Vikings are not only masters of the axe. Even when someone disarms them and forces them to a direct duel, it is far from being won. They can fight very well without the blade, because suddenly their fingertips begin to flow with the forces of magic. And because no one would expect these thunderstorms from them, it’s their secret weapon.
Similarly, they were also hidden to guys in Lucky Duck Games, when they released basic box of Vikings Gone Wild. Certainly, from our basebox review, you remember commenting on the limited replayability of this otherwise very interesting deckbuilding design by Julien Vergonjeanne. Mateusz Komada and Matijos Gebreselassie also took care of illustrations for the new boxes.
There are three boxes, that we’re going to take on this review today. The largest one is called Masters of Elements, it has a large square dimension and is a low profile. The other two smaller elongated boxes have the same size in height, but they are exactly half the size. Together, these boxes bring a lot of new cards, but before we look at what exactly and how they enrich in the basic game, we’ll briefly recall how Vikings Gone Wild are actually played.
Players in the game each rule one Viking clan. And while there is a range of cards presenting buildings and different effects of divine intervention on a joint game board, individual players build their own villages in front of them. Just like in any other deckbuilding, they start with a starting set, from which they draw five cards every each round and can buy additional equipment by using them. They can also perform various missions. The main element of the game is attacking opponent. Besides, what would it be for Vikings, if they did not want to fight? For their efforts, players get points, that eventually lead to victory.
Let’s start with the bigger box. In its bowels, new cards are hidden for all the decks you know so well in the basic game. This means, that players have a much greater variability in missions, Odin cards, but even bonuses and, of course, units.
That’s all a great news in itself, but the troops are not just ordinary. They are all linked to the new and title mechanics of element masters. These are available in three incrementally upgrading levels and can gradually unlock artefacts. Players get them at the beginning of the game, gradually choose them with the help of the draft (player takes one card, other three are passed on until everyone has choosen four) and breaks them in front of them on the so-called artifact board.
And what are these artifacts? At each stage of production, element masters can produce tokens, that players can place on their buildings (each can be linked to one element). In each round, these tokens can be activated and artefacts skill with them. Its available level determines strength of the element master. With this new feature, there are also inherently new card units, that bring new tactical possibilities.
But it does not end with element masters. On the contrary, they are here only to get you acquainted with the new gaming element, because true power is brought to players by cards of the gods. There are eight gods in the box (each has four cards according to levels), and they also have some special skills in addition to their ability to produce elemental chips. They can also be upgraded after the upgrade price is paid.
This expansion adds exactly what was missing in the basic box. This is a clear reason to get it right away and at the same time removes any excuse why you will not try Vikings Gone Wild at all. Now it’s really a great game.
Small expansions, of course, do not bring such significant changes. But even their boxes are quite large and there are plenty of new elements. The first in a row is the box called Guild Wars, which brings a blocking element to the game. Players can fortify their rooms with a new wall. This creates an obstacle, that an attacker must overcome at the start of his raid on the player’s village or on particular fortified building. But such a wall can easily be overcome without the need to attack, just use a new flying unit!
The player also has a forge and a tower, that produces weapons and shields temporarily increasing the attacking and defensive force of the units. And it is clear from the bi-directionality of the elements that everything remains very tactical. Players have still under control most of the game’s development and here Vikings Gone Wild remains an excellent, but very conflicting game.
But it still does not explain, why the little box is called Guild Wars. The new rules bring a team variant in, which players co-operate in pairs. This brings a whole new experience, which offers new variability and makes the game even more fun.
The last box is magical and bears the name It’s and King of Magic. The new 110 cards are also accompanied by curses and blessings. Players can place them on opponent’s buildings. The most important thing is a curse, that reduces the building’s defenses. The blessing, however, does not surprisingly increase it back this time, instead it only serves to eliminate the curse.
But there are real spells. There is also the first chance to discard the card from your built deck. So far, you’ve only added them and that’s always a problem with deckbuilding. Alchemy cards now give gamers a chance to destroy selected cards from their hand. However, players must be careful, when playing them, as others may use the counter and completely cancel the desired effect.
In both smaller boxes you will find enriching cards for all decks. This will give you to numbers, that are more interesting. The matches are variable, interesting and you will want to repeat them with joy. Graphics remain cartoony and funny.
All three Vikings Gone Wild expansions are really welcome. It offers the much-needed expansion of individual decks, making even better entertainment from this game. But they add some new features to it without complicating the whole gameplay. Vikings Gone Wild remain a very tactical and fun battle with light graphics and emphasis on direct attacks on the opponent, but its even better now.
+ great new features
+ gods offer another level of tactics
+ team variant
+ discard option
+ the game does not unnecessarily crawl or becomes complicated
- such was the basic game