Whether you’re into board games, card games, video games, or massively multiplayer online games, you’d be hard-pressed to have not noticed the explosion of Norse and Viking-themed creations. Whether it’s taking on the deities of Asgard or raiding the medieval villages of Britain, it’s always about action and adventure.
Now, there looks to be another exciting installment to the Viking board game selection. Runar, from Ludus Magnus Studio, managed to collect €259,501 in pledges from its initial €80,000 goal, with 1,711 backers on board at the time of writing. Looking at the Kickstarter story page, it’s easy to see why.
Viking marauding and Norse fantasy all in one
The premise of Runar is that one to four Jarls have sent their best warriors to a nameless island littered with the gear of the Asgardians and Jotunn after a storied battle to retrieve the Runic Gems. Once you choose your clan, you then get to create your own war band to take on the challenges of the easy-to-learn, hard-to-master game.
Of course, it’s always great when a board game caters to a single-player experience on top of team play and campaign modes, and Runar does it all. Set to take up to 90 minutes, there’s plenty to discover in the game and, thanks to its collection of varied heroes, it will be very replayable.
While its modular features, scalability, customization, and gameplay modes all speak to a top-tier board game, easily the most eye-catching element is the miniatures. The core box comes with 12 highly detailed hero miniatures as well as three enemy mini types.
Historical settings meet the realms of fantasy
Unlike several other depictions of ancient settings in board and video games such as the Ancient Greeks, Romans, or Egyptians, Norse almost always ties the mythos with the very real Vikings. This is, perhaps, because the Vikings were notoriously adventurous and brave, setting sail to unknown lands to conquer mercilessly.
This is an element that medieval games can tap into very well. Fusing old-school weaponry with noble quests and mythical creatures makes for a novel yet somewhat grounded adventure. As the lore is so rich and the myths were so closely held by the warriors of medieval Scandinavia, the blending of the realities in Norse games makes sense.
One of the most recent smash-hit releases that tap into this theme is Valheim. You play as a Viking in a brutal setting tasked with, at first, just surviving. Then you can explore, build, and conquer. The formula clearly appeals to the masses as SteamCharts tracks its all-time peak as nearly 500,000 and an average player count of over 25,000.
In triple-A gaming, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla hit 20 million in sales and even infused a bit of additional mythology in its expansion, Wrath of the Druids, but in the form of Celtic tales rather than Norse. The most prominent, however, is the God of War duology.
The games throw Kratos, of Greek mythology, into the realms of Norse. Here, you explore the nine realms and even see the end times of Ragnarök. While not as acclaimed as the video games, the God of War: The Card Game offers a quick-fire tabletop romp as Kratos and Atreus. It doesn’t compare to Raiders of the North Sea, though.
Norse mythology and medieval games are thriving across all formats right now, and when it arrives in December 2023, Runar looks to add another exciting adventure to the selection.