Viking Waves is a product from publishing company AstroNavis and NeoNavis. Their products are all board games, and each product provides all that is required to play the game, including counters, board, player boards, instructions and the like. Viking Waves is a board game that takes place in the time of the Norwegian and Danish Vikings, and it's a game for two players (or even solitary, if you're so inclined).
The product comes as a single zip file containing multiple pdfs for use in playing the game. Each pdf contains an individual element of the game, such as the counters or maps. Presentation of the product is generally good, and the counters, board and other aspects of the game look nice. The rules are pretty straightforward and clear, explaining how the game is played, and even throwing in a number of different variants. From a gameplay point of view there are a lot of different options to play the game, and the instruction booklet is good at guiding you through these. There is also a utility player's board which helps you keep track of the various aspects of the game, something that streamlines the gameplay of Viking Waves. Some game maps are provided as the game board, where players can conduct raids or place settlements as they pass through the various eras of Viking domination and activity.
The game itself is divided into three phases, each representing an era of Viking activity in history. Gameplay in each phase is largely different, reflecting the historical accounts, so, for example, in phase 1 gameplay, the game is largely restricted to raids, while for phase 3 the gameplay involves armies that roam the conquered lands and the creation of settlements. Players take turns in each phase to perform various actions, and each phase only has a limited number of turns before the historical 'era' or phase expires. Players can conduct raids, gaining loot or being vanquished by the defence of the land, or they can battle armies against conquered lands, and later create settlements. The players track their wealth or loot throughout the game, the winner of any given phase being the player that gains the most loot.
The premise and historical background behind the game sets the scene for an interesting gameplay, but the gameplay itself is not that exciting. For one, players don't compete directly and there's only a limited amount of strategy to the game. Large parts of the game are based on luck, and the choice of which area to raid and which counter is placed on it. If you're lucky with the dice (six-sided dice are required) and there's a lot of loot on the area you chose to raid, then you get more wealth and have a better chance of winning. Winning is by and large a function of luck more than skill or strategy, although there are hints of such.
The lack of competition also takes away something from the game. It boils down to two players chancing their luck against each other and seeing who wins. There is scope for limited combat later on the game or through the options, but generally there's not a lot to the game apart from historical accuracy. The game has something going for it in its historical aspects and number of gaming options, even the nice counters used for the game, but in the old end the lack of real strategy, much excitement, and the reliance on luck and chance without hints of player versus player completion make this rather uncompelling. A well presented game, for sure, but not one that will maintain a lot of interest over time.<br><br>
<b>LIKED</b>: Clear instruction, good-looking counters, historical reference and correctness, and variety in game options are all good in Viking Waves.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Lack of strategy, reliance on luck, and lack of player versus player competition takes away some of the key elements that make board games fun to play with multiple players. While two players can play it, since there's not interaction between the two, it's as easy to play with one players as with two.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Disappointed<br>