Every new game has something special about it that convinced a publisher to take the plunge on it. Fewer games have something new about them, and of those games you rapidly realise that the something new is no more than cosmetic surgery. So in this day of abundance for euro games it is rare to fund something new. But here it is the veeple.
How can one not rant and rave about the veeple. Face the facts the camal meeple (kmeeple) was good but the veeple is better. The veeple has hats and horns, bright colours and serves no purpose beyond that of a simple location indicator. It truly is a brilliant game piece. Perhaps my rating of the game has something to do with the pure genius of the veeple. Or perhaps I just like big burly Nordic men but either way this is a super game.
In fact Vikings was a breath of freshness. Thats why I call it a freshie. I can’t say these things haven’t been done, but the game just wafted freshness and there were numerous things I felt were a little different.
The board and art is pretty stock standard, and there is little about it that says Vikings. The pictures are fine, the colours don’t create any conflicts and I thought it supported game play. There is nothing more frustrating that having good art make game play difficult like in the first edition of Medici. Actually I’m not sure they sorted that in second edition. The board though comes into its own with the price wheel. I also enjoyed the T square that forms the basis of your board. Neither of these features are totally unique but near enough too. Name two games that use a variable price wheel. My point being those features seemed fresh to me and my peeps and we must have at least 1500 games combined this year. Then ofcourse there is the mighty veeple. Combing the symbolism of euro gaming (the meeple) with the heroic story of vikings, and you get a fantastic piece. I know I’m over reacting, but I really enjoyed the freshness of the board and pieces.
The game play itself has strategic purchasing. The advanced variant has bidding. Either way there is enough complexity there to force the egg timer onto the table, and enough luck for your to curse your place on the board. There was a funny situation where, if you were last, you would almost certainly know what your final piece would be and could plan accordingly. Other than this the acquisition phase had everything you could want.
Other than this it was basically just optimisation. The competitive element comes in the bidding but ultimately much of your score comes in the management of those acquisitions and how they combine together.
Like a good euro there are a ton of bonus points, and bonus points themselves are a path to victory. Arguably you will not win unless you have some decent bonus points. And the bonus points, although calculable re so many that the game outcome is not altogether clear.
In conclusion this ones a freshie. It’s not the adventure game of Vikings of old, pillaging in their ships, destroying great cities. But heck its got fresh features, fresh game play and it s got VEEPLES. AS others have said, "Go the mighty VEEPLE".
The compass always points to Terrapin.
I've got to agree on many points, the most important of which is that this has a sense of freshness about it. We play with the hybrid rules (basic game + bonus tiles and adjust boatmen, but no bidding or variable viking color order). Makes for a great game!