Review – Beer & Vikings from Albe Pavo


Review – Beer & Vikings from Albe Pavo

Designer – Matteo Santus

Art – Jocularis

Note – As I did an earlier preview of Beer & Vikings, I have taken the content from that preview and now added my opinions for you.

It all began last year with Sake & Samurai, a rather wild game about er… a bunch of Samurai sitting around, sampling the local Sake and then getting into a right old fight to the death.

The next installment in this series was released at Essen and its called, Beer & Vikings, which is a standalone game and also compatible with Sake & Samurai (see my review).

Now I liked Sake & Samurai but I struggled with the rules a bit. But as I was familiar with the system and I LOVE the theme, I will say up front that my experience playing Beer & Vikings was much better.

Yeah, a bunch of loud, raucous, muscle-bound Vikings are sitting in a pub, pints of beer generously flow and… you know the rest. Shouts of “In the name of Odin, I will send you to Hades!”and all that. It’s all about big, ugly, violent and very thirsty, Vikings.  I love the theme as I find it hilarious.

Let’s give you a taste of what you can expect (italics are quotes from the rulebook).


Is it better to have the cask full or the Viking drunk?
In BEER & VIKINGS you are a fierce and thirsty Viking, who will do anything to get the last pint of beer. The winner of the game is the drunkest Viking (in game terms, the player who has collected the most Beer drink counters) at the end of the Sudden Death round. Be wary, though, for drinking too much will dull your wits and martial prowess. Each drink of Beer prevents you from using one of your resources, be it a weapon or an item, or even your personal power! You must always be wary not to drink too much or you risk becoming a defenseless soak at the hands of your enemies. On the other hand, you will be able to burn up (thanks to the ardor of your martial spirit) some of the Beer you have drunk to obtain significant bonuses which may very well save your life. Show yourself as the wise warrior you are and plan your strategy with care, not burning up too much Beer at the risk of finding yourself left behind at the end of the game, when the mug is empty and the Sudden death round begins. Those who will succumb to their enemies’ blows won’t be eliminated from the game, but will become Spirits of Loki, the god of deceit, teaming up with the other Spirits to attack the living, aiming to steal their Beer. And now, let’s raise our mugs (and our axes)!

This is a further development of the Spirits and Warriors system begun with Sake & Samurai so if you have the earlier game, you will be able to kick off swinging axes on this version very quickly as there are only a handful of changes. Also, you will be able to combine both games and pit Samurai vs. Vikings!

How does it look?

Well, Beer & Vikings is simply a gorgeous piece of work! A card game, you will find quite brilliant artwork here.


8 Warrior boards
The fierce warrior you portray in the fight for the last mug! Each Warrior board has on its front side the characteristics of the Viking alive.


98 playing cards Card which have two specific and independent characteristics: the Action Boxes in the four corners and the Card Text in the middle. All cards have three different types of back (troublesome, quarrelsome, drowsy) used only by the dead Vikings who have become Spirits of Loki. Icons indicate values for Attack, Defense, Movement and of course, drinking Beer! There are four different kinds of Card Text covering Events, Weapons, Minions, and Interrupts.


4 Location cards
Vikings can go anywhere on their drakkars. If you are tired of getting drunk in a smoke-filled inn, change location!


10 Valhalla Cards
Only the bravest can aspire to Valhalla. The Valhalla cards represent special powers only granted to those who eliminate another Warrior.

You also get Berserk counters, Steps counters (to measure distance between the fighters), and Beer counters (glug… glug… glug…) as well as a fold-able container representing a Beer mug.

The images in Beer & Vikings are very nicely done and have the same sense of humour found in Sake & Samurai. The art really gives you a strong sense of the fierceness and danger, on one hand, and the craziness of it all. I have to say that the Viking theme works more for me personally than the Samurai.


I won’t go through the rules in detail as you can find them here but the basics are –

DURING YOUR GAME TURN The turn of each player is divided in the following 4 Phases:
1) WARRIOR PHASE: play up to 2 cards – you can Drink, Attack or Move or Play an Event or even chuck a Minion in front of you to take hits on your behalf. Combat is subject to how many steps the fighters are away from each other.

