Recommend
19 
 Thumb up
 Hide
7 Posts

The Fury of the Norsemen» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Fury is Flawed but Fun rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Corey Butler
United States
Marshall
Minnesota
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The Fury of the Norsemen, by Kevin Hendryx, is subtitled “a rollicking game of plunder and pillage.” It is the fourth game in the microhistory series, published by Metagaming in 1980. It originally retailed for $3.95, and is still sporadically available for something in the neighborhood of $8 to $12.

Components

Fury is typical of Metagaming products and comes with a 12 x 14 inch map, a 16 page pamphlet-sized rule book, two sheets of die-cut counters, and a small plastic die. The components are good for the price and time period, though this author found the combination of graphic images and abstract military symbols on the counters somewhat mismatched. The three-color hexagonal map depicts a medieval village along the coast, complete with roads, manor house, church, granary, stables, monastery, and a keep. There is also a cool drawing of a Viking long ship in one corner.

The micro-sized box portrays a full color painting of a Viking warrior leaving a burning village with a sword in one hand and a woman in the other. Although sexist by today’s standards, this image does fit the theme of the game and suits the genre. It’s also a pretty accurate representation of how the game plays.

Game Play

The village player sets up first, placing his monks in the monastery, his infantry in the keep and/or manor house, his women in the village, his livestock in the fields, and his few mounted knights wherever he wants. He also places a large number of militia units in and around the village. Treasure counters (little bags of plunder) are placed at various points on the map, including a triple value unit that goes in the church. The Viking player places his ship at any point along the coast, and the Vikings disembark from there.

The Vikings have regular troops, berserkers and archers, which can shoot from a range of two hexes. Otherwise combat only occurs when units are in the same hex. The infantry on the village side also has this ranged ability. Both sides have leader units which shift the odds column in a favorable direction on the combat results table. The villager cannot move any units until a Viking unit goes adjacent, makes an attack, or tries to capture livestock. This allows a certain amount of sneakiness on the part of the Vikings in planning their raid. They don’t have unlimited time, however, as the game is over after 12 turns.

The game is fast and bloody. There are no zones of control, and this rule encourages the Vikings to run into the town and grab as much plunder as they can. Villagers can retreat off the back of the map, but if they simply abandon the village, the Vikings can find random plunder in buildings and burn the village down. The rules for setting fires are a nice touch in this game. There is also a random movement rule for livestock, which adds to some chrome to the game and is not nearly as cumbersome as I feared it would be. In general, Viking units are much more powerful than villager units and villager counterattacks frequently lead to massive casualties. However, the undisciplined nature of the Vikings prevents them from stacking the way villagers can. Village units can also make use of terrain like buildings and woods which double their defensive value.

In the basic game, the Vikings win by capturing and taking back to the ship at least 18 units of plunder, which includes treasure, women, livestock, and village leaders. The villagers win if they prevent this, or if they succeed in destroying the Viking ship. The advanced game has some additional scenarios and rules for ships, as well as different victory conditions. Otherwise the rules are identical to the basic game.

Evaluation

Fury of the Norsemen is a fun little game that plays relatively well. The plunder mechanic and victory conditions are fairly innovative, and the theme fills a niche that is otherwise lacking. Nevertheless, there are some significant flaws that need to be mentioned here.

The most critical issue is that there are no set-up rules for militia units. This is important because they are the most numerous units in the game and their positioning determines how quickly the villagers can respond to the Viking raid. A reasonable house rule is for the village player to set them up last, adjacent to any other unit that has already been placed, half in the village and half in the fields.

Another problem with this game is that there are not enough “fire” and “sacked” counters. There is only one of each, and the players will be reduced to using upside-down unused counters and trying to remember which is which, or making their own with little scraps of paper. I’ve found that Squad Leader “fire” counters are a helpful remedy, but it would have been more convenient to have the extra counters included in the game.

One final issue that others have frequently pointed out in their discussion of this game is the “Divine Wrath” rule, which allows the village player to call down heavenly offboard artillery on a hex containing Viking units, destroying or “stunning” them on a roll of 1-4 on a d6. This is an odd addition to an allegedly historical game, and can only be some kind of attempt at game balance.

Conclusion

Fury of the Norsemen is a classic microgame that is both easy and fun to play, after a few rule tweaks. It vividly depicts the savage brutality of a Viking raid, and is cinematically, if not historically, true to its theme. In what other game can you kill villagers, burn down their homes, and steal their womenfolk? Were this not an age of cooperative games and gentle wooden cubes, Fury would surely warrant a new, revised edition. As it is, I’d heartily recommend grabbing a copy if you see it at a reasonable price and have an interest in pillaging.
12 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John Owen
United States
Lisle
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It is largely due to this excellent review that I recently picked up a copy of FotN for myself. I've read through the rules and am very excited about this hitting the table next time I see my brother-in-law.

So, thanks for taking the time to write this up for all of us. After I get in a few plays, I'm hoping to write up something myself to add to the forums here. I can't fully explain it, but, right now, I'm really excited about this little game.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dan Simpson
United States
Platteville
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
shotokanguy wrote:
In what other game can you kill villagers, burn down their homes, and steal their womenfolk?


Sticks & Stones!
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dave Noonan
United States
Alpharetta
Georgia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
shotokanguy wrote:
The most critical issue is that there are no set-up rules for militia units. This is important because they are the most numerous units in the game and their positioning determines how quickly the villagers can respond to the Viking raid. A reasonable house rule is for the village player to set them up last, adjacent to any other unit that has already been placed, half in the village and half in the fields.


My copy contains an errata insert with the following rules.

--
3.3 Setting Up the Game

Cavalry -- Cavalry units are placed within two hexes of the keep.

Militia -- Militia units are placed in or within one hex of any building hex.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John Owen
United States
Lisle
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I totally forgot to cross-post the errata here, but I did post a pic about a year ago...



Unfortunately, I still haven't played the game (b/c fiddling around with it solo never counts).
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dave Noonan
United States
Alpharetta
Georgia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
trawlerman wrote:
Unfortunately, I still haven't played the game (b/c fiddling around with it solo never counts).


Yup, that looks just like my insert.

I also agree that solo play doesn't count (unless, of course, the game was designed for solo).
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt Danison
United States
Cape Canaveral
Florida
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Corey, thank you for the excellent review. I've wondered about this game for thirty years and didn't buy it because of the poor artwork on the unit/counters. I just ordered it from decisiongames.com and will make my own counters. Save the Ales!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.