Blood Rage now transports players to the age of the Vikings, into exciting battles and the fight for a place in Valhalla on the computer. The following game test for Blood Rage: Digital Edition, which is already available for PC Steam, reveals whether the digital version is really convincing.


The template for the digital version was conceived by the well-known Canadian author Eric M. Lang and designed in a very elaborate manner. Distributed in Germany by the publisher Asmodee, Blood Rage has now also been implemented digitally, hardly surprising: by Asmodee Digital. The PC version was developed by Exozet.

The board game in its original version impresses not only with its game mechanism, but also with the design of the game material. Since this is no longer available, the question remains whether the digital version can also convince? In any case, it is much more affordable in terms of price and the game against Artificial Intelligence allows a single game.

Blood Rage digital: an alternative to the classic?

As in the original version, the players each represent a Viking clan with whom they fight for control of areas and plunder through Midgard. The characters, the cards and the game board retained the design of the popular strategy game, but there are also selectable clans that the board game version does not offer. The player can now choose between 8 clans and 3 different game variants: Alone against the AI, in local multiplayer mode or online with ELO ranking and ranking list. The goal is the same in all variants, the most glorious clan wins. After three ages the game ends and whoever manages to increase his fame until the end achieves the glorious victory.

The background music accompanies you through the play with Nordic sounds and war drums. It is evocative and atmospheric, but not particularly varied. There are sound effects for the various actions that let you know what is happening, but no mood is really created. Here a little more variation would be good for the ear - and thus also for the acoustic presentation. The different ages cannot be distinguished from one another acoustically either.

What looks good on the screenshots sometimes loses quality on the screen. Image rights: Asmodee Digital

What looks good on the screenshots sometimes loses quality on the screen. Image rights: Asmodee Digital

The optics also have a few difficulties, at least if you don't have a larger gaming PC. The playing field looks confused and the details create a confusing overall picture when viewed from above. While the tabletop template has obviously been adapted very carefully here and the board is also completely convincing, the opposite can be seen in the digital version. The characters, who are particularly celebrated by fans of the Blood Rage board game, are more difficult to recognize in the digital version, the look suffers at least in the lower resolution. The overall view works, improvements can be made at the detail level.

It is different with the playing cards, they convince with their beautiful illustration and their precise lettering. The other players are also well distributed and the drop-down menus on the side are suitable. But unfortunately everything is a bit too small here too.

All in all, the play area is very tidy and even beginners can quickly see how the game is organized. Some drop-down functions and an automatic zoom for actions by other players allow a certain overview during the actual game. This makes it much easier to keep track of how the strengths and fame points are distributed.

After all: the design of the cards is successful. Image rights: Asmodee Digital

After all: the design of the cards is successful. Image rights: Asmodee Digital

The compendium that can be found in the main menu also provides an overview. Here, not only are the rules well summarized, but also the individual cards that may appear later when drafting. If you invest the time and familiarize yourself with the individual objectives, battle cards and upgrades, you can build your strategies on them. Another plus point can be found under Tactics, here simple strategies are explained and the preferences of the AIs explained. The compendium is a good introduction, especially for beginners. From my point of view, the learning curve here is even faster than in the initial tutorial.

If there is an everlasting advantage in computer games over physical games, then it is probably the long set of rules. Instead of laboriously searching through pages and having to look up again and again, the digital version offers a tutorial. What could be better than finding a quick start and just being able to play? And that's exactly what the digital version of Blood Rage does. If there are still unanswered questions, you can easily read it in the above-mentioned compendium. Fun is also guaranteed through the different paths to victory. Whether through numerous battles that you win, completed missions or with the help of the trickster Loki. Boredom is certainly not an option. In addition, there are adjustable levels of difficulty with the AIs, which enables new challenges and long-lasting fun.

Blood Rage: Digital Edition provides an overview 

The overview plays a crucial role in Blood Rage - and that's exactly what works in the digital version. especially good. The basis is the classic area control game: exploring, spreading, looting and - in the case of Blood Rage - being wiped out. Because that happens to all warriors who at the end of the age still settle in an area that will go up in flames in the phase of Ragnarök. The classic mechanism of acquiring territory is broken up, however, by drawing action cards, which are passed from player to player. So strategy is not only to position yourself well but also to sabotage other players. The focus is on adapting your strategy at any time and always keeping an overview.

Good overview: A big advantage of the digital version of Blood Rage. Image rights: Asmodee Digital

Good overview: A big advantage of the digital version of Blood Rage. Image rights: Asmodee Digital

In Blood Rage, players decide for themselves how to get there, including in the digital adaptation of the board game. Even if the drawing of the cards makes the course of the game less predictable, it is by no means a game of chance. Combat is crucial in Blood Rage, but whether to lose or win to gain fame is up to the player. The battle for an area determines the interaction between the players, so you can decide every time whether you want to go to war. But overzealousness can damage, as soon as one has no more anger (energy) or no warriors, the freedom of action is suddenly put to an end. The game remains realistic, because senseless sacrifice has not yet made a good warlord.

It is important to use your cards skillfully through forward-looking planning and to receive game bonuses. You also have to be patient, because once you've played your moves, it's time to wait. Since cards are not drawn in parallel during the action phases, but one after the other, there may be longer waiting times in rounds with online opponents. However, these are limited to a maximum with a timer that limits the playing time at least a little. Fast laps, however, remain difficult to imagine. If you want to play Blood Rage, you should bring enough time.

Blood Rage is never peaceful: Fights are an essential part of the digital board game. Image rights: Asmodee Digital

Blood Rage is never peaceful: Fights are an essential part of the digital board game. Image rights: Asmodee Digital

Nevertheless, Blood Rage: Digital Edition plays - at least in the solo version - relatively smoothly: Experienced players are estimated to spend 50 to 60 minutes playing a game. Trying to try out, to use tactics, sometimes to lose, never feels like wasted time during the games. Against real teammates, the game once again develops a higher tactical density; the more sophisticated AI sometimes acts very unexpectedly.

Infobox

Number of players: solo and multiplayer
Age: USK not available
Playing time: 45 minutes
Difficulty: medium
Long-term motivation: medium to high

Publisher: Asmodee Digital
Developer: Exozet
Year of publication: 2020
Platforms: PC Steam
Language: German
Cost: 19.99 euros

Conclusion on Blood Rage: Digital

Blood Rage: Digital Edition stays true to the principles of the template. What inspires in the original, unfortunately disappoints in the digital version. The board remains confusing even after several games. A simplification would certainly not have hurt here. But the game is still a more affordable alternative, because the strategic concept remains the same.

What defines Blood Rage in the digital version are the convenience functions that can only be found in video games: mouse-over hints for every game element, zoom function, automatic calculation of the game successes and a helpful combat analysis that shows what the other players are doing have earned their points.

Players who were previously unfamiliar with Blood Rage will find the perfect introduction to the complex tabletop with the digital version. Die-hard Blood Rage players will probably react enthusiastically when they hear about the add-on Mystical Monsters. In the digital version there are exclusive maps such as Ymir or Garm, which add even more variety to the game. Blood Rage professionals can use the online mode to play against other human opponents, even if the well-rehearsed troop should not have time. Another advantage of digital board games is that they can be expanded, adapted and improved quickly and easily. The digital adaptation of the successful strategic board game, which is available for PC Steam, costs around 20 euros.


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