I have been a big fan of the classic Perudo game for many, many years…and it just got pushed aside in favor of Spoils of War. I feel a bit traitorous, but it’s that fun. The combination of luck, strategy, bluffing, and calculating odds is simply perfect. You’ll burst into laughter, pound your fist on the table in frustration, cheer in surprised delight, and let out seething groans of anger…all in a matter of exhilarating minutes.
Play as vikings seeking to calculate and bluff your way to the lion’s share of treasure. You’ll have a bunch of basic or special artifact treasure cards on the table each of the nine rounds. You’ll then roll dice, bid, and one-up each other until a challenge is made at which point all players place their bets on the winning viking. Spoils of war (name of the game!) are then dividing to those with the highest winning bets first while the losers toss their money aside and flee in humiliation.
Classic push-your-luck games pit yourself against the odds or “luck.” Spoils of War takes that same concept and pits player against player with “luck” being the underlying machine. This amplifies the excitement and adds such a fun, nail-biting element to the game.
I love how every single round varies significantly. Some rounds will not have the treasure you’re after, so you won’t be as bent on winning and will play more conservatively. Other rounds will have the exact treasures you need to complete a set which will drive you to lay down a huge amount of gold in hopes of winning the round…at the risk of losing it all.
Positioning is a big and fun factor in Spoils of War. You’ll find your game adjusting to whoever is sitting next to you. You’ll have conservative players who bet against the calculated odds every time and some bluffing schemers who ramp up the bet with confidence every round no matter their dice rolls. Just find that sweet spot given those around you, and you’ll do well (unless the cards and dice just don’t roll your way!).
There are two fundamental bidding differences from Perudo: 1. Players do not lose dice which means that each round has the same odds (unless someone adds a dice with a particular artifact action); and 2. The Viking Chief gets to choose who bids first (as opposed to Perudo where the loser bids first the next round). Dice are a means to an end instead of the end itself.
Tips & Tricks
- Be careful with your bidding! Just like any push-your-luck game, don’t go crazy (unless you have tons of a single number!).
- Don’t focus too heavily on accumulating artifact cards. I found that stashing away a few at the beginning with a couple added here and there is best. You won’t win on artifact cards alone, but you also shouldn’t discount them entirely.
Scoring & Wrap-up
Overall, I give Spoils of War an extremely high 9 out of 10 for the following reasons:
- The psychological warfare that takes place throughout the game is simply fantastic.
- The artifacts cause some majorly fun wrinkles at any point in the game, including right after making a bid! Use them, but use them wisely and timely.
- There is a perfect balance of light strategy and calculated luck.
- The artwork is colorful and vibrant and fun.
- I know it sounds like a cop-out, but I truly cannot think of any detractors to point out!
If you like mind games, set collection, bidding, betting, and a healthy dose of luck, you will thoroughly enjoy Spoils of War. It is fun, intense, and creates a lot of great gaming moments! It’s perfect for light- to mid-level gamers.
Disclaimer: I received this game for free in exchange for my review, but believe me, I post authentic reviews every time and will be brazenly blunt if needs be.