Updated: Jul 30
Langskip is a Nordic-themed micro game with a difference. It's a game involving bluffing and deceit as much as card play, and the object is to get to the end of a 20-space track before any of your opponents.
The notional premise of Langskip is that the 2-4 players are Vikings who have fallen in battle but have been wrongfully sent to Helheim rather than Valhalla. You are racing to be the first to the end of the track in order to secure your rightful place by Odin's side.
The game is played using an 18 card micro-game deck. You'll always have a hand of two cards from which you'll play one before drawing a replacement. The cards each display characters from Norse mythology: Valkyries and various of the Norse gods and goddesses, each of which gives you a specific action. If this sounds like a reskin of Love Letter (AEG) then you may be in for a surprise. Loki is the god of mischief, and his influence pervades Langskip. On your turn when you play your card, you play it face down and announce what the card is (and therefore what action you'll be taking). You may be telling the truth or you may be lying. Other players can call you out by calling 'mischief'. If you were lying, you don't get to take the action and the player who calls you out gains a mischief token. If you were telling the truth, the player who called you out has to move back one space. You get to take the action on the card you said you played, and if it turns out you lied and got away with it then you also earn yourself a mischief token. The mischief tokens come in very useful in conjunction with some of the cards (for example, Fenrir lets you move an extra two spaces for every mischief token you trade in - so judicious use can make this a game winner).
The cartoon art of Caitlan Gledhill appropriately captures the spirit of the game. There are nine different characters represented on the cards. The deck includes two copies of most, but there are five Valkyries and just one each of Odin, Thor and Loki. You'll need to know and keep track of this because it affects what players can get away with when bluffing about the card they're playing.
With Langskip, Niall Crabtree has come up with a light easy-to-play game that's a lot of fun. With a deck of just 18 cards, it's not too hard keeping track of what cards have come up, and you know what cards are in your own hand, so you may be able to work out whether or not a player is telling the truth. You'll need your Reference Card tho', listing each of the character card actions, at least until players are all completely familiar with the game. And they will be because Langskip is a game you'll find family friends will eagerly clamour to replay.
Langskip is being published by Crab Studios. It's on Kickstarter now. Click here to check out the campaign and to snap up your copy.