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Champions of Midgard board game review: A stellar Viking adventure story
Champions of Midgard (formerly Defenders of Nidaros) is a middleweight, Viking-themed, worker placement game with dice rolling in which players are leaders of Viking clans who have traveled to an embattled Viking harbor town to help defend it against the threat of trolls and other mythological Norse beasts. By defeating these epic creatures, players gain glory and the favor of the gods. When the game ends, the player who has earned the most glory earns the title of Jarl and is recognized as a champion of Midgard. - photo by Ryan Morgenegg
In the world of board games, a worker placement game is one in which players have a workforce that they send out to do certain tasks in order to receive the appropriate rewards. This concept is at the core of a wonderful new Viking-themed game called Champions of Midgard from Grey Fox Games. It accommodates two to four players and last between 60 to 90 minutes.

In this game, each player represents the leader of a Viking clan. The clans are tasked with defending a small town against an onslaught of trolls, undead warriors and mythical beasts. Glory points are needed to win the game, and these points are earned by collecting money, a god's favor, achieving a goal or defeating the terrible creatures mentioned before.

Because the Viking clans are trying to protect the local townsfolk, be warned that if they fail in their endeavors, they will be blamed by the townspeople and actually lose glory points. No wimps are allowed. This is all about Viking aggression.

Each turn a player has a set of workers that can perform available tasks in the nearby village. Workers can recruit warriors, gather rune cards, exchange goods at the market, gather food at the smokehouse, go hunting, indicate an attack on a monster, buy goods from a merchant and sail on a ship to a distant location inhabited by monsters, to name just a few things.

Resources such as food and wood are used to gain runes, build ships and feed members of the clan. There are also cards that allow players to break the rules or earn points. Each clan leader also has a unique special power that allows him or her to break the rules.

A favorite part about the look of the game is that the three different types of Viking warriors available for battle are represented by custom dice. On the dice are symbols to hit, defend or miss an intended target. The warrior dice are rolled when a combat situation arises.

During combat, a monster depicted on a card has a damage value and a defense value. If a player can exceed the defense value of a monster by rolling the correct symbols on the warrior dice, the monster is defeated. The damage value of a monster card eliminates a warrior die for each point even if the monster dies quickly. Bring as much firepower to a fight as possible.

It's good to note that a set of the most valuable monsters exists in faraway places and a player must purchase or hire a longboat in order to reach these destinations. Blocking the way to the remote location is a hidden weather card that can affect play. Some special powers in the game allow a player to secretly look at the weather to know what's coming. This element adds some suspense and tension as players take a chance on the weather.

The game goes eight rounds and then ends with final scoring. During final scoring players score points for meeting the goals found on destiny cards, collecting sets of monster cards, collecting runes, collecting coins, ownership of a cool Viking warship and unused favor from the gods. Players lose points for any blame placed upon them by the townspeople for not defending them. The more blame, the higher the negative score results.

Champions of Midgard is a stellar offering from Grey Fox Games. The artwork, board, wooden pieces and gameplay are fantastic, and the theme is especially attractive to Viking lovers. Player engagement is high, and even if a player doesnt win, he or she thinks fondly about the adventures that occurred. The only negative comment about the game is the quality of the cards. They were thin and began curling during play, but card sleeves (purchased separately) helped. This is a game definitely worth checking out, especially if someone you know loves a Viking! Find out more at
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