This week the Appalachian gamers had the opportunity to try out Asmodee’s newest offering, Fire & Axe. It was a game that I had been awaiting for some time and Charlie was able to pick the game up for me at a convention over the weekend.
The game itself comes in a nice large box and is one of the larger games I now own (only Shogun is bigger.) Everyone was impressed by the map and the bits included with the game. Ted had the chance to play the original Viking Fury and was impressed with the upgraded bits. Lots of plastic Vikings, cities and towns and plenty of coins and other counters are included. The rule book is well written and nicely illustrated and the cards are large, have good art and a nice finish. All said, a quality production and well worth the price.
I pulled out the rulebook and read while the others sorted the bits, counters and cards. Setting up was a bit difficult but would have been much easier had I noticed that the game parts are illustrated on the back of the rulebook. I was working from the picture in the front and it took a bit longer to identify everything. It didn’t take long to get through the rules and with the others having worked to get things ready we were ready to begin our saga.
The players were:
James – Known as James the Deceiver, Worshiper of Loki
Tony – Called Tony the Bloody (his own blood…), and also Tony the Unlucky, Tony the Foul (nobody wanted him to settle in their area) and a variety of other names
Charlie – Named Charlie the Fair and also Charlie the Great because he is the one who got the game for me!
Me – Dave the Vengeful and Dave the Continually Conspired Against
We randomly determined the start player and it happened to be me. I have to say that initially it was slow going. You have 7 days/actions and at first we were a bit lost as to what direction to take. Early turns took awhile but I think we started to speed up as we became more comfortable with the game and actions. We were also able to prepare for our turns in advance as we became more familiar with things and some later turns went very quickly.
From the start, I decided to focus on some Saga points and went for a Denmark saga that happened to be out there. Charlie started to gather Norway Sagas. James was content to start settling very early. Tony, on the other hand, seemed to have trouble doing anything. His die rolling was horrendous for much of the game. His attempts at raids were beat back time and again even against towns which had trade tokens (trade tokens on a town make it easier to raid.) When attempting to settle he was rejected time and again. To say he was unlucky would be an understatement.
While the game is often played in a solitaire fashion we did enjoy the interaction that the rune cards gave. In one case James was going to complete a saga I wanted by sacking Paris. He had the port blocked but I had a rune card that allowed me to move him out of the way and which allowed me to raid Paris and complete the saga. Later in the game James would return the favor by kicking me out of Constantinople, allowing Tony to complete that raid (earlier in the game Tony had several unsuccessful raids on that city…thus earning his moniker The Bloody.) In another case, Charlie made me lose a trade token that set me back a turn and allowed him to complete a saga that I would have otherwise been able to finish (they had to conspire against me as I was clearly the strongest Viking and none of them alone could have beat me!) The interaction can be quite vicious at times given the right set of rune cards and circumstances which certainly adds to the game.
As the game was coming to a close we weren’t exactly sure who was going to win. James, however, was able to take the lead away from Charlie in Norway sagas which caused a huge point swing in his favor. I tried to slow James down a little by killing a couple of settlements but in the end he turned out to be the victor. The final scores were:
James – 214
Me – 186
Charlie – 144
Tony – 138
The game was closer than it seems because of the big swings at the end. One saga card less and James would have only tied for Norway cards. This turned out to be a 30 point swing for James. Tony also managed to keep a Sweden card out of my hands that would have helped a little. In addition James managed to split the bloody axe bonus with me as we both had 5 cities each. Had I been able to take Constantinople I would have owned that bonus by myself, which would have been a 15 point swing.
Everyone enjoyed the game. James thought the game was a bit long and others agreed but we also thought some of that had to do with the fact that we were learning the game and future plays would probably be quicker. It is probably going to hit the table next week as well because some of the other members of our group want to try it out. I’ll be happy to teach the game and try my hand at being the greatest Viking next time around.
- Last edited Sat May 19, 2007 12:48 pm (Total Number of Edits: 2)
- Posted Thu Apr 5, 2007 12:08 am