Summer of 869... Kin Hassar, Earl of Olafursdal gathers his 10 fellow vikings. Together they embark on their Mighty Dragon Ship. They will spread fear throughout Europe... But they shall be back before Winter returns in 32 weeks.
The game starts in Norway where you roll for your starting crew and ship. You have 32 turns to amass wealth and come back to Norway.
To do so you have to cross oceans (Sea turns) and raid lands (Land turns).
1. Sea Turns (Ocean crossing)
Depending on the size of the ocean (indicated in the rules) you will spend some turn to cross it. While at sea you have to fight pirates of survive storm or strong winds.
Basically turn at sea brings you bad things or nothing. But never will you get wealth at sea.
However each ocean is different. So choose your way depending on your skills.
2. Land Turns (Raid and Plunder)
Once you reach a shore, you can explore lands and if lucky find a settlement to raid and plunder or cross a master to improve your skills.
If unlucky, you will damage your boat or lose crew member in encounters.
Land is the only place where you can gain gold (victory points).
3. My thoughts about the game
I started playing the game by going to Iceland.
4 turns at sea to get there and small damage to my boat.
Once in Iceland I raided a church and gained 30 gold.
Then I read the rules then I re-read the rules.
No obligation to leave Iceland so I raided again, and again, and again.
You can only gain something (additional crew, gold, skills) during land turns.
While at sea you can lose but never gain something.
You can stay at the same place all the time.
All lands are the same.
Consequence: There is no need to travel far. If you want to maximize your score you will travel across North Sea (3 turns) to Scotland or England. There you will raid/repair your ship.
Raid part is throwing dice to determine event, with only decision possible to evade parties too strong for you to beat (or take the risk and challenge them).
At some point you can decide to repair your ship if damaged. But the only way to recruit new crew member or to gain skills is to make the right encounter while on land.
The game is a dice based event game where luck is very important.
I felt like Fate decides the outcome more than the few decisions I had to make.
I found the map and sea system a good idea but crooked by the fact that all lands are the same so exploring far is just a loss of time.
One big improvement in my humble opinion would be to make a rolling table dedicated to each country with specificities so that traveling far could be time consuming but with greater rewards.