Yggdrasil by Z-Man Games is a cooperative game for 1-6 players set within Norse mythology. Each of the players take on the role of the Norse gods (Odin, Thor, Tyr, Frey, Freya, and Heimdall) in a battle against the enemies of Asgard to keep them from reaching the home of Odin. Each god has a different power which offers them a slightly different tactical advantage. For example, Frey gets 4 actions instead of 3 and Thor gets a +1 attack and so on and so on.
The 6 enemies start at the left side of the board. Each turn, a player draws a card. The card drawn moves one of the enemies (Loki, Fenrir, Surt, Hel, Niddhog or Jormungand) to the right towards the house of Odin. The player then chooses 3 actions out of the possible 9 to perform. The player’s three actions are designed to move the enemies back. The 9 choices of action include gaining weapons to use in combat, gaining vikings and Elves for assistance in combat, fighting against the ice giants who are also trying to destroy the gods, or fight against one of the 6 enemies themselves. Players collaborate together to reach the end of the enemy deck before the enemies cross over into Asgard.
Gameplay itself is pretty simple but this game is HARD. But not the kind of hard where you get frustrated and give up. The kind of hard where you can’t win (we’ve won twice in maybe 30 games) but you want to keep playing again and again. Even though winning is rare, this game is probably in my top 5. The design, the pieces, and the storage are great. It’s just overall fantastic.
The second edition that is out now contains the Asgard expansion, which comes with new gods. Each god card now comes with a trance power. You use one of your 3 actions to flip the card over. This prevents you from fighting any enemies, but it gives benefits for the other players. For example, while one of the gods is in a trance, the other players can get an extra action. It’s a good addition to the game. But it doesn’t make it any easier.
So, if you’re into strategy and/or Norse mythology, check out this game. You’ll enjoy it.