Vikings Gone Wild

Game Overview:   Based on a popular video game, Vikings Gone Wild is transformed into a deck building game that also includes resource management using gold bars and beer barrels.  You will play as the head of a Viking clan fighting against the others to prove to the Gods who is the best.  You accomplish this by completing missions, successfully attacking other players, being able to defend from those attacks, upgrading your town hall to its highest level, and ensuring you capture any end game bonuses.

Box Contents: It is important to point out that this is the retail version that is being reviewed.  This is different from the overwhelming successful Kickstarter project version that funded in June 2016.  Inside the box, the plastic insert does an excellent job of keeping the cards and components separated.  Unless you plan on getting expansions, there is too much room in the box.

The game board highlights the playing area and it is really well made.  It also includes four player boards, which are similar in thickness to the cards.  216 cards are included, with the biggest concern that they are little on the thin side.  The art on the cards is really good and gets you into the Viking mood the game is trying to set.  It also includes 25 wooden gold bars and beer barrels, which are very well made.  In fact, the beer barrels have some very fine details included on them to really represent a barrel.

You can’t overlook the first player token either.  It is a card board standup of Thor’s hammer that is passed from player to player each round.

Clarity of Rules: The rules manual is just 15 pages.  The rules are included in just six of those pages.  The rest cover game setup and an overview of the types of cards that are used.  Overall it does a decent job in explaining the rules.  There are just a few pictures providing examples.  Most of the examples are text based.

I feel that the rules were written more for an experienced gamer than someone just discovering designer table top games.  Someone like that may find understanding the rules more challenging.

Game Play:  Game setup is the same for most of the cards from game to game and they all have a place on the game board.

  • Three separate units that can be purchased to attack the other player’s buildings.

  • Three separate defense cards that can be played to counter any attacks of your buildings.

  • A deck of 40 cards which represents Odin’s path.  Five of these cards will be turned face up with the deck sitting to the left to fill in any open spaces.

  • There are six different buildings available for purchase.  These cards produce the two resources of the game with each turn, gold bars and beer barrels.  Two of the buildings will allow you to store any extra items.  The remaining two buildings allow you to carry over a single card to the next round or allow you to hold six cards in your hand instead of the normal five.

The remaining cards will vary from game to game.  There are 12 divine cards with three of them being used for each player in the game.  These are the most powerful cards found within the game.

In addition, there are 8 game end cards that are shuffled and 4 are placed onto the board.  These represent bonus points that are awarded at the completion of the game.

Each player will receive their own game board which is used to keep track of their draw deck, discard deck, and any missions.  Initially, the players will receive a starting deck consisting of 6 beer cards, 2 gold cards, and 2 Viking warrior cards.  The beer and gold cards are used to purchase additional cards.  The Viking warrior cards are used for attacking purposes, which may be buildings that other players have or a single attack on Draco per round, who resides in the middle of the board, that gives a single gold or beer barrel resource.

Two mission cards worth one victory point each are dealt to players.  If a mission is completed, the players update their victory points on the game board and then draw a new mission card.

In addition, each player is given one set of Town Hall building cards.  These cards represent the different levels that your Town Hall can be at.  You will start with the Level 1 and you must pay the gold cost to upgrade to the next level.  The reason to upgrade is that it increases the number of buildings you can actually have.  It also increases the defense value when someone is attacking your Town Hall.

The first two phases of each turn is a simultaneous action where all players obtain resources they are producing and then they draw the normal deck building five cards into their hand.

From here, each player takes their turn in order around the game board.  They can use cards from their hand to purchase additional defense cards, attack cards, or cards from Odin’s Path. The cards in Odin’s path will give you various abilities when they are drawn into your hand.  Some examples are drawing additional cards, providing additional defense to a building, providing additional attack strength, or provide additional gold or beer.  When a card is purchased, it will go into your discard pile.  The lone exception is an undead creature that you can attack to earn a single victory point.  When the undead is defeated, it is moved to the Odin’s Path discard pile.

