Raiders of the North Sea - Hall of Heroes Expansion Review
Quick Glance: Hall of Heroes Expansion for Raiders of the North Sea
Game Type: Worker Placement
Number of Players: 2-4 for the base game (5 with Hall of Heroes Expansion)
Mechanics: Dice rolling, Adventure, Resource Management, Worker Placement, Set Collection
Publisher: Renegade Games
Playtime: 60-120 Minutes
Raiders of the North Sea is a viking themed worker placement game where you build a team of warriors and raid across the sea to bring back bounty you hope will please your chieftain. The game has some unique dynamics like each turn you not only place a worker on a location to get the rewards associated but you pick up another token already on the board getting those rewards as well which makes each turn a little more satisfying and makes the competition over the best spots much less stressful. The game has some mechanics to interfere with your competition but there is also several ways to score points so you are not forced to all race for the same objectives. A typical game takes over an hour and unless people play poorly it should be a close race to the finish before someone gets crowned the best.
What it Adds:
Allows for a 5th player and adds some new dynamics to keep everyone busy with extra players engaging with the board. The first is a new area the "Mead Hall" where you can hire one of three face up crew instead of getting two blind cards which is the traditional option. You also get a new resource called Mead which is liquid courage to temporarily raise the stats of your crew on a raid. The mead hall has a second function if you don't intend to hire crew you can complete a quest which is the biggest addition to the game. When a player completes a raid instead of the spot just becoming vacant a quest is added to the spot and players can expend crew cards of a particular value to complete a quest which is a mini set collection bonus and can unlock unique bonuses. The expansion also adds a really useful player board that makes it easier to track your crew and items. There are other smaller additions like "Hero" level folk to recruit which you can only have one of at a time.
Matches the original in style and explains pretty well the new wrinkles to the game. I love the art style to the game so the high quality full color art included is a welcome bonus.
The Mead Hall slides right up against the base board nicely, and the extra location and quest options keep the game from being sped up or ultra competitive with 4-5 players. The art style for all the components is from the same artist so it blends seamlessly. The player boards are great and will help newer players keep organized and will become an essential piece even if you eventually have a bunch of expansions and are picking and choosing which expansions to add. I will say that the wooden mead tokens look a lot like pumpkins though, not necessarily a bad thing but unless you take the time to stack them up properly it gives the board an unintended Halloween look.
Raiders of the North Sea is an amazing game and if you haven't played it and like any worker placement game like Lords of Waterdeep you should immediately snatch it up. This addition may be mandatory if you have a larger group to play with, and if you held off the base game for that reason I think it is worth the investment to get both. The Mead Hall can cut the guess work out of recruiting, makes the dice roll less of a gamble if you load up on Mead, and adds another path to victory points with the quests. I find that once you play a good expansion to a game you can never go back, and I don't foresee playing the game without this expansion.
FIELDS OF FAME EXPANSION REVIEW COMING SOON!!!