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Raiders of the North Sea + Hall of Heroes and Fields of Fame Expansions

Designer: Shem Phillips
Artist: Mihajlo Dimitrievski
Publisher:  Renegade Game Studios
Year Published: 2015
No. of Players: 2-6
Ages: 12+
Playing Time: 60-120 min

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This review is for Raiders of the North Sea as well as it's two new big-box expansions Hall of Heroes and Fields of Fame.

From the Publisher
Do you have what it takes to be a Viking? Maybe, but can you impress the Chieftain as well? There's only one way to find out in ... Raiders of the North Sea. Your rewards await you as you assemble a crew, grab a ship, and set out to claim victory in this fun game for 2-4 players!

Will you choose to work or raid? The key to any Vikings' successful attack on a harbor or fortress, is making sure you have enough provisions and crew. Place workers throughout the town to collect supplies and build your crew. And of course, what's more fun than raiding, pillaging, and stealing plunder? Throughout the game, you'll be immersed in the Viking age with beautiful artwork and amazing quality components. Win the game through military strength, plunder, and Valkyrie.

Will the Chieftain be impressed with your conquest? Grab your war ax and put on your helmet, the North Sea awaits!

In Raiders of the North Sea: Hall of Heroes, a mead hall has been constructed, attracting a new breed of adventurers. Each raid brings new quests for the daring to endure. But with mead in abundance, there is little room for the wary, so sharpen your ax and ready your shield as new adventures await!

In addition to including components for an extra player, Hall of Heroes has the new mead hall board, large player boards, mead, quests, reputation, and a variety of new townsfolk.

In Raiders of the North Sea: Fields of Fame, enemy jarls have joined forces to help defend against the onslaught of raids on their settlements. But despite their threats, there is fame awaiting those who seek to kill or subdue them. Encountering a jarl is sure to bring injury, but now is no time for the faint-hearted. Onwards to the battlefield! Fields of Fame brings a new dynamic into the game with the addition of Jarl tokens being mixed in with the Plunder and Valkyrie. When taking a set of Plunder with 1 or more Jarls, the raiding player must reveal from the draw pile which Jarls they are encountering. They have the option to kill (for Fame and other rewards), subdue (to recruit them), or to flee. Killing and subduing will bring wounds to a player's crew, but fleeing will lose them Fame or Victory Points. Players can also gain Fame by raiding with overpowered crews. When a crew's strength is above the highest tier for scoring Victory Points, players move up with the Fame Track, which scores additional Victory Points at the game's end. *Requires Raiders of the North Sea to play. Contents Summary: 1 Township Board 1 Black Worker 3 Grey Workers 50 Wound Tokens 9 Score Markers (In 6 colors) 12 Jarl Tokens 1 Ship Card 6 Encounter Boards 30 Townsfolk Cards 15 Jarl Cards 2 Valkyrie Dice 6 Double-sided Multiplier Tokens 3 Reference Cards 1 Rulebook.

Rules and Setup


Thanks to Rodney Smith's "Watch it Played" video learning Raiders of the North Sea was quick and painless. The rule book looks great and has excellent reference materials. It's 12 pages with large print and lots of pictures. I love a game that provides a lot of complexity without making me slog through forty pages of 10pt legalese. Raiders of the North Sea provides depth without the discomfort.

A few key terms. Cards are Villagers until you hire them by paying their cost. Afterward, they are your Crew.

Valkyries are the skull tokens you get in some raids. They kill your crew.

Supplies are the tokens that look like bags. You spend them to go raiding.

Plunder means gold, iron, and animal tokens.

After the thirteen-minute video, setup took about five minutes.

1. Everybody gets their boat/reference card, two spiffy metal coins, three track markers, one worker, and a hand of 5 villager cards (then discard down to three).

2. Each player puts their markers on the VP, Valkyrie, and Strength tracks.

3.Place workers as specified on the Raiding spaces on the board.

4. All the wooden resource tokens are dumped in a cloth bag, then drawn and distributed around the board's various Raid locations.

5. Offering tiles are shuffled, and three are placed in their spot on the board. The rest are left in a stack face down.

Now, you're ready to Viking!

Hall of Heroes Adds 1 minute to setup.
Give each player a player board. Put the Mead Hall board at the bottom of the main board with three Villagers and four random Reputation tiles on it. Shuffle Quest tiles and put them aside. Give each player a reference card. "Put the Mead Tokens and 5 gold in the Main supply" (by the board, not in the bag) "before populating the board". The wording made me think the mead and gold from the expansion went in the bag. Rereading the Base setup, I noticed that the first mention of a "Main Supply" is after the board is populated.

Other than that one sentence, the rules are very clear.

Fields of Fame Adds 1 minute to setup.
Place the new game board to the right of the main board. Populate the three new Raiding locations. Shuffle the Jarl deck and place it in the bottom card slot. Place the wound markers within reach. Place markers on the Fame track.

