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Command Viking raiding parties in Hengist

By Aaron Skinner
Published: April 14, 2016
MOD-PS0416_02
Command Viking raiding parties in Hengist
Product: Designed by Uwe Rosenberg, Hengist pits players against each other in a fast-paced quest for loot in post-Roman Britain. It’s one of Mayfair’s small-box games designed for two players.

The small, square box contains three heavy, two-sided cardboard map pieces, six wooden pawns representing raiding parties, three shield tokens, 12 road tiles, 30 treasure tiles and a nifty Viking longboat. The first time the game is played, the boat’s cardboard parts must be popped out of their carrier sheet and assembled. But the boat fits in the box as built, so there’s no need to break it down after a game session.

All of the cardboard components are beauti­fully printed with Viking motifs and have a hefty feel.


GAMEPLAY: The players take on the roles of brothers Hengist and Horsa, Saxon warriors tasked by Vortigern to protect Britain from encroaching Picts and Scots. Dissatisfied with the recompense they receive, Hengist and Horsa begin pillaging villages, towns and monasteries along the coast to take what they believe they are owed.

To start play, the three map boards are laid next to one another. Each has a different network of roads marked on it leading to the target villages. Randomly drawing sets of four tokens and placing them in descending order along the bottom of each board determines the value of the loot. Randomly selected road tiles are placed face down on each board.

Each player starts with three cards and three raiding parties in the boat in the left-most bay on the map boards.
After alighting, the colored pawns move into the hinterland and raid as the player matches cards to the terrain types shown on the roads. Some of the terrain cards show a single terrain type, others two. The latter can be used as one or the other, not both.
 
The game’s twist is that the covered road tiles determine which roads connect to which targets, and since the road tiles are chosen randomly, it’s never the same from game to game.

Explorer cards can be used as wild terrain cards, to spy on a hidden road tile, or to put a lost raiding party back in the boat. Playing an explorer card also moves the boat to the next bay to the right. If it has reached the rightmost bay, the board on the left is picked up, flipped and placed to the right of the last. It’s then stocked with loot and a road tile added. Any raiding parties on a board that is moved are lost until a player uses an explorer card to replace them on the boat. Unlooted treasures from that board are also lost.
 
The game ends when the boat moves off the board the fourth time, so both sides of all three boards have been played.

Game play balances the need for speed with a desire to collect as much treasure as possible. Card draws make luck an important factor, because you have to have the right cards to move about the countryside and loot villages. The first player seems to have a slight advantage.


Marketing: Games that play well with two people are a bit rare, so it’s good to see game designers introducing them. It makes games like this perfect for quiet nights at home with a significant other, friend or child.
 
Easy-to-learn rules combined with random elements, strategic raiding party placement and card play give Hengist depth. Games take 20 to 30 minutes, so it should appeal to both casual and serious gamers alike.

The game doesn’t require a lot of space, so consider setting up a sample game on a table or the counter. The attractive components, including the unique boat piece, should draw attention.

—Aaron Skinner, senior editor, FineScale Modeler­ magazine


Vital Stats
Product: Hengist Maker: Mayfair Games
Stock No.: MFG3510 MSRP: $28
Availability: Alliance

Bottom Line
• Easy to learn
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