Valheim: The Board Game boils your server down to a 2-hour play session


The key art for Valheim: The Board Game, showing a group of vikings looking out over the vast beauties of the tenth realm. In the foreground is their home, a sturdy wooden building.
Image: Iron Gate/Mood Publishing

Loot, gather, explore, craft, and kill a biome’s boss

Valheim: The Board Game was built off the success of Deep Rock Galactic: The Board Game, another tabletop adaptation of a popular video game that aims to keep the same vibe as the original. With Deep Rock Galactic, it’s easier to create a one-to-one experience — a match in the video game is a round of the board game. But Valheim is a sprawling experience that’s harder to encapsulate. Valheim: The Board Game is coming to crowdfunding on Gamefound later this year.

Playing on a Valheim server with a cohort of pals is a big experience, made up of weeks and months of farming, building, adventure, boss fighting, and general Viking antics. So how does the board game adaptation boil all of that down into a two-hour session? It’s no easy feat, but the designers looked to Valheim’s biomes and the altars that summon bosses like Bonemass or The Elder.

“The video game is expansive. Not only is it a typical adventure, but you start with nothing. You have to create a home as well. I think of it as an adult version of Minecraft,” says Ole Steiness, lead designer of Valheim: The Board Game. “What we’ve done is taken the same core concept and then divided it into scenarios of a larger campaign.”

Each session of the board game represents a scenario of a larger Valheim life in the 10th realm. “You have to develop yourself and your home to be able to take on this challenge,” says Steiness. “You’re going to explore the map, which is going to be tiles on the board, and you’ll have events going on and creatures showing up to challenge you. As you fight your way through it, you gather resources so you and your friends can build up, make a cool character, a cool home, until you take on the big boss fight at the end of the game.”

The board game box for Valheim: The Board Game, which is set to be released on crowdfunding later this year.
Image: Iron Gate/Mood Publishing

Different sessions of Valheim: The Board Game will have different layouts and scenarios that play out over a two-hour game session. Not all of the scenarios will be tests of martial prowess. “It was important to both us and Iron Gate [the developer of Valheim] that it’s not only about killing stuff — it’s about developing other traits and making sure that other parts work. Some people find it fun to build a house, or some people want to go explore. We have a 3D model of your home in the game, and it’s an empty house you have to fill out.”

In Valheim, new furniture and workbenches at the homestead raise your comfort level and allow you to craft new gear. That’s true in Valheim: The Board Game as well, which allows players to linger at home to enhance their equipment and build armor while others venture out into the Black Forest to kill monsters. In order to refine these roles, there are character archetypes: The Ranger is probably out scouting and fighting trolls, while the Sailor is focusing on securing naval routes, and the Gatherer gathers up everything needed for a nutritious stew. Everyone can do everything, but these roles allow players to specialize in a way similar to the original game.

The board will also change depending on the boss you’re fighting. Bonemass, for instance, will cause the board to be populated with more swamp biomes and poison tiles. When the endgame begins, the players flip the board, revealing a boss arena for the final showdown.

Valheim: The Board Game will be available to back on Gamefound later in 2024. More details will be released on Valheim’s X feed and community Discord as they become available.

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