If you have all three expansions your player area should look like this:

And the table should look like this:


This is a cute Viking skin slapped on a solid strategy game. Your crew all have vocations, special abilities, and variable strength. The theme is good, but it's not all hardcore like Blood Rage or Yggdrasil. It derives most of its thematic flavor from the plethora of Villagers who you can hire onto your crew.

Hall of Heroes
I really like the theme of booze making your Crew temporarily stronger. It fits well and tips the balance from feeling like abstract point-salad to a game about Vikings. The Quests are a nice touch, too.

Fields of Fame
This one really kicks the theme into high gear.

If my neighbors were getting pillaged, I'd definitely invest in some guards. Fortunately for us Vikings, the only guards available are, well, mercenaries. Killing them will make you famous, but it's usually not the best play. They're way stronger than most Villagers, so hiring them can make a big difference in raiding strength. Plus, they give you extra points at the endgame. Another option when encountering a Jarl is to run away, but it will make you seem less hardcore (moves trackers down).

The optional Valkyrie dice add a nice wild card. There is a skull on the 2 that counts as an extra Valkyrie when rolled. You never know when they might swoop in and kill your crew in the middle of a raid (see Valkyries under Mechanics for more info).


Game Play and Mechanics
Raiders is a worker placement game with a pleasantly unusual rhythm. Players alternate turns and choose between Work actions and Raid actions.

Work actions
 help you get the crew and supplies you need to go raiding. Work is really two actions. You put your worker in an empty space in the village and get the reward, then you take a different worker from one of the occupied spaces and get that reward as well. This is how you get cards in your hand, play them as crew, play them for their one-time action, get money, supplies, and gold. You can also make an Offering (spend the resources pictured on the offering tile and take it). The VP on your offering tiles are added to your score at the end.

Raid actions spend supplies and gold, but get you Plunder (Gold, Iron, and Animals) and lots of VP. Each raid location has a list of requirements and can only be raided once. To raid, you have to have enough crew, supplies, and gold to meet its conditions. You spend the supplies and gold, place your worker on the appropriate space, then take the worker on the raid location as well as all resources on that location.

Scoring VP requires a little math. The harder ones allow you to roll 1-2 dice, then add that total to the strength of your crew cards and the number on your strength tracker. Compare that total to the chart on the space and get VP equal to the highest VP condition on the chart. It sounds more complicated than it is. For example, if you have 18 strength you get 5 points, but if you have 24 you get 9. You want to go in with as much strength as possible, but be sure to at least have enough to meet the lower goal.

Valkyries are little skull tokens that are mixed in with resources before the Raid locations are populated. When you take a Valkyrie, the token is discarded and one of your crew dies. It's not all bad, though. Every crew member who dies moves your Valkyrie tracker up and gets you VPs.

You only ever have one worker, but there are three different types (black, grey, and white). Many spaces require one or two specific colors to go there. You start with a black worker, and the other types become available through raids. So once you have all the supplies, you still might have to wait another turn to get a grey guy to raid a specific place. There's a lot to take into consideration when you plan, but it's not brutally tight. You can get whatever you're after in 2-3 rounds, and there's always something useful you can do.

It's fast, fun, and easy to learn. It's going to be hard for me to come up with something negative to say about this.

Hall of Heroes

All the fun of the Base with added drunkenness!

This adds:

Another small game board that abuts the main board, adding a powerful new Work action.

Player Boards

Quest and Reputation tiles

Another Player

New Villagers


Three reference cards

Multiplier tokens for Money and Supplies

A New Track for the Quests and Reputation tiles


The Mead Hall allows you to either:

A - Take one face-up villager into your hand along with a variable amount of silver/mead tokens. This is extremely handy because it's a great way to pick up that extra silver piece you need RIGHT NOW in addition to being able to get a Villager you know will be useful. Mead tokens can be placed on your crew before a raid to temporarily add points to your strength. This makes it a lot easier to hit those higher-scoring goals. After the raid, they are discarded back to the supply.


B - You can do a Quest anywhere on the board.

Quests are tiles that are placed on a space left empty after a raid. You don't place a Quest on a space left empty by a quest. To do a quest, you spend Villagers from your hand with a total strength â‰¥ the number specified on the tile. In exchange, you get the reward on the tile (some combination of money, plunder, and supplies) then put the tile in the first empty space on the top of your player board (basically another tracker). At the end of the game, you get VP based on how many of these tiles you have.

Fields of Fame

This adds:

Three new raid locations and workers to go on then.
A Fame track that you bump up by either killing Jarls (mercenaries) or exceeding the highest target strength on a raid location.
Wound tokens
New Villagers
Valkyrie dice
Another player
Three reference cards 
Multiplier tokens for Money and Supplies
Jarls- strong mercenaries with a strength of 5-6. They are represented by blue tokens that go into the bag with Plunder and Valkyries at the beginning. When you Raid a location with a Jarl, you have three options.

Killing them gives you wounds equal to their strength +1, but gives you Fame and the kill reward on their card.
Hiring them costs 3-4 monies after you beat them into submission by taking wounds (Strength -1), but gives you a strong Crew member that also awards bonus VP at the end. I imagine these fights as being mostly headbutts and growling.
Running bumps you down on the VP or Fame track, but you still get the other stuff on the location.