2) MINION PHASE: your Minions move and attack
Minions are less quick and nimble than the Warriors they fight for, therefore they move and attack only after the Warrior Phase. I LOVE the Minions. Its just hilarious.

3) CARDS PHASE: draw 2 cards
Draw 2 cards from the draw pile. If you have then more than 4 cards in hand, discard down to 4 cards.

4) DEFENSE PHASE: select a Weapon with which to defend yourself during the other players’ turn.

Remember: you must play cards to make Actions, even when you want to defend yourself!
During the turn of your opponents, you may:

Perform a Defense Action when you’re attacked

Sacrifice a Minion from your hand when you’re attacked – “Sacrifice”… love it!

Play Interrupts 

Skilled Warriors draw on their last resources if needed, wisely looking for any opportunity to win. They know that the gods favor only the bold Warriors.

Here is where the Beer comes in to draw cards and recover from wounds (dull your senses to the pain more likely…).

One per turn (yours or another player’s), you may draw a declared number of cards from your Life Points pile!


Each time your Warrior or one of yours Minions kills an opponent Warrior, draw immediately 2 Valhalla cards, select 1 to place it in your Equipment area and shuffle back the other in the Valhalla deck.

If you lose all your Life Points, your Warrior’s life comes to an end. Will death really submit your spirit? As a ruthless and thirsty Spirit, you may yet win and get back at your opponents!

When a player takes the last Spirits drink from the Mug, the Sudden Death round begins. Each player, except the one who emptied the Mug, has a last turn to play! At the end of the round, the winner is the Warrior who has the most Spirits drinks on his board and cards. In case of a tie, the winner is the Warrior with the most Valhalla cards, other- wise the Warriors with the most Spirits drinks begin a new Sudden Death round, while the others are eliminated!

Even if your character gets the chop, you can still cause problems for the other players.

Golden rule for Spirits
Spirits are now in the afterworld and see everything from the opposite side. During his turn, a Spirit performs in order the following actions:

At any time, a Spirit who is attacked may Dematerialize.
Use the power of Elation Draw a card, Torment a Warrior OR Steal Spirits from the Mug

The victory conditions for the Spirits are the same as the Warriors’, the only difference is that Spirits count Spirits drinks as a team and lose or win together.

Did I like Beer & Vikings?

A resounding yes is the answer. Since I was familiar with the system from Sake & Samurai, I found it easy to get into and actually, I found the Viking theme a lot more fun. Once you understand the game play, it all moves along nicely. Lots of interaction, and there are a good amount of choices as to which cards to play and which aspect of the cards to best apply at any given situation.

This is a social game, for experienced gamers, not newbies who will need more time to understand how it works. Its more than a filler as there is a good amount to think about but it boils down to choosing which aspect of the cards to play to do the most damage. Interesting and crazy though, you don’t win with sober Vikings. You need to get the Beer tokens onto your cards, but there is a price to pay as you do which will hamstring your efforts. And then the players who you hacked to pieces earlier can still come back and cause havoc so you always have a chance to win regardless.

The balance of fun and frustration is just right in Beer & Vikings and I can heartily recommend it if you play with the right game group (experienced gamers who like interaction, and social banter). Gamers who take themselves too seriously and who are more concerned to win, than just have fun, won’t enjoy it.

Visually, the art is first class and very thematic. The system is solid and works well. If you dig Vikings, especially when they get their “berserkerness” up and swing huge axes, you will have a great time playing Beer & Vikings.

for more information go to –

Do you enjoy Murder Mystery games? Have a look at


Do you enjoy Murder Mystery games? Have a look at

I thought I’d share the following note that I received in case any of you are into Murder Mystery games…


Hello. Having come across your interest in games on this blog, we thought we would write to you about an initiative of ours in the hope that, if you like it, you might spread the word.

We have set up a website of Murder Mystery games (6-11 players), available in multiple languages. So far three games are available. They are set in the 18th Century Caribbean, the late Neolithic, and at the court of Hamlet. (The latter is studded with extensive quotations from Shakespeare).

They are not board games in the strict sense, but they are loads of fun :) NB They are played in a room with friends, not online.

If the venture arouses interest, more games will soon be added.

If the website piques your interest, we would of course be happy to offer you a free trial. (Until tomorrow the games are free anyway, thereafter the normal cost will be £10 a game).

