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Doug's Dungeon - Blood Rage

A massive chunk of rock plummets from the ceiling of the cave. The mass contacts with the sea of lava that fills the room, causing a viscous splash of molten fire. The eerie orange light is one thing, but the oppressive heat is another. You glance off to your left, as a small rowboat sinks into the lava. Magma, you correct yourself. It’s only called lava when it’s *above* ground. You take a moment to mentally pat yourself on the back for recalling a largely useless fact. Returning to the matter at hand, you wonder if you needed the boat to solve this new puzzle room to move further into Doug’s increasingly-annoying-to-navigate dungeon.

 

Sounds of battle ring out from the corridor you entered from. Given you are achieving nothing here, you go to seek the source. The scene you arrive to is complete chaos. Viking warriors clash in brutal combat, wielding swords, axes, and any other implements that imply “this was designed to hurt when swung at speed”. Amidst them are a wide array of monsters and fantasy creatures. A dwarf and a dark elf square off with a massive troll. From the edge of the crumbling ruin of the great hall, a great serpent lashes out from a pool of water, choked with corpses. You spot Doug charging toward you, weapon raised and mouth frothing.

OH HEY FRIEND! I TOTALLY FORGOT IT WAS BOARD GAME REVIEW DAY. WHATS UP?!

 

Good grief he’s shouting uncontrollably. This apocalyptic viking battle is clearly too much mental stimulation for the poor boy.

 

SORRY ABOUT THE SCHEDULE MIX UP. I’VE BEEN PLAYING MAYBE A LITTLE TOO MUCH OF THIS FORTNIGHT’S GAME AND REDESIGNED THE DUNGEON TO SUIT. ITS CALLED BLOOD RAGE AND IT’S ONE HELL OF A TITLE LEMME TELL YA.

 

 

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TOLD ABOUT RAGNAROK? AND I’M NOT TALKING ABOUT SOME GAME REFERENCE THAT JUST SEES THE WORD AND USES IT BECAUSE IT SOUNDS EDGY. IN VIKING LORE, REAAAL RAGNAROK IS THE END TIMES. THE APOCALYPSE. WHERE MAN MEETS HIS MAKER. THOUGH, UNLIKE OTHER FAITHS, A VIKING YEARNS FOR THE TIME OF RAGNAROK. FOR YOU SEE, FRIEND, TO BE A VIKING DURING THIS TIME IS THE MOST METAL THING EVER.

 

THE GODS THEMSELVES DESCEND UPON THE SPLITTING EARTH. THEY GRANT FAVOUR TO BRAVE AND MIGHTY WARRIORS WHO RAID AND PILLAGE. CREATURES AND MONSTROSITIES FROM ALL CORNERS OF MIDGARD ARRIVE TO TEST THE METTLE OF ANY AND ALL WHO ARE NEARBY. THIS IS WHERE THE GAME OF BLOOD RAGE BEGINS. YOU TAKE CONTROL OF ONE OF FOUR CLANS VYING FOR ULTIMATE GLORY IN THE LAST BATTLE.

 

THE GAME IS PLAYED ON A BOARD THAT MAPS OUT THE PROVINCES OF MIDGARD. AROUND THE EDGE IS A TRACK THAT SHOWS HOW MUCH GLORY THE PLAYERS HAVE EARNED THROUGHOUT THEIR CONQUESTS. EACH PLAYER USES THEIR MINIATURES TO INVADE THESE PROVINCES AND, ULTIMATELY, PILLAGE THEM. DOING SO CAUSES OTHER PLAYERS TO RUSH INTO THE FIGHT, FORCING ALL SIDES TO USE THEIR ‘GOD’S FAVOUR’ CARDS TO TURN THE TIDE IN BATTLE. PLAYERS MAY ALSO MAKE USE OF THE MONSTER MINIATURES THAT HAVE SPECIAL ABILITIES TO TURN THE TIDE EVEN FURTHER. ONE WOULD THINK THOUGH IF YOU KEEP INCREMENTALLY TURNING THE TIDE IN BATTLE YOU WOULD EVENTUALLY START HINDERING YOURSELF, BUT WHATEVER FLOATS YOUR BOAT.

 

SPEAKING OF BOATS, YOU GET A BOAT. YOUR ENEMIES GET A BOAT. EVERYONE GETS A BOAT! THOUGH ONLY ONE OF YOU ENDS UP WITH THE SEA MONSTER, WHICH IS A BOAT BUT BETTER. YOUR VIKING LONG BOATS CAN INVADE THE FJORDS OF THE PROVINCES TO HELP IN THE FIGHTING AND THE KILLING, BUT DON’T WORRY TOO MUCH IF THE KILLING IS DONE TO YOU. WHEN YOUR WARRIORS DIE, THEY ARE PLACED IN THE VALHALLA ZONE, WHERE THEY CHILL AND PARTY WITH THE GODS UNTIL THE NEXT ROUND.

