Learn how to play Champions of Midgard, the robust 2015 worker placement and combat board game. For 2 – 4 players, the game seems hard to approach because there are so many things going on, but the core gameplay is pretty straight forward. The time is all in the setup, putting up the dominos. Knocking them down is easy. This one is a medium to large on the intensity scale and is appropriate for ages 10+. This is how to play Champions of Midgard.
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HOW TO PLAY CHAMPIONS OF MIDGARD – WHAT IS IT?
The Jarl of Tronheim has died. Without strong leadership over this small port town, the monsters of Midgard have come out in droves to attack. Each player takes on the role of a Viking leader leading their own drove of Vikings to protect the town and fight for ultimate glory. Champions of Midgard is a complex worker placement game with elements of resource management and set collection all leading up to epic combat battles in a quest to get the most victory points in the 8 rounds of gameplay. You have a group of meeples and by taking turns placing them in various locations, you are going to gain the right mix of warriors and resources to mount attacks against creatures like Trolls and Monsters. There is a lot to learning how to play Champions of Midgard but take deep breaths and you will be fine.
HOW TO PLAY CHAMPIONS OF MIDGARD – STEP BY STEP
Time Needed: approx 60 to 90 minutes
This is a step by step guide for how to play Champions of Midgard the epic worker placement combat board game. Additional notions and special rules can be found below the list. These will be referenced for your convenience.
1. SETUP | Lay Out Game Board
Open up the gigantic six pane game board and put it in the center of your table with plenty of space around the edges for the many pieces.
2. SETUP | Place Black Turn Marker
A game last 8 turns. To denote this, there is a track with eight numbers in the top right corner of the board. Place the black turn marker on the “1” space. You will move this one after every turn.
3. SETUP | Place Market Stall Tiles
One big wretch that makes the game completely different every time are the market stalls. These are of two types, economic and militaristic, and will be an additional location your meeples can visit to gain things. You shuffle these tiles up and depending on the number of players (look for the faint 3 or 4 player spots to know if you need to fill it in or not) you randomly place stalls that are going to stay out for the entire game face up in those spots. Put reminders back in the box.
4. SETUP | Put Out Ship Tiles
There are a total of six ships. Two that are public and always for everyone and an additional four personal ships that can be bought by a player for just them to use as they wish. Two of the tiles are entitled “public longship”, place these on the spaces on the board for them on the lower left. Take the remaining four and place them to the side of the board. Throughout the game, players can buy these by visiting the “Shipwright”.
5. SETUP | Put Out Troll and Draugr Creatures
The included regular size cards are broken into three different types – Troll, Drauger and Monster. In the top-left area of the game board, there is an empty space with labels Troll and Drauger, put the corresponding cards for those types in a face-down pile on that space.
6. SETUP | Put Out Monster Creatures
Take the third group of the normal sized cards “Monsters” and put them all in a face down stack in the bottom left where there is an empty space with a lebl by the same name.
7. SETUP | Put Out Merchant Ship Deck
The smaller deck of cards are split into four different types of cards. The ones with the defined ship parked at dock are the “Merchant Ship cards”. In the middle, on the right side of the board is a labeled space for you to put these face down. There is a spot just to the left of it where you will ultimately flip these cards, one per turn covering up whatever was there the previous turn.
8. SETUP | Put Out the Rune Smith Cards
The second fourth of the small cards are the Rune Smith Cards. These are going to give you special abilities to use throughout the game. The space to put these facedown is on the left side toward the top.
9. SETUP | Put Out the Destiny Sage Cards
Just below the Rune Smith card space on the board is the “Sage’s House” space. Put the matching cards facedown in a stack here. These are going to give secret objectives players can choose to take on to get more points.
10. SETUP | Put Out Journey Cards
The fourth section of tiny cards are the journey cards. These are going to go in a face-down pile above the monsters on the bottom left of the game board. These are going to be obstacles you have to overcome if you want to take a journey to defeat one of the monsters.
