In discussing games here on a weekly basis there have been many genres of games but one that has not been reviewed is the world of print 'n play (PnP) games.
Well that changes now as we take a look at Ragnarok: Aesir and Jotunn.
It would be remiss not to provide a brief description of what a PnP game is. The explanation is rather simple. They are games which designers have created, and for a variety of reasons have never formally published. So rather than never having their games played, they provide the necessary files online to allow people to print the material which in turn allows them to play the game.
The realm of PnP is as diverse as the varied world of boardgames, from chess variants, through to games with elaborate boards and a variety of bits and pieces to print.
The more pieces, the more cutting, and gluing there is to a PnP game makes them ideal projects for crafters.
In some respects one of the simplest games for PnP is a card game, which is exactly what Ragnarok: Aesir and Jotunn is.
Ragnarok: Aesir and Jotunn is designed by Todd Sanders who has a growing reputation in terms of PnP games, both for their aesthetic qualities and their playability.
Ragnarok of course is part of the myth and lore of the Vikings, and Sanders borrows heavily from those myths for the game which simulates the great battle at the end of time between the Aesir (Norse Gods) and the Jötunn (evil giants).
The game uses a deck of 54 Ragnarök cards, which are free to print. You also need nine six-sided dice and a few markers for each player.
One player has the Aesir Norse Gods and battles, in a series of realms (rounds), against the Jötunn Frost Giants played by the other player. To win the game a player must win five battles in the nine realms.
In a battle players use the attributes of strength, wisdom, and cunning, which are influenced by different aspects of the cards played.
Strength cards are played first, followed by two cards from your hand representing wisdom, which allow you to roll a number of dice to add to your strength. The final card of each battle is for cunning, allowing modifications to the dice rolls.
There is a level of strategy regarding when to play certain cards which will give you bonuses depending on the realm they are played in.
As a PnP game, something like Ragnarok: Aesir and Jotunn is pretty straight forward, and easily made to look good, and to last.
In most cases PnP files for card games will have the cards printing at the size of a regular deck of cards. Once printed, cut them out. Scissors work, although a utility knife, and straight edge cutting over a piece of glass can be smoother.
Some print on sticker paper then attach to a regular card. A quicker way, which also assures the cards last is to slip the PnP card, and a real card into a gaming card sleeve. The regular card provides strength and the sleeve protection.
The cards here are sharply done with excellent art. The game plays smoothly, with just enough depth and simplicity mixed together for a good gaming experience. A game certainly worth the effort to print and play.
Check it out at www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/92777/ragnarok-aesir-and-jotunn
-- Review appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper April 20, 2011 - Yorkton, SK. Canada