Why Blood Rage Is A Board Game For Losers - And Why I Love It

Board Games
Image of a Viking

Vikings ooze with macho vibes. This is Chris Stapleton's ancestor.



I must admit, I am very late to the Blood Rage craze. Blood Rage was one of those games that took me forever to get around to trying. It looked cool, I would always pick it up at my local game store and look at the box like I hadn't already looked at it a thousand times. But I would set the box back down, thinking to myself that, maybe next time, I'll pick it up.

One bright, sunny spring game store sale day, I decided to finally make the purchase. I was excited to bring this game to my Thursday night gaming group for a go. My gaming group is made up of some savvy gamers, who pick up on strategies fairly quickly, so I was interested to see what they could come up with for this game.

For my first game, I managed to build a large army of warriors, with buffs that made them superior in combat. I mean, it's a viking game right, being good at killing should be a fail safe approach. I thought I had the game in the bag, as I had stacked buffs on these guys, and was holding some pretty nasty combat bonus cards in my hand. So battle erupts in the center part of the board, and I was ready to claim 3 clan stats. The combat cards are flipped, and my buddy Joe reveals Odin's Tide (Before comparing STR, each player chooses and destroys all but one of his figures in this battle)! All the work I did to make my warriors beefy was undone by one card. I was devastated. My chances of getting back into the game were dashed. My rage was spent building up a horde of killers, only to be leveled by Odin himself. I was so aggravated about this that I considered shelving the game, taking my ball, and going home.

Cat giving a thumbs up, saying "Good play bro" to a card

A few game nights later, my buddy James wants to try Blood Rage. Part of me was hesitant to go for it, but being an egomaniac, I had to give it another go. This time around, I was more aware of the brutality of this game. I came into my second session with the mindset that life is cheap, warriors are meant to die, and investing in them can be very fruitless. This time, I was going to find a way to win by, well, losing.

I employed the infamous Loki strategy, where you score points by releasing models from Viking heaven (also known as Valhalla). I also stacked up on "Glorious Death!" quests, which give you bookoo glory if at least 4 of your guys bite the dust. So I intentionally got smashed at every turn, sending my poor Vikings to the great battle in the sky. When it was time to collect, I would rack up, planting more warriors under the comet of destruction for even more points. It was a weird, but oddly entertaining strategy to use.

One of the things that made this strategy so satisfying is my tendency to have terrible luck in tabletop games in general. I have lost countless Warhammer Fantasy Battle games due to poor leadership rolls where the odds were heavily in my favor. I've lost plenty of board games to bad draws, poor die rolls, and, yes, a bad decision here and there. My gaming group has pegged me as the worst Dice Miner player for good reason, I pick the wrong dice, and my rolls are almost always horrible. So, in a game where being a loser can give you the win, I apparently have found my place to shine. I won that game handily, and the game we played last night, using the Loki approach, I finished second. I would have won but I made a bad drafting choice that cost me the 8 points I needed to secure the victory.

Board game session of Blood Rage
Frigga's Succor stacks them up, then knock them down for some Loki points.

So, Blood Rage is a special game for me because it gives you different paths to victory, not just being the best offensive player, or luckiest drawer/roller. That being said, I do feel like the Loki strategy is so much easier to make work successfully than the other approaches to the game. My buddy James barely snagged the win last night by focusing on raising clan stats and winning key battles. His approach was far more challenging to pull off, required him to win combats reliably, and raise an army that could have been, at any point, nuked by a monster or card. All I had to do is make sure my guys were getting slaughtered. So given the effort, it's hard to imagine the Loki strategy not being a go-to for my Timmy brain.

Loki actor in Loki outfit

Sure, there will be times when the Loki cards don't come into my hand during drafting, but so far they have. Also, since we are all new to this game, I wonder if there are anti-Loki tactics that my opponents can use. I can hardly see how there could be, but who knows? As we get better at the game, this could change.
Anyway, Blood Rage is a wonderful game for players like me who seem to have difficulty winning games like these. Being a loser never felt so good.

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Note: The views contained within this article represents the author's views alone, and may or may not represent other's views within Toy and Tee. We're all different here, and celebrate diversity of perspectives.  



  • Cartoon pic of the authorJay C. Shepherd
  • Content Creator
  • Jay is a graphic designer, board game enthusiast, and professional wrestling fan who loves all things 80's, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and of course, video games. He is one of the rare few that believes that one can be a Trekkie and Star Wars fan at the same time.