11. SETUP | Put Out Various Loose Tokens
So people can access and grab throughout the days, you need to put out a supply of all the tokens and pieces to be used as needed. These are the (1) Gold pieces which are used as money, (2) Viking Horn tokens which let you reroll dice, (3) Blame tokens which are negative points, (4) Food cubes, the red blocks, that feed men on journeys, (5) Wood cubes, the brown blocks, that help you build things and (6) Viking dice, the red, white and blue dice that represent different warriors on your team.
12. SETUP | Figure Out First Play and Hand Out Token
Determine who goes first. The rule is whoever won last gets to go first, but feel free to determine in any random way. Going first is not as important as it is in some other games. Whoever goes first is given to the “starting player marker” tile to denote they are first to act. They hold onto this until someone claims the Jarl’s Longhouse location.
13. SETUP | Players Draft Character
Put out the five large Viking characters that have names like “Dagrun” or “Asmundr”. One of these is ultimately going to be your character and the leader of your Viking horde. These all act the same with the exception of their unique special ability just below their name. Whoever is to the right of the player (so the player who starts last) gets to pick first, then moving counter-clockwise, players pick from whatever remains.
14. SETUP | Hand Out Starting Resources
Give each player 1x Viking horn favor token, 1x white swordsman die, 1x gold token, 1x brown wood block, 1x red food block, 1x disc matching their player color to place on their leader card, and 3x meeple workers of that player’s color (this changes based on player number).
15. SETUP | Set Aside Auxilary Workers
Add one meeple worker of all the colors of people playing off to the side. During the game, you will have an opportunity to add an additional worker to your force and this is where you would grab it from.
16. SETUP | Add Score Keeping Discs
Take the second color disc for every player playing and stack them on the “0” symbol on the outside score track, which is located in the top left of the board. You will move these up as you gain glory victory points.
17. SETUP | Hand Out Destiny Cards
Give each player one of the “destiny cards” from the sage’s house to start. Keep these face down, this is a secret objective each player has to try and gain points at the end of the game. This is the last step before gameplay in how to play Champions of Midgard.
18. GAMEPLAY | Phase 1 Setup – Refill Monsters
Replenish the 3x creature types – Trolls, Draugrs and Monsters. To do this, flip from the top of the deck filling in any empty spaces. The Troll and Drauger get replenished every turn and have one and two open spaces respectively. The monsters at the bottom of the board have four spaces (total used depends on player count) and stay until they are defeated.
19. GAMEPLAY | Phase 1 Setup – Refill Runesmith
On the left of the board next to the “Runesmith” spot there are two empty spaces. If those are unfilled, flip cards from the top of that deck until they are. These stay here until they are bought.
20. GAMEPLAY | Phase 1 Setup – Refill Journey Cards
Down in the water, above each monster space, there is a place to put a sideways mini card. This is where you fill in the “journey” cards which will be obstacles or benefits you encounter on sea journeys. These stay face down until they are discovered. Once used they are discarded, and this is when they would be replenished.
21. GAMEPLAY | Phase 1 Setup – Flip New Merchant Ship
Each turn, regardless of what happened before, you will flip one of the small merchant ship cards to be visited for that turn. Place the new card on top of the face-up pile just to the right of it.
22. GAMEPLAY | Phase 1 Setup – Refill Building Resources
In the town area (middle-upper) there are all sorts of buildings you will visit that do things. Some of them need to be stocked each turn (four of them). The pictures on the board show you what you need to do, but to spell it out, add 1 white die to the swordsmith, 1 red die to the hafter, 1 black die to the blacksmith and 1 red food cube to the smokehouse. These do not go away unless claimed if they are not claimed they build up until they do.
