Is there an alarming lack of pillaging in your life? Are you stuck in a dead end job that doesn’t allow you to raid your neighbors, collect gold and sail for glory and battle? Well you my friend might need to find a new career, and I can’t help you with that; but I can suggest a game that might give you the taste of barbarism that you’re looking for while still allowing you to maintain friendships and….not commit acts of war. The game is Vikings Gone Wild by Lucky Duck Games.Recently my brothers and I attended our first board game convention in our neck of the woods in Dallas, Texas. BGG Spring happens every year around the Memorial Day Holiday. We were able to sign up for a demo of the game on Saturday and have Vincent Vergonjeanne, the CEO and founder of Lucky Duck Games explain the rules and gameplay. From the very first hand of cards drawn I knew I would like the game. What will you be doing in Vikings Gone Wild? You will be deckbuilding, village building, attacking your neighbors with Viking warriors, or defending your village from the onslaught of a neighboring clan. The basic machanics of the game are deckbuilding and hand management with aspects of things like set collection and resource management. Now if you are someone who glazes over when you hear the words “deck builder”, stay with me…I fully believe this game will win you over.I personally love deck building games. If you are someone who doesn’t enjoy the typical deck building experience you should still give this game a chance. There are a few things that separate Vikings Gone Wild from the pack, not only from the pack of deck builders but from games that I played at BGG Spring in general. One of the things that I loved about the game (besides the fact that I won) was the strategies for every play style that were all viable and felt successful. If you like to build a village and manage resources and get bonuses for buildings in your empire there is an opportunity for you to do that. You can build locations that will produce Beer and Gold (the two currencies of the game), you can build locations that allow you to store excess resources (but watch out, these locations can be raided), you can build locations that allow you to draw more cards and keep extra cards from round to round etc. You will also have a town hall location at the start of the game. This building can be upgraded to allow you more buildings in your location. At the start of the game you can build 5 buildings, a level two town hall lets you build 8 buildings, and a level 3 town hall allows you to build as many buildings as you like. The only limitation is you cannot build more than three buildings of the same type. So for instance you couldn’t build all of the brewery locations and take that resource off the table for other players. There are many options for building your town. If you like to be passive and do nothing more than produce goods you can do it. If you like to go raiding, there are more than enough warriors to meet your needs. Raiding can be a very successful strategy that can provide points for successfully attacking buildings, and you can also achieve bonuses for the more buildings you successfully raid per turn so the more powerful your army the more points you will earn. You need to be careful though because if the defending player has the cards to protect their village he or she will gain points instead and you will be left with a quivering lip. Don’t be too sad however, you can also raid locations on the board for assured resources and points. If you like to mix up your strategy and try for cool combos with your deck you have the ability to purchase cards from the Odin’s Path track. These cards will provide interesting benefits like two of one type of resource instead of one or the ability to attack and draw cards. You can also gain benefits like reducing the cost of units to buy or looking at other player’s hands. Odin’s Path will be able to supplement any type of strategy you may use to make it more powerful. This track will also produce some cards that can be attacked for points, so there is a variety of useful bonuses this track can produce.
There are also Divine Favor cards that are very powerful, that you will earn by passing 5, 12, or 20 victory points. You will also gain divine favor cards by successfully attacking player’s upgraded town hall locations. Divine favor cards will be shuffled into your deck (just like purchased Odin’s Path cards) and will provide you with hugely useful bonuses. These cards may be mythical gods or creatures of legend that will help you and devastate your enemies. You could draw Odin, who attacks with two more power than the most powerful units. You could draw Loki who will attack and also steal from your opponent. There are also mythical beasts like Jormungandr who will attack and disable any Drakkar (boats) your opponent may have. There are also cards that will allow you to build units more cheaply, defend your resources or give you large amounts of resources of any type. The divine favor cards added a huge amount of strategy to the game that could be tailored to your personal preference and I loved that.There are many other aspects to the game that make it enjoyable including missions that will give you bonus points, endgame bonuses for collecting the most of certain types of cards, and many other intricacies that playing will reveal. I must say that I hope you give this game a chance and pick it up. Vincent was a wonderful guy to meet and get to know, and the game was an absolute blast that we all backed on Kickstarter. The Kickstarter has ended but I was told that there will be an option to late pledge which I think you should do.I don’t want to tell you to go back a game that I don’t believe in so let me attempt to explain why this game was so fantastic. If you can’t tell from the explanations above, there is quite a bit of variability to this game. Not to mention the fact that if you back the Kickstarter you will receive over 110 cards and tokens added to the base game that already provides a vast amount of replayability. The nice thing about the variability is that it isn’t random. You will have different options to pick from based on cards that are drawn from the Odin’s Path and Divine Favor piles yes, but even if you don’t draw any of those cards you can still win with sound strategies. I love the fact that I can supplement my strategies but still control my own destiny in this game. There is a good amount of interaction in Vikings Gone Wild. If you are non-confrontational you can build lots of defenses and protect what you have but you will interact with other players and have battles and I find that wonderfully refreshing in a deck building game. There are many things about this game that I find wonderfully refreshing. The theme is great and has just enough humor to keep you smiling. The artwork is fantastic and the graphic design is very fun and makes you feel like you are playing the iOS game that the theme is taken from. With the amount of strategy, variable paths to victory, ease of access and wonderful presentation Vikings Gone Wild will win you over and should be in your collection. I absolutely recommend this game, I know that may mean nothing to you but I tend to pick games based on a different criteria than most. I have to think about games that my whole family will enjoy but will also make me feel like I’m getting the rich tabletop experience that I always look for. This game I fully believe will be a hit with my serious gaming friends, my wife, and my parents and in-laws. That’s due to the theming, approachability and depth of play.
If you decide to pledge for this one, you will be out around $49 dollars for the version that I recommend. The $49 dollar deluxe edition comes with all unlocked stretch goals (over 110 cards and tokens), a large board that will add so much to the overall experience of the game, player boards for each player that will help you keep your space organized and 1100 online gems for the iOS game that this is based on. Overall with shipping you should pay under $60 in the U.S. and what you will be getting will be worth every penny and much more. I personally am going to try and add to my pledge to hit the $89 dollar level which will include 3 expansions. I love the game that much. Overall I rated this game an 8.5 on Board Game Geek which is to me an excellent game. I will recommend this game to anyone I can and play with whoever is willing. Back this game if you are at all a fan of board games. You can late pledge to the Kickstarter here:
I’ve also included a how to play video below so that you can see some of the components (not final quality) and how the game works. I hope you enjoy the review, and until next time I’ll see you at the table.