VIkingdoms is a board game for 2 players created by Dorsonczky József and distributed by Mind Fitness Games. In this game the players take on the role of Viking seafarers expanding their territory by raiding new lands. When raiding they loot coins, build settlements, capture prisoners and/or get allies. The player who builds 3 villages or ports or collects 16 coins may built the VI kingdom and wins the game.
Setup of this game is real easy and done in no time. First you create the board using the 6 board tiles. Next each player chooses a color and takes the 12 Vikings and 2 territory markers with the same color. Shuffle all the territory tiles and each player randomly selects one and places it in his territory between his lockup and his camp. Both players capture an amount of opposing Vikings equal to the number shown on the territory tile. The remaining territory tiles are place next to the board in pairs forming the five islands to be raided. The 4 ally tiles are placed next to the board. The owner of the less wealthy territory (depicted by gold coins) will choose where the raiding starts and will be the start player for the game.
The game has two phases, recruitment and raiding, which will alternate until a player is victorious. During the recruitment phase players have two options, placing a Viking or moving a Troop (one or more Vikings stacked on top of each other on the board). When placing a Viking you may place it in any vacant space on the board. Movement can only be done when you move on top of another Troop and may be done with any Troop on the board, not only the ones that has you Viking on top. You may never move to an empty space. The movement you can perform depends on the size of the Troop and is similar to the movements in chess. When your Troop consists of one Viking you can move a single square orthogonally. A Troop of 2 Vikings may move over any number of free spaces orthogonally. When the Troop has 3 Vikings it moves in an L-shape and it can jump over other Troops. A Troop of 4 Vikings moves over any number of free diagonal spaces. Lastly the Troop of 5 players can move over any number of free space orthogonally and diagonally. When moving you can choose any number of Vikings from the top to move but you perform the move corresponding to its full Troop movement. There are two restrictions you need to remember when moving. Undoing the opponent’s last move is not allowed and when you can make raiding Troop (Troop with 6 Vikings) with your Viking on top you have to do so.
The recruitment phase ends immediately when a raiding Troop is formed and the Raiding phase starts. During this phase the Raiding Troop is placed on the Raid marker next to the island. The player with their Viking on top chooses one of the two territory tiles to raid. The other player gets the remaining territory tile. Now both players compare their prisoners on the tile and the player with the most prisoners depicted gets an amount of Vikings equal to the difference from his opponent. When a player gets a second rioter (depicted by a fist) a riot breaks out and loses a territory tile to his opponent. If you have collected a second settlement of the same type you can call in the help of an ally and take the corresponding tile. These allies might give you more coin, prisoners, lets you exchange two island pairs in the raiding stack or forfeits the rule that you have to make a Raiding Troop when able. At this point of a player has two or more prisoners he can do a prisoner exchange with his opponent. Now the game goes back to the recruitment phase until the victory conditions have been met.
The victory conditions are having 3 ports, 3 villages or 16 coins. When a player accomplishes this he is victorious and builds the VI kingdom.
For some of you the game might seem familiar and that is because this is the successor to Sixmaking, actually the recruitment phase is pure Sixmaking but on a smaller grid. The theme of Vikings going on a raid is pasted on. It feels more like a game that the two jarl’s play against each other to see who may raid which settlement. Don’t misunderstand me, it is a great game. As you would expect from a good strategy game this one lets you plan several moves ahead, but with the option of splitting up troops it is hard to take in account every move possible. These options of placement and movement makes for an ever varying game and hard to predict what your opponent will do. When your opponent makes a move that you did not foresee, it might mess up your strategy or open up new ways to try and gain control. With the inclusion of the victory conditions of the raiding settlements and the golden coins it becomes even more strategic. Sometimes it might be better to give up a certain recruitment phase to prepare yourself for the next one. In this game you do not need to win all the recruitment phases, you just need to focus on the right ones and I really love this twist in the game. It wouldn’t be the first time that the player who won the most settlements lost because of not winning the crucial one. It is this tension that gives this game a big notch up compared to Sixmaking. We really love this game and have played this game every week since we brought it home from Essen. If you are a fan of Sixmaking, this is a must buy for you. Again a great job done on a wonderful and fun strategy game.
Play with honor