23. GAMEPLAY | Phase 2 Worker Placement
The main strategic choices and meat of learning to play Champions of Midgard is here. Starting with whoever has the starting player tile takes one of their meeples and places it on any of the circle dots which each represent a building, attack or generally something to do. See Space Types below for further details. After they place, the player to the right does the same. This continues clockwise, one at a time, until everyone has placed all the workers they have. Only one meeple can go to a space, except the hunting ground which has multiple dots to denote this. For any blue or gold banner space (not red) take those things that happen immediately. The ships do move, whoever claims one of the public ships puts it in the space in front of the monster they want to attack, and if a player buys a ship, they keep it and use it in any space they want, putting a meeple on it to use it.
24. GAMEPLAY | Phase 3 Attack – Assign Vikings
Now that the meeples have been placed, you deal with the attacks, which are going to be any of the red banner spaces you chose (except hunting grounds). Starting with the troll, then moving to the draugers and then finally the monsters at the bottom, any player who placed a meeple there to take them on will add any number of dice (Vikings) they have on hand to the creature they are attacking. Pay attention to any exclusions, some creatures have a symbol at the bottom of them that indicates certain Vikings cannot attack them.
25. GAMEPLAY | Phase 3 Attack – Resolve Combat
Moving in the same troll to drauger to monster top left to bottom right pattern, let each battle take place one by one. Each creature will have a red attack total and a blue defense total. The attacking player rolls all of their dice, whatever attack symbols are rolled are added up and equal your total damage, if you are equal to or greater than the creature’s defense, that creature dies, but if not you just damage them and add the red blood drop tokens to show this. For each attack, whether the creature dies or not, they hit you for the red attack total. You have to lose dice equal to that damage, but minus any shields you rolled. If you still have dice, you can attack again, repeating the same process. This continues until the creature dies or the player runs out of dice. If you kill the creature, immediately claim the rewards on the bottom of it and then keep it face down in a pile by your player card as they all factor into scoring at the end of the game. If you have any dice leftover from battle, you put those back on your player card. There are spots for 8 dice which is each player’s max.
26. GAMEPLAY | Phase 3 Attack – Resolve Combat (sea journey)
The core battle on the bottom of the board against the monsters is the same battle component, but it has the extra added difficulty of sea travel. Each ship has a “quantity” number at the top that tells you the total number of food + dice that can fit on it. You need to feed Vikings for them to attack, so picking the right mix is important. Above each monster is a key that shows how many Vikings are fed by each food. It is two on the closer spots and one on the others because they are further away. The other wrench is that you need to flip over the secret journey card on that corresponding space. This can be good like give you glory, bad like making you lose food/Vikings or neutral nothing, but you need to plan accordingly. Once everyone is fed, you can move onto combat with the monster. Any dice not fed are lost prior to battle.
27. GAMEPLAY | Phase 4 Clean Up – Take back Meeples
All players take back all their meeple workers (starting amount plus any bonus you picked up byt visiting the worker huts) from the board to be placed again in the new round. For learning how to play Champions of Midgard you can now relax, you have gone through the meat of the game.
28. GAMEPLAY | Phase 4 Clean Up – Move Ships Back
Any public ships that were taken out should be put back in their dock space and any private ships used should go back to their owner.
29. GAMEPLAY | Phase 4 Clean Up – Troll Check
If the troll was not defeated during the turn by anyone, every player collects a “blame” token (the dark goblin looking one) which will be negative glory at the end of the game. If the troll was defeated this turn, no action is required during this step.
30. GAMEPLAY | Phase 4 Clean Up – Remove Undefeated Troll/Draugers
If there are any trolls or draugers (the creatures at the top, not the bottom monsters) were not defeated, they get discarded so new cards can come out in their place fresh next turn. Remove these and put them in the “enemy discard” space at the bottom right of the board.
31. GAMEPLAY | Phase 4 Clean Up – Journey Cards
Take any revealed “journey” cards (the ones above each monster) and place in the “journey discard” space just to the right.
