Best Viking Board Games – Top 7 List

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Vikings have a special spot in modern Western popular culture. Their image is often far from historical and overly stereotyped, depicting them as almighty mythical warriors with fantasy elements included. My list of the best Viking board games is no different. There are not many that portray Vikings in a strictly historical fashion, most use fantasy elements and game mechanics that don’t necessarily have a direct connection with Vikings.

That’s not outright bad, of course. It’s how the theme works together with game mechanics, that makes a good board game.

Table of Contents

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Vikings Gone Wild

Best Viking Board Games Vikings Gone Wild
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Link to Vikings Gone Wild BoardGameGeek page

Players: 2-4, works best with 2 or 3

Playing time: 45-90 minutes

Ages (complexity): 10+

Setting and objectives

Vikings Gone Wild is set in a fictional world, based on a successful mobile game. The art style is light and fun, almost cartoon-like. Units like Bone Crushers and Pigators, and defenses like Chicken Towers and Sheep Cannons will bring a smile to your face.

Players take on the roles of clan leaders fighting against each other, upgrading buildings, or completing missions, trying to outscore the opponents.

Best Viking Board Games vikings gone wild main board

How is it played?

The playing area consists of the central board and individual player boards, both filled with different cards: buildings, units, special actions, missions, etc.

In a nutshell: each round you will draw cards to your hand and then use those cards to buy units, defense towers, and buildings from the central board and put them on your board, earning points in the process.

A round has 5 phases:

  1. Production phase: gain resources (beer or gold) depending on your breweries and gold mines.
  2. Drawing phase: each player draws 5 cards plus one for each tavern he has build.
  3. Player phase: players use their cards to perform actions. Pay gold or beer to buy buildings, defense towers, or units from the central board, upgrade the town hall or complete a mission (if you fulfill the requirements). You can also attack other players or zombies on the central board. Successful battles bring victory points.
  4. Storage phase: remaining resources must be stored into warehouses (a building type) or they are lost.
  5. End of a round: any remaining hand cards are discarded and all construction and damage tokens are removed.

For an attack to be successful, your total attack value must be equal or higher compared to the building you’re attacking. But beware: if your opponent still has defensive cards in his hand, he can now play them and ruin your plans, introducing a nice combat mini-game.

Each player can only be attacked once per round, which is marked by a damage token. Likewise, buildings erected are not finished in the same turn as they are bought but get a construction token, which is removed for the next round.

Game is played until someone reaches a certain number of victory points, which is different for different player numbers. There are certain milestones on the victory path, where players can draw stronger cards, called Divine Favors.

Best Viking Board Games vikings gone wild cards

Main features:

  • Very easy to learn Viking deck builder with a fun theme and some player interaction.
  • The base game offers balanced gameplay, but with limited replay value. There are expansions available to negate this problem.

Who should buy it?

I would recommend Vikings Gone Wild if you’re looking for a light deck-building Viking themed (with a fun twist) game and also if you’re not afraid to invest in expansions afterward.

Click here to check out the price of Vikings Gone Wild on Amazon


Vikings

Best Viking Board Games Vikings
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Link to Vikings BoardGameGeek page

Players: 2-4, works best with 2 or 3

Playing time: 60 minutes

Ages (complexity): 10+

Setting and objectives

First look at Vikings, you might think of an unimaginative name and a recycled game mechanic. But that’s not fair to the game. OK, you’re right about the name.

In its roots, Vikings is a tile-placement game. You draw tiles and meeples from an innovative auction-type turn-wheel and place them on your personal maps, scoring victory points in the process. It draws a lot of similarities to Carcassonne or Kingdomino, but it also features enough differences to feel original.

How is it played?

The dominant feature of the game is the main board with a rotating wheel. Each round, tile and meeple combinations are randomly drawn and are placed around the wheel, giving them prices from 0 to 11. Players can then buy them together for the listed price. The trick here is that the prices change if someone picks up a combo at the 0 marker. The 0 marker then changes position, reducing prices of all other tile/meeple combos.

But you can only get the 0 tile and meeple if there are no other colors of that meeple available (or if you don’t have any money). But even then it’s worth thinking about it; do you really want to give a discount to other players or can you buy something else. Maybe even bite the bullet and get a ship tile?

Bought tiles and meeples are then placed on individual player boards. Tiles consist of island tiles (left right and center island tiles, so you can build them as long as you want) and ship tiles, that threaten your islands and must be fend off by warriors to score points.

