“Assemble a crew and outfit a longboat to raid settlements for gold and fame!”
Raiders of the North Sea, by Garphill Games and designer Shem Phillips, is a unique worker placement game wherein players collect resources to raid and pillage as Vikings. The game was deservedly nominated for the Spiel des Jahres Kennerspiel award in 2017, and has accrued two excellent expansions over the years. In Raiders players use a twist on standard worker placement: a single worker is held in hand, which is placed on the board to select a first action. A second action is selected by picking a new worker up off of a previously used space. Workers come in three colors, restricting which actions can be done by which workers.
And now, Dire Wolf Digital has taken this modern classic and created an excellent digital version for Steam, mobile devices and the Nintendo Switch. Raiders of the North Sea is part of an ongoing partnership between Renegade Games and Dire Wolf to produce digital versions of their board games, including Lanterns: the Harvest Festival, Lotus, and the Renegade Companion App. The game truly shines in the digital forum, retaining the excellent artwork created by Mihajlo Dimitrievski (The Mico). Additionally, all versions of Raiders of the North Sea include cross-platform play, so you can compete against friends regardless of which system they use. For more information, check out the press release from Dire Wolf Digital here.
Dig Your Way Out, a 2-6 player game published by Borderline and currently live on Kickstarter, puts players in the depths of a prison from which they are competing to be the first to escape. To do so, they will move around the prison to perform actions, and equipping themselves with tools and weapons which they can acquire through crafting, buying with cigarettes, or extorting other players. Players can also get help by joining a gang and using their unique skills and connections from their previous life.
Artwork in Dig Your Way Out is from Mihajlo Dimitrievski (AKA The Mico) whose art has been featured in games such as Raiders of the North Sea, Architects of the West Kingdom, and Viral. The game will be available in English and French, and Kickstarter campaign comes with an exclusive Officer Buster mini expansion.
To find more information about the game, visit the official Kickstarter campaign page here.
Daily Magic Games are running a Kickstarter to expand Valeria: Card Kingdoms, and add a completely standalone dice game. Valeria: Card Kingdoms is designed by Isaias Vallejo, with art by Mihajlo Dimitrievski (a.k.a. The Mico), and is a tableau-building building game for 1-5 players. Players compete to earn the most Victory Points by recruiting citizens, buying domains to expand the kingdom, and vanquishing monsters who lay siege to the land.
Valeria: Card Kingdoms – Crimsons Seas is a full expansion for the base game and adds maps to far-off lands beyond the borders of Valeria which allow players to import goods to increase victory points. There are also options to purchase Tomes of great power to augment resource production, or rescue captured Nobles, or plunder wealth from a cursed isle. Sea monsters impede travels and sow chaos across Valeria. The expansion adds new icons, tokens, card types, and mechanisms, in addition to adding new cards for all existing card types with a nautical theme.
Valeria: Card Kingdoms – Ward Towers is an expansion pack for the base game and lets players contribute towards building a Ward Tower which, when added to a row of monsters, reduces their cost to be slayed.
Corsairs of Valeria is a new, standalone dice game where 2-5 players are Corsairs who have set out to win a challenge to become the new Commodore. Players will sail the Valerian Isles to gather enough treasure to fill six treasure chests in order to meet the challenge. Players roll dice to determine available actions which allow them to earn silver, re-roll their dice, fire cannons to attack opponents or merchant ships, or move their ships forward. Curses can also be rolled which removes silver coins because they’re lost to Skull Island.
Deep Water Games has announced they are bringing the excellent card game Claim (2017) to North America in 2019. Claim, by designer Scott Almes of no tiny fame and artist among artists Mihajlo Dimitrievski, is a 2 player trick taking game played in 2 distinct phases. Players first recruit followers using their hand of cards, which they then play against each other to win favor from the factions of the realm. At the end of the game, whoever has the majority in 3 of the 5 factions wins the game. For more information, check out Deep Water Games’ website here, and look for the game in March 2019.
