Calvin’s Commentaries: Knarr is a fine game, at least for some of us

Some games hit the table that once played for review illicit far more debate than might have been expected.

And, then as it comes down to one Meeple Guilder writing the final review, a lot of head-scratching takes place too.

One of those games is Knarr from designer Thomas Dupont and publisher Bombyx (

So why the debate on this one?

Well, that is the curious thing because when you slice Knarr up it’s all rather a fine game.

To start the box has a stalwart warrior that tells you this one has a Viking theme, which is a good thing – at least generally at our table.

From the publisher’s website; “form your band of Vikings and make your fortune by discovering unknown destinations.

“You must manage the recruitment of the Vikings and choose the best territories to explore. There are two types of destinations, the trade lands to create a trade route. Then the lands of influence in which to leave permanent settlements. To explore a destination, you must leave some of your band members behind.

“Once the route to a destination is open, you can spend silver bracelets to trade and collect gains. Depending on the destinations you reach and the Vikings that accompany you, you can increase your reputation to gain even more wealth.”

Now to be fair here the game doesn’t drip theme. It is a bit of a pasted-on thing – it could have been space aliens just as easily.

That said artist Carrion Antoine has done an outstanding job with the character cards – larger versions could decorate a game room. It is impossible not to be impressed.

The rules here are pretty straight forward. There are various things you can do on a turn, and iconography to follow – quite a bit actually for a small box game – but it posed no problems. I think we referred back to the rule book once when we hit something we had missed in the initial group read-through.

Having choices is a good thing and Knarr gives you that.

After play one it was questioned if a comeback was possible.

In game two I pulled out to a nice lead, three points from the win, but my resources were depleted and Trevor blew past me, so yes you can forge from behind.

The game also retails at a rather reasonable $25.

So great art, easy-follow rules, in-game decisions, a nice theme, reasonable price – it should be an eight-of-of-10 game, right?

In isolation that would be the case.

If you are newer to gaming and this all reads as good to you, grab this game.

But, the larger your collection the more difficult time a new game has of muscling its way onto the gaming table.

This is a game that plays in about 30 minutes, sort of a tweener, a bit longer than a filler game typically is to us, and hardly an all-evening game, but is it one you’d reach for?

The larger the collection the less likely, yet I for one like it enough to say yes if it was suggested – others at the table would likely balk in favor of others among the many.

So what does that mean for Knarr?

Newer gamers buy it now. There isn’t a negative here.

Big collectors, well that’s a call only they can make and at the price how many games do you need to play to have Knarr being like going to the movies?

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