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Subject: Some helpful rules clarifications from the developer! rss

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Tom Chick
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1) Can someone explain how Glamr's tokens work? There's nothing in the manual that explains when the player gets them. From the beginning of the game? When he rolls their respective hammers in battle? What if the tokens are discarded? Considering how much is explained in the rulebook about Glamr, I'm surprised how unclear it all is.

2) Glamr refers to other captains' heroes as "dying". What does this reference? Being discarded? Sacrificed? Both? Neither? Something else?

3) The Asgard card called Donning Megingjord, which can be freely taken by a player, can be sacrificed to "double your Combat Strength during this battle". First of all, this is quite a card considering it's only worth one victory point and you therefore don't have much incentive to hold it. But more importantly, I see no reference anywhere in the game to "Combat Strength". Is this simply the number of swords rolled? What about shields? What an oddly powerful card either way.

4) During Ragnarok, why does Ragnar roll first? Why does Svein Forkbeard roll second, or first if Ragnar isn't in the game? What does it matter? There's obviously some timing issue here that I don't understand.

5) I'm really unclear on the timing and fallout from sacrificing heroes. The rules note that you can sacrifice some heroes to add swords and shields. "Any heroes sacrificed in this way still add their static abilities to the battle". But what about heroes sacrificed for other reasons? For instance, if I sacrifice Ansgar, who allows me to "take one Hero from an opponent's crew and add it to my own", do I still get the bonus from his static ability? Why or why not?

6) Brian Boru, High King of Ireland, has hammer abilities that subtract swords from "your Battle damage". Whose battle damage? And what do you mean by "Battle damage". Defending cities don't take "Battle damage". There is furthermore no reference to "Battle damage" in the rules. Do Brian Boru's hammers just negate enemy swords?

7) Raven-Floki can be sacrificed to allow you to draw a Map card to raid or trade with. Then what? What if you fail to raid, or if you trade? Does the map card go into the card pool? Does it change the card pool size? Does it get discarded?

8) Is there really no indication of which player is which color? What an odd oversight. "Which one of you is green?" was the sort of question folks kept asking every turn. I might have to take a marker to the longships' sails!

I really like what this game is going for, but the text could have definitely used another pass for consistency's sake. This feel like a draft that went to the printer's a little too early. :(

-Tom
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Jeremy Stoltzfus
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Re: A few things aren't clear
Tom, thanks for the questions. I'll answer what I can and hopefully clear some of this up:

1) Glamr's tokens are added upon rolling the corresponding hammer. They can be added again after being discarded.

2) Any time a hero is discarded from another player's crew - this could be following a battle, after being sacrificed, being targeted by an enemy ability, etc.

3) The intent with Donning Megingjord is to double your swords in combat - those could be swords from dice, heroes, etc. It's fairly powerful, yes, but you also essentially have to give up a turn to take it.

4) This is related to their Red hammer abilities.

5) In the Ansgar scenario you mentioned, his static ability would still apply, yes.

6) The VPG developers will have to weigh in on Brian Boru. Originally he lost swords when rolling a hammer, but I believe this changed during development.

7) Raven-Floki's ability does expand the card pool by 1 card, yes. After being added to the card pool he interacts with it as he would any other Map card.

8) As far as I know, there is no way out-of-the-box to mark which player is playing which color.

Hopefully that helped clear things up. Feel free to post any other rules questions here :-)
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steven riola

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Re: A few things aren't clear
Some additional questions that I had answered already, I'll repost here. (All questions answered by
Jeremy Stoltzfus
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*If I lose a battle against a location do I have to retreat to the Northlands?

Regarding losing battles:
You'll only ever retreat to the Northlands upon losing a battle if the battle occurred as the result of an interception. Yep, you can stay there and try again next turn - assuming none of your opponents try to swipe it out from under you in your weakened state!


*If I have three Heroes equipped on my ship and I am to acquire a 4th hero can I determine who I keep and replace an existing hero?