Darwin Games has started a Kickstarter Campaign for Eye for an Eye, a real time dice combat game designed by Ben Boersma and Shae Boersma. Eye for an Eye features one eyed alien warriors with unique abilities, which move about a large hex combat arena, all beautifully elaborated by sculptor Bob Olley and artist Mihajlo Dimitrievski. 2-6 players roll their 5 custom dice in real time, much like Escape: The Curse of the Temple or Project: ELITE, allocating movement symbols to move and rotate, attack symbols to execute spear thrusts, and defensive symbols to block oncoming attacks. Dice can be stored on player boards until ready to use, when players announce their intent, such as “move 2” or “attack 3”. Orientation matters, and figures always have 3 hexes facing front and 3 facing rear; attacks and defensive blocks can only be made to the front hexes. Tribal cards add new powers to the mix, using special symbols on the dice and executing unique moves and attacks. When players attack successfully, health cubes are transferred to the attackers score pile, but healing actions can allow wounded players to acquire more health cubes.
Raiding. Pillaging. Longboats. Axes. Beards. Braids. What is it about Norse men and women that keeps us so enthralled with this theme? One can’t deny that Viking society has a rich history and culture which game designers can draw upon for games as simple as providing a feast for a god, or building longboats or even mythical, and fantastical combat as the world ends.
In June, 2018, IELLO are releasing Raids. This viking themed game seems more combat oriented as players compete against each other as they try to retrieve treasure and earn glory. Players have ships which they sail from island to island to collect Vikings, Viking related paraphernalia, and fight monsters for points. Vikings can even board each other’s ships to attack one another. The game is designed by Matthew Dunstan and Brett J. Gilbert (who both designed Professor Evil and the Citadel of Time) with art by Biboun. Raids will support 2-4 players, aged 10+, and will play in roughly 40 mins.
The battle of Valeria is about to get a little bigger with the Agents mini-expansion for the Valeria Card Kingdoms game. Set for release in late December 2017, this 15 card expansion introduces agents that allow you to hire townsfolk to do your bidding.
Players will shuffle the agent cards and then place them above the left-most monster stack. One agent card will then be dealt face-up above each of the four monster stacks. As an action players can hire one of the face up agents to take advantage of the power displayed. Once the action has been completed the agent gets placed face down at the bottom of the agent deck and the empty space is refilled.
Valeria Card Kingdoms is a tableau-building game for 1-5 players focussed on a deck building mechanic. Cards bought will go to work for both the player on their turn as well as on other player’s turns.
On a players turn they will roll two dice to activate citizen cards with both the results of each individual dice as well as the sum of both dice. Other players will also activate their cards based on having cards matching the rolled dice. After activating their cards players can take two actions including slay a monster, recruit a citizen, buy a domain, or take 1 resource. Whichever player has the most victory points at the end of the game is the winner.
Raiders of the North Sea is a unique worker placement game, in which players gain an action for placing their meeple, but also gain a second action by picking up a new meeple. The meeples on the board come in three colors, and the spaces on the board are color limited. Add a great viking theme of building armies, collecting crew and pillaging outposts, and you have an excellent game, worth of the Spiel nomination.
Shipwrights of the North Sea is a card game where 2-5 players collect artisans and resources, racing to be the first to construct their viking long ships. Various nefarious characters can be recruited to help the player succeed or hinder their competition.
Explorers of the North Sea is a tile laying, pick up and deliver game for 1-4. Players sail their vikings in plastic boats from island to island, picking up livestock, raiding villages and constructing outposts. Points are awarded for sets of collected items, and for completing islands by playing tiles.
The North Sea Rune Saga is an expansion which ties all three games into one large campaign for those brave enough to live the full viking life.
All of the North Sea Games are designed by Shem Phillips, and include gorgeous artwork by Mihajlo Dimitrievski. Look for the trilogy of games from Renegade in Q4 2017. You can read the full press release on Renegade Games’ website here.
QST Tabetop Subscription Box is a really interesting new project just launched on Kickstarter. QST aims to deliver a brand new board game each month, created as a collaboration between a famous concept creator, board game designer, and artist. What makes this project special is the amazing caliber of the personalities already lined up. Get ready for a long impressive list.
The first game from QST will be Foreclosure: Dungeon Masters Tavern, by Cory Jones (Co-Founder of Cryptozooic), Matt Hyra (Adventure Time Card Wars) and Robb Mommaerts (Cartoon Network Crossover Crisis). In Foreclosure, the boss monsters have sought legal counsel and sued the dungeon masters over loss of treasure. Having won, they are now collecting on the loot from the Dungeon Masters Tavern, driven into foreclosure. 2-4 players take on the roles of varied monsters in a blind bidding game in an attempt to gather the most loot.
The Kickstarter Campaign will run through September 29, and is expected to start shipping in March 2018. Check out the complete list of people involved here.