Board is L-shaped and you can place your tiles on any row or column, as long as the features on them connect. Each row is reserved for a certain type of meeple (there are 6 types: warriors, nobleman, scouts, fisherman, goldsmiths, and boatswains) and they interact with each other vertically. Warriors protect them from boats, fishermen provide food for everyone else, etc.

After each round, there is scoring and in the end the player with the most points is the winner.

The trick to scoring is how all your meeples work together with one another. Inevitably, you will have to take a ship tile, which makes meeples below it not score. But only until you place a warrior under the ship tile. He then protects others, allowing them to score, while also scoring extra for the ship itself. Nobles score fame (victory points) directly, while scouts get extra points if they have fishermen and goldsmiths below them.

Goldsmiths don’t provide points. They make money, which is used to buy the tiles in the first place. Fishermen become valuable during scoring – each provides five food and you get points if you overfeed your population or lose points if you don’t produce enough food.

Despite simple rules, with all the elements you have to consider, there is a decent amount of strategy in the game and you’ll be making a lot of decisions that affect not only your board but other player’s boards. You might desperately need that fisherman meeple, but the tile it comes with might not be the best. And it might give access to that 0 tile for the next player. Do you really want to do this?

It’s one of those games where you have to work on everything (since everything counts towards points), but you never really can’t, so you must weigh carefully what options will bring most victory points.

Main features:

  • Easy to learn tile-placement game.
  • Innovative tile-purchasing mechanic.
  • A surprising amount of strategy.

Who should buy it?

If you played Kingdomino and you wished for something with a bit more strategy, especially when it comes to drawing tiles, Vikings are what you’re looking for.

Click here to check out the price of Vikings on Amazon


878 Vikings: Invasions of England

Best Viking Board Games 878 Vikings
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Link to 878 Vikings: Invasions of England BoardGameGeek page

Players: 2-4, best with 2 or 4 players

Playing time: 60-120 minutes

Ages (complexity): 12+

Setting and objectives

Our purest historical (finally Vikings without horns!) board game on the list draws from the events in year 878. Vikings are terrorizing the coasts of England and the locals are trying to fight them off.

878 Vikings is an area control war game, similar to Risk (and even more similar to 1775: Rebellion, a game I featured recently). It’s played in 1 vs 1 or 2 vs 2 teams. The game ends when one of the sides meets their victory conditions for territories held or sign a Treaty of Wedmore.

How is it played?

The game is played on a map of England and it starts with Englishmen controlling all the territories. Vikings start on the seas and invade from there.

There are four factions available to play: Norseman Viking, Berserkers, King’s Housecarls, and Thegn noblemen. Game is best experienced as a 2 vs 2 team battle, where each of the players controls one faction and they work together to outsmart opponents.

Viking’s starting disadvantage is negated by their overall battle strength. Battles are decided by dice and the Viking side gets slightly better odds when rolling. Armies are represented by miniatures and accompanied by leader cards, that give special actions to them. Historical event cards also give additional bonuses.

Turn order is selected randomly for each round, so you can never fully prepare and unexpected things can happen. The player’s turn itself consists of 5 phases:

  1. Gaining reinforcements.
  2. Moving leaders.
  3. Moving normal units.
  4. Resolving battles.
  5. Drawing cards.

Victory conditions add to the asymmetrical nature of the game. Vikings must control 14 territories and English must force Vikings off their island completely. If the Treaty of Wedmore is signed, the threshold for victory is 9 territories held by the Vikings. If they hold less than that, Englishmen win.

Main features:

  • Asymmetric gameplay is felt all across the game.
  • Great team game.
  • Historical accuracy.

Who should buy it?

Anyone who enjoyed Risk and is looking for something more will find an intriguing game in 878 Vikings. If you are interested in the history of the English isles or Vikings, you will enjoy defending (or raiding) even more.

Click here to check out the price of 878 Vikings: Invasions of England on Amazon


Champions of Midgard

Best Viking Board Games Champions of Midgard
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Link to Champions of Midgard BoardGameGeek page

Players: 2-4

Playing time: 60-90 minutes

Ages (complexity): 10+

Setting and objectives

With our next game, we’re sailing into mythical waters. Champions of Midgard is all about slaying monsters. In its core, it is a worker placement game with a very strong theme.

As a typical eurogame, it’s played for victory points.

Best Viking Board Games champions of midgard main board

How is it played?

