Not Part of Your Scene reviews are a bit different from the typical board game reviews. When we write them we review the game we played with all its context. So the below review could be our fifteenth play or it could be our first or fifth. When there is something to say about the game it will get a review and sometimes maybe multiple reviews.
Blood Rage is a strategy board game built around card drafting, area control and combat. The game is big enough and complicated enough that a first play only gives you information about how much you don’t know. I played the game with two people who had played it once before and three first timers (one of those three first timers is the clear best board game player in the group).
The components stand out.
As soon as you sit at the table the monster sculpts impress and make you desire to get those frost giants and sea serpents on your side. When the owner of the game finishes painting them they’ll look even better. So far he’s only gotten as far as the wolf Fenris. Below isn’t his painted character but one that looks very similar.
Blood Rage will run about $60 dollars. With a game so costly it’s a good thing that all it’s secrets and strategies aren’t revealed after an initial play. The first game is more about learning what levers to pull and experience what happens during different ages and to get familiar with the cards you’re drafting.
For example as a newbie I didn’t realize quest cards were worth game points, I found their dinky additional advantages written in text to be not worth the time. That set me behind from the moment the first draft ended.
Or I could have paid more attention during the rules explanation.
For an experienced gamer the rules never feel too deep. There will be mistakes made, the above as an example, but rules and game play are clear enough and appear in other games, so there’s never some new impossible concept to swallow (see the Automa in Stonemaier games). The game always feels epic and despite its proclivity for war, gods and monsters the Viking theme is underused in the board game world.
Once knee deep in the game I experienced a tense strategic system of choosing when to join battles, when to stay away and when to make the decision that dying a glorious death and finding my way to Valhalla is the best method for completing quests and scoring points.
The game gets an A+ so it can drop from here as find annoyances or holes in the game play with continued plays. But from my reading as I get familiar with certain strategies and card synergies the A+ is likely to be reinforced.