Our games are quite heavily scripted (like a play), though open discussion rounds are included. They will appeal to those who enjoy a gripping story, a good turn of phrase, a conundrum to puzzle over, and an opportunity to bring out the actor within.

With all good wishes for a happy festive season,

(for Daggerville Games)

Merry Christmas 2012 – My Top 5 reasons why I love games! My 500th post on Boardgames in Blighty

Me about to enter the halls at Essen!


Merry Christmas 2012 – My top 5 reasons why I love games! My 500th post on Boardgames in Blighty

Well, here’s a milestone of sorts. My 500th post. I’ve been posting comments, news and game reviews for a while now and have enjoyed doing so. I don’t get paid, although I have been very blessed to receive review copies from a number of publishers which certainly made all this possible because I certainly don’t have the cash to buy all these games. I also get a very steady stream of views here which tells me that people find all this useful so I’m happy to carry on.

So I thought for my 500th post, I’d give you some thoughts about why in the world I LOVE playing games and I invite you to please add your thoughts too! Yeah, playing board and card games are a passion for sure. I love my Ps3 games too but given a choice, I would choose board and card games.

My good buddy Tony and I had a Play in Public game of Lord of the Rings Confrontation


1) FRIENDS! The number one reason for me is friends. I have been very blessed to make friends with a whole bunch of people , across the world. I have to shout out first and foremost to my local gaming group –

Mike, Joe, Tony, and Alan with less frequent appearances by Richard, Paco and Dale. Over a number of years, I have had the good fortune to attend Wednesday game nights and the occasional game day at Mike’s or Tony’s and its been just great. We have had many good times. Although I am mainly a war gamer and Ameritrash game guy, the other guys are very tolerant of my lack of interest in Euro-style games and avoid the heavier one’s when I attend. Thank goodness for that!

By and large, we socialize and and have a good laugh, and competitiveness is secondary to the good company.

Then, there are the friends that I have made through attending Game conventions as the UK Games Expo and Essen Spiel as well as through Twitter and Facebook. It is so fantastic to connect with gamers across the world who I can share thoughts and experiences with. I have met gamers, guys in the gaming media, game designers, game publishers and its been great fun.

Underpinning all of this friendship is a PASSION for games which is fantastic.

Forbidden Island remains one of my favourite games


2) Games are cool! Long gone are the days of Mon0poly, Twister and the Game of Life. The coolness factor of the games cannot be understated. Whether it is War Games, Star Wars, Star Trek, The Lord of the Rings, Super Heroes, Zombies…you name the genre… there are great games available today. And they are becoming more mainstream which means more people have easier access to games that they had no idea exited. I have been able to introduce non-gamers to the world of games and quite frankly, they are generally astonished at the wealth of games that are out there. As I tell people regularly, if you have almost any interest or hobby at all, there is a darn good chance that there is a game related to it in one shape or form.

The quality of War of the Ring cannot be understated


3) Game quality is amazing! The state of the art of games is quite frankly, superb! The quality of game production is excellent for the most part. Wonderful, imaginative art, excellent miniature sculpts, solid components… its all there and adds to the visual and tactile experience of playing games.

That clever Brit Tony Boydell of Surprised Stare Games demoing Paperclip Railways


4) Creativity – This hobby has exposed me to the wonderful talents that are out there, be it in game design, art, writing, broadcasting, or whatever. So many ideas, so many directions. It is inspiring to be around such people.

The Ace of Spies box proof, yay!


5) Designing games is fun! Yes indeed, my own level of creativity has been stirred and I had the honour of designing my first game, Ace of Spies, with my friend, Michael Fox. We will hopefully see the fruits of our labours within the next couple of months. I am also working on a new design, Wrestling Dice which I hope will see the light of day. And there is even another idea or 2 floating around. I don’t think I will be a prolific designer but its fun and quite good for the ol brain to get involved in the design process.

So there you go. A bit of a stream of consciousness. Please add your thoughts.

Have a great Gaming Christmas 2012. Thanks for checking in here at Boardgames in Blighty!


Victory Point Games Press Release – Moonbase Alpha has launched!


Victory Point Games Press Release – Moonbase Alpha has launched!


