Quick Look: Viking Raiders Card Game
Designer: Morten Billcliff
Artists: Mofei Wang, Noman Afzal, Tristam Rossin
Publisher: Neowulf Games
Year Published: Currently on Kickstarter with estimated publishing date in 2022
No. of Players: 2-5
Play Time: 45 – 60 min
Find more info at BoardGameGeek.com
You are a merciless Viking Chief, on a mission to get the biggest navy, the largest clan and the most loot.
With loads of raiding, plundering and interference from the Norse gods, you will feel totally Vikingy from the first draw until long after the final backstabbing and bloodthirsty move.
And let’s face it, who doesn’t want to be a Viking for 45 minutes?
Oh you’ve been saving up cards to execute a master plan? It would be a shame if all that work was undone somehow…
Enjoy the fun, fast, and chaotic gameplay! Experience the thrill of turning your closest friends into fierce enemies! Gasp as any two cards get traded in for one resource!
Soylent Green anyone?
Take-that gameplay becomes “I’ll take that” gameplay when you snatch that one card your enemy needs to win right from their hand! Watch your joy turn to sadness as the exact same thing is done to you during the next turn. Enjoy the feeling of anger as the one player no one was paying attention to comes in with a perfect play that clinches them the win!
So gather your friends and family around the table, don your viking persona, and be prepared to not take things personally as you enjoy the incredible fun that is Viking Raiders!
Starring: a simple to learn, fun to play viking card game for 2-5 players; variable play time for either a quick match or a longer and more substantial viking experience; that mechanic in Catan where you move the robber and steal a resource from another player, but like, way more often here.
Viking Raiders is an excellent card game where players are trying to build up their viking clan, their navy, and their loot to obtain the amount of points needed in each area to win. They will accomplish this by collecting resources and trading them in for point cards from the market, playing actions with various and powerful effects, and most importantly, going on raids to steal point cards from other players.There is quite a bit of take-that and luck involved, and it’s very hard to plan effectively as crazy stuff is constantly happening. While this may frustrate some, I find that it’s just fun to go along for the ride. Also, it’s hard to be mad at the take-that elements, as luck is constantly swinging and good or bad things are always happening to everyone. The game is easy to play, turns go by quickly, and most importantly it’s fun to play! I’m very glad I had the opportunity to try the game, and I would absolutely recommend it for certain board gamers, but I don’t think this would be a game I would back personally. Read on for a more in-depth look at the game and why this may be the case!
To play the game, first off decide how many points will be required to win. Players will be collecting cards from three categories (CLAN, NAVY, LOOT) that give either 1,2, or 3 points.
We built this settlement on rock and vikings.
Once a player has the requisite amount of points in all three categories, they are the winner! For a quick game, choose 5 or 6 as the required amount of points. For a longer game, go with 7 or 8. This variable playtime is a fantastic feature, as sometimes we want a quick game to play before bed, and other times we want to sit down for a longer experience. One downside to note is that the rule book just says that the game is longer or shorter based on what is picked, but it doesn’t give an estimated play time. It will take a few games at the different victory point conditions to get a feel for the changes in play time that this will actually make. Of course player count also has a large effect on the amount of time required as well.
Setup/How to Play:
Shuffle the deck of market cards and the deck of viking cards; place eight market cards face up in the center of the table and deal six viking cards to each player. The market cards contain the point cards in the three categories and also some ability cards (with the pink border) that players can buy to get extra abilities, while the viking cards contain resources and action cards.
The various cards in the game: Market cards, Resource cards, Action cards, and Raid cards.
On a player’s turn, they first draw two viking cards from the draw pile. They can then play an action card, and/or buy a card from the market (or do neither). To buy a card from the market, they have to discard the appropriate resources to meet the cost shown on the card (and can discard any two cards in place of a resource). They take the card and place it in front of them.
Example: buying a Settlement and adding it to the cards already obtained.
To play an action card, the player discards a card with an ‘A’ in the corner and does what the card says.
