Fjords

Here’s a review of Fjords in Finnish.

Fjords (or Fjorde) is a nice little two-player game about the vikings — however, this time the vikings are not burning and pillaging, they are farming and exploring!

The game is divided in two phases. First players lay tiles to build a map and place farms on the newly-formed meadows, then they start occupying the land starting from the farms. As is often said, the first phase is like Carcassonne, second like Go.

In the first phase, players lay down hexagon tiles. There’s meadows, mountains and seas to match; each tile must touch at least two previously placed tiles. Unusable tiles are left for further use. Huts can be placed, like in Carcassonne, to tiles just layed down. There’s a bit of a risk, as you don’t know how the map will develop.

There’s a bit of juggling on who gets to play the last tile. That’s not an advantage: the one who doesn’t place the last tile gets to start the second phase and that position might be worth points. Using the tiles on board (discarded as unusable before) makes it possible to “skip” turns.

The second phase is very straightforward: players place their markers on meadows, starting from their farms (four farms each). There’s some blocking and a concept of timing, as some spots can seal the opponent of from a large area. Other than that, it’s very fast and simple and doesn’t take much time.

And that’s it — players count the markers they’ve placed, that’s their score. Rules say play three rounds, I don’t see why. One round takes about ten to fifteen minutes and is a nice snack. If you have time and will, playing best two out of three or something like that is certainly a possibility.

Fjords is a small, simple game. Nothing larger-than-life, nothing spectacular, but bit of fun and bit of depth. It won’t be completely obvious the first time you play it, but I’m not sure if playing ten games or hundred games makes a big difference on skill. If you’re looking for a fast filler for two to play every now and then, Fjords is a good call.

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