Blood Rage is an interesting game. It is a game where strategy and brute strength go hand in hand, where you fight each other with gods and monsters, and where combat is can become a bloody mess. In Blood Rage, you are fighting for honour, for glory, and for the essence of pure rage itself.
There are a thousand different ways to win in Blood Rage, a thousand different strategies to take; however, there is one thing that can’t be ignored. The person with the most honour, glory, and rage at the end of the game will win. The primary resources (Rage, Axes, and Horns) can be worth as much as 60 points by the end of the game (twenty points each). That is insane. This makes Blood Rage a very bloody and a very brutal game.
What I wanted to do here is share one of the many tactics there are to winning the game. For this article, I am going to presume you know the rules to Blood Rage, if not then you can either read my review (here) or, alternatively, there is a Let’s Play video.
Blood Rage Strategy: The Dark Elf and The Dwarven Chieftan
When playing Blood Rage it can always be tempting to go for the biggest monsters whenever they come out. Not only do they tend to do the most damage, but they are also insanely cool models – sculpted as giants, trolls and sea monsters (CMON really did a great job with the minis). Just putting one on the table can strike fear into the hearts of your enemies; however, for this strategy, you need to completely ignore them. They are beautiful, yes, but they will not win you glory on the battlefield using this method. Remember that sometimes – big things can come in small packages.
Instead, for this strategy, you are going to need to keep an eye out for two very specific cards. These are two monster cards, which together form a pretty beastly duo on the battlefield. They are cards that are often passed over and this makes them opportune for the taking when they come past. They are the the Dwarf Chieftain (a first age card) and the Dark Elf (a second age card). Trust me when I say these two are worth it, and can create an awesome combination between them.
Step 1: The Dwarf Chieftain
Step number one is to secure the Dwarf Chieftain. Take him as soon as you see him in the “God’s Gifts” phase at the start of the game, and then bolster the rest of your hand with either Upgrade or Battle cards. Loki is not your friend, but Tyr is in this instance. Get cards that do big damage, prioritising them over upgrades, but gaining upgrades if you can see an instant advantage.
The Dwarf Chieftain has the ability to invade for free, with a monster strength of two, making him the equivalent to the Faction Leader. During your first turn, it is important to get him invading into any region on the map. The rules for invasion are very simple – your troops can enter anywhere that hasn’t already been claimed by Ragnarök and that isn’t Yggdrasil (the Tree of Life in the centre of the board). The first step is to get the Dwarf Chieftain onto the board, meaning you invade with him on turn one. Remember that. The Dwarf Chieftain goes first.
Turn two, you get your faction leader onto the board. Invade with him to the same area as the Dwarf Chieftain. This will mean when you come to march them to Yggdrasil you can march both at the same time. On turn three, march them both to the centre of the board. This will then be your base of operations for the rest of the game.
When in Yggdrasil the Chieftain is safe from Ragnarök, meaning all he needs to do is worry about what is coming in from the other regions and other players. Most of the time, players will ignore the centre in the hopes to go for other areas. Why use more Rage than you have to, right? Why march troops you don’t need to march?
So far as your own Rage is concerned, you should have only used one Rage and yet you have two figures in Yggdrasil. As soon as you can, pillage it for all the goodness it holds.
Why you want to get your figures to Yggdrasil is very simple. You want to build up your core stats so you can do more and more each turn. To do this you need to be as efficient as possible and the easiest way to boost all three is to go for Yggdrasil. The reward for conquering the Tree of Life is a +1 boost in all three statistics. This means you want to ensure you take it in all three rounds. This is because three rounds means three pillages. Three pillages in Yggdrasil mean nine resources in return. I talk about ROI a lot on this blog and that there is a good return on investment.
Once you have conquered Yggdrasil in the first turn then you should still have 6 Rage (you would have just gained one for pillaging Yggdrasil), all six of which can be used to bring additional troops into the game. Pillage as much as possible with your additional troops. Use battle cards to bolster your clan as and when you need to.
Step 2: The Dark Elf
Step number two begins the same way as step number one, in regards to you need to find The Dark Elf during the God’s Gifts phase of the game. Hopefully, this shouldn’t be very difficult to do as, like with before, the big monsters tend to attract the attention. A troublesome player may realise your tactics during the first phase and take the Dark Elf, in which case I can only suggest throwing everything you have at that player to create a blood feud. This probably won’t win you the game, but it will be satisfying, so you’ll have that going for you.
This probably won’t win you the game, but it will be satisfying, so you’ll have that going for you.
The Dark Elf has a very unique ability in the game, and is the only monster who can invade Yggdrasil directly. He also only has a strength of one, apart from when he is by the Tree of Life. In Yggdrasil, the Dark Elf has a strength of three. You can now see why you want him on your team.
Since the second round is the round where players may be thinking about taking Yggdrasil for their own, you are going to want to play the Dark Elf as early as possible, injecting him into the middle of the board to put them off. This gives you a strength of seven in the middle of the board, making you a real force to be reckoned with.
The Dark Elf, unlike the Dwarf Chieftain and the Faction Leader, does require Rage to invade the board; however, it only costs one no matter where he goes. This is essential, as it means he is cheap but incredibly powerful. You want to make it unattractive enough that when you call to pillage Yggdrasil other players don’t want to move their extra troops to the centre of the map to try and take the wealth for themselves. You also want to hold enough battle cards so that if they do want to fight you can easily put them down.
What this does is not only give you a high chance of getting the Yggdrasil goodness each turn, but it also gives you the ability to build a powerhouse in the centre of the board. If needs be, the Dwarf Chieftain or the Faction Leader can be used elsewhere to support other clan members in their battles for glory. Where this isn’t recommended, it can be worthwhile doing, giving you the ability to move them back if anyone declares war on Yggdrasil.
So there you go, a powerful strategy for (potentially) winning a game of Blood Rage. Yes, it does rely on a few of the stars aligning, and it also relies on you not being too obvious that the other players try to stop you by the start of turn two. If you can make it past that point then it is possible to claim the game for your own.
Of course, this is only one way to win the game. There are countless more out there, meaning that your strategy for Blood Rage can really be made your own.
I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts and comments below. What do you think of Blood Rage? What are your favourite tactics to use? Let me know in the comments section below.