If you played a game like Stone Age or Lords of Waterdeep, you’ll be right at home. A central board has locations like Blacksmith, Hafter, Hunting Grounds, Sage’s House, Shipwirght, Market, Runesmith, Smokehouse, Swordsmith, etc.

Assigning workers here will give you money, resources, warriors or you pay something to get something else back. You know the drill.

Where it stands out, is that you can also assign your workers to fight Trolls or Draug. Combat is resolved by dice: there are three types of units (swordsmen, axemen, and spearmen) each with their own dice. You decide how many to take into battle. Further negating the influence of luck are special tokens that allow you to re-roll dice in exchange for victory points and a hit point system, which ensures fights are not dependent on just one roll. The combat system is clever, tactical, and has a luck element to spice it up.

Besides regular beasts, there are also stronger ones. These give more victory points, but also require more preparation. You must buy a longship and load it up with warriors and food. After that, there is a random encounter (you may lose some resources, you have to fight another enemy first or, if you’re lucky, you sail to your destination safely), and only after that, you fight the monster.

Champion of Midgard is played over eight rounds. In the end, points are added up.

The gameplay is sleek and fast. After the workers are placed, players can resolve their battles simultaneously, further speeding things up. Simple rules and adventurous theme make this very accessible to casual players – hence the game’s huge popularity.

Best Viking Board Games champions of midgard draugr

Main features:

  • Intuitive, easy to learn game mechanics.
  • Strong theme with beautiful artwork and a sense of adventure.

Who should buy it?

If you like a worker placement game that feels its been built around the theme, Champions of Midgard is well worth checking out. It’s one of the more successful Viking franchises, so there are expansions available if you want to get into it.

Click here to check out the price of Champions of Midgard on Amazon


Raiders of the North Sea

Best Viking Board Games Raiders of the North Sea
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Link to Raiders of the North Sea BoardGameGeek page

Players: 2-4

Playing time: 60-80 minutes

Ages (complexity): 10+

Setting and objectives

In a sense similar to our previous game, but still different enough that it deserves its place under the Sun. In Raiders of the North Sea, you will place workers to assemble your crew and provide them with provisions, so that they can go on raids up north and deliver the goods back to the village for (you guessed it) victory points.

The theme is slightly more serious than in Champions of Midgard – you won’t fight mythical creatures. Instead, you’ll be raiding harbors, outposts, monasteries, and fortresses.

How is it played?

A worker placement game, this one comes with a twist. You only get one worker to place on your turn (and remove another). But there are three different colors of workers – certain locations demand a specific color or give different yields for different colors. You start with a black worker. Grey and white workers can enter the game with raids.

On a turn, you will first decide to either Work or Raid.

Working, you will place your worker in a village, performing his action immediately. Then you pick another worker already placed in the village and remove it, also performing its action. This innovative double-action mechanic, combined with different worker types is what makes this game stand out and gives tactical choices to players.

Buildings in the village provide you with supplies you will need for raids later on:

  • Draw crew cards at the Gatehouse and hire them in the Barracks or discard them at Town Hall (harvesting their Play bonus).
  • At the Longhouse you can offer your goods to the Chieftain (for victory points) or exchange your livestock for provisions.
  • You can gain silver or gold at the Treasury for discarding cards or you can gain silver directly at the Silversmith.
  • Mill gives provisions and the Armory helps you increase the armor of your crew.

When you have your crew lined-up and enough provisions, you can choose to go on a raid. Now you only take one action, but you still take one worker back from a raid location. These are randomly filled before the game with loot (gold, silver, livestock), but can also contain Valkyrie tokens, which injure your crew members.

All raid locations are theoretically available from the start, but some are harder to conquer. To do that, you must fulfill the site’s provision demand and your crew total strength must be high enough. Strength is a combined value of crew, your armor value, and a random factor, determined by dice. If successful, you get loot from that location plus victory points. You must discard a crew member for every Valkyrie token in a raid location.

The game ends if there is only one raid location left, there are no more offerings available in the village, or all the Valkyrie tokens are removed from the board. Basically, you’ll be playing until you raid all the loot available.

With limited actions available each turn, all your workers count and you must decide carefully how to combine their actions in the village. Of course, other players will try to do the same and with limited worker spaces available, you’ve got to be flexible.

This also means that the game flows smoothly. Even though you don’t know what you’ll be able to do until it’s your turn (should someone block your spot), there are always other options and decisions don’t take long to make.

Main features:

  • Innovative, but easy to learn worker placement mechanics.
  • Colorful (green) artwork.
  • Lots of engaging choices.

