This post is a bit of an experiment. I’m not planning to do a full review for this game (as I’ve only played one game so far, but I just wanted to write down some thoughts in it. Please let me know if this is something you like to see more on this blog, or maybe you think I should just stick to the more extensive reviews….
A friend of mine shot me a message a couple of days ago, asking if I was interested in trying out his copy of Blood rage. The general consensus seems to be that this is a great game so I was more than happy to oblige. We got a group of 4 together and after a quick rundown got straight into it.
In this game you are a clan of norsemen trying to gain the most glory by invading and pillaging your way through midgard and fighting glorious battles. It’s played over three rounds, which all start with the players drafting 6 cards out of a hand of eight. You can get upgrades for your clan, setting you apart from your opponents, call in the aid of terrifying monsters and upgrade your warriors, leader and ships. There are also battle cards and quest cards thrown into the mix and especially in the first round, we were all still looking for what would work for us. Each clan also has three stats they can improve during the game: Rage, Axes and horns. Rage is used as currency for getting warriors and monsters out and moving around the board. Axes depict the amount of glory points you get for winning battles and horns depict the maximum number of figures you can have on the board.
The board is divided into several regions that can each be pillaged. This is where combat between players can (and probably will occur). If a region has free spots left, other players in an adjacent region can answer the call to battle and join in. Every participant plays a card and higher value (figures + cards) wins. The winner gains glory and if he was the pillager an upgrade to a stat. He ditches his card though. The losers mini’s go to valhalla, but he retains his cards.
A round lasts until either all regions have been pillaged or everybody is out of rage. Ragnarok happens (in a region marked at the beginning of the round) destroying figures, but gaining glory. Also quest cards you played will be scored. If you have cards left, keep one and then go to the next round. Rinse and repeat two times and the game is done.
I’m not entirely sure how I should rate Blood rage. The card drafting was really fun and it was nice to see everyone explore different strategies. The mini’s are stunning and the game has a nice pace to it. Somehow though, our play kind of left a very bad taste in my mouth. One player was going for a ‘loki strategy’. Through a combination of cards, losing battles and models got this player more points then all players winning battles. He sapped the other players of combat cards (you have to commit a card during every combat) and then went ahead and lost, gaining a crapload of points and keeping his own cards. A viable strategy to be sure, but somehow this really felt counterintuïtive to me. The monsters were great and had some pretty nice abilities, so that was a plus for me. It also felt less ‘ameritrashy’ to me then I expected (Hooray for diceless combat). To be completely honest, it actually felt like I was playing an area control game with really nice looking miniatures.
All in all, there is a lot speaking for this game, but I’m not nearly as enthousiastic as most other people I’ve heard about it. I think I’d rather play chaos in the old world..
Initial rating: 7/10