The most important type of action card is the ‘Raid’ card. When a player uses one of these cards, they get to unleash their inner viking and try to steal a point card from in front of another player. First, the raider decides which category of card they want to try to steal. The player who is being attacked takes all their cards of this type and the same number of Raid Protection cards and shuffles them together face down. The raider then picks a card, if it’s a point card then the raid was successful and they keep it, but if it’s a Raid Protection card, then the raid was unsuccessful and they get nothing.
Example: Raiding an opponent’s Navy of three cards. Shuffle them with three Raid Protection cards and try to find a point card!
And that’s pretty much everything you need to know! Most of the craziness comes from the various action cards that can be played, and there are also Berserker cards that can be played whenever another player uses an action card to cancel it (yes, you can Berserker another player’s Berserker).
I’m going to play…
There are also advanced rules that give each player a leader card with a unique player power, and also adds some extra things players can do. Unless you are playing with kids or people new to board gaming, I would recommend using these rules from the start as they’re easy to include and make the game more interesting.
So that’s how the game plays; it’s easy to set up and easy to understand. It is most definitely a lightweight title, which is great for this type of game. There is still strategy to it in deciding what action card to play, deciding what cards to buy, who to raid, etc, but overall the luck and chaos dictates how things go more so than the strategies. In particular, there are two cards in the market deck which, when revealed, will make all players either trade or discard their entire hands. This can be very frustrating if there are cards a player has been saving, or they were just about to have a fantastic turn. They add to the glorious chaos, however, and can change the pull of fate for someone who isn’t doing well. There are also cards that allow players to steal and swap cards with other players, so basically don’t get attached to your hand (of cards, please stay attached to your actual hands).
Another part of the game I really like is the two player variant. In these heavy take-that games, going in with two players is a recipe for hurt feelings and no fun, since each player only has one target. In this game, however, there is the addition of a ghost player who operates on a simple rule set. Basically, before each player takes their turn, they flip over one of the viking cards. If it’s a resource, the ghost player (called the Arctic Clan) gets the top card from the market, gaining the victory points from it. They can be targeted by raids and other effects, so each player has another enemy in addition to the other player. The Arctic Clan could even win the game, which would be horribly embarrassing for the actual players. This variant is still fun and absolutely worth playing which is awesome, as I primarily play with two and I know a lot of people who do as well. I do recommend giving the Arctic Clan a face to make it more interesting.
What dastardly plans are going on behind those cold, dead eyes?
This is a game for getting some friends together and just having a good time without much analyzing or strategizing; it’s not a game for sitting down and doing a lot of thinking. Players mostly go where the cards take them, which can be a lot of fun, but is also not for everyone. It’s also $30 plus shipping for the base pledge, which is most definitely affordable. For a board gamer with a tight budget such as myself, however, there are other games I would probably consider before this one, especially since I play primarily at two players. I would absolutely recommend this for families or for those looking for a light filler for a regular game group. While it is definitely fun at two, I would need to also play it more at higher player counts to justify its place on my shelf. If you are someone who has those groups, it will absolutely be worth the cost. There’s a lot of high quality cards (with great art) in a portable package, there’s tons of variability with the randomness of the card draws, and being a viking and raiding your friends is never not going to be fun.
This game is perfect for you if: You’ve always wanted to steal from your friends but the pesky law keeps getting in the way; you have a regular group of gamers who enjoy lighter filler games or a family who plays a lot of card games; and/or you are an agent of chaos who loves take-that and crazy swings of luck.
This game may be for you if: You love all things Norse; you want a card game that’s a lot of fun at all player counts; and/or you enjoy light games with fast turns.
This game is probably not for you if: You don’t like lots of take-that; you like being able to formulate long term plans; you don’t enjoy lots of randomness; and/or you don’t play games at higher player counts often.
So if this is the type of game you enjoy, I absolutely recommend checking it out. I didn’t go very in depth into everything this game has to offer, so go check out the Kickstarter while there’s still time! It’s a very fun time and it can fit in as a filler between other games, or works as a longer experience as well. I hope you enjoyed my look at the game, let me know what you think!
Find out more at BGG.
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