A More Wargame-like Version of Sea Kings: War Viking

I don’t want people confused into thinking Sea Kings is something that it is not.

It is not a highly strategic game.  It is a light adventure game, playable in less than an hour by up to seven.  (Pieces included for six, but it has been tested with seven.)

It works very well with people who are only accustomed to party and family games, that is, as a kind of gateway game. (The look on someone’s face when another player played a card directly against them was priceless.) And it works well with teenagers (mostly boys) who want to have a fun go at one another (the Rogue Viking version).

It’s Educational. (Keep it quiet?) It may be the most “realistic” Viking game on the market. It can be used to teach a short Viking history class.

It is NOT a wargame.  It’s an avatar-based adventure game.  There are two versions, and the “Rogue” version is more war-like, but it’s still difficult to directly oppose another player.

But now there’s a more wargame-like version. The rules below achieve that. I started working on these soon after the game was published, then got sidetracked by new games. But I had sent a copy to Jim Lawler, and he has completed the project. He says about 75% is what I sent him; as we all know, it’s usually the last 20% that makes or breaks a game, so let’s give Jim the credit.

Lew Pulsipher


Sea Kings “War Viking” optional rules

Jim Lawler

Intro: This War Viking version of Sea Kings adds war game like elements to the game. This game is a bit more complex but are here for those who prefer more conflict in their games.

Rules for War Viking: Rules for “Rogue Viking” apply with the following additions and changes. Always play with three actions. Use the Meeples as settlements, and you must supply player colored (FA) and neutral colored armies (NDA) as well as pieces for slaves.

Sequence of Play:  Add the following to your choices of action:                                                                

1)         To move a non-player defensive army (NDA)        (one action)                                                      

2)           To create a non-player defensive army,  (one action plus you pay one wealth or fame)  

3)         To place a defensive army (NDA)                                                          

4)         To move or remove your Faction Army (FA), a free action but only one per turn.                       

5)            To place a Faction Army (one action)

Initial Placement of Defensive Armies: Place one (NDA) in each area other than the Icelandic Seas and Scandinavia. These 13 armies are the maximum (NDA) in the game. You can create one only if a dead one is available.

Raiding: You can raid without use of a raid card, at 0 instead of +4, in the same way you can settle in Rogue Viking. Yes this is tough but helps reflect that the places with weaker defenses were raided A LOT! (You can still use the Danegeld or Weak Territory Defense cards with a free raid or in a weak territory.)

Settling: Add one to the strength of an area when you attempt to settle.  (This includes attempting to take over another player’s settlement.) This was the rule originally in Sea Kings but was simplified for publication. Think about it, Settling was more difficult then merely Raiding.

Slave Trade: You get a slave piece when you raid successfully. It moves with your ship (though more likely you will place them in front of you rather than on the board). When you trade with Iberia, Middle East, Rus, Ireland or Miklagard, you can trade in any number of slave pieces for one extra wealth per slave. (The “There’s a War On” card, can stop the trade, the player retains the slaves). Slave Points are always wealth.

Slaves can be sold to another Viking if you occupy the same area and both parties agree to the deal. Slaves are sold for ½ wealth each.

Slaves were the most valuable commodity that Vikings could get, especially after they raided all the portable, accessible gold and silver (mostly from monasteries). The Muslim world needed  slave labor and paid for it in good silver Why Ireland? Dublin was the entrepot for the slave trade to Iberia and other Muslim lands, Rus sold their slaves to Muslims and Byzantium. 

 Faction’s Armies: (FA) The two faction armies each player now has represent Vikings already settled in an area, mercenaries, or other forces allied to the Vikings. If an army is present in a land that a faction is attempting to Raid, Settle, or defend their settlements, each army grants a +1 DRM in each battle they are in. Only a faction’s own army can help defend a Viking settlement. You can move or remove one Faction Army each turn for free, this does not cost an Action. It does cost an action to place a Faction Army.

