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Raisers of the North Sea

Board Game Review: Raiders of the North Sea

A Viking themed board game with simple mechanics.

In Minnesota, we have Garden Swaps. A Garden Swap is where fine, hearty midwestern folk bring an extra petunia or daisy from their garden, then they swap it our for another type of flower or plant that someone else brought. You give something, then leave with something else.

One of my favorite board games never gets much more complicated than giving something, then leaving with something else.

No spoilers on the awesome Viking crew cards.

Raiders of the North Sea is a Viking-themed board game for 2-4 players that plays in about an hour. Here is what you get in the (small sized) box:

1 Game Board
71 Townfolk Cards
4 Ship Cards
16 Offering Tiles
12 Score Markers
A bunch of item tokens:

  • 18 Valkyrie
  • 18 Gold
  • 18 Iron
  • 26 Livestock
  • 32 Provisions
  • 32 Silver
You have to pay your crew.

A bunch of worker meeples:

  • 7 Black Workers
  • 11 Grey Workers
  • 12 White Workers

A set of d6
1 Black bag
1 Rulebook

As you can see, there are a lot of components, but really what you need to focus on are the WORKERS and the ITEMS, because here is the gameplay:

1. Place a worker and resolve its action.
2. Pick up a different worker and resolve its action.

You give something, then leave with something else. The game doesn’t get much more complicated than a Garden Swap!

But here it is in a little more depth: You want to build a Viking crew that is tough enough to raid nearby settlements. You need provisions to keep your crew’s belly full. So you take a worker token and place it at an area on the game board, resolving that action by taken the items associated with that area, whether it be iron, livestock, etc.

The second half of your turn is to take a worker that is already on the board, getting the items associated with it. This is how you build up your supply cache for raiding.

Once players have the crew and provisions necessary, they may choose to raid on their turn. The Raiding process is not much different. Here is Rodney Smith of Watched it Played with a video of how to play:

Review of Raiders of the North Sea

The whole game is gorgeous.

Raiders of the North Sea is an excellent game, quickly becoming one of my favorites and certainly one of the best board games of the last few years. It’s a light to medium weight game with a strong theme that’s a heck of a lot of fun to play.

The gameplay is super simple, yet there is always something to do. It can be taught in minutes, yet had a lot of depth.

Other pluses:

  • The components are high quality.
  • It is supported by a horde of expansions.
  • The artwork is fantastic.

Raiders of the North Sea is a game you should absolutely have in your collection. It might have simple mechanics but it’s way more fun that a Garden Swap. You can get it here.

It is also noteworthy to mention that North Sea Raiders is part of a trilogy of viking-themed board games.  We discuss all three and the ties that bind them in this here post!