I recently attended a gaming weekend, where, unlike the usual events I go to, I was able to actually sit and play a whole bunch of titles. I got a lot of gaming in over the three days, but the title we talked about the most and had the most fun with was Raids by Iello. I’ve since been able to play it a few more times at different player counts, and what I’ve discovered is a fast, fun set collection/movement game with some great player interaction.
In Raids, you are going to pilot your Viking long ship on four different voyages. Each one starts in the main port with all of the competition together, and you’ll head out on adventure from there.
On the sailing route around the board, there are a number of locations you can stop, and some spaces that you’ll move right over. The goal is to earn points for defeating Monsters, acquiring Runes, collecting and selling Goods, and of course, a little bit o’ pillaging!
At the start of each round, the board is populated with different Voyage tiles on the specified areas of the board. Players can see exactly what the round has in store for them, and what areas may become the site of conflict. The first players starts with one Viking aboard their ship. Players two and three get two each, and the fourth player starts with three Vikings.
In turn order, you all leave the main port and set off on your voyage. Once everyone has left port, the real action begins with the ship in last place always being the next to move.
Interestingly, when you stop at a location, you don’t take the tile on that space immediately. You have to wait and if you start your turn on that same space, you then acquire that Voyage tile. Most tiles are added to the ship, but there are some like Runes or defeated Monsters that will just go to the side of the ship (it’s pretty obvious by the images which is which).
Your long ship has spaces for up to five different Voyage tiles. It starts with ten shields, each one representing a Viking that can be added to your ship, but as new Voyage tiles are added, you may lose some shields and thus be able to carry less Vikings…and you’re going to want to have a big crew, believe me.
So, what are you going to get as you sail across the seas? I’ve mentioned to Runes which are worth more points the more you collect. Goods, like pigs, sheep, or statues have a certain point value, but you have to deliver them to a port to cash in. Until then they take up a space in your ship. Sails will earn you Vikings every time you stop at the main port. Mjollnirs are worth end game points for the Vikings you have on board your ship. Finally, Weapons can be gained to help fight the Monsters you’ll encounter on your journeys. You’ll also come across Ports to deliver goods, Visits to gain more Vikings, and Pillage locations to earn coins.
When you are the furthest back of the Viking ships, it’s your turn. You’ll first take the Voyage tile of the space that you’re on, then discard any tiles between you and the next player ahead of you (in some cases none). Then you will move to the next space you want to go to. If you go way ahead, it might be several turns before you get to move again, but if there’s a tile you really want, sometimes it make sense to take a big leap. That being said, few things are ever very secure in Raids. It is a Viking game after all.
Especially in higher player count games, those seas start to get mighty crowded and it’s inevitable that sooner or later someone is going to stop on a tile you want to collect. On your turn, you can go to the same location prompting a battle! Combat is super simple. If I make an attack, I have to discard one Viking from my ship. To retaliate, my opponent must discard two Vikings. If I want to keep fighting, I have to discard three and so on. Battles continue until one person flees, leaving the space for one further along, which may in turn start another battle if someone is there. Now, you really don’t want to be caught with too few Vikings on your ship. In fact, the rules even state as much. Unfortunately for me on my first play through, I didn’t heed that warning, and was bullied all game long by my jerky opposition (I’m just bitter because they were much better Vikings than I).
You might also choose to fight Monsters in the game, earning points for your glorious victories. When you fight a Monster, you discard a number of Vikings equal to the value of the Monster, which is also the points they’re worth at the end of the game. You can reduce the number of Vikings sacrificed in battle for every Weapon you have on board.
At the end of each voyage, you’ll be rewarded based on a certain metric. The first voyage is always a race, so you’ll get 6, 3, or 1 coins for finishing first, second, or third. Subsequent voyages will reward you for different things like number of Shields or Goods on your ship, or Runes you’ve collected. You always get to see what will be in store for you at the end of the next voyage and so can plan accordingly. Coins are points at a 1:1 ratio, so they’re well worth picking up when the opportunity arises.
At the end of the fourth voyage, points are totalled and the winner is declared. Raids is pretty quick to learn and games shouldn’t last more than 40 minutes. Despite the fast game time, there is some interesting decisions to make and fun interactions along the way. You can tell going into a fight if you have enough Vikings to outlast your opponent, but you may bet on them wanting to keep a stash of warriors behind and making a run for it early. Maybe you think you can pick up that Weapon before fighting the Monster, but an opponent makes a big jump ahead to defeat it first, stealing your glory. It is a heck of a lot of fun to play and you might find yourself yelling RAAAAIDS! all weekend long. That was, at least, my experience.
A copy of Raids was generously provided by Iello for this review.