Who should buy it?

Compared to Champions of Midgard, Raiders of the North Sea offers slightly different game mechanics with more tactical options and features a more realistic theme – a green north compared to mythical monsters.

You decide for yourself which one you like best. Both are good games and you won’t go wrong with either.

Click here to check out the price of Raiders of the North Sea on Amazon


Blood Rage

Best Viking Board Games Blood Rage Box
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Link to Blood Rage BoardGameGeek page

Players: 2-4, best played with 3 or 4 players.

Playing time: 60-90 minutes

Ages (complexity): 12+

Setting and objectives

The end of the world (Ragnarok) is here and Viking clans have one last chance to secure their place in Valhalla. You can achieve glory by pillaging villages, battling with your opponents, accomplishing quests, improving your clan, or just by dying gloriously.

You will collect glory through three ages. After that, the world ends and scores are summarized.

Best Viking Board Games Spiel 2015 - Der Sonntag - Blood Rage I
How is it played?

Blood Rage uses known mechanics like card drafting, deck building, controlling areas, upgrading your engine, and fighting with miniatures and blends them into a fresh mixture.

Players start with their clan sheets, that show their current stats: rage (action points), axes (glory from battles), and horns (unit limit). Also, there are slots to upgrade your leader, your warriors, ships, and monsters. There are four clans in the base game, each with a slightly different flavor.

You perform upgrades, special actions, and unit deployment by drafting cards. Players pass drawn cards back and forth, selecting a card to draft and passing it on, until each player has six cards. That allows for some tactical maneuvers like stealing cards you know your opponent wants or deducting what others have drafted. As there is only one draft per age, it is crucial to get it right.

There are three types of cards: battle cards, upgrade cards, and quest cards.

Game is played in three ages and each age has six phases:

  1. God’s gifts – we already mentioned card-drafting.
  2. Action. You can now perform actions on your cards (usually by paying rage – game’s only resource): placing figures on the map, moving them between provinces, upgrading your clan abilities, placing a quest card on your sheet, or declaring to pillage a province.
  3. Unused cards must be discarded (down to a number specified by age).
  4. Quest cards are checked if they are completed.
  5. Another province (it is known in advance which one) is destroyed, with everything and everyone on it.
  6. Units that have died during the age are released from Valhalla back to players’ inventories.

Your rage, axes, and horns stats can be increased by successfully pillaging provinces with icon showing which stat it will improve. When you declare to pillage, everyone else has the option to come and try to save the province. When players decide which units they will move (this move is free) to defend, they also place a face-down card to enhance their battle ability.

Battle values (together with hidden cards) are then calculated and winner of the battle is declared. Defeated units are sent to Valhalla. Only the pillaging player can receive the benefits of the province and only if he won the fight. Combat system reminds me a lot on Scythe – it has a fixed strength component along with a hidden component without a random factor.

That creates some interesting scenarios where you have to go defend a province, just to deny another player some horns. If you lose, you still get the glory for dying, but then you have to spend rage to put the units back on the map. You have to weigh carefully which battles to fight and win, which to fight and lose and which one to stay clear.

Provinces have a limited number of slots for units – so you roughly know how much strength you need to be able to pillage. Except for the central province, Yggdrasil, which has no limits. In return, it offers higher bonuses. Allowing your opponent to pillage Yggdrasil usually doesn’t end well.

But building up your might to pillage may not be the only path to victory. With a certain combination of Loki cards, you can gain more points by losing battles. Be careful if a player appears to be throwing their units into the grinder!

As clans pillage and fight, another province is destroyed and after the third age, the world slowly comes to the end – and so does the game. Glory is summed up (together with any possible bonuses) and the winner is declared.
Best Viking Board Games Spiel 2015 - Der Sonntag - Blood Rage II
Main features:

  • Great looking theme with beautiful miniatures.
  • Good mix of different game mechanics.
  • Action-packed with plenty of tactical options.

Who should buy it?

Blood rage is unlike anything else on this list. Its great combination of different mechanics makes a bloody good experience. It bridges a gap from traditional eurogames to themed wargames, creating a very tasteful mix. Blood Rage will blow you away.

Click here to check out the price of Blood Rage on Amazon


A Feast for Odin

Best Viking Board Games A Feast for Odin Box
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Link to A Feast for Odin BoardGameGeek page

Players: 1-4, plays well with any number, even solo.

Playing time: 30-120 minutes, depending on player count and game length (short and long variant are available).