Valkyrie dice option. A Valkyrie appears out of nowhere and kills a crew every time you roll a 2.

Wound tokens. Subtract one strength from your crew for each wound they have. It's rare that one player can wound another, but it's possible with some Crew.

When you take damage, place wound markers equal to the damage on any combination of crew. Your Crew's strength is reduced by one for every wound token. It's okay though. We're Raiders. When one of us gets weak, we simply replace them with somebody stronger.

Artwork and Components
This couldn't be of higher quality. Metal coins in a $50.00 standard edition? That's craziness. I punched Gloomhaven and Raiders back to back. I was way more impressed with Raiders' beautiful art and high-quality components. It's top-shelf all the way. The cards looked and felt great in my hand. The insert wasn't the prettiest, but it's better than most. It's not terribly over-packaged, so you have more shelf space. As a physical product, I don't see how this could be any nicer.

After ditching the insert, all three products fit in the base box with no wasted space. It took me a while to get it all in there, but it's not too bad. It took a lot of patting bags of bits until they settled just right.


Hall of Heroes
More of the same quality-wise. There are a few things I'd have preferred they do differently. Instead of having more metal coins, they added 5X cardboard tokens for Money and Supplies. If you are playing with six the thirty-two coins can be spread thin. You rarely have much more than five, and you can't have more than eight, so it's not much of an issue. These are fairly pricey expansions, so the coins really would have been nice. Also, this comes with great reference cards, but only three. If you want a reference card for everybody you have to buy both. That struck me as weird.

Fields of Fame

OMG, they screwed something up! The fourth green tracker doesn't match the three from the base. This game sucks! Lol, I'm actually a little relieved. I thought this whole review might just be gushing joy. If you have a friend with crippling OCD, don't let them play green. Problem solved.

Aside from Greenpocolypse, everything is just as perfect as the other two products.

The Good
1. Everything. Honestly, if you like worker placement, there's no reason not to pick this up.
2. The small box fits all three expansions. I don't think you could pack this much game into a 9x9 box. Wasted space is a huge pet peeve, so this has me slightly giddy.
3. Fantastic art.
4. It's fun!
5. It's easy to learn.
6. It has a small footprint (i.e. can be played on medium-sized tables)
7. Lots of replay value.

Hall of Heroes
1-7. Everything I said about the base.
8. The quest mechanic is great because you can turn unwanted Villagers into a few points and some much-needed stuff that may be difficult to get late in the game.

9. The Mead is great thematically, and it straps a nitro-booster on your point tracker.

10. The Hall gives you one villager instead of two, but you know what they do before you get them and they come with bonuses.

Fields of Fame
1-7. Jarls are awesome. They add a calculated risk with a potentially huge payoff. I got some really sweet combos combining Jarls with Valkyries that scored me buckets of points, got me money, plunder, and bumped me up on multiple tracks in just one Raid. I love that you have the option to kill, hire, or run away.
8. The Valkyrie dice are an awesome option for those who want a little more brutality and chance.
9. Adds an extra player.
11. The Fame track can boost your endgame by as much as 15 points.
12. Great quality of gameplay and components.

The Bad
I can't think of anything. Honestly, this game is awesome.

Hall of Heroes
1. Should have had coins instead of multiplier tokens, IMO.
2. Only 3 reference cards.

3. This makes the game take up significantly more space. 

4. Player boards don't add gameplay. They could have put tile scoring on the reference cards and skipped them entirely.

Fields of Fame

1. Should have had coins instead of multiplier tokens, IMO.
2. Only 3 reference cards.

3. The green player tracker token is darker than the ones in the base.

Final Thoughts
I love all three products. This is not just my type of game. It's elegantly crafted both mechanically and visually. There are a lot of options in the base game, and they grow exponentially as expansions are added. My brain is like a happy dolphin splashing in an ocean of possibilities. This is nothing like Five Tribes, but if I had to compare the feel of decision making, that's what comes to mind.

When playing with all 3 products at once, the staggering amount of options may cause analysis paralysis. For the most part, you can plan your next turn while the other player is going. Turns generally go pretty fast, so it's mostly a problem with 2 or 3 players. If you have 4-6 everybody should have minimal downtime.

FOF and HOH felt like one huge expansion to me, but I can see why they split them. There is a lot of gameplay and tons of high-quality components. I recommend getting both because drunken Jarls are demigods.

If I had to pick one, it would be Fields of Fame. It adds a little more gameplay, while Hall of Heroes adds decent gameplay and a lot of bling. I didn't really see much point in the player boards. They let you track how many tiles you have for end scoring. Other than that, they take up space and look pretty.

Recommended for players who like lots of options for turning stuff into other stuff for points. There's also a hint of machine-building with your crew, especially with Fields of Fame.

I am giving:

Raiders of the North Sea 9 out of 10 (BUY)

Fields of Fame 9 out of 10 (BUY)

Hall of Heroes 8 out of 10 (BUY)

If you want to save time on putting the game up, they also sell a deluxe collector's box to hold everything. (BUY)