Regarding the hero limit:
You can choose to keep whichever ones you like and discard the extra.
Something else to consider regarding your hero limit question earlier: keep in mind that you need an undamaged ship segment for each hero. So if you have 3 heroes in your crew and lose the red ship segment, you must discard one of those heroes. Likewise, if you lose the red and gray, you must discard down to one hero.
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Tom Chick
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Re: A few things aren't clear
Jerdude, I presume you're Jeremy Stoltzfus? Thanks so much for the thorough reply!

Regarding Glamr, I'm glad to hear the tokens have to come from fighting battles first. When we played, the Glamr player got all the tokens from the beginning; we thought she just wouldn't benefit from hammers. Needless to say, she ran away with the early game. :) But now that you explain it, the intended function makes perfect sense. The idea, which is perfectly intuitive, is that Glamr raises the tokens from those killed in battle. Very thematic!

Pending a reply from someone who can clarify, I'll just assume Brian Boru loses swords when he rolls a hammer. So his hammers actually help the player fighting him? Out of curiosity, what was the thinking behind that? Was Boru a weak leader historically?

Excellent explanation regarding Donning Migingjord! I hadn't thought of it in terms of having to lose a turn to claim the card. Definitely an oversight on my part.

So "Combat Strength" is just swords? And that doesn't apply to shields, huh? Easy enough, but it's really frustrating to see terminology on cards that isn't used in the rules. If I can catch that sort of thing before I even sit down to play, why doesn't the publisher catch it before actually printing the game? So frustrating... :(

At any rate, I really like your basic design and especially the theming! I sold it to my group as a Viking flavored cross between Firefly and Pirates Cove, not quite as involved as Firefly, but not quite as frivolous as Pirates Cover. Both of those games have been big hits with our group, and Villainous Vikings seems to hit a sweet spot in between. I just wish there had been better QA to make the experience a little smoother. I'll be getting it to the table again tonight and your answers will certainly be helpful for us!

-Tom
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Josh Neiman
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Re: A few things aren't clear
Tom,

Sorry to hear that you're finding a few of the aspects of Villainous Vikings confusing or unclear; we always strive for clarity in our games, but there are things that make it past our proof reading and play testing teams despite the hard work we put in.

Here are a few points and clarifications that will hopefully help:

Glamr Tokens: Page 5 of the rules book does explain that Glamr's Heathen Hammer Abilities allow him to add his special minions to his Longship.

Brian Boru: The wording here was a holdover from a previous incarnation of the game that was not caught during testing or proof reading; the intention is that the opponent loses a Sword from his Attack Strength (formerly known as Battle Damage) and since Brian Boru is a Boss, the only opponent involved is the player attacking Dublin.

Player Color: Neither I nor anyone else at VPG ever realized that players would have a hard time recalling who was what color in a game that only has up to 4 players; we'll keep that in mind for future releases.

Hopefully we've answered all of your questions and concerns.

Josh Neiman
Head of Board Game Development
Victory Point Games
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Tom Chick
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Re: A few things aren't clear
Thanks so much for the reply, Josh! I definitely saw the bit on page 5 about Glamr, but I still found it confusing. That read to me as if Glamr's tokens are something he gets instead of hammer abilities, and the way it specifically refers you to a later section of the rules made it even more confusing. Although now that Jeremy has explained it, it makes perfect sense. Similarly, Brian Boru certainly makes sense now that you explain it. Thanks again to both of you.

I once got a game that was supposed to play for a specific number of turns. Five or six, or something, and then the game ended. But it didn't include any way to track how many turns had been played! When I asked the developer about this, he said he never had any problem remembering how many turns had passed. :) It was easy enough to kludge in a solution, but it just goes to show that the folks developing a game can perceive it in unique ways that might not apply to the folks who buy the game. To wit, I've never seen a game where a player's choice of color wasn't somehow represented on his or her side of the table. Again, not a big deal, but it got a bit confusing to us last night.