 

THE GAME PLAYS OVER THREE SUCH ROUNDS, BEGINNING WITH PLAYERS DRAFTING OUT GOD’S FAVOUR CARDS. PLAYERS SPEND THE MAJORITY OF EACH ROUND EXPENDING ‘RAGE’, WHICH FUELS THE VARIOUS ACTIONS YOU TAKE. ONCE EVERYONE RUNS OUT OF RAGE, NAMELY BY INVADING, MARCHING AND RAIDING, THE WORLD CHURNS. THE GROUND BECOMES UNSTABLE AS ONE OF THE PROVINCES BECOMES CONSUMED BY FIRE AND BRIMSTONE. ANYONE METAL ENOUGH TO BE AROUND WHEN THIS HAPPENS EARNS THEIR CLAN SOME SWEET GLORY AS THEY DIE. FEAR NOT, HOWEVER. ONCE A ROUND ENDS, ALL DEAD SOLDIERS, MONSTERS AND BOATS ARE RELEASED FROM VALHALLA… ONLY TO DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN!

 

IT’S MECHANICS LIKE THIS THAT REALLY MAKE BLOOD RAGE SHINE AGAINST OTHER ‘REGION CONTROL’ GAMES. BECAUSE SENDING YOUR WARRIORS TO THEIR DEATH IS A *GOOD* THING, PLAYERS DON’T FEEL THE NEED TO BE CONSERVATIVE WITH THEIR RESOURCES. THIS CASCADES INTO PLAYERS GETTING TO ENJOY THE COMBATS MORE AS WELL. THE GOD’S FAVOUR CARDS INCLUDE BATTLE CARDS THAT EITHER HELP YOU WIN FIGHTS OR, IF YOU FOLLOW THE TENETS OF THE TRICKSTER GOD LOKI, GIVE YOU POWERFUL BOONS FOR LOSING BATTLES. THESE CARDS ALSO COVER THE VARIOUS ‘UPGRADES’ YOU CAN MAKE TO YOUR CLAN. YOU CAN STRENGTHEN YOUR LEADER, WARRIORS, OR EVEN SUMMON THE MONSTERS OF MIDGARD TO AID YOU. FINALLY, QUEST CARDS ARE SECRET MISSIONS YOU ATTEMPT TO COMPLETE EACH ROUND FOR EXTRA GLORY AND ATTRIBUTE POINTS.

 

DID I SAY ATTRIBUTES? YES I DID. I DID INDEED. EACH PLAYER GETS A CLAN UPGRADE SHEET THAT TRACKS NOT ONLY YOUR CLAN UPGRADE CARDS USED, BUT A SET OF ATTRIBUTES: RAGE, AXES, AND HORNS. EACH AFFECTS HOW POWERFUL YOUR CLAN HAS BECOME. THE PRIMARY WAY TO INCREASE THEM IS TO SUCCESSFULLY PILLAGE THE REGIONS EACH ROUND, AND ACQUIRE THE ATTRIBUTE POINT ASSIGNED TO THAT REGION. YOU CAN UPGRADE YOUR MAXIMUM RAGE FOR MORE ACTIONS, AXES FOR MORE GLORY WHEN YOU WIN FIGHTS, OR HORNS TO ALLOW MORE OF YOUR MEN ON THE BOARD.

 

 

ITS THIS GROWTH OF EACH PLAYER’S CLAN THAT ALLOWS PLAYERS TO DEFINE A STRATEGY UNIQUE TO THEM. ARE YOU A WARMONGERING TYRANT WHO SHOULD BE FEARED IN BATTLE? OR ARE YOU THE SECRETIVE TRICKSTER, WHO CANNOT BE TRUSTED TO FIGHT FAIR? BLOOD RAGE IS A VERY WELL BUILT GAME THAT I RECOMMEND TO ANYONE WITH A REASONABLY LARGE THIRST FOR BLOOD. THE MODELS ARE BEAUTIFULLY CRAFTED AND THE ARTWORK BOTH ON THE BOARD AND IN THE MANUAL ARE VERY PLEASING. NO CORNERS WERE CUT IN THE MAKING OF THE GAME AND IT FEELS AS THOUGH THE CREATORS TRULY LOVED MAKING IT.

 

It is at this point Doug turns to find the battle had ceased quite some time ago, with many warriors’ corpses strewn about the hall. He lowers his voice and turns to you

 

Oh man I’ve just been shouting at you in an empty room for five straight minutes huh. Well that’s embarrassing. Come on, let’s go play a round. I’ll find like three more vikings that haven't bled out yet and we can go play with the 5th player expansion. Oh oh and we can use the mystics of midgards one as well or even the Gods of Asgard I haven't played yet WHOO.

Doug vaults off, carefully examining the battlefield for living vikings. You go to follow him, eager for a change of scene and a lower energy environment. Also, it smells in here.

 

 

Doug Moore





I'm an avid lover of all things table top. I also have a growing collection of board games which inspire me to create my own. I put my loud and expressive personality to good use as a dungeon master for my friends, having run many campaigns through 4th and 5th edition D&D. 

Follow him on Twitter 
@Dugggernaut

 

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