While I have played this game many times before, this is the first time I have played it since starting Now Rolling. Don’t worry about duplicates unless it is different gameplay (Imperial Assault Campaign mode).
Grab your axe and get to the the ship, there is glory to get in Blood Rage!
In this viking game, you take control of one of four clans (five if you buy the expansion) and compete on dominating the land before Ragnarök (end of the world/apocalypse type bad stuff). The game lasts three ages and the board decreases in size each time an age passes to force more interaction and conflict.
You start off by drafting a hand of seven cards (real barbaric, I know). This is a very important part to the game because it dictates your strategies through the current age. There are three types of cards. Combat cards are what they sound like. Upgrade cards deal with improving your warriors, leaders, clans, boat, and even monsters. And probably most important, Quest cards pertain to controlling land and the death of your clan.
Once you have your hand, everyone takes turns playing cards and using Rage/action points until everyone is out of said Rage/action points. If you have any left over cards, you can keep one from age to age. Next you reveal played quest cards, invoke Ragnarök on the predetermined location, and release all your of your clan from Valhalla. Then you start the card drafting all over again until the third age, where you count up the points and see who brought more glory to Odin!
There are some finer details on what actions you can take, which are conveniently on your player mat, but that is really it. That’s a big bonus in my book, it is quite easy to play and teach. Draft cards, play actions until you have none, score points, and repeat. It feels like it might have some heft to it but nothing crazy heavy. Though you can get bogged down with which cards to pass during the drafting.
The drafting can be slow but it is really fun to see how your strategy will play out from round to round with the cards. And being able to get some cards you want really feels great. While I have won most of the time I have played, the times I lost either came from extremely excellent players or not card drafting. Can’t stress how important the card drafting can be, whether you are drafting cards to make your clan stronger or taking cards so your neighbor will not get a matching set of Loki’s cards.
Every time a figure dies, it is moved to Valhalla to rest and wait until they are released. One of the more interesting parts of this game are the cards that give you Glory for losing in battles. This means that players who are not good at conflict games, can still win from losing every battle. It is a nice system that makes the powerful clans think twice about killing everyone on another team or someone who just throws their warriors into battle haphazardly.
If I had to complain about this game, it would be the potential analysis/paralysis in card drafting and that I feel I have already see everything it has to offer. Granted, it is one of the games I’ve played most this year (5+ times), but I am not sure if there is much more depth to be extracted outside of over metagaming it. That isn’t to say it is a bad game by any means, but I am glad I know a lot of people who own it so I can play it when I want but not have to own it myself.
Blood Rage does a great deal to capture the cavalier concept of Vikings running into battle for the glory of death and shows it in spades. The miniatures are astounding (just look at the pics), the gameplay is fine-tuned, and ease-of-play is top notch. There aren’t many games out there like that. The game even provided me the option to win without embodying the berserker, combat-craving ideal with all my warriors. Doesn’t mean I didn’t provoke my enemies into pointless combat which gave me all the Glory I needed to secure my place next to Odin himself.
Be sure to check out CJ’s review, for his better analysis on the game!
Publisher: Cool Mini or Not
Genre: Area Control/Card Drafting
Player Count: 2-5 (w/expansion)
Duration: 120+ minutes
*Miniatures come unpainted, the owner of this copy painted it himself and based them as well.