A Rapid Review of Völuspá

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Völuspá, by Stronghold Games, prominently asks on the back of the box, "Will Thor survive the challenge of the trickster, Loki? Will the Valkyries overtake Odin?" The "Saga of Edda” expansion included with the game is also clearly marked on the box. If the title and theme of this Norse Mythology game don’t pique your interest, bear with me, as there is a fun casual game hidden inside, even though it appears to be intended for fantasy gamers.

Völuspá consists of sixty tiles representing eight different characters and creatures of Norse Mythology, valued from one through eight. On a turn, the player adds a tile to an existing row and/or column (up to a maximum length of seven tiles). If the tile placed has a higher value than the others in the same row and/or column, he scores points equal to the number of tiles in the row and/or column. However, many of the tiles have special powers that can either affect scoring or the placing of other tiles. For instance, the Troll prevents other tiles from being placed adjacent to it, the Dragon can be placed on top of other tiles, the Valkyrie scores points if it is located on both ends of a row or column, etc. The game ends when all of the tiles have been played, and the player with the most points wins.

While the title and theme didn’t exactly excite us, we found this game to be rather unique and quite fun to play. It can be played casually, but it also lends itself to deeper thought and strategy for those who desire it, especially given the expansion that includes four additional tile types.