“The two men knelt in the shadow of the rock outcropping and gazed at the destruction in the crater below them. Combat reporters, they made their living with words, but this time words failed them. The ambush had been perfectly executed. For less than an hour of soundless fury, moondust had erupted below them as the well-hidden crawlers, MCUs, and PMC soldiers of the Luna Mining Corp poured fire into the exposed ranks of the troops and MCUs of Mond Bergbau AG.” – Fiction by David Spangler

Moonbase Alpha, by designer Chris Taylor, is a simulation of lunar combat in an alternate history between two exo-planetary private corporations that have hired private “security” companies to enforce their territorial and intellectual property rights. Take control and win a major victory against your rival corporation, in Moonbase Alpha!

Click here for all the details and to order Moonbase Alpha.

– Victory Point Games

Review – Paul Koenig’s Market Garden: Nijmegen Bridge from Victory Point Games


Review – Paul Koenig’s Market Garden: Nijmegen Bridge from Victory Point Games

Designer – Paul Koenig

Art – Tim Allen

Victory Point Games has supplied a copy of this game for review purposes

Yay! The 3rd installment in this series of games covering Operation Market Garden, Paul Koenig’s Market Garden: Nijmegen Bridge arrived. I have thoroughly enjoyed the first to games as you can see by my previous reviews of Paul Koenig’s Operation Market Garden: Arnhem Bridge and Paul Koenig’s Operation Market Garden: Eindhoven Bridge and this completes the trio of individual games. I am also really pleased to hear that a campaign game, tying all 3 together is coming as well.

Using an identical system to the previous games, this is another game I have time to play as I just don’t have the energy or the time to devote to heavy war games, as cool and interesting as they are. And the Market-Garden Campaign has always had an interest for me. True to form, Victory Point Games lives up to their credo, “The gameplay’s the thing”.


There is a bagged or a boxed version of this game. I have the bagged version which includes –

●    1 11 x 17” map with tables
●    72 thick, two-sided, multi-shaped, laser-cut game pieces
●    One 16-page Rules booklet (Standard, Optional, and Exclusive rules included)

You also get a teeny, tiny die but I recommend you use one of your own.

This game is made to the same new high standard as other new releases from VPG. The map, on card stock, is an excellent rendition of the operational area of Nijmegen, Holland and you surely can’t help to notice he size of the city of Nijmegen and suburbs. This is clearly tough and challenging urban terrain which you will be fighting hand-to-hand over. The requisite tables/charts are right there for you, easy to read, and in an effective layout.


The counters are of the new thick variety and much nicer to play the game with. You will have to give them a wipe with a tissue as there is a black residue from the laser cutting but then its all good. The printing is all clear to read and the quality is a nice step up to VPG‘s previous production efforts. I really like that the Activation chits are large and chunky and the Leadership Token is massive which is actually a great idea so that the players can have it very visible to remember to use it.

On the other hand, the support, artillery and interdiction chits have been shrunk which I don’t thinks is great as they are just too small. I would have preferred them to be the standard size. I can see though, that in order to keep the counters to a set amount and within a specific template for laser cutting (thereby keeping the cost down, I assume) certain printing decisions had to be made, and there are trade offs.



Game play overview

As in the previous games in the series, the game play is a chit-pull system and is pretty easy to understand.

