When most people think of games based on TV shows and movies, they likely think of computer/ video games. But to celebrate the fourth season of the History Channel TV Show Vikings, a strategy board game was released.
If you enjoy strategy board games or RPGs, then you’ll be sure to enjoy playing Vikings. While the game might seem a little complicated at first, it’s easier to play than you might think once you get to grips with the rules.
What is the Vikings Board Game?
Suitable for between 2 – 5 players, the Vikings board game is ideal for long gaming sessions. If you enjoy RPG board games or even games with roleplay involved like Dungeons and Dragons, you’ll likely enjoy this game.
Players take on the role of numerous characters, including Ragnar, Lothbrok, Lagertha, and Rollo. You need to manage numerous activities in the game, including collecting resources, plundering spoils, taking land, and fighting.
Players will also undertake quests and collect modular tiles to expand their land. The map will be different every time you play Vikings, which means endless fun. Now there is a lot to go over when playing Vikings, so let’s take a look at the rules in more detail.
What You’ll Need to Play?
To play Vikings, you’ll need a game set. Vikings was released in 2016 through Catalyst Game Labs and are now quite hard to find outside of specialist board game shops. If you want to give the game a try, we recommend checking sites like eBay.
Rules and Gameplay
The Aim of The Game
Winning in Vikings is quite a complex affair. The aim of the game is to collect the most VP, but you can do this in many different ways. At the end of the game, any VP you have is tallied up, and the player with the most wins.
What’s in the Box?
We are approaching this guide a little differently because there are many components in the Vikings board game. It might look a little overwhelming at first, but you’ll get familiar with everything after a few playthroughs. If you enjoy engine-building board games, this sort of equipment might seem familiar.
- Calendar and Trade Board: This is placed in the center of the table and has markers for all the other components.
- Sea/ Land Tiles: These are used to make up the map in the game. Anyone who has played an RPG game before will likely have seen similar things before.
- Seer/ Hero Cards: Players will need to collect both these cards through the game. Hero cards will add to a player’s strength, while Seer cards help dictate what players must do to complete their objectives.
- Tokens: Tokens take numerous forms in this game and include exploration, gold, spoils, and the most important of all, Vallah Points or VP.
- Tiles: These make up your map and come in two forms. Home tiles are starting and endpoints for each phase of the game, while village tiles make up the bones of the map.
- Player Markers: These come in five colors, each corresponding to a player. Players use these to highlight their presence on the map.
- Resource Cubes: Each resource in the game, whether it be spice, fur, food, etc., is marked with its own unique color cube.
- Cards: Each player will have a reference card and a longship card. Each player will get one card. The reference cards are handy little instructional cards, while the longship cards will help you keep track of your points/ supplies.
The first thing to do is make sure every player has the essential equipment they’ll need to start the game. Make sure each player has all the following.
- 1 Longship Card
- 4 Player Markers
- 5 Gold Tokens
- Resource Cubes: 6 Food, 3 Fabric, 3 Warriors, 2 Cache, and 1 Runestone
- 1 Reference Card
- 1 Hero Card
- 1 Seer Card
Hero and Seer Cards
The hero and seer cards each player will get first will depend on the color of their longship card. To make this easier refer to the list below.
- Purple: Erik, Pathfinder
- Aquamarine: Bjorn, Favored of Freyja
- Yellow: Svein, Offering To Frigg
- Blue: Thyri, The King’s Command
- Black: Helga, Offering To Tyr
Building the Map
Before you can start playing Vikings, you’ll need to build the map. First, put the home tile down and place the village tiles above it. Then place the sea tiles at the bottom of the home tile with the land tiles going around it. You may flip the tiles at certain points, so the map will always be changing.
Viking is played across three years (thankfully not in real-time), with each year being made up of a Summer and Winter Phase. So, you’ll be playing three of each phase during the game. To help simplify how the game is played, we’ll outline each phase below.
During the Summer phase, players move around the map to explore. The ultimate end goal is to collect resources that will eventually help you get VP. Players should always be looking to complete the goal set by their Seer card as well.
Every movement you make during the Summer phase will cost days, though, and you only have a finite amount of days to spend. These are tracked on your longship card so pay cheerful attention to what you’re doing.
You can do numerous different things during the Summer phase, so many we couldn’t possibly list them all. Part of the fun of Vikings is playing your own way, whether that be collecting resources, making trades, completing quests, or attacking other players.
But don’t get too carried away; remember, the aim of the game is to collect VP. So, always keep this in mind when you’re playing. Then, use the Summer phase to explore and complete quests to rack up as much VP as possible.
The Winter phase of the game is a little different. During this phase of the game, players start by bidding with their gold to spread their influence throughout the map. Players can use hero cards to help their influence grow.
Player markers are used to show where a player’s influence is strongest. Players also use the Winter to trade resources and stock their longships. At the end of each phase, players can also select new seer cards to help outline what they’ll be doing in the next Summer phase of the game.
When the last phase of the game has been completed, you will tally up your VP to see who has won! While every player will likely have some VP already, you will need to convert any resources you have left to increase your score. Use the grid below to see how this is done.
- Spoil Tokens – 1x Token is worth 3 VP.
- Gold Tokens – 4x Tokens is worth 1 VP.
Exploration tokens can also be converted into VP, but this works slightly differently. Use the grid below to see how this works.
- Exploration Points 1 – 5: 1 VP
- Exploration Points 6 – 10: 2 VP
- Exploration Points 11 – 15: 3 VP
- Exploration Points 16 – 20: 4 VP
The Vikings Game – Sail The Seven Seas!
Vikings is a beast of a game that combines Arkham Horror style adventuring with historic RPG elements! You have limitless options for deciding how you play. You can focus on collecting resources, become a master trader and collect gold, or of course, attack and raid other players. Live out your Viking fantasy to win the game and become a legend!