I received my copy of this amazing game last week, and took it to a gameday on Saturday in the hopes that I would find some brave souls to battle to the death. I carried some Viking helmets with me as well, to add to the authenticity of our experience.
I don't think anyone has ever said a bad thing about the components of Blood Rage. Ever. And I'm not about to.
I love the minis, and the player sheet (which perhaps could have been thicker) is brilliantly laid out and extremely helpful and clear.
It's a gorgeous game, and a real visual treat. We often found ourselves looking closely at the minis while waiting for our turns.
In our second game, there was a guy just walking by, and we lured him into the game, even after he suggested that he would just watch. He was thoroughly amazed at the speed with which we could teach him the game, and while there are things that you definitely don't fully internalize on your first play, you are up and running in under 15 mins (which is impressive for a game like this).
Yes there are times when you have to wait for someone to try and do the math, and yes there are times when someone has to agonize between two tough choices, but mostly the turns are super-quick. I can't wait to try the Five Player expansion, as I love the interactions when you get to higher player counts, and I don't think that down time is going to be a problem, especially given the neat 'call to battle' mechanic that keeps people engaged even on other turns.
There are some great synergies to be had, and strategies to be tried. Is it possible to go for a Loki strategy that still gets you enough victory points and pillage rewards so that you're not just sitting there with a bunch of cards and a bunch of rage and nothing to do?
This is not a game for turtles. It's a game for out and out carnage. We had wonderfully raucous and ridiculous convergence on Yggdrasil towards the end of our game, where I decided to hold back a couple warriors in the province set to explode in Ragnarok, and ended up TIED, despite using 8 figures and 2 cards.
I tried to play this game like I would a strategic Euro, and anyone that's played this game will probably not be surprised to hear that I failed. Badly. That's just not the way to do it.
You've got to immerse yourself in the theme and the coolness and the AMAZING minis, and just revel in the glow emanating from Valhalla. Yes there are cool combos. But that's not strategy. Yes there is bluffing and guessing. Again, not strategy.
This game is unbelievably fun. There's backstabbing, and take that, and why didn't you? It's a real emotional roller coaster. Friends get grumpy with one another. Enemies give each other high fives. And everyone marvels at the beautiful minis.
Stop resisting. Go out and buy this game!