If you have the resources to purchase a building, you play the buildings to the table in front of you.  Initially you will only be able to build 3 buildings until you upgrade your Town Hall.

On your turn, if you have any attack cards, you can choose a single player to attack.  If your attack strength is greater than their defense value, you will gain victory points based on the number of successful attacks during this turn.  Just a single success gives you one victory point.  Two give you three victory points. This maxes out with the unlikely seven successful attacks giving you 13 victory points.

You have to take into consideration that the player you are attacking may have defense cards that they have purchased.  If they do, they can thwart your attacks and actually earn victory points for themselves.

Whether the attack is successful or not, the player being attacked notes their buildings with a card board token.  This prevents other players from attacking you again this turn.  No damage is done to the buildings themselves.

Whenever victory points are earned, you move your token along the game board tracker.  When you get to 5, 12, and 20 victory points, you are able to take one of the very powerful Divine Favor cards, which go into your discard pile.

Once a player reaches the victory point total, which is based on the number of players, you will then score the four end game bonus cards which will always have an additional 24 (6 x 4) points up for grab.  Each of these cards will have different conditions that determine who is awarded the points.

Replay Ability:  Helping with the replay ability, there are different strategies that can be taken.  Do you load up on the unit cards to attack others?  Do you go for the defense cards to earn points there?  Do you zero in on the 24 bonus points that will occur at the end of the game?  Or do you try and balance yourself across all of them?

Where the replay ability lacks in the retail version is just the lack of cards.  You always have the same unit, defense, and building cards each game.  In a single game, you will likely cycle through the Odin’s path cards, Mission Cards, and will see most of the Divine cards when you get to the four player level.

The eight end game bonus cards will provide some variety each game as only four will be used.

The original Kickstarter campaign allowed you to get additional cards (20 Divine, 26 Odin’s Path, 12 Event Cards, 9 Mission Cards, 6 Bonus Cards, 4 new units, and 2 new building types) in the game, which really would add to the replay ability where you could pick and choose which ones will be used and may prevent you from seeing the same cards each and every single game.

The good news is that these extra cards will be available to add to your retail version in their newest Kickstarter campaign scheduled to launch on August 22, 2017.

Appropriate Audience:  The game suggests 10+, which we feel is appropriate for the game mechanics that are found.  Parents for the younger children should be aware that one of the main resources in the game is getting and using beer.  Although there is nothing questionable within the game itself concerning this, some parents may not want to immerse their children in this.

What We Liked/Didn't Like: I like that the box was built with future expansions in mind.  So many times, you add an expansion and you are not able to store it in the original box.

One thing that really drew me to the game was a deck builder using a board, the same way Clank! did.  However, the board here takes up a lot of space (22 inches by 22 inches) and you also have your own player boards (10 inches by 8.25 inches).  Beyond the scoring track, the board is not needed to play the game.  Some tables, it just makes more sense to set up the cards so they fit your table and where the players are sitting instead of having to rely on the board.  Granted, the Draco is also on the board but that could have been addressed by having a single card represent him.

Mixing the resources with the deck building mechanic was an excellent idea for this game.  Take that a step further where you can purchase certain cards to play to the table just to store those resources.

The attacking of your opponent is unique and my opinion, what really makes this game stand out over other ones.  Typically, each player will only be attacked once per round.  When attacked, if you can defeat the opponent you not only prevent victory points for them but you also earn victory points yourself.  And the most important thing, nothing bad happens to the buildings or other cards you have placed when being attacked.

One thing we saw was that there can be some considerable downtime, especially when a player is performing an attack action against someone else.

Add-ons/Other Releases:  Ragnarok!- Provides solo and cooperative play.

Guild Wars-Adds team play.

It’s a Kind of Magic-Adds spells to the game which can replace Defense, Units, or both.

Masters of Elements-08/22/17 Kickstarter   

  **A review copy was provided to us.