5 April 2023

Viking Mega Game

I work at a public elementary school and I'm primarily teaching 4th-6th graders. I'm a huge fan of gamification and using play as part of teaching. We've previously done some big games like Roman RISK and Space Mission: Immigration. 

Now we're going to go for Vikings. 

The Structure

This year we have 6 classes attending 4th-6th graders. The game will be for a full school week. Five days from 0800-1400. The 6 classes are mixed into 6 teams instead, and will follow their team the entire week. It's great for the social structures to mix students like this. 

The theme for the entire week is The Viking Age (Dark Ages, ~800-1066 A.D.). Each day a team will spend the entire day at a single workshop run by a teacher. 


This workshop could be anything and we'll have among others:

*  'Music and Skjalds' - students will listing to old songs, music inspired by old times, make their own, read poems etc.

* Tin casting and amulets - Students will be using 3d printed mjolnir amulets to make molds and cast in tin. They'll also make amulets from soapstone.

* Leather work - Making pouches, bracelets and shoes from leather. 

* Ancient games - playing different fighting games known from the viking age. Wrestling and such. 

And other classes, depending on what a teacher runs to run. 

The Game

Center to it all will be a massive board game, that I'll by running. It's a ressource management, trading and war game. 

The game is played flowingly without turns, some kids can come to the table do some actions and return to their workshop. So teams will have to talk about plans and decicions for when kids go to the baord. 


These are not entirely in place yet (the game is in 14 days). But when doing well on workshops, teachers will hand out random ressources as rewards. And teams will also earn ressources from the board, if they control areas. 

Ressources are spend on: 

Making other ressources. Wheat to Beer. Amber to Jewelry. Iron ore to iron ingot to weapons. 

Making units. Getting soldiers will require weapons and food items. Ships will require wood and wool (for sails). 

Ships are faster than going over land. The teams can sail to distant shores to pillage and plunder. There will be cut out ressources on the board for taking. 

At certain trade places there will be stuff for sale (spices that can be aquired otherwise) and stuff needed (gain lots of silver for certain items). These will change during the day (controlled by me, manipulating the game). 

Teams will be able to build upgrades on areas controlled, fortifications, religious areas, farms. And gain points based on that. 


It's always a good motivator with multiple win conditions. When a team controls an area say all Fyn/Funen they are Jarls. When the control a larger area ex. all Jylland / Jutland they are Kings. The goal of the game is to control enough areas to be the mightiest king. But there's also points for having the Gods favor. So teams can sacrifice live stock and valueables for religious points. 

The finer details will be explored in a later blogpost. 


I love 28mm miniatures. And while this game could work with whatever colored pieces, painted minaitures look cooler. So I've painted 36 (that roughly 200) miniatures for each team. The idea is the pieces will show where teams have control and what quality of army it is. 

First the all only have unarmored Bondi (there's a ressource called Simple Weapons), later to be upgraded to Hirdmen (ressource Advanced Weapons). 

A lot of ideas will probably not develop before we're actually playing. And my mind is full on Game Design until kickoff. It'll be awesome, also for the kids. There doesn't need to be super advanced rules for something like this to work. It's more abnout visually driving a story and giving motivation for kids to work well together - and seeing that having an effect on the game. 

200 vikings in 6 different colors. 

Two examples of the 36 miniatures painted for a team. They have an equal amount of the different types. Each team has (without any effect in the rules yet). 12 Bondi (spear, axes and bows), 11 Hirdmen (spear, sword/axes, bows), 3 command (jarl, banner, skjald), 4 Huscarls (dane axes) and 2 Berserkers (pelts and two axes). 

Viking Bondi - unarmored vikings. Many assembled without helmets and non are having swords. 

And here are their armoured better quality version. These are all with chain mail, all have helmets and half of them have swords. 


Here's some examples of maps. On Monday only Scandinavia will be visible to the kids. The Maps have different sizes. Tuesday we'll add the Baltics and coast of France / Normandy and the British Isles. Wednesday we'll add Iceland and Thursday Wineland (North America and Greeenland). 

They are made with Civilization VI screenshots and graphics work in xnview and GIMP. 

The maps will be laminated. So I can add further ressources, cities, fortifications etc with gluestick and easily remove them later with ethanol. 

Island will be introduced after a few days play. 

The runes say Sachsen, Venden and Ă˜sterled (Eastarea).

I've added a few known places to the map, like Hedeby (famous trade town) and Jomsborg (legendary viking settlement for Raiders). 

And all the planned maps. Will take up a bunch tables when the game is going. It'll be pretty cool with the expanding areas. 

I'll be writing more about the project later, both hobby wise, gaming rules and didactic thoughts.

Last words
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  1. This is great work! You've clearly put a huge amount of work into it all. The miniatures are cool and the maps are great. I wish my teachers had done such interesting stuff!

    1. Cheers. The week went by really well! I'll be doing some more blogposts about it later.