Personal Computer News


Viking

Author: Mike Gerrard
Publisher: Dragon Data
Machine: Dragon 32

 
Published in Personal Computer News #045

Viking

Viking doesn't ask you to go out looting and pillaging, but it is a simulation game putting you in charge of running a Viking settlement in the year 750 AD.

Objectives

You start as a Holder, whatever that is, and if things go right you can work your way up to becoming king or queen after several years of decision making.

In Play

Viking has nine levels and from one to four people can play. At the start you're curiously asked "Who lives in Oslo?" with no indication that you're meant to respond by typing your name, so I spent the first game being referred to as "The King?".

Viking

Once you've sorted that out, you're told the year is 750 and you're straight into the first bit of information, which is your storekeeper telling you that Norway rats ate 35% of your grain and you need more ferrets. From then on it's decisions, decisions.

You have to keep an eye on your population, who will insist on being born and dying, and you have to feed them too, including the thralls, who apparently are farm labour. Depending on the skill level chosen, you will start off with various assets that may earn you money, like fishing boats, and a number of guards who have to be paid. The important news is the harvest, which varies depending on the yield; and your population you can elect to buy or sell grain.

With the cash in your treasury, you can then invest in various items like more guards, another fishing boat, or more land. You must also set the level of your taxes, and state whether your Courts are going to be lenient, firm or cruel. Cruel presumably brings in more fines, but won't do much for your public image.

Apart from bad harvests you might also have to put up with plagues, revolts, raids or bankruptcy, though the last of those seems merely to wipe out your debt and let you start afresh, which is a little unfair on the rest of the players.

Verdict

Although the game worked quickly and well, and absorbed me for one or two plays, it lacked the humour, complexity or other features that some simulations have. Life in a Viking settlement could soon become boring.

Mike Gerrard

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