Monday, 18 January 2016

Playing Blood Rage

Another gaming day! Weee!
This time my pal brought Blood Rage. The KS campaign got my attention back in the day, but as I had just got into the Conan KS, I had to restrain myself and let this one go. Anyway, I'm a lucky guy, got to play anyway! :D

The game is... different. Totally original (at least for me!). The Ragnarök is upon us! Beware, mortals! There is no way of escaping, no way of stopping it. It's just the end of the world. Deal with it. But... what would a Viking do under such circumstance? Resignate and whine, boo-boo? Hel no!
Well, I guess one plausible answer could be 'get drunk til the end of all things'. But we really didn't need a boardgame for that, so let's explore the other choice, i.e., Vikings will face the Ragnarök defying death and with no fear for their imminent doom, but earning glory and a place in the halls of Valhalla!

That's right, there is no way of winning this game. No hope for survival. You are not gonna make it, the sooner you get used to the idea, the better. So the whole point of the game is just dying in style, savaging villages and killing those weaklings from other clans, who will not achieve as much glory as you!

This is the game. Beer not included
The game is 2-4 players (I think the KS allowed some expansion for more). We were three for this game, each one representing a clan (Bears, Serpents and Ravens). It all takes place around Yggdrasil and the regions of Mannheim, Jotunheim and Alfheim, each of one divided in provinces and with their own villages to sack. At the beginning of the game, two provinces were already destroyed (wow, this escalated quickly!) and two Gods (randomly selected) were in play (in this case it was Frigga -who, gaming-wise, saves lives during battles- and Heimdall -who allows everyone to see each other's cards during battles. We'll get there in a while).

How does the game work? Your goal is to achieve Glory. The most you kill (and sometimes even die!), the more points of Glory you'll get. Each turn a province will be destroyed (no kidding, the Ragnarök is quite a serious thing!), the order is randomly determined before the game starts.
At the beginning of each turn you have a number of 'Rage points', which in fact are your 'currency', you'll expend them in fulfilling actions until you have none left. So, for example, invading a province will cost you 1 Rage point (clan leaders can do it for free!). Summoning a creature will cost X Rage points (you must have selected that creature from your deck of cards at the beginning, in quite another original process of configurating your deck of special features).

Another regular day at Jotunheim. Invaders, drakkars... meh
Pillaging a village is the most evident way of improving your resources. Besides, it's most likely when you get the chance of having a decent battle. And battles, of course, mean glory. In our game, the Clan of the Bear attacked a village in the province of Gimle. The leader of the Clan of the Serpent tried to avoid it, but she was outnumbered, as the Bears had summoned a Sea Serpent.

How ironic! The Clan of the Serpent, defeated by a serpent!
When in battle, you sum up the total of the rage value of each of your warriors, and then you can add a card from your deck, resolving any special effect it may have. The winner (in this case the Clan of the Bear) pillaged the village and the leader of the Clan of the Serpent, slain, is taken to glorious Valhalla. The leader of the Bear moved into Yggdrasil.

Quite a similar thing happened between Serpents and Ravens in Horgr
Cards play a major role in the game. Some of them are Clan upgrades, or allow you to summon a creature of legend. Some of them are Quests, quite a quick way of gaining glory for your Clan (and maybe the chance of having a song written!). Some give you glory for dying in the Ragnarök (i.e., in the cataclism that devastates a province at the end of the turn). That kind of stuff. The deck is renewed each turn with new cards, so you can bet there is a lot of variation during the game.

Beginning of turn 2 was promising for the Bears
At the end of the turn, another province is destroyed (people dying there earn glory!). After that, all dead minis from the clans come back from Valhalla (you can assume it's a gift from the Gods to your bravery), the gods on the board change position among the provinces and it all starts again. A new age begins!

The Sea Serpent is slain at Myrkvlor (which will be destroyed at the end of this turn!)
Ravens begin to crowd the province, awaiting for death to come upon them with glory
But who can resist the promise of a good pillage? The Clan of the Serpent brought a Valkyrie into battle:

However, in the presence of Frigga, no warrior will die today
Such restriction doesn't apply in the vicinity of Yggdrasil, so the Serpent's Valkyrie and the Dark Elf of the Ravens added their strenght to battle for the Tree:

Apparently the Ragnarök is quite an extreme solution for overpopulation
With some devastating effects:

Lots of glory were earned that day
By now you can get how the system works. The beginning of the third age (third turn) just meant... total war!

When I get to paint the minis, this mess is going to look better
There were some really fierce, bloody battles, all the players using their most powerful cards with no restriction

BTW, the tokens in the low part of the pic are the Glory Markers, on their Glory track
Inevitably, after some other Quests, battles, pillage and gifts from the Gods, it all came to an end.

This is the end, my friend...
So this was it, "victory" for the Clan of the Bear, the one that succumbed with more glory. The stories of their bravery and boldness will live on through generations in ballads, lays and songs, for they... Ehh, wait a minute. If this was the end of the world... there will be nobody to remember you! Gasp!

The game is quick to play, enormously fun and easy to grasp once you get the basics. It's adapted to non-regular gamers (the wife was totally caught by the game, and that's not easy!!) and the minis are top notch, much better than what you could expect from a boardgame. I cannot but recommend the game and I'm looking forward to painting the minis!

For the moment 2016 looks promising about gaming (hooray!). Let's see if we can follow the path...


  1. Glad to see you got this game. I picked it up with the kickstarter and have been curious how it would play. Thanks for the insight!

    1. I believe you'll enjoy it! It's a boardgame with wargaming minis. Give it a try!

  2. Looks cool and sounds interesting. For Honour and Glory until Death!

    1. It is! Just the whole setting and the idea of no winners (in the conventional sense) caught my attention!

  3. Despite this being your pal's boardgame, you know you have to convince him to let you paint up all those minis don't you? They are begging to be painted up and you are the guy to do it.

    1. Of course!! Oh, you understand me, haha, I do need to paint these!!