Paratroop Landing Phase – Paratroops enter the map edges as the landing zones are actually “off-map”. Some landings have to face German anti-aircraft fire and may end up landing in a weakened condition, having taken hits, or may not end up landing at all if damaged badly.
Support Phase – Day turns only, Artillery and Allied support markers are randomly allocated to the players to be used in battle
Operations Phase – Fighting formations are activated randomly through a chit-pull system so that you never know in what order units will be activated. Units may –
– Move at full movement allowance and conduct close combat (movement is subject to terrain effects and movement allowance limits)
– Make a Full Fire Attack if it hasn’t moved (Fire combat is subject to terrain effects and previous Hits upon the Attacker  as well as added Artillery or Air Support) Close combat requires 1 unit to enter an enemy occupied hex only if their is one enemy unit in the hex. This can be particularly tough for the allies to do if the Germans are stacking in the city hexes which will mean that your efforts are spent blasting away, trying to remove units, before closing to knock them out of victory point hexes.
– Combine 1/2 movement including entering Close Combat, and conduct Mobile Fire Attack at 1/2 strength
Combat is resolved through comparing Attacker and Defender strengths for a differential on the combat table to get a combat result.
Exclusive rules cover Reinforcements and Paratroop landings, Fire combat effects of bridges.
Further optional rules cover Leadership which allows the player holding the Leadership advantage to do certain things to help their cause as well as Interdiction, Indirect Fire and Overruns.
The rules are very straightforward for experienced war gamers and certainly on the easier end or Beer & Pretzels end of complexity which means you can get set up and playing quickly. Less experienced players will take a bit of time but should be able to come to grips in good order. This is not a deep gritty simulation and a good example of a gateway war game for new players.
Do I like Paul Koenig’s Market Garden: Nijmegen Bridge?
I am an unashamed fan of this series so this is a no brainer for me. I wonder if this will become the linchpin of the series as I think that the issue of trying to get across the river to take both sides of the main Nijmegen bridge is such an enticing challenge. This is one heck of a punch up. It all seems daunting at first for the allies as you have to go for the victory point hexes in a straightforward manner in very tough urban terrain to stand a chance of winning. You really get a sense of how very difficult was and I find myself still wondering what the heck Montgomery was thinking when he dreamed up Market-Garden.
Paul Koenig’s design of the Market-Garden series is one of the best that I’ve come across for the constraints that I am faced with in trying to get games to the table. He has taken classic hex & counter elements and re-invented them just enough into a clean, exciting system. Combat has options, each with pluses and minuses. You are under pressure as the allies to make things happen as time goes quickly. As the Germans, you will be judicious and defensive, but you will be looking to soak up hits to your units to delay the allies, and also look for a local counter-punch to keep them off-balance.
The emphasis is on play, rather than simulation. Don’t get me wrong. You definitely get a feel for the operations and the key aspects and problems that the commanders had to deal with and that’s plenty, believe me. But you don’t have to invest long hours, in fact you can nail this game rather quickly and have another go (you will want to). You don’t need a lot of table space as you have a small map and not too many counters. You don’t have to worry about crunching numbers, and multitudes of unit types and capabilities. This is a high level operational game that keeps things very simple and playable, and best of all, is darn good fun.
If you are a fan of the old SPI folio series games, you will love these games. If you are new to war gaming, you will love these games as a good entry point to a great hobby. If you are like me and are looking for fast, playable war games, this is definitely the ticket.
Paul Koenig’s Market Garden: Nijmegen Bridge is tops for me, along with the other games in the series.
And you know what Paul Koenig is working on next for Victory Point Games? A 2- game Battle of the Bulge set!!!!

Review – Phantom from Lundonaute

Review – Phantom from Lundonaute

Design – Xavier Lardy

Art – Morlock

Story – Anne C

I saw this game at Essen and was immediately intrigued. The game box is shaped like a book and when you open it up. there is a short story which sets you up before you get to the rules. Different for sure and as I am a sucker for story in my games, I picked up a copy.

From the website – Phantom is one of the Ludobooks create by Ludonaute

In this two player game, you run ghosts invading a house to scare its occupants. You will need to think carefully about your tactics to combine your cards effectively during the confrontation and scare the more characters you can. Cunning, boldness and anticipation are keys to victory!

Ok, so a ghost story game.

What do you get?

The box, as I said, is shaped lie a book and opens as such which is pretty cool. Phantom comes with –

32 Phantom cards which show the Group and kind of the Phantom, it’s Terror points, and it’s Effect

26 Place cards which show the Name of the Place, Terror points, Capacity of the Place and the Zone(s) where the place can be played

8 character cards which show the Name of the Character, the Fear threshold, Vulnerable Phantom effected by the character and
Victory points value

4 Zone cards which show each core area of the House

2 Reference cards

The art is very evocative and spooky, showing everything that you need to know. The images are very different from what I’ve seen before and I really found it a pleasure to look at. The cards are a bit too thick and as a result, are hard to shuffle which is a shame.

