Published by: Blue Orange Games
# of Players: 2 to 4
Euro style games are usually not known for their components. Vikings On Board flips that idea on it's head and kicks it out the door. Blue Orange Games provides you with some of the best components I have seen this year in quality. When you open the box for the first time you will see a beautiful insert that has everything already in place! No trying to figure out where something is supposed to go because it is already there. The different boat parts are also already punched out and assembled. With so many boat parts it would have been a pain to try and put together all of them. Each player has their own color of figures and cardboard shield. If your colorblind you probably hate the green, red, and yellow which will probably look similar. Blue Orange kept you in mind and the different clans each have their own symbol which is also on their boat parts so everyone will be able to tell them apart. The board that the game is played on works great with the theme and gameplay. The rule book explains everything in great detail. The book provides lots of colorful illustrations and a reference on the back for all the different action spots. Vikings On Board gets an A+ for components.
Vikings On Board takes mechanics from euro style games and abstract strategy games to provide a new experience. The goal in Vikings On Board is to be the player with the most wealth at the end of the game. Wealth is earned from goods you received from raids and also on betting who would be in charge of a boat when it sets sail. To start the game, each dock spot for boats will have a bow (front piece) and 3 middle pieces. Each middle piece must be from a different clan. Depending on player count and who is considered to be the first player, the clan figures will be placed in the village in a certain order that shows when a person will take an action. 8 goods tiles will be placed on the take 3 add 1 space and 7 goods tiles will be placed on the take 1 place 1 action space.
Now that you know what the action spaces do, you may be wondering what are you actually trying to accomplish during the game. When a ship sets sail, the goods that are on the bow are divided up among the clans who have body pieces on the boat. The clan who has the most shields on the boat will be the boat leader and get first pick. If you are the only clan on a boat then you get all the goods that are on the bow. Once a ship sets sail, it is out of the game and so are the body pieces attached to that boat. This will affect influence on boats in future rounds due to less clan body pieces available. Maybe you have no stake in a boat that you are confident that is going to set sail soon. You can select the gambling action spots and and place 1 of 4 betting tokens on a ring of the color of the clan that will lead that boat when it sets sail. Each token has a value of 1-4 and once the boat sets sail if you guessed correctly, you will add this token to your shield where your goods are placed. If you guessed wrong, the token will stay there and you can use the one action space to move it. To win at Vikings On Board you have to use your head to try and maneuver your body pieces to have the most influence and limit the other player's options during their turns. Once the seventh stern (end piece) is placed and resolved, the game ends. Players will total up their goods and betting tokens to determine who has earned the most wealth and won the game.
Vikings On Board is a unique gateway game. The game is very easy to teach and learn, but there is some hard decision making to excel at the game. Blue Orange Games provided top notch components that I would not expect from this type of game. The game is actually very vicious and players will be aggressive. Boats will typically only have 1 or 2 goods on them when they set sail, so the fight to become leader of the boat is very important. If you take the really good actions that are at the end of the action track, you could be hurting to do anything effective during that next round. Players may feel picked on if their body pieces keep getting moved around and if you lose too many body pieces early, the rest of the game feels like it goes downhill. Each game I played had 3 of the 4 players really close to each other for the victory. That fourth person though was behind by a huge margin. That could change as everyone becomes more experienced, but I am worried the game may become less interesting after 10 or so games. I would recommend this to families and those who are newer to the hobby. Those that are very experienced in the hobby and like a very strategic game will enjoy playing it a few times. I really loved the quality of the components and that keeps me very interested in seeing what Blue Orange Games has up it's sleeves next for us to play.
+Components are A+
+Insert that has everything already in place
+Great gateway game for families
+Easy to learn and teach
- May feel the same after a few plays
- Game is aggressive and lots of "take that" feeling to it