Neutral Defensive Armies: (NDA) Defensive armies grant the non-Viking defender a +1 DRM when defending against a Viking Raiding or Settling attempt.

You can’t attack an area if you have moved a neutral defensive army out of that area on the same turn. You have to plan ahead.

Placement and Movement: You can place a NDA in any eligible area for the cost of one action. You cannot place a NDA in any area that contains a Viking settlement.

An NDA can be moved into an area that contains a Viking settlement, just not on the same turn it is built.

A FA can be placed in an area that contains any Viking Settlement.

NDA and FA cannot cross seas. This includes Scotland to the Isles and Britain to Ireland. Hence the FA are divided up quite extensively.

Defensive Armies defending against a Raid or Settlement attempt: Add one to the defensive strength of an area for each Defensive Army in that area when it is raided or settled. (so in high value areas they are more likely to survive.) A successful settlement forces a retreat, a successful raid does not. If there is no area to retreat to all defending units are lost.

Margin of loss:                                                                                                                                       

1 or 2                 Survive and retreat if settlement is successful.                                                             

3 or more        One NDA or FA dies, the rest retreat if a settlement is built and if there is a valid area to retreat to.

The successful attacker decides where to retreat the defensive armies, (they may be split up.) They must go to an adjacent area. They may not retreat across water.

Viking Settlements: You cannot use a free (no card) raid against a Viking settlement, you must use a card.  *Exception, Viking settlements can be attacked by NDA armies without a raid card by spending actions.

Settling or Raiding a Viking settlement: When you settle in an area that contains a Viking settlement, you can choose to attack the Vikings or the Natives. Remember, NDA only help the Natives. If there are two Viking settlements, you must choose which to attack. If you successfully attack a Viking settlement, replace that Viking meeple with your own. If you attempt to settle a Viking settlement and fail, either you lose a fame or the defender gains a fame, attacker’s choice.

Defensive Armies attacking a Viking settlement: DA’s may attack Viking settlements. This requires a player to expend an action to make the attack. Vikings add +4 to their die. DA’s add +2 for each attacker.

If attacker wins the settlement disappears. If they lose, depends on the margin.

1 or 2               All Armies Survive                                                                                                                  

3 or more         One army dies, the defender retreats all remaining armies.

KingShip: A Viking can attempt to claim Kingship in an area. A successful King scores Fame Points. You must be in the area. This is a Free Action if you play a Raid or Settle card for the area (which does cost the usual action), otherwise it costs one action. Your Faction Armies can help you become King.

Outside of Scandinavia: You must have two settlements in an area. You must overcome opposition in that area with a die roll. Dice roll as for a raid but with a +4 if you don’t play a Raid or Settle card, +5 if you do have a card. Gain an additional +1 for each FA.                             

To indicate Kingship, lay a meeple on it’s side.

When you become King you score Fame points for the area. If you lose a settlement in this area, you lose one Fame Point. If you lose the second settlement you lose two additional Fame Points.

Kingship in Scandinavia: This attempt counts as an action. You must be in Scandinavia. There can be no settlements or FA in Scandinavia.  Kingship here is more difficult, more risky. Add one to your die roll for each category if you have more or are tied for the most, Fame, Wealth or Land than any other player. Subtract one from each category if you have the least amount or are tied with the fewest points than any other player.

Roll two dice (the only two dice roll in the game). You must achieve a total of nine or higher. If you succeed gain five points divided between Fame and Wealth. If your sum is less then seven you lose two fame. If you total 7 or 8, you neither lose or gain any Wealth or Fame.

Each player may attempt this once per game.

End of Game: When a player wants to draw with no card available, finish the round and play one more full round. There is a lot more that can be done in this game without cards than in the other versions.

Slaves still in hand are worth nothing at game’s end.

Note: if you successfully Hijack another Viking’s Trade, ( See Rogue Viking Sea Kings Rules) You capture all his slaves as part of the loot you capture.