At any rate, I just want to reiterate that I'm enjoying Villainous Vikings and it is, to my mind, another nice feather in Victory Point's cap.

-Tom
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Jeremy Stoltzfus
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"Jerdude, I presume you're Jeremy Stoltzfus?"

One and the same :-)

"Pending a reply from someone who can clarify, I'll just assume Brian Boru loses swords when he rolls a hammer. So his hammers actually help the player fighting him? Out of curiosity, what was the thinking behind that? Was Boru a weak leader historically?"

In the final version of the game, his hammers negate your (the player's) swords. In early versions, though, his hammers DID negate his own swords. The reason for this was because Brian won a major victory at the battle of Clontarf(sp?) against Mael Mordha and his Viking allies. However, Brian was allegedly killed at the end of the battle while praying in his tent. The hammers working against him were to convey his ill fortune. Thanks for asking, I enjoy the subject :-)
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Tom Chick
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That's awesome, Jeremy. It's a shame that couldn't somehow make it into flavor text. But I guess that's one of the advantages of using historical figures: history itself is your flavor text! :)

-Tom
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G. Gambill
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If an attack on a location is not successful, do you discard the location? We started a game with three locations with bosses and kept getting, literally and figuratively, hammered. If these cards never clear, we will never get to the end of the deck without buying cards which we can't do sine locations are currently too strong for us to raid.
 
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steven riola

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They do not get discarded. Are you sure that the deck was set up properly? I have played 8 games now and we've never had 3 bosses come out that quickly.

Are you utilizing the bribe option to decrease what they roll by a die?


 
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John Buffington
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One other question that I can't seem to figure out.

When we go to a location we generally put or ships one one of the ship symbols by that area, but we don't understand why there are two. Are we missing something?

Other than that, awesome awesome game!
 
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steven riola

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When a second player moves there, there is a location for them to place their ship, in the case that they're intercepting your longship. At least that's how it feels thematically.

 
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John Buffington
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thearkhammonk wrote:
When a second player moves there, there is a location for them to place their ship, in the case that they're intercepting your longship. At least that's how it feels thematically.



That works for me!

We were just kind of slamming them into each other.
 
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Josh Neiman
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If you had 3 Locations with Bosses at the start of the game you setup the initial deck incorrectly; in Age 1 there are only 2 Locations that could have Boss Heroes on them. If you have questions about creating the Journey Pool Deck, please let us know and we'll be happy help.

Josh Neiman
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Tom Chick
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raouldukehst wrote:
One other question that I can't seem to figure out.

When we go to a location we generally put or ships one one of the ship symbols by that area, but we don't understand why there are two. Are we missing something?

Other than that, awesome awesome game!


Steven's right. It's where the ships sit when you're resolving interception, after which one of the ships will go to the Northlands. Otherwise, there will only ever be a single ship at any location.

-Tom

EDIT: Oops, it looks like I'm mistaken based on another thread here. In which case, why aren't there four spots for ships at each location? My assumption was the two ships can never share a location except for when they're resolving interceptions.
 
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steven riola

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Now I'm confused... What did I miss.
 
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Josh Neiman
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There can only ever be one Viking ship in each region unless the two are involved in an Interception Battle. As the rules state, the player who was already in the region has to decide whether or not to Intercept or Retreat to the Northlands when the second boat enters the region.

The only time a player can remain in a Region after losing a Battle is after Battling a Location, but they can still be forced out if another player enters the region, forcing an Intercept or Retreat.

Josh Neiman
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Tom Chick
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Okay, sorry, I had it right the first time! I obviously misread the other thread. Gah.

-Tom
 
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Maurice Fitzgerald
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Just a recommendation to throw out to everyone regarding knowing your ship colors. What I did was add some extra cubes I have lying around to the box for marking damage (to keep track of how many extra ticks of damage I've taken per ship section not already flipped over) and then colored cubes for each corresponding ship color. I have everyone place them on their captain card so you can easily note who is who by a glance, including the players themselves so there's no confusion. :)
 
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