GTM #217 - 878 - Vikings
Invasions of England
by Academy Games

My name is Gunder and I am a Viking. I have traveled across the sea with a horde of my shield brethren to find riches and claim my own fertile land. 

878 - Vikings: The Invasions of England is a fast paced and easy to learn 2-4 player game that is perfectly suited to accommodate both veteran and new gamers. 

Take on the role of either the Vikings or the English. As the Vikings, you will invade with a huge army every round. You will feel invincible as you cut deep swaths into English territory, capturing their key cities. When playing as the English, you will need to protect those cities at all costs, as they provide your supply of troops. Use your peasant Fyrds to whittle down the Viking hordes, causing them to overextend themselves and become easily vanquished. Either way, you will need to make shrewd decisions on where to move your armies, how to engage the enemy, where to deploy reinforcements, and how to play your unique set of historical event cards. In the end, the side who controls the most key cities will claim victory. 

Fighting in Guthrum’s army has taken us across Angleland. We have expanded quickly, taking city after city and slaughtering everyone who has dared stand against us. 

878 - Viking Age expansion has allowed us to explore more of this fascinating era’s history and how it should affect gameplay. 878 - Viking Age includes 9 different expansions that can be added to the game in any combination. Each expansion takes on a different aspect of rich Viking history and changes the gameplay accordingly. This allows you to tailor the base game to suit your preferences and provides a much deeper experience. 

Three of the English kingdoms have fallen with no real effort. Only the Kingdom of Wessex remains. 

  • Kingdoms - England was comprised of four major kingdoms. Each kingdom in the game provides a special power to the player who controls it. The powers reflect the historical effects that controlling these kingdoms had on the English and Viking strategies.

Unlike the other English pretenders who either died or joined us, King Alfred has proven to be a worthy foe.

  • Kings - Each kingdom also had its own king who reacted to the Viking incursion in their own ways. Some stood against the Vikings and died, while others sought peace or power by allying with them.  Every player starts the game allied with one of the four English kings.

We have not been able to break Alfred or his peoples’ spirits, even after we plundered and burned their holy churches. Their god’s weakness to us has only emboldened them to line up for the slaughter.

  • The War for Land and Gods - The English start the game with 14 churches on the map. The Vikings get an extra reinforcement for each church they pillage and can win the game if they destroy all 14. However, every pillaged church provides the English with “Christian wrath”, allowing them to rally an ever-greater number of Fyrd.

Alfred burned our ships, keeping us from being able to retreat north with our spoils or to send gold home for new recruits.

  • Viking Ships - When the Vikings invade, they will have to moor their ships where they land. They can use these moored ships to quickly travel along the coast, but they must protect them from being captured and burned by the English. Each ship they lose reduces the reinforcements they will gain.

Now fate has brought us to this glorious day. The day our two mighty shield walls face each other in no mere battle, but Ragnarok!

  • Epic Battles Events - Any battle can turn into an epic battle where the rules of combat are changed.

I feel the spirits of our fallen brethren and heroes at my side. I swear to Odin that Ragnar has locked shields with me.

  • Ragnar and Lagertha - Exchange the base game’s starting army with these legendary leaders’ forces and bring fear into the hearts of the English.

As our shield walls clash, our war cry makes the wind howl, setting our raven banner fluttering in a sign of victory from the gods.

  • Relics and Holy Places - The faith that the Vikings and English had in their pagan and Christian relics would push them beyond their normal limits. The 12 relics and holy places in this expansion provide a special power to the side that controls them.

As my axe cleaves the heads and rends the limbs of one pathetic Englishman after another, I become a legend among my men and will not be forgotten for long after I die today!

  • Legends - All players want to build their own legacy by achieving these secret legendary objectives that will award them victory control markers.

Our Gods lied to us when we cast our rune dice that morning. Maybe it was a foul trick of Loki’s, but our scrying did not tell us the enemies’ greater numbers would encircle our flank and tear our battle-line to pieces.

  • Runes and Prayer - The Vikings may scry and the English may pray during battle by rolling special dice. Each roll could provide vital benefits, but could also foretell defeat or convince god-fearing pagan Vikings to convert to Christianity.

I wait, kneeling with my brethren by the bank of the river, surrounded by grey-cloaked English. We wait to be killed when word comes that Guthrum has converted to Christianity. We are to be baptized and spared. Now, my God-given name is Godric and I am Christian.