When the Vikings meet in the village and want to have a good time, they do their favorite sport. Surprisingly, it is not a hatchet with an ax, but rolling huge stones onto prepared barrels. Whoever knocks down most of them can drink in the evening by the fire, whatever he likes. And that is the dream of every Viking. Perhaps this fun eventually stood at the beginning of today’s bowling games.
Designers Wilfried and Marie Fort invite all lovers of rolling balls to battle. They have prepared for the players (mostly children) a fun called Tal der Wikinger, know in the English translation as Valley of the Vikings. Maximilian Meinzold embellished the result with his illustrations and the complete result of their work is published in HABA’s yellow box in 2019.
The medium-sized box is dominated by rolling barrels and fleeing Vikings. Players must prepare four large cardboard ships with flags, at the earliest after unpacking the box. Each of the vessels is ruled by one of the colors, referring to its owner. So each participant takes just one boat and gets token of the same color.
Players place these small circles on the big board, which is lying in the middle and awaits the beginning of the game. The place for the Viking token is on the first space of dock scale. Four barrels are then placed by players in one of the holes in the middle of the board, then players set aside a stack of gold chips, a ball and a bat in the form of a Viking cardboard.
On his turn, player selects one of the four starting points to place the ball. He takes cardboard bat in his hand and pushes the ball towards the barrels with any technique he likes. In doing so, they try to drop one of them, according to their plan. Depending on which barrels players have managed to knock down, the Vikings tokens will also move in the dock. That is only those, whose color-matched barrel have fallen to the ground.
Players gradually change in this roll attempts, dropping barrels and moving their tokens forward inthe docks. But was is really important from the point of view of winning chances, is when one of the Vikings reaches the end of the dock and falls into the water. Now it is necessary to divide the gold, depending on the position of the other tokens in the docks. Each space has its own conditions for the distribution of coins, but it always concerns only the Viking, who stands on it at that moment. This means, that no profit whatsoever is waiting for a player, whos bearded guy has just fallen overboard. In addition to the classic reception of four coins, players can steal coins from each other.
Everyone hides their accumulated finances in his cardboard boat. So gold is gradually moving from the pile next to the board to pockets of players. It gets redistributed and change its owners, but in the end, players get into a situation, where no coins remain in the pot. At that moment, whoever has the most money on his boat, wins.
Tal der Wikinger is actually a bowling game on the table. Players simply flutter carefully into the ball and try to drop only barrels they want. This is the way they are able to really carefully control game development and get more money, that others.
But sometimes it pays to roll more barrels. The player himself chooses the order, in which the Vikings move. Thanks to this, it is possible to influence not only the income of others, but also your own and most imporantly the timing of fall of one of the Vikings into the water.
Thanks to that, the game has the right level of tactics, even if it doesn’t look like it at first glance. Rolling a ball here is not the only prerequisite for points and victories, but only the first step. The main element is the proper planning of a positional game on a shaky pier. In addition, it is up to the active player to place the barrels into the middle spots after his roll. And there are several spots to use. He can put them closer together, for example, so one of them cannot be knocked down without the other.
Flicking ball itself is interesting. Because the players use a cardboard tool (figurine), they all have the same conditions and nobody is favored by their flipping experience. But by just poking, it is possible to well influence the direction and strength of the ball, so with a little training, you can really aim.
The games are really nice and fast. Above all, game succeeds in entertaining children, who do not mind the real ease of this entertainment. But they will have to think about the game at least a little, nor will they notice it. That is why it is also a very suitable game for parents. And they will be even having fun without children, because hitting barrels is just fun.
Processing is beautiful. Maybe it’s even too luxurious for the game, that is just about rolling the ball and aiming at the target. As a result, of course, the price is higher, but because the target audience is children, the visuals are guaranteed to attract.
Tal der Wikinger combines the ease of sending a ball with a hint of planning, making the game even more enjoyable for smaller children around the age of six. It is the young people, who have just started school, that are the main audience. But it can also surprise adults with its non-violent gameplay. Tal der Wikinger is a great action game, that has to be praised as success in this genre.
+ fun of rolling
+ tactical overlap
+ accessibility for all
+ fast game
+ possibility to steal coins to opponents
+ luxury processing
- perhaps just too rich processing (affects price)