It was new board game night at the Forge Herald Game Center as our group sat down to play Champions of Midgard.
I was very excited to play this game. I watched it in the season 4 premiere of Table Top and since then have been wanting to get this on the table.
Champions of Midgard is a worker placement game with set collecting and dice rolling mechanics. This Viking-themed Euro game is designed by Ole Steiness with artwork by Victor Perez Corbella. It was released in 2015 by Grey Fox Games.
Editor’s Note: There are two new expansions coming out later this year. A successful Kickstarter campaign ended earlier this week. (3/16/17)
The concept of the game is the old Jarl is dead and you, as a leader of a Viking clan, are working to earn the most honor to take the Jarl’s place.
Play time is 60-90 minutes and can accommodate 2-4 players. We played with four players and found it highly entertaining.
Let’s get into it.
This game is big. There are a lot of pieces and a lot of things to get ready to play. It’s best to keep the rule book handy to make sure you don’t forget anything.
Place the board in a location reachable for all players. Then, shuffle each deck and place it in its appropriate spot on the board. Shuffle and place the appropriate market stalls based on the number of players in the game. Place the public longships at the dock. Give each player their starting resources and assign which player will be going first.
Starting with the player on the right of the starting player, each player picks which Viking they wish to be.
Determine who will be what color and pass out the appropriate number of meeples based on the number of players in the game. Place one of your two colored discs on your character card and the other on the Honor path.
Place the round marker on the round track and then give each player a random destiny card. You’re now ready to begin.
Champions of Midgard is played over the course of 8 rounds with each round broken up into turns. During each turn, players will alternate placing meeples on different spots on the board. Each spot does something immediately or leads to combat. When placing a meeple, if it is placed in a location that has an action, resolve it immediately. When all meeples are placed and all actions resolved, it’s time for combat.
If you placed your meeple in a spot to fight a monster (troll, Draugr, or monster across the sea in distant lands) or in the hunting grounds, you are now entering combat.
For combat, you must assign the numbers of warriors (warriors and food if you’re on a longship) to the combat you’re engaging in. After everyone has done this in turn order, you may begin combat.
To fight a monster, roll the warrior dice you committed to the combat. Each hit your score (indicated by an axe, spear, or sword) is a point of damage dealt to the monster. The monsters have no attack dice, instead, they have an attack value and a health value. They will do the number of damage indicated on their attack value.
Combat continues until all your warriors are killed or you kill the monster. If you defeat the monster, you collect the reward indicated on the card. If you don’t defeat the monster, make sure to mark the damage on it with a damage marker. This means another player can slip in and steal your kill.
If you have decided to go across the sea, you will need to load your longship with both warriors and food. Depending on the location you’re traveling to, you will need more or less food. Each location has a card in front of the monster called a Journey Card. Before you can engage the monster, you must flip over the Journey Card and resolve any effects it may have.
Once all combat is finished, remove all remaining Draugr and trolls from the board. If no one successfully killed a troll, each player gets a Blame token. For monsters dwelling in far off lands, place one gold on each remaining monster.
After this, the round comes to an end and play begins again with the round tracker moving up. If it is the end of round 8, you score the game.
Scoring and Winning
The player with the highest Honor wins the game and becomes the new Jarl. To determine your Honor, you will need to tally your points. This should have been done during the course of the game as you killed monsters or gained Honor from other means. There is still Honor that can only be determined when the game is over. For each 3 pieces of gold, you have you gain 1 Honor. For each set of monster cards you have (a set is one of each of the red, blue, and gold monster cards) you gain five Honor. If you completed your Destiny, you gain Honor based on the number at the bottom of the card. Some Destinies may result in a tie, if so, you get the lower amount of Honor indicated on the card. If you have any Runes, used or unused, you score those. If you built a private longship, you score that. You gain 2 Honor for each unspent favor token you have. Then, finally, you subtract Honor based on the number of Blame tokens you have.
After all this, the person with the highest Honor wins!
As noted earlier, this game is large. There are a lot of pieces that must be accounted for. So there is a high chance for losing pieces. The game came with a lot of extra baggies to hold your pieces which I thought was pretty awesome. Ascetically, this game looks amazing. The artwork is excellent and highly thematic. Care was taken to show different types of monsters with the same name adding a lot of variety.
As for the game play, it felt intimidating at first (which could be because of the size) but after a round or two, we were sailing. The strategy and risk taking involved added up to a lot of fun. When we wrapped up the game all four of us agreed this is a game we would play again and often. The Forge Herald was involved in the Kickstarter campaign mentioned earlier so we are excited to add those expansions to our game. This game is highly recommended.
© 2017, Patrick Cossel. All rights reserved.