The RockyMountainNavy Game Night this week featured 878 Vikings: Invasion of England from Academy Games (2017). This was the first game we played using the Advanced Setup Rules found on page 2 of the Rule Book. This rule allows players to “customize” their deck by choosing which five (5) event cards of cards 08-19 they want to add to deck. Players still use a 12-card deck, but in this Advanced Setup version cards 01-07 are “fixed” and the last five cards are “customizable.” The resulting game was very fun!
The Youngest RMN Boy took the Vikings against Middle RMN Boy (Thegn) and myself (Housecarl). The first Viking invasion stabbed through the middle of England but eventually culminated with around seven shires taken. The Second Viking Invasion was stopped with its leader killed. A Third Invasion didn’t expand much. Alfred the Great eventually arrived for the English but the first attempt to push back the Vikings ended in near-total disaster.
In Round 6 the Vikings were forced to play their second Treaty of Wedmore card which ends the game after that turn. The Vikings held seven shires going into the Round and to win needed to take two more.
Middle RMN Boy played an Advanced Training Thegn Battle Card that converts all Thegn Fled results to Hits. Unfortunately, neither of us realized just how much this changes the die roll odds in favor of the Thegn and instead of removing Housecarl on Viking hits removed too many Thegn too early, thus missing a chance to attrite the Vikings a bit more. As it was, the game came down to a nail-biting conclusion where a lone Fryd (English peasants called up to defend their homes) stood against a single Norseman on the last battle of the last turn. The Fryd missed while the Norseman hit, delivering Youngest RMN Boy his ninth shire and (barely) making his victory condition.
The Advanced Rules Setup adds some simple player-driven variability to the game. This feature is not found in games of the Birth of America-series (at least the base games). I really like this rule as it has the potential to make each game different and allows exploration of subtly different strategies. Yet another example of how “lite wargames” from Academy Games actually deliver a deeper strategic challenge.