Board Game Geek Avg Player Rating: 9.00
Players: 1 to 5
Content Notes: Kickstarter Edition of the Crimson Seas Expansion for Valeria Card Kingdoms Board Game. Includes Expansion plus all unlocked stretch goals. NOTE: Not a complete game. Requires Valeria Card Kingdoms core game (Not Included). Please note: unless otherwise stated paid add ons from the Kickstarter Campaign are not included.
- 60 Citizen cards
- 5 Coxwain Starter Citizen cards
- 28 Monster cards (art in progress)
- 5 Domain cards
- 16 Noble cards (art in progress; pledge at the Nobility & Captains level to have your likeness included in the game)
- 30 Goods tokens (punchboard)
- 24 Tomes tokens (punchboard)
- 20 Map tokens (punchboard)
- 1 Islands game board
- 1 Rules book and
- All unlocked stretch goals
In Crimson Seas, you will obtain Maps to new far-off lands beyond the borders of Valeria allowing you to import trade Goods from Araby to increase your victory points, purchase Tomes of great power to augment your resource production at Nae Aerie, rescue captured Nobles from the villainous Amarynth Empire, and plunder the wealth of Exekratys, the cursed isle. Beware the monsters of the sea, though, as they increase in strength, sowing chaos throughout all of Valeria.
There's a lot of new stuff in Crimson Seas. New icons, new tokens, new mechanics, new card types, and, of course, lots of new cards for all the existing card types. Each image below can be clicked to get a larger view.
Along the top of the play area is a new game board called "The Islands" (see more info below) and all of the new icons are tied to that.
To access the Islands you need to use a new action called "Sail" and to sail, you've got to spend one MAP token, then you can access Araby to gain Goods, Nae Aerie to gain Tomes, Exekratys to retrieve lost resources, and Amarynth to rescue captured Noble's. More on all of those places and activities can be found below.
What would any Valeria: Card Kingdoms expansion be without a whole bunch of new Citizen cards. All of the new Citizens have nautical roots to immerse you in the expansion's theme and to get your imaginations racing. Pay special attention to the new Peasant and Knight cards. Each of them have an improved off-turn Harvest. In fact, you'll find that several of these sea dogs have more to give on the off-turns. There's an overriding curse on the Ocean of Nae though, so, whenever you roll a 6, either on the individual dice or on the sum of the dice, the active player loses one resource per 6 to Exekratys.
There are five new Domains with nautical themes that tie in closely with the new mechanics of Crimson Seas. We'll have more Domains available if we unlock some of the stretch goals. With all of the new activities on the Islands, the Domains row might seem easy to ignore, but pay attention to the new benefits to be had here if you want to really rule the seas.
The monsters shown above are just the ones with finished art. The Mico is hard at work illustrating even more monsters to fill the new stacks. There's a new mechanic here in the monsters, you'll see some of the Magic and Strength costs are marked with a + sign. That means when you attack one of these Monsters, their strength is increased by 1 for every one of those monsters you've previously killed. So, the first Goblin Pirates are a pushover, but if you attack another Goblin Pirate it's stronger, and if you attack another one, it's stronger still. Their reward payout also escalates, so there's a lot of incentive to slay as many as you can reach.
For years and years, everyone started the game with one Peasant and one Knight. Not any more – if you're playing with Crimson Seas, everyone also gets a Coxswain as a third starter card. So, what does she do? The Coxswain triggers if doubles are rolled or if the roll doesn't trigger any of your Citizens. If you're the active player, a triggered Coxswain will pay out 2 like resources of your choice and 1 Map. If you're an inactive player, you can choose 2 like resources or 1 Map. The Coxswain adds interesting benefits to special and uneventful rolls and gives players access to the Maps needed to get to the Islands.
In a typical game of VCK, one strategy is to recruit all of the low numbered Citizens so that you're always getting something for any roll. The Coxswain puts a wrinkle in that strategy, though. If you want to trigger the Coxswain as much as possible, you'll want to NOT recruit the low numbered Citizens so that you have more chances of getting a "failed" Harvest and thus reaping the Coxswain's benefits more frequently.
