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Champions of Midgard: Valhalla Expansion Board Game Review

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21 Mar 2019 00:00 #294171 by WadeMonnig
Let me just say that Champions of Midgard is one...

You shall ride eternal, shiny, and chrome!

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21 Mar 2019 10:06 #294172 by Josh Look
Yeeeeaaaaaahhh, brother, this is the good stuff. Nice write up!

As a huge fan of the base game, didn’t hesitate backing the expansions. I never played either expansion on their own, I went whole hog right from the get go after getting my stuff. I can see where Dark Mountains could be boring on its own, but both together? I’m not going to say they complete the base game, it was fine on it’s own, but the expansions truly elevate it well beyond being “Lords of Waterdeep with dice.” Such a badass game, and I can’t think of another WP game that I can label “badass.”
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21 Mar 2019 10:22 #294173 by Jackwraith
My question is: If I'm already playing Blood Rage, which is aggressive/combat-heavy worker placement about Vikings... do I need another game that basically does the same thing?

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21 Mar 2019 10:36 #294175 by Josh Look

Jackwraith wrote: My question is: If I'm already playing Blood Rage, which is aggressive/combat-heavy worker placement about Vikings... do I need another game that basically does the same thing?


Yes. They’re completely different beasts.
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21 Mar 2019 13:40 #294194 by WadeMonnig

Josh Look wrote:

Jackwraith wrote: My question is: If I'm already playing Blood Rage, which is aggressive/combat-heavy worker placement about Vikings... do I need another game that basically does the same thing?


Yes. They’re completely different beasts.


Totally Agree with Josh on this. The fact that the comparison between the two never really occurred to me until you posted (and I love them both) attests to how different they play.

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22 Mar 2019 11:10 #294252 by mezike
Please may I ask if anyone has much experience playing this with two players? I got to try this once quite a while back but it was a slow and frustrating experience and as nobody else was interested in playing again I didn't get the spark to go looking for a copy for myself. I'm thinking my son would probably like this though so I might now get a copy to play at home, I have however seen comments that two player is a little flaky. I'd be interested to hear the trusted opinion from people on here.
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22 Mar 2019 13:25 - 22 Mar 2019 19:05 #294269 by WadeMonnig

mezike wrote: Please may I ask if anyone has much experience playing this with two players?


Man, that is a question that almost needs another review. If you are talking base Champions of Midgard, it seems (at first glance) like 2 player doesn't work well. The blame system means that the first few games, you'll usually be fighting over who fights the Troll in order to avoid taking blame and to give one blame to your opponent. You start feeling like your first actions in every round revolves around troll but the more times you play it, the more you realize it doesn't have to be key. If you are playing Jarl's Longhouse correctly (which the same player can't take the first player token two turns in a row without passing it to the other player), then it becomes a bit of a game of whose going to blink and whose going to go to the Troll. So, you go though phases over multiple 2-player games of "This doesn't work...oh, wait, it does work...nope, still doesn't work quite right." and it can be the focus of playing more than the rest of the game. In the context of adding both expansions, suddenly all the choices you have make this much less of a focal point. You can just go all-in and max out blame and avoid the troll all together. Or not, and let one person dominate the troll aspect of the game and spend it wondering if they have Troll bonus cards. The whole process I just described is fun to realize on your own in a two player game.

tl:dr- It can look like it doesn't work at 2-players in the base game but it actually does a decent job. Adding both expansions makes it work even better/smoother at two players. I still prefer it at 3/4/5 players.
Last edit: 22 Mar 2019 19:05 by WadeMonnig.
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22 Mar 2019 14:17 #294275 by mezike
That’s great insight, thanks! I think it sounds like I’d either need to find an interested third player or get the expansions which would be a bit pricey for us for an untried two player. I might try to borrow a copy from someone or keep an eye out for a trade before I part with cash on this.
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22 Mar 2019 16:09 #294287 by WadeMonnig
Borrowing it and playing a few plays at 2 player would be optimum. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the base if you had three players most of the time but my two player games have been the exception, not the rule. I've always enjoyed the two player games but I "knew" the game by then. (P.s. my wife loves it, so it has more casual appeal too)
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28 Mar 2019 15:28 - 28 Mar 2019 15:46 #294685 by mezike
So I came across a second hand bundle of the base game plus Valhalla at an attractive price and took a bite at it as I can always flip it for little or no cost. I don’t mind paying a little extra to also get the mountains as it’s discounted down pretty much everywhere at the moment and we’re certainly not bothered by lengthy or complex games. Is it worth getting both expansions at the same time for a full experience, or do you think Valhalla on its own will work? I don’t want to go into a lopsided experience if the two work better in conjunction but equally don’t want to spend money without reason.

Edit: I should add that I’m not suffering from confirmation bias and fishing for validation on this. I’m genuinely interested in whether Valhalla will work well on its own or if the game really needs both expansions together.
Last edit: 28 Mar 2019 15:46 by mezike.

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28 Mar 2019 16:22 #294691 by WadeMonnig

mezike wrote: So I came across a second hand bundle of the base game plus Valhalla at an attractive price and took a bite at it as I can always flip it for little or no cost. I don’t mind paying a little extra to also get the mountains as it’s discounted down pretty much everywhere at the moment and we’re certainly not bothered by lengthy or complex games. Is it worth getting both expansions at the same time for a full experience, or do you think Valhalla on its own will work? I don’t want to go into a lopsided experience if the two work better in conjunction but equally don’t want to spend money without reason.

Edit: I should add that I’m not suffering from confirmation bias and fishing for validation on this. I’m genuinely interested in whether Valhalla will work well on its own or if the game really needs both expansions together.

Valhalla works great on its own. You just pull some cards that reference dark mountains, if I recall. It works, imho, better with DM just because of the additional choices. If you love the game, then bite on DM. it's nothing you NEED.
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28 Mar 2019 17:20 #294701 by mezike
Thanks again! I think then that I’ll give it a couple of run throughs with just Valhalla and take it from there. If it doesn’t work for us then I doubt DM will fix anything but nice to know that we can happily add it in if we do want more.
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