Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Wargaming Wednesday - Blood Rage (2015)

If you've spent any time on the Internet since its release, you know that Blood Rage (2015) has more than its share of rabid fans and not without good reason.  This falls into the category of Wargamey Boardgames for me, in that it definitely has battle and conflict as one of its major components.  For those who have played Midgard (2007), also by designer Eric M. Lang, you'll see a good amount of similarity.  Blood Rage, however, takes that game to eleven!

From the description on Board Game Geek:
In Blood Rage, each player controls their own Viking clan’s warriors, leader, and ship. Ragnarök has come, and it’s the end of the world! It’s the Vikings’ last chance to go down in a blaze of glory and secure their place in Valhalla at Odin’s side! For a Viking there are many pathways to glory. You can invade and pillage the land for its rewards, crush your opponents in epic battles, fulfill quests, increase your clan's stats, or even die gloriously either in battle or from Ragnarök, the ultimate inescapable doom.
Most player strategies are guided by the cards drafted at the beginning of each of the three game rounds (or Ages). These “Gods’ Gifts” grant you numerous boons for your clan including: increased Viking strength and devious battle strategies, upgrades to your clan, or even the aid of legendary creatures from Norse mythology. They may also include various quests, from dominating specific provinces, to having lots of your Vikings sent to Valhalla. Most of these cards are aligned with one of the Norse gods, hinting at the kind of strategy they support. For example, Thor gives more glory for victory in battle, Heimdall grants you foresight and surprises, Tyr strengthens you in battle, while the trickster Loki actually rewards you for losing battles, or punishes the winner.
Players must choose their strategies carefully during the draft phase, but also be ready to adapt and react to their opponents’ strategies as the action phase unfolds. Battles are decided not only by the strength of the figures involved, but also by cards played in secret. By observing your opponent’s actions and allegiances to specific gods, you may predict what card they are likely to play, and plan accordingly. Winning battles is not always the best course of action, as the right card can get you even more rewards by being crushed. The only losing strategy in Blood Rage is to shy away from battle and a glorious death!

Local gamer and man about town, Dennis Smith was kind enough to bring in his copy of Blood Rage along with some expansions to Lake Geneva Games (Facebook page here) last Thursday for Open Boardgaming Night.  John, a regular in my own games, and Jason, the store owner, joined him at the table to give this glorious game a try.  I could only observe, as I had other things to handle, but I must say that it looked like a great deal of fun.  The card drafting and Valhalla aspects were every much lifted from Midgard but there is much, much more to this game.  The minis looked fantastic as did the other components.  A word of warning to those looking to play this game: Watch out for the last place player during the game because it is perfectly possible to score enough end points to shatter an in-game lead.  That's just what happened on this occasion and the other two players were quite surprised by that turn of events.  Great game!

A closer examination of board and miniatures Wargaming.
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