Ages (complexity): 12+

Setting and objectives

If you find the games above too simple, there is only one game left for you. A Feast for Odin is the ultimate Viking worker-placement game.

You control a tribe that farms, hunts, explores and raids and your goal is to salvage as much loot and cover your home board with it, earning victory points.

Best Viking Board Games A Feast for Odin
How is it played?

The game has a lot of options and inter-connected moving parts. To help players comprehend everything, the game is divided into 6 or 7 rounds (short or long game) and each round is further divided into phases.

Phases include:

  1. taking a new Viking worker from the banquet table,
  2. harvest food,
  3. explore other boards (Shetlands, Faroes, Iceland, Greenland),
  4. draw weapon cards you need for hunting or pillaging,
  5. place workers and carry out actions,
  6. determine a new starting player
  7. calculate income,
  8. breed animals,
  9. feast (placing food on the banquet table and earning victory points),
  10. claim bonuses (if you have any on your home board),
  11. add new mountain strips for basic resources and
  12. remove Vikings and prepare for the next round.

You can place loot items on your home board at any time. The same goes for playing special action cards, buying ships, and equipping them for whaling or pillaging.

You can place workers into 61 different slots, but they are sensibly categorized:

  • building houses and ships,
  • hunting,
  • managing livestock,
  • producing resources,
  • sailing, occupying new lands.

Many of them do similar things, only at different costs or efficiencies. That means there is always something to do and you will have a lot of options on your turn. More advanced actions require certain prerequisites. For example, you’ve got to have a ship ready and equipped if you want to go pillaging.

Performing actions will lead to you getting loot. These are simply different shaped tiles, that you have to place on your home board and cover the negative points on it. It’s a little puzzle game on its own (similar to Patchwork) and a very smooth game mechanic that is seamlessly implemented.

If your board is not big enough for all your goods – that’s where additional boards (Shetlands, Faroes, Iceland, and Greenland) come into play. You can colonize them as well.

At the end of the last round, points are added together and the winner is declared.

Main features:

  • A large number of mechanics, concepts, and details blended into a masterpiece strategy game.
  • Relatively easy to get into and understand.
  • Offers a lot of options and different paths.

Who should buy it?

A Feast for Odin is one of the best strategy board games available and is definitely the most complex Viking board game available. It’s also (arguably) Uwe Rosenberg’s greatest game and a must-have for any serious board gamer.

Click here to check out the price of A Feast for Odin on Amazon


Conclusion

There you have it. Seven games, each brings something of its own to the table. In some aspects of theme and game mechanics similar, in other different.

I’m sure you’ve found a personal favorite among them. I know I have – it’s Blood Rage. Its mix of different gameplay mechanics together with bloody and action-packed gameplay is truly worthy of Ragnarok.

Click here to check out the price of Blood Rage on Amazon

What is your favorite Viking board game? Is it a game from my list or have I left something out? Let me know in the comments below.

Vasilij

6 thoughts on “Best Viking Board Games – Top 7 List”

  1. Thanks a lot for summarizing such an amazing content about best viking board games. 

    I am a big fan of the Vikings series and these games have become my favorites. So far I have only tried a few computer games but I would like to try these kind of board games. My favorite is A Feast for Odin, and I think this game is very interesting. The fact that it takes a maximum of 4 players and the game does not take more than 2 hours I think it is a great advantage. I can’t wait to play it with my friends. If you don’t mind i will share this article on my social media account.

    Wish you the best, and a happy new year! 

    Reply
    • A Feast of Odin is great, but if you’re new to board gaming, you might want start with something lighter, like Champions of Midgard.

      Reply
  2. Hey Vasilij, have a Happy New Year!

    I like the way these Viking board games are looking, they are attractive even by looking at the images (if people have not got knowledge of them already). By example, Vikings gone wild and Champions of Midgard would make someone curious and wishing to play them since they see how the table looks like :). Then these games are also good at developing some social and strategic skills (that are needed during the game), this can help us in real life situations too!

    And 878 Vikings is somewhat educative too, because it intersects England’s history. I also think that playing board games is useful for consolidating friendships between players!

    Kind regards, Peter

    Reply
  3. Games are one of the best means and ways to make life fun and exciting. Can help to kill boredom especially when played with friends and loved ones. I love board games; With Viking Board Games, it only becomes better. Good to see you share the best Viking Board Games available. I love the manner with which you put this list together and explaining how the games are played.

    Kind regards!

    Reply

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