You may be surprised by this finding, but the Vikings did not spend all their time on warfare. From time to time, they also settled and traded. But while it sounds boring and weird on the paper, the truth may be different.
Do you want to convince yourself about it? Then you have the chance to play board game Jorvík, which was made for us by the favorite designer Stefan Feld. He prepared this news for 2016 under the leadership of Eggertspiele and Pegasus Spiele. The game got its polished equipment in the form of illustrations from Marco Margielsky. This is a reworking of the older game The Speicherstadt (this time including Kaispeicher expansion).
Box has the classic square shape and size, and we see a pair of swords and axes on the lid. The Viking ships clearly puts the game in the environment, so when we open the box, we know what to expect. And it’s primarily a folded game board, that runs along the river and Viking houses are built around it. Players will only use the lower half for the basic Karl version, so they will fold the top part of plan away and place it in the middle of the table.
There is also a classic scoring scale. Players will enjoy a pack of season cards, which will create one full set of seasons stacked on each other. All good cubes need to be put into a bag. Players choose their color, get their board, three viking figures and point markers. Each of the opponents will also receive five coins to start with.
At the beginning of each round, few cards from the seasons deck is revealed (according to the number of players) and puts them on the house positions. Cards can be different and, in addition to capabilities, can bring some raw materials that are drawn from the bag and are immediately placed on the card.
After that, players will show interest in cards by sending one Viking pawn and placing it on a scale below the card. They always have to put their workforce on the lower valued position, so if there’s any figure out there, they place it below it (paying less!). Participants then move to the next stage where, on the basis of the number of characters under the card, get a chance to buy the card one by one (going from above). Its prize is determined by the number of Vikings who have shown their interest.
If the player reconsiders his interest, next in line will get the chance. Once the card finds itself a buyer, he takes the card and puts it in the appropriate place (above the board). At the end of each round, rivals get some new coins, move the newly-acquired cards and also get the raw materials from the boats they bought. And here comes an interesting element, because player can use these cubes immediately on their cards to get points or action.
As soon as the players proceed through the season pack to attack card of the enemy Pictus tribe, the game ends. Players first determine with each other the highest defense, which will score points for repelling their attack. Only then will the final scoring take place, bringing the points from individual cards held by the players. Game ends with victory of whoever scored the most points.
Jorvik is a very interesting and sophisticated auction game. Without it you can not do anything at all in here. Only with the correct card gain, players can get the right property and then use their cards to meet their raw material requirements.
Well, the auctions themselves are really interesting. At first glance, it’s a bit of an endless overtaking, but here players do not remove the pieces away. It’s just queuing for the chance to buy. The sooner you come, the higher the price you will have. And this is a truly unique concept that deserves attention. But at the same time it is the only one in this game, because everything else is already a known combination of mechanics.
Players must choose carefully which cards they are interested in. You will not find any combos that interact with each other, but you need to combine raw materials and cards into sets. But it is also important, because finance is not so easy thing to get.
In addition to the basic version, there is also more complex Jarl game, available for all more experienced players and adds a bit more to it, and thus enriches until now a rather flat experience. The game has plenty of cards that come in seemingly same groups. Luck decides only partially, but at the same time the individual matches are quite similar.
The course is magically mean. You can simply with impunity raise the price of cards that your rivals want, preventing them from getting it.
Illustrations are not the most interesting thing about this game, but the most disappointing thing will probably be the theme itself. It’s too general and uninteresting. Vikings have been here so many times, and this story about the shops and raids of a neighboring tribe is probably not believed even by its author. It just does not work.
In addition, when we are at those things, that are not quite ideal, we need to talk about the game time as well. When you use more complex Jarl rules, you can not expect the lower value than an hour and virtually surely you will have to reserve 90 minutes of time. The card space is limited by the number of players, so the experience is not negatively affected by the number of opponents.
Jorvik is not easy to evaluate. It has a wonderful auction and offers great ways to hurt opponents, but there are problems with the theme and game time. You maybe do not mind viking theme, and the time course can be slightly accelerated. So how is it in the end? Jorvik is definitely a quality entertainment but with small cracks in the whole.
Jórvík is a game about Viking merchants. Does it feel wrong and out of place? Well, the very theme of the game is not really important, which is both good and bad news at the same time. But another and much better news is that Jorvík is a game full of auctions. These form the foundation of the whole course and, above all, are very interesting and original. In addition, players will have the mechanism to make it harder for opponents. And these are elements that make Jórvík fun.