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878: Vikings – Invasions of England» Forums » Sessions

Subject: War for Land and Gods rss

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Steven Townshend
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Yesterday I got to try out the War for Land and Gods expansion module with two friends. We had previously played the base game (although we got a few key rules wrong). This time, with a firm grasp on the rules we dove in to the expansion material. For this particular game we:

- Used the War for Land and Gods expansion module
- Used Ragnar and Lagertha
- Tried customizing decks (each player gets the 7 movement cards and then chooses the 5 event cards he/she will use).
- There were 2 Viking players, one English player

Reading the rules wasn't enough to give me a solid impression of the way the game would play; I needed to play it to truly understand it; the strategy felt just as intense as the base game, and then some.

Because I (as English) always seem to lose East Anglia first, I put most of my starting reinforcements there. Huscarls were the first to act, so East Anglia got more reinforcements. This didn't stop Ragnar from coming in and sweeping them all off the board in turn 2. Then the Vikings built forts, which prevented the English from even dreaming of retaking East Anglia until Alfred appeared in round 5.

Forts proved to be deceptively good. They were difficult for the English to retake without some form of trickery (event cards like Archers). The Vikings continued to turn their forts into settlements, increasing the number of Vikings that were able to storm England.

Even so, Churches also proved to be great for the English. The Vikings didn't go after many churches in the beginning, but as they plundered churches and the English gained plundered Church tiles, spending those tiles in defense of vitally strategic shires was paramount to slowing the Vikings down or stopping them. For instance, drawing a 5 Fyrd card to defend and then cashing in a plundered Church tile and drawing another 5 Fyrd was very nice (and lucky).

Speaking of luck, the English once rolled 3 Thegn dice and 2 Fyrd dice and scored 5 hits; on another roll, 5 flee results. I'll probably never see 5 hits from a combined Fyrd/Thegn army again, but it was cool.

Rather than invade the north this time, the Vikings pressed heavily into Essex, Sussex, and Wessex, which made me (as the English player) very nervous, since that's where a lot of my reinforcements are coming from. I'm also very wary of Mercia and Northumbria since I know that Northumbrian Discord and Ceowulf are going to lay waste to my northern armies. This is where the custom card decks affected the game in new ways:

Having played Vikings a couple times before, I expected cards to come into play that didn't come into play--and subverting that expectation was very cool. I was surprised that neither Ceowulf or Northumbrian Discord was played (in the case of Ceowulf it was near the bottom of the deck), so this was the first game that the English held the north for a long time--I hadn't seen it happen.

Much of the game was a push and pull over Wessex, with the Vikings invading and digging in. When round 5 came, both the English and the Vikings had 1 treaty card apiece played. As the English player I thought I'd try to take as many cities back as possible and end the game. Unfortunately, both the blue and the green cube were drawn first in the round, but I decided to risk it.

In the final round (round 5) the English took back part of East Anglia with Alfred, and took Kent and Oxford back with other armies so that the Vikings were only left with about 4 cities. Oxford had been a constant battleground throughout the game--not because it holds a great reinforcement area, but because under English control it's one more shire the Vikings have to take before invading Mercia from the south. With both treaty cards out on the English side, and both housecarls and thegns having taken their turns, the Vikings got to go last with a double turn.

They almost did it. They came in with Rollo and Lagaertha, attacking from the Irish Sea and the English Channel. They hit the weak cities and plundered their Churches one by one. The Churches (and the two Ambush cards held by the Thegns) were instrumental in the Vikings' defeat. As the Vikings burned Churches, additional Fyrd began to appear in each battle. The Vikings did exceptionally well, taking city after city and from two directions--however those plundered Churches slowed them down just enough that they were only able to take 8 of the 9 cities they needed before running out of movement.

The War for Land and Gods was a nice strategic overlay onto the base game--not overly complex, but different enough to be engaging. I had never customized a card deck in a "Birth of" game before (always using the basic "first play" decks) and I especially enjoyed the variance and unpredictability that this caused.












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uwe eickert
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Great AAR and nicely painted pieces!

Gunter
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Steven Townshend
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Thanks, Gunter. Great work on the expansion. It was really fun to play.

Also discovered Wardruna in the week prior to playing this game, the result of a "Viking music" Google search. It's the ultimate music for this game!

Here are a few extra photos from the game.











The promo cards just arrived from BGG. Viking Hero could have won the Vikings the game. Ah well--next time. I'm excited to try the other expansions, specifically Kingdoms and Epic Battles.
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uwe eickert
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Mind if we post some of these to our social media. Have fun with the expansions and promo cards!

Gunter
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John Eldon
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The profile picture is of the first cruise ship I worked on called the TSS Canberra. I ended up spending 10 years working on this ship. The plane in the photo is a British "Canberra" bomber taken from the Rock of Gibraltar
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Just ordered the promo cards from BGG
Thanks for letting us gain access to them!
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Jon Snow
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Its great to hear your experiences with the expansions. They certainly look worth trying. I wonder if Gunter planned some of them to be "standard" once you learn the game. I also like how they are all historical!
 
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