Review: Völuspá – when the gods fight, players win
Listen to the story of birth. From the roots of Yggdrasil, trolls worked to build a world for the gods. And it was called Asgard. Golden gate and city with its guardian. A place, from where can they govern and oversee everything and everyone below. One of those worlds on Yggdrasil tree is ours.
Recite with us Völuspá lyrics: I’m not alive. These pills are my mind and I invite thieves inside to steal my soul. They’ve been dancing down my throat in the form of smoke. You were born to start; programmed to stop, born to fly; expected to drop. Obvious to the touch, invisible to the eye; bottoms to the sky. So far from safe but so close to sound. So high that every step you take will miss the ground. Fortunate son, didn’t you know that the sky is painted on? So stop living your life around alarms. Tonight we are invisible, all we are is ghosts, all we breathe is smoke.
Famous tree gave birth also to game, that should commemorate us this myth. Its author is Scott Caputo and the game was published in production of White Goblin Games. Entire box and its contents are embellished with illustrations from Piero, which we know already from images in Ghost Stories.
On the lid, you will find authors resemblance of Odin, bearded man surrounded by many other well known characters all coming from Norse mythology. But we are already impatiently lifting the lid and start to discover mysterious contents of box made of hard cardboard.
There are mainly sheets with square tiles, around which everything in the game will revolve. Altogether there are 85 of them with twelve different portraits. Each character is represented here in portrait with different numbers. Those depend on strength of that particular person, so you got an interesting and balanced experience.
Company to them make also five wood tokens lying at the bottom of the box, which will be used to mark your earned points. Where? On the scoring board, whose entire width is occupied by fifty boxes and its dimensions are true to size of the whole box. On the other hand, you can not miss stylish portrait of Odin drawn on back side of this big board.
Now we are left with only a small tokens used for marking gain of more points, than fifty. And believe us, that in this game, you will definitely need it, because point scores are high. Moreover if you play right. And not just those with 50+, but also second side, which helps you to jump into the world of three-digit point numbers.
Rules are short, everything fits easily on four A5 pages, including colored examples and the page describing the general content. And it does not indicate anything other than a good news – Völuspá is really simple and enjoyable game.
But before we plunge into our first game, we will tell you another good news. There is also hidden an expansion in the box with basic game, serving as a bonus you get with game. Its called Saga of Edda and includes four characters, that are stronger and offer special effects.
Without them you will have a total of sixty pieces in the base game. Each of them, in addition to the image itself, also contains an icon indicating its ability and possibly special rules for playing.
At the beginning of every game, you must prepare scoring table somewhere on table and place a token in your chosen color on number zero. You start there. Tokens with plus fifty and hundred points are put beside for now. You can take it in your possession, once your token jumps over its first fifty points.
All characters pieces are shuffled and put in several columns beside the board. From there, you will draw them. But now you still have to draw your starting hand consisting of exactly five god tiles. Moreover, you must draw another one common piece, which is put at the center of the table. Around it will be focusing first few turns.
Your turn is nothing complicated. At the beginning, you choose one of tiles in your hand and try to attach it. This is done, so your connect it to group of those already located on the table and try to gain as points for playing it. If for some reason you are unable to attach any of them, you can throw one away and draw new instead. Otherwise, you play tile and collect points and draw replacement for played god tile. This ends your turn and your rivals come alive.
But as you have already correctly guessed, playing and interaction of individual pieces of those characters is heart of the whole game. In most cases, you simply earn points by playing god with highest power (value) in a row or columns. At the same time, you are also able to perform some tile specific action and influence further course of the game.
So if you add a piece with a highest number in a row or column on table, you will get one point for each tile the series consists of. Draws do not count. To get points, you have to jump value of all the others tiles and only then can you celebrate.
Most of the cards has also some additional capabilities, you can prepare good starting position for the next turn (such as zeroing value of some tiles, which can be done by playing Loki, who is otherwise quite weak), block opponents (you can never put anything next to a troll), or attack other tiles with a dragon. This fiery creature is able to overlap others with its wings and take over its position.
But we have here also Fenrir the Wolf, whose strength multiplies with the number of wolves in a row or column, just as would advise his pack mentality. While one has strength only four, two have already eight and three great and unbeatable twelve. But length and number of tiles in column and row is limited to a maximum of seven tiles. Beyond that it should not extend under any circumstances.
This limit is the greatest difficulty, you will encounter in the game from a strategic standpoint. You have to work your way by beating opponents tiles and play tiles using their special powers. Numbers of tiles on table is growing in all directions quickly and then you have to think carefully, where to add new ones, so you do not lock your options for future turns.
Game stops at point, when you eventually run out of pieces in stock, but also in your hands. At that moment a fight immediately ends. You do not get bonuses fo anything else and it all depends solely on, what you have accomplished so far. Whose token arrived on the scoring line farthest is the winner.
Völuspá is not about anything more than laying of tiles. These have actually nothing in common together and are each independent. Their placing does not create any world or anything like that. On the other hand, characters and creatures are fighting each other for supremacy in rows and columns.
The game, however, thanks to five tiles in your hand offers nice strategic options. While maintaining very pleasant simplicity and directness. The game does not run anywhere nor will it burden you with any complexities, you just have to figure out the best place for pieces in your hand.
Option is to ask, what can give you more points, while each decision can also have a different impact in the long term. So you have to think not only in the present, but plan ahead. Although you can spoil things for your rivals by ruining their visible plans, thanks to immediate points earning, there is no real conflict. Once the tile is there, its everyone’s property. You can only block their way and annoy them with some decisions.
Expansion offers more options. It complicates the game for those, who might find the basic version too simple. The options on offer are pusing a piece away, creating holes in rows and similar horseplay. Saga of Edda is a welcome enrichment to the basic game, especially after multiple matches.
Fortunately, thanks to shuffled tiles, games are always a little different. And so is a game board, where you try to accumulate victory points. Simple principle of profit for the length of line, when you master it, is absolutely sufficient and does not require any additional unnecessary complexity.
Völuspá is a quick game of connecting tiles, which entails surprisingly pleasant strategic tickle. It is not difficult and you can play it without any problems even with beginners. But it will also entertain more advanced players. In conjunction with its beautiful graphics, it becomes an interesting candidate for expanding collection for all fans of lighter games.
Review: Völuspá – when the gods fight, players win
Völuspá is a tile-laying game, where you will experience real supernatural forces in your hands. You will be shifting the whole world balance with small square tiles played out of your hands and compile a map of Asgard. NO column or row of this location can have more than seven members. Whenever you put a most powerful god in line or column, you gather point for every character in that formation. Simple gameplay guarantees elegant experience, while game maintains nice strategical depth. You will be missing only a little more conflict, which is quite lacking. Much of your decisions is based on tiles you have, but usually, you have several places to put them. Match is guided also with excellent illustrations and iconography. There is also an expansion right there in the box waiting for you to explore it and prolongs your existence in this world, which is also interesting with its nice and quick gametime. Völuspá is a pleasant entertainment, which can be only recommended..
Reader Rating0 Votes
simple mechanic of tile building
enough tactical options
nice topic and illustrations
you will find also expansion in the box
every character has its own specific abilities
entertaining and tense in all player numbers
blocking, trumphing and removing of tiles
its difficult to hold tiles in your hand
players do not own anything on table, meaning conflict is only in stealing rows from each other