"RUS: Age of the Vikings" is a strongly themed military and economic strategy wargame set in Viking Age Russia, in which up to 5 players compete to become Czar of the Rus. It deliberately sets out to marry the elegant inclusivity of Eurogames with the thematic gameplay of a classic Amerigame.
Each turn, players choose 6 of 9 Actions that drive the game. Will you send out Envoys to engage in Diplomacy, Harvest your crops, Trade with foreign powers, Construct settlements, invest in Culture & Technology or Recruit troops to engage in warfare? The player who chooses the Action gains a bonus, but all other players simultaneously take part in each Action Phase that is chosen.
It is possible to win the game without ever engaging in warfare, but for those who prefer blood, combat uses a Tactics Card system which means you have to out-think your opponent to beat them in battle.
As in history, Politics Cards provide a random element, introducing new Kingdoms (like the Muscovites or the Golden Horde) or triggering good harvests, famine and ultimately the Black Death.
The first player to score 8 Victory Points wins the game, but if the Black Death is triggered before this happens, all Kingdoms are hit by the plague. The survivors then take stock to see who is the most powerful in the new world that emerges.
With virtually no down-time and multiple routes to victory, RUS: Age of the Vikings provides a dynamic strategic experience within a playing time of about 30 mns per player.
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