating on this is a solid 8/10, with the same rating in my books for Isle of Skye.

If you’ve played Vikings, what are your thoughts of the game?


Linkback: http://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=3155.0
Franks

Wanna play Carc? Can we add just one more expansion?

Offline jungleboy

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Re: Vikings - Board game (with photos)
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2017, 03:32:44 PM »
Great review, merit for you! I didn't know about this game but it looks neat - the components look nice and I especially like the way the rondel is incorporated into the board. I'll have to look into it some more!

Offline franks

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Re: Vikings - Board game (with photos)
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2017, 04:08:25 PM »
Thank you jungleboy!

The tile laying aspect has been mentioned in other forums here, but I didn't see any reviews.

Probably should have mentioned a little more about the tile placement rules but they are very basic. In addition there are bonuses for the number of completed islands and the longest. The most important aspect though are the Veeples and getting them in place on the islands, that's where most of the points are scored.

Just out of interest the tiles are 35mm square but only about 2mm in thickness. Still a decent quality.

Offline jungleboy

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Re: Vikings - Board game (with photos)
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2017, 09:56:49 AM »
Would you believe that I went to my new FLGS today for the first time to check it out and see what they had, and there was an English version of Vikings there! So I got it :) I wouldn't have even known about it had it not been for your report. I then watched Rahdo's old runthrough and was sold.

Offline Decar

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Re: Vikings - Board game (with photos)
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2017, 01:03:16 PM »
Great report Franks. Thats a lot for taking the time. Merit heading your way.

This is a try before buy for me. The mechanics looks solid, but not sure about the fun.

Isle of Skye wasn't great for me when I played with RtF and my wife last year, look forward to comparing!

Offline franks

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Re: Vikings - Board game (with photos)
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2017, 04:29:46 PM »
Thank you Decar!

For us it has had an addictive quality where, you want to try again to do better than you did in the last game, (against your own score) and to win if you didn't. The purchasing round is also quite enjoyable. We also find the strong puzzle aspect of the game fun but thats not a thing for everyone.

There's variability in the game and I didn't mention, there are more Veeple's than what is required, (13 of each variety where 12 would have sufficed), meaning an assortment will be left in the bag. You never quite know what will be available each game. However the tiles are set, there will always be 72 tiles, 12 each round.

Maybe it would scratch an itch that Isle of Skye didn't. Hope you get a chance to try it!

Would you believe that I went to my new FLGS today for the first time to check it out and see what they had, and there was an English version of Vikings there! So I got it :) I wouldn't have even known about it had it not been for your report. I then watched Rahdo's old runthrough and was sold.

jungleboy, great to hear. Hope you report back on your thoughts once you get it on the table.

Cheers,

Keep in mind rahdo made several slip-ups in the rules, but it was still helpful in learning the basics!
« Last Edit: February 07, 2017, 10:36:57 PM by MrNumbers, Reason: Merged 2 posts »


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