From a components standpoint, The Islands board is placed above the Monsters row, or above the Agents row if you're using that expansion pack on the new VCK playmat. The board is made of six small hinged panels that fan-fold neatly to fit, like a really FAT card, in the card wells of the original VCK box or the new VCK Big Box. If you zoom in on the image above, you'll notice the faint lines indicate the fold points of the board. We definitely want to make it easy for you to store this new game element.
In-game, the Islands are accessed by taking a Sail action and spending one Map token. That gives you the ability to access ONE Island of your choice: Araby, Nae Aerie, Exekratys, or Amarynth.
The first Island is Araby. If you've played our Merchants of Araby game or remember the Port of Araby card from the Flames & Frost expansion, you'll recognize this rich continent that rests just East of the Valeria mainland. Four of the Goods tokens above are "Mico versions" of the Fabrics, Jewels, Spices, and Magical Artifacts from that game. We've also added a fifth Goods token for Leathers. If you sail to Araby on your turn, you'll find three Goods tokens available for purchase with escalating prices. For your Sail action, you can purchase one, two, or all three of these goods and place them face-up in your play area. If any tokens remain after your purchase, slide them down to the lower available cost positions and refill the expensive empty slots from the face-down Goods supply.
At the end of the game, each like-set of Goods earns victory points depending on how many you have and there's a chart on the Islands board so you can see what you're building toward. For example, if you have 1 Fabrics token, it's worth 2VP. But if you have all 6 Fabrics tokens, they're worth 25VP. Don't get your hopes up though, because if an opponent sees that you're collecting a certain type of Goods, they're going to try to stop you from getting any more of them.
Nae Aerie is the home to powerful wizards who spend their time enchanting magical Tomes and, for a price, you can add these Tomes to your tableau. The Tomes are on a sliding cost track that works like the Goods in Araby and you can buy one, two, or all three for your Sail action. Any Tomes remaining after your purchase slide down and new Tomes are drawn from the face-down supply to fill the more expensive empty slots. Place your purchased Tomes with your other resource tokens in your tableau.
So, what do they do? Each Tome is a resource you can use once each round. Just flip it face-down when you spend it then, at the end of your active turn, it is magically refreshed and you flip it face-up to use again, later. These Tomes function exactly like regular resources. You can use them during any Harvest or during your Roll or Action phases as you would any other resource token. Just remember, they only refresh at the END of your Active Turn, so if you use them off-turn to help your Harvest, they won't be available until the END of your next active turn. VCK is sometimes called-out for resource glut, but I can't tell you how many times I've found myself one or two resources short at just the wrong time. Tomes are amazing! And the best part is, they can't be stolen by another player!
Earlier, I mentioned that there is a pervasive curse on the Ocean of Nae, so that whenever you roll a 6, either on the individual dice or on the sum of the dice, the active player loses one resource per 6 to Exekratys. Well, for every problem, there's a solution. For your Sail action, you can visit Exekratys and claim all the tokens of one resource type. Depending how your gamer group rolls, this cursed Island can be a windfall at just the right time for somebody.
The last location on the Islands board is Amarynth, a land of thieves and robbers, as anyone who's played 10 Minute Heist or Thieves Den will know! The Amarynthians are also expert kidnappers and they've captured Valeria's most important Nobles. It's up to you to rescue these aristocrats and, in their gratitude, each one will give you a means of earning extra victory points. For your Sail action, you can visit Amarynth and pay 9 of any one resource (no wild substitutions allowed) to rescue one of the three face-up Nobles. Place the rescued Nobel face-up next to your Duke card. Fill the empty spot with a new card from the Nobles deck at the end of your turn. Rescue a bunch of Noble's over the course of the game and watch your victory points soar.
Fun Fact: There's a pledge level called Nobility & Captains where The Mico will create a Noble card in your likeness. Do you want to be captured by ruthless Amarynthians and then rescued by brave Valerian Dukes? Well, this is your chance!
-- from the publisher
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