Read how it went and what I think about the game and rules...
Getting this opportunity (finally!) to play Blood Rage was a nice coincidence. I was asking if my old pal Pave could play on Thursday and replied, that he's booked for playing BR. So I immediately enrolled myself to the game as well! This got me all excited, as I've only read the rules and dreamed of playing the game so far (oh yes there has been so many other gaming projects going on, as readers of this blog certainly know).
This set me to put aside for a moment the Swedes and Russians for Great Northern War -project for a moment and I did some work on my "not quite finished" Blood Rage -models. Some pics on them (yet to be finalized):
Warriors from different clans and Raven Clan Leader
Samples of Monsters: Mountain Giant and Fenrir
Odin with two Chosen one Mystiques (these are extensions to the basic game)
Fenrir spells doom in the game, as it brings Ragnarök to the Region
it is located in the end of an age (game round)
I arrived to the home of Heikka (on the left) and he gave me a through walk through of the rules and game play. Eager as I am, I was ready to get started before he had finished, but good that he was relentless ;-)
Game sequence for each round (age) is as follows:
1. Distribute cards (8 each) and each player chooses one and passes the rest forward untill all have chosen 6 cards - this is where you build your strategy.
2. Start actions - player, that has born in the most northern place starts.
3. Each player plays on action and then the next one, as long as somebody still has rage left - it's the fuel for actions, starting value 6
4. End of an age: reveal quests and award rewards on successful completion; Ragnarök destroys one region and finally Valhalla is emptied (all models become available as reserves again)
So we set up the game and started the first card choosing process. I chose two upgrades (Dwarf lord (monster) and a Chosen Mystique), one quest 3 battle cards
First round in progress
Soon I actually took lead in Glory points (which eventually decide the winner)
by winning first fights
After Age 2. Valhalla was really crowded as each clan had grown stronger.
I had been playing for two quests (dominate certain regions in the end) this round, but
Heikko's strategy undid my plans: he played very cautiously for the most part of the age and once aal rest of us were out of RAGE he would finally "start" his play. He saw from the map, what probably was my quest and played me out.
Still I was on a second place after the second age.
During the third round we saw some massive battles: first I defeated Pave with few cunning moves and card plays, killing his leader and mountain giant in the process. Unfortunately I couldn't cherish this for long, nor reap further rewards, since Heikka challenged me and played a mighty +6 battle card. I had felt too confident with my strenght base of 10 against his 4. So it was a draw and we both suffered the losing effects; Heikka's two Mystiques escaped destructions, as well as one of mine, but I lost my Leader and two monsters and a ship. This ruined the last round for me, If I would have won, I might have finished second. Eventually I was third, when both Heikka (who won) and Lotta really boosted their Glory scores with successful quests (I had none for the last round, which was a mistake)
Game board in the end.
I really liked the game and if left me thirsting for more (blood), especially as I now have a better understanding of the game mechanics etc.
Few pros and cons:
+ Game is visually very pleasing, I really want to paint all the miniatures as they are very nice
+ Basic mechanics are simple AND the game has enough depth to offer new strategies and styles of play to keep the player learning more for several games - this is also a trademark of a good game.
+ The cards bring the random element to the game (that doesn't have any dice rolling). This especially fun as we don't yet know all the cards, so there are surprises
+ Choosing the cards is almost a game of it's own
+ As stakes and rewards get higher every round, you're not out of the game, even if you don't score that much on the first round (age)
- Some cards are quite powerful, especially in combo with a certain troop type, for example Loki's treachery + Mystique
- Third age rewards might be too powerful. I think Heikka hoarded so many points in the last age, that he more than doubled his score - and he was already leading after round 2.
- The Mystiques are quite powerful, maybe a bit too much
I will play more soon, probably with my neigbors and hopefully with the nice gang I had the opportunity to get to know last night! Thank you Heikka, Pinja, Aleksanteri, Pave and Lotta!
(I only knew Pave before).