Raiders of the North Sea - Board Game Box Shot

Raiders of the North Sea

| Published: 2015
26 5 4

Raiders of the North Sea is set in the central years of the Viking Age. As Viking warriors, players seek to impress the Chieftain by raiding unsuspecting settlements. Players will need to assemble a crew, collect provisions and journey north to plunder gold, iron and livestock. There is glory to be found in battle, even at the hands of the Valkyrie. So gather your warriors, it’s raiding season!

Raiders of the North Sea layout
 
images © Garphill Games

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“Reviewing Raiders”

Raiders of the North Sea is the second of a trilogy of games from Garphill Games. Each game of the series are set in the same setting so the theme and artwork are similar from game to game but the each provide unique game mechanics. Each game is a stand alone game- they are not expansions.

How it works
Raiders is a worker placement game for where 2-4 players gather resources to be able to raid different locations on the board. This game is both tactical and strategic with an interesting 2-action worker placement mechanic and having several approaches to earn victory points.

In Raiders, players can earn points for boosting their armor, getting crew killed in battle, making offerings to the village elders, collecting resources, or in raiding locations. Players take two actions each turn; one when placing their single worker and one when removing a single worker. The player can choose locations in the village to collect silver or provisions, hire crew, obtain more crew cards, activate a crew action, or purchase armor. As you go, you get different levels of workers that can access different locations on the board.

The primary goal in the game is to collect enough provisions and hire enough crew so you can raid harbors, outposts, monasteries, and fortresses. Each of these earn you victory points and new resources that can be used in special ways. Play continues until one of three end conditions are triggered. Once triggered, all players get a last turn, including the player who triggered the end of the game. Players total up the victory points to see who the winner is.

What I think
I purchased Shipwrights of the North Sea, the first game in the series, through kickstarter over a year ago. While I enjoyed the game and find the artwork to be superb, it had more player interaction than I cared for and it doesn’t make it to the table that often. Shem does a great job running a kickstarter and keeping his backers up to date on what is happening. I ended up also backing Raiders on kickstarter since the art was still great and the mechanics seemed to interest me more. I am really glad I did.

Raiders is straightforward enough that my reluctant 13-year old was able to understand it on her first play and do well. She even suggested playing it a few days later. Players don’t get blocked out of actions. You can be blocked from doing the action in the most convenient way, but you can still take the action. While there are interaction cards where you can cause problems for another player, the opportunity costs are such that the cards rarely get used for this purpose.

I really like the challenge of figuring out what steps I will have to take in order to have everything I will need in order to raid where I want in an efficient way. I can do two actions each turn, but if I pull them off in the right order and end up with the correct colored worker at the right time to attack a specific target. I will not have to “waste” a turn and perhaps lose that juicy target to another viking. Another thing to figure out is the mix of armor and crew I should spend actions and resources on. It is an interesting challenge. My family has enjoyed our plays of Raiders and play to continue to play it in the future.

 

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