Game play overview

The goal of the game

From the rules –
Williamsburg’s several hundred years old house is occupied by two lost souls, John Pott, the English settler, and Opchanacanough, the chief of an Indian tribe. They both try to cast the other out of the house, having been seeking revenge for centuries. They pit their strengths against each other, creating the scariest apparitions so as to scare the members of the family who lives in the house.
You, reader and player, embody one of these two entities, and try to win the fight. The ghosts you create will haunt the different rooms of the house and ambush the family members! Each scared character will bring you victory points.
The winner is the player who has first gathered 11 victory points or the player with most victory points at the end of the game.
Phantom is a 2-player game, from 12 years old, with a playing time of 30 minutes.

Setting up
The players must face each other. One of them is the Englishman; the other embodies the Indian chief. The Indian chief plays first.

The house
Place the Zone cards in a row, in the center of the table, in the following order:
Garden – Basement – Ground floor – Upstairs. These are the areas where the Phantoms appear and the characters explore.


Game flow
The players take turns playing until a player gets 11 victory points or until the Phantom stock and discard piles are exhausted.

Turn Sequence
During his turn, the active player must activate each one of the 4 Zones in the order he chooses. The last steps of a Zone activation consist in eliminating vulnerable Phantoms, and in checking the terror levels. The active player performs these steps before he activates another Zone. You can’t play again on a Zone that was previously activated, even though other Characters have appeared.

At the end of his turn, the active player draws cards until he has five cards in his hand. He can take face down Place cards, Phantom cards, or both, as he chooses.

Activating a Zone
Activating a Zone means performing the following actions, in this order:
1. Rotating the Activated zone card 180 degrees
2. Playing a Place or Phantom card from one’s hand to the apparition of the Activated zone and applying its effect

A Place card can only be placed in front of the Zone it corresponds to. An apparition is always created by a Place card. A Place card can also be placed on an apparition that was previously created, in which case, it is added to the cards that have been placed before.

You add Phantom cards to the cards that have been already placed in a previous apparition. A Phantom occupies a Place. Places have limitations as to how many Phantoms you can add. When a player adds a Phantom from his hand to an apparition, its effect must be carried out.
There are six kinds of Phantoms, each of which has a different effect.
Charmer, Yeller, Queen, Poltergeist, Invoker, and Squatter

The Phantoms also belong to four different groups: Specters (made of a bluish mist), Ghosts (consisting of greenish fumes), Shadows (made of the deepest darkness), and Souls (beings of light). Certain Characters can elimnate different coloured Phantoms.

3. Eliminate the vulnerable Phantoms in both apparitions of the Activated zone. So if both players have apparitions in the same zone, they are both effected.

4. Checking the terror level in both apparitions of the Activated zone to see if any characters are effected. The Active player counts the terror level of both apparitions of the Activated zone and checks whether the Character who is optionally present is scared.

End of game

Ultimately, this is all about being more effective at scaring characters than your opponent. Each Character scared by a player scores victory points for him.

The game ends immediately when a player scores 11 victory points or more, and this player wins the game OR if both the stock and discard piles of Phantoms cards are exhausted (which means that all the Phantom cards are placed in apparitions or in the players’ hands), the game ends immediately, and the player with most victory points wins the game.

It’s taken me a couple of plays to come to grips with the game process. Maybe there’s a little lost in the translation from French but its actually not a difficult game to play. I think that the rules could have been structured in a more straightforward way and that would help. That aside, once you have played through, you can see the process working pretty well.  The cards are easy to use once you understand the icons , which isn’t hard.

Do I like Phantom?

Well, Phantom works reasonably well and it looks pretty cool but I just don’t think its that much fun. Not for me anyway.

Yes, you have choices to make and thinking about card placement is interesting. I like the set up and how you are playing across the different zones of the house. I wish the characters had more variety of  impact rather than just getting rid of certain Phantoms. Maybe effecting player’s hands for example.

The main thing for me is that the story just doesn’t seem to come to life. Its all about the card placement but there doesn’t seem to be the feel of a story here as much as I hoped it would. Its almost a math exercise dressed up in very nice art as most of the effort goes into making sure that you have the right amount of Phantoms per location, and adding up the scare points. Now some gamers will like that very much. Personally, I prefer more story and atmosphere and there isn’t enough here for me. It’s very difficult to categorize Phantom other than as a card game which would ordinarily be ok except that it’s almost like this game needs to be developed into more an RPG or Adventure board game.

So, its not a bad game at all, but ultimately not a game that I would spend a lot more time playing.

For more information go to –