Clash of Vikings (2019) Compte Rendu
Barely has the deconfinement started in France, whereas elsewhere the festivities resume. Indeed, far from home, on a small forgotten island of Covid, Vikings gather to confront each other in their annual fight. Barely recovered, mead flowing in their veins, these valiant cloistered warriors will join the arena. The rules here are easy, and the fights are intense ... but fast. So without further ado, choose your champion and your cards, ready ... play!
Clash of Vikings is a game from Anthony Rubbo and illustrated by Dennis Lohausen. For Anthony, this is far from being his first project in the gaming world. You can find his talent on titles like Hansa Teutonica, Merlin, Rajas of the Ganges... He has more than one title created from his pencil. His latest, Clash Of Vikings, is published by Queen Games. Please note: To date, it is not available in French.
Fighting against other players is not the only objective of this game. It is also ultimately the secondary objective, primarily collecting bracelets is the first, but in the long term, the use of force becomes necessary. It seems that dwarf blood (I know, “hello stereotypes” ) runs through the veins of our brave warriors. Because the ultimate goal is to collect the most treasures, represented here by bracelets. These twisted bracelets are made of three materials ranging from simple steel to gold. Of course, the values obtained correspond to the material, in other words the more precious the metal the more points you will earn.
The game board corresponds to the combat arena. It is a circular board of a moderate size to build at the start of the game. Rest assured, it's a two piece puzzle, so not to head scratching. It should be fine. On this central board you’ll randomly place bracelets taken from the reserve, onto specific spaces. Each player has a Viking token and an individual board (for the active player) recounting the possible actions. Add to this three bracelets of values 1,2 and 3 and a deck of cards. Each has an identical deck (only the color changes).
There it is ... Ready? Go!
Sorry ? You don't know how to play? Do not panic. I explain this to you over a horn of mead or two. Each player has a hand of three cards. The active player will have to play two, one after the other. For each card played, a sequence, which will ask the other players to follow, will be put in place.
The active player, whom we will call Björn (yes it came to me like that), will therefore play his first card face down. Each card corresponds to an action. When Björn plays this card, he will announce the action he wants to do. Then, he puts it face down in the column of his individual tray which potentially corresponds to the action mentioned.
Potentially? Yes, because the salt of the game is here. You don't have to tell the truth. What? Yes, Yes. You can bluff. In other words, the action indicated on your card is not necessarily the action that you announced out loud. Of course, faced with this possible lack of honor, the others can respond. Finally, only those who are fashionable and who already have a bracelet. Nor should we exaggerate. A viking who has the right to speak is a viking who has taste. Houlà, it seems that I am getting lost. Only one other player can question Björn's word. But it doesn't have to be the case ... Isn't Björn someone who deserves our trust?
If nobody talks about the right to bluff, then the active player performs their action without revealing their card. Otherwise, verification is required. If Björn did not bluff, he steals a bracelet (face down) from the one who unjustly accused him and performs his action normally. But if he inadvertently lied, the other player takes a bracelet from him and his action is lost.
And we repeat this sequence for both cards. Then it's the other player's turn. At the end of his turn, Björn draws up again to have three cards in hand. Simple, right?
As far as actions are concerned, you’ll be on familiar ground:
Finally, there is one last action that is played in response to an attack. These are the shields. The Shield can be announced in the same way as a normal card following an attack (except against slam). Why announce? Because it works like a normal action, you can bluff and not actually have shields. The active player can therefore call a bluff or not. If the person was not bluffing, the player loses their action and the defender steals a bracelet from them. Otherwise, the defender loses a bracelet and the attacker performs their action.
If at the end of a round, a bracelet space that ends up without a bracelet or a viking on it, gets replaced from the reserve. The end of the game comes when there are no more bracelets in the reserve. Whoever has the most points wins. Thank you Björn you can return to sit down.
As you can see, Clash of Vikings is by no means a difficult game. It is also announced for 8 years and up. Even if the game mechanics could be considered for younger children, the principle of bluffing and its use generally starts from this age. Also marked for 2 to 4 players. Suffice to say right away, it's mostly a game of 4. Three is playable, two is avoidable.
Regarding the theme ... is it really necessary to talk about it? Vikings who are fighting in an arena to recover bracelets ... Well ... So uh ... Why not? Shall we go on?
As for the board, there is a front / back side. The placement of bracelets and puddles is different on both. This brings a slight bit of replayability. It is true that I did not tell you about the rivers and the central hut. For the latter, it's simple, it's a place where you can collect more bracelets by starting your turn on them. Some spaces on the board are covered with water. These boxes prevent movement and can engulf the unfortunate bracelets which may have the idea of falling into it. No luck. So be careful where you throw your bracelets ... unless ...
Clash Of Vikings is reminiscent of some bluff party games like the Perudo but with a notion of moving on a set. On paper, the idea can be attractive. Unfortunately, once in play, you go around in circles quickly and sometimes the rounds can last without having valid reasons. The first part can be fun. The following is a little less. There is an official variant that offers to bring even more bluffing into the game. Indeed, this way of playing brings new life to the game. But it will not make you last for hours.
On the other hand, it can be considered as a little bluffing game for the youngest to learn. The rules are simple, well understood and the explanations quick. The iconography is clear, the graphics are pleasing and the material is pleasant to handle without being exceptional.
The box is a bit special format. It is not a big box or a small one. It’s an in-between size. On the other hand, it is of sufficient size for all the components. There is no loss of space. Even if there are still no storage bags, I must salute Queen Games for having the initiative to use this template.If you are like me, tired of seeing big boxes filled half empty. Seeing this game will remove that syndrome, it feels good. An initiative to be repeated more often.
It is therefore a shame that the playful quality is not on the same plateau as the basic idea. Halfway between the ambient game and the short board game, Clash Of Vikings does not really manage to convince most players. However, during a few games, the youngest will find their feet (as long as they play four). Quick games, an omnipresent bluffing (maybe too much?), an interesting action system based on cards, everything is not to throw in this little game. But it’s clearly missing the little something that keeps you coming back, which amuses you and renews your games. Maybe it needs real mead?
Technical note 8,5 / 10
The rules are clear, everything is read quickly and retains well. The boards are good qualities and the thickness of the cards does the job. Big plus for the size of the box, adapted to the content. Without being exceptional, everything is functional and easily understood. Always regret the absence of a bag, but the size of the box compensates for it.
My BGG score 5/10
Mediocre - take it or leave it.
Unfortunately the game is not at all up to the expectations it could give. It is relatively simple, fun and easy to get out with anyone. These positive points are quickly offset by the repetitive side of the game and its lack of challenge. Far from being bad, the game could serve as an introduction to the world of bluffing for the uninitiated or the youngest.
Combined score of 6.75 / 10
And now it's your turn to play ...