June Game of the Month – Spoils of War

The Game of the Month series highlights one of the many games in our libraries at Ravenwood Castle and the Malted Meeple. We will briefly describe the game, how to play it, and why we like it. The Game of the Month is written by the Meeple’s Head Game Master – and former Ravenwood Innkeeper – Karington Hess.

The raid is over, but the game has just begun! The victorious Vikings gather in the tent of their chieftain, each with the hopes of returning to their clan with their longboats heavily laden with the Spoils of War! Fortunately, a game was devised many moons ago to help the Vikings split their hard-earned spoils. They will need all their skill – and no small amount of luck – to win the day and the treasure! We are proud to announce our June game of the month: Spoils of War from Arcane Wonders. Prepare yourself for a fast-paced game of bidding, deception, and wagering that would please Odin himself!

In Spoils of War each player begins the game with a number of dice dependent upon the number of players, a dice cup, a screen, a wagering disk, and a pile of starting gold. The owner of the game becomes the first Viking Chieftain; a position which comes with certain advantages. The treasure cards are separated by stage number and divided into three equal piles per stage, and the game begins! Each game of Spoils of War is played over the course of nine rounds. During each round one treasure pile will be revealed and bid on by the players.

To begin the game the chieftain reveals each card in the first treasure pile, being careful to keep artifact cards face down and secret. All players roll their dice in their dice cup, being careful not to accidentally reveal their roll to the other Vikings. The chieftain chooses who will make the first bid; an honor he may keep for himself if he wishes. The chosen Viking must announce aloud a quantity and value of dice he believes are currently in play on the table. This includes all the dice for all the Vikings in the game. The next player must either raise the bid or challenge the previous bid. A player may increase either the value of the dice, the quantity of dice, or both. For example, if the previous bid was six fours, he could bid seven fours, or six fives, or seven ones. If a player believes that the previous bid is too high, he may challenge. When a player challenges, he becomes the challenger and the previous bidder becomes the declarer. Now each player, including the declarer and the challenger who bet on themselves, must secretly and simultaneously place bets on who they think is correct. All players reveal their bets, and starting with the declarer each player reveals their dice. If there are more dice of the value of the bid, then everyone on the declarer’s side wins. If, however, there are less than the number of dice, then each player on the challenger’s side wins. The player who guessed correctly and bid the most gold becomes the new Viking chieftain. Finally, it is time to divide the spoils! Each Viking on the losing side must give up the gold on their disks. The new Viking chieftain takes first pick of the loot and takes three treasure cards. All other players in descending bid order must take two treasures from the loot pile. The losers for the round get nothing and the remaining treasures are discarded.

At the end of the ninth round, players total up the number of gold they have remaining, the value of each of their treasures and any bonuses for complete and incomplete treasure sets. The wealthiest Viking at the end of the game wins!

Spoils of War is good wholesome Viking fun for friends and family. The next time you visit The Malted Meeple or Ravenwood Castle, be sure to ask your game master for Spoils of War from our friends at Arcane Wonders!

Prove your might and claim the Spoils of War!

Jim Reed

Jim Reed is a lifelong gamer who started with the original red box Dungeons & Dragons. After spending 20 years in the corporate world, he decided it was high time that work be fun and struck out on his own. Jim now owns and operates Ravenwood Castle, and spends his days ensuring his guests have as much fun as he does.