32. GAMEPLAY | Phase 4 Clean Up – Add Gold to Monsters
At the bottom of the board, for any of the monsters not defeated this turn, add one gold token. This is to make them more appealing to defeat as whoever eventually takes them down also gets all the gold tokens on it. If something sits around for 4 or 5 turns, it is going to start to be too lucrative to pass up.
33. GAMEPLAY | Phase 4 Clean Up – Move the Turn Marker
The turn track is in the top right corner. Move the black token up one turn. If you were on space “8”, the game ends right here and now.
34. GAME END | After 8 Turns Move to Final Scoring
The above gameplay process repeats over and over a total of eight times. After this happens (and the turn marker is on the “8”) you will move onto scoring of glory. You take what you earned throughout the game and then add glory based on many final scoring bonuses.
35. SCORING| Destiny Cards
There are many final scoring elements in learning how to play Champions of Midgard. It is not difficult, just make sure you hit everything. Start with the destiny cards. Everyone scores the points it says on any completed destiny goals.
36. SCORING| Sets of Enemies
There are three different color enemies (red, blue, yellow) and the trolls that are always colorless. For each set you have (1 each of the three colors), you get 5 glory points. So for example, if you had 4 blues, 3 yellows and 1 red, you would only get 5 points total because you only have 1 set. This is why you keep the enemies you defeat throughout the game in a face down pile.
37. SCORING| Runes
Some of the Rune cards are going to have glory bonuses. If you have any of these, whether you used the card or not, you score those now.
38. SCORING| Private Ships
If you bought a ship at some point in the game, it will have a glory point number on the middle right depending on its size. You add those to your total now.
39. SCORING| Leftover Favor and Glory
If you have leftover viking horn glory or gold tokens, you may get some additional points for those. For every 2 favor tokens you get a point and for every 3 gold tokens you get a point.
40. SCORING| Blame Tokens
The dark goblin face blame token are negative glory. There is a chart that shows how many points you lose based on how many of these you have. For example, having 1 is -1 while having 5 is -15.
41. WINNING| Highest Score Wins
After all the final scoring, whoever has the most points wins. If there is a tie, whoever defeated the most monsters (including trolls) wins. Yes learning how to play Champions of Midgard is exhausting but oh so worth it.
HOW TO PLAY CHAMPIONS OF MIDGARD – KEY INFORMATION
There are many different spaces you can choose to visit when placing your meeples, around 23 total depending on number of players and what is going on. Spaces gain you economic or militaristic resources, let you attack, buy ships, exchange goods and do plenty of other things. There are three different colors for the locations:
- Gold – instants, take the effect right away
- Blue – same as gold, but these are ones you have to add to each turn
- Red – combat, this happens after all other placements
What each thing does is very clearly printed on each space and should be no problem to interpret, but if you have any questions, great detail on each can be found in the rule book. Or you can google it, something you may be tempted to do often when first playing and learning how to play Champions of Midgard.
- 1x Game Board
- 16x Troll Cards
- 21x Draugr Cards
- 36x Monster Cards
- 18x Journey Cards
- 8x Merchant Ship Cards
- 12x Destiny Cards
- 10x Rune Cards
- 5x Leader Boards
- 28x Blame Tokens
- 3x Damage Markers
- 60x Gold Tokens
- 1x Turn Marker
- 54x Favor Tokens
- 1x Starting Player Marker
- 6x Ship Boards
- 20x Wood Cubes
- 30x Food Cubes
- 20x Meeples
- 8x Wooden Discs
- 1x How to Play Champions of Midgard Rulebook
- 34x Warrior Dice (white, black and red)
HOW TO PLAY CHAMPIONS OF MIDGARD – IN CLOSING
I hope you can now say you know how to play Champions of Midgard. As far as games in this sector, Champions of Midgard is pretty top-notch in the space. For as much as goes on, the fact that you can consistently bring this in under two hours is pretty amazing. It is interesting that the combat is what you need to win, but it is the worker placement and resource management that matters most and takes the most strategy.