Before I begin I was sent a prototype of the game and will receive a production copy if it funds. This is not a paid preview. You can check out a video of this preview below. Get your own copy here.
Grey Fox Games has been putting out an interesting variety of games lately. Campaign Trail is a game that really delighted me when I got to try it, the upcoming Last Light has been getting some really solid buzz, and Zoned Out is the only game I have ever played about developing a city, so with variety like that I cannot say that a spiritual successor to Santorini was a surprise.
Santorini is a game that was a pretty darn big hit, but was not one that really jived with me. It is solid, I will play it, but it is not one that I was wanting to pull out all the time. The question is, is this two player game about vikings carving up an island to homestead on be one that I would want to bust out over and over again.
In the game each player takes control of three vikings. On your turn you can move as far as you want in a straight line, and then summon a rune stone as far away from you as you like in a straight line. You will be using these stones to cordon off sections of the island, and when you do that, if there is only a single color viking in the area that area has become settled, and they will receive points at the end of the game based on how large the space is. Once all the vikings have been settled the game ends.
That’s it. You now know how to play. Fer realz.
Well maybe not actually it. You see each player can also be given a god that grants them powers. These powers might alter how you score points, give you two vikings only, but they get to both activate each turn, allow you to place more than one runestone and so on and so on. There are a whole bunch of them. Even so, the cards tell you everything you need to know…so now that is really it. Fer REAL realz this time.
So what do I think?
I love the look of it. While the artwork is not all completed yet, it is adorable. I really dig it. In addition to that the board is just attractive at the end of the game with the runestones dividing up the island. I like it.
I cannot express enough how much I appreciate just how fast it is to teach and play. You truly can teach it and have a best of three series in under an hour. That. Is. Awesome. Yet, even with that speed and simplicity, the amount of variety the different Gods bring to the game is what makes it really work. It means that every time you play you will have to incorporate a different strategy, which makes the game feel different every time.
I am not certain, having only played about 12-15 games, but there is a possibility that this is a game where a more experienced player will win significantly more often. This may or may not bother you, to me I am less bothered because games play so quick it is easy to get that experience.
The game is two player only. I, personally, play most of my games at that player count, but that is, in itself, limiting.
Bringing it all together
Ragnarocks is a lightning fast two player game, clearly inspired by Go. The game is simplicity itself, and its fast play time means that you can get many games in in a short time, even when someone has never played before. While the core of the game may grow stale after several plays, the inclusion of the gods ensures that it is very rare that two games will ever play out in a similar fashion. This might be a game that rewards a more experienced player, and it only plays at two players.
This article shouldn’t take longer to read than to play the game
* Adorable art, lovely look on the table
* Super easy to play, can crank through games quickly
* God powers are ridiculously game changing, requiring new strategies every time you play
* Only plays 2 player
* This is the spiritual successor to Santorini…and I can never imagine my wanting to play Santorini over this