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Upcoming board game Vaalbara is a faster, easier Libertalia with Vikings

Order of the day.

New card game Vaalbara will offer an even lighter alternative to Libertalia.

Vaalbara uses a similar card initiative system to the popular pirate board game, in which players play one numbered card from their hand each turn before executing their actions from lowest to highest, hoping to gain doubloons and victory points.

In Vaalbara, players are instead aiming to claim sets of territory cards that grant additional ways to score points. Scoring objectives include forming collections of matching or unique territory cards to score points at the end of the game, while other territories score points immediately when claimed based on how many cards the player currently holds.

Cover image for YouTube videoYou've Never Played Libertalia!? The Pirates of the Caribbean ain't got nothin' on us!
Watch the Dicebreaker team play Libertalia

Every player starts with the game with the same 12 cards. Over the course of nine rounds, the players will use nine cards from their deck of 12, making the order in which they play them important to gaining victory.

Cards are selected secretly from a hand of five before being revealed at the same time, resolving from lowest to highest initiative. Each card has a unique power, as well as allowing the player to claim a territory card from the grid in the centre - with one territory card available per player. The next round’s territories are visible, helping players to plan ahead. After nine rounds, the most points wins.

Cover image for YouTube videoThe Best Board Games at Essen Spiel 2022 - Day 2!
The team take a look at board games from Essen Spiel 2022

Olivier Cipiere’s design appears to be a more beginner-friendly take on Paolo Mori’s gameplay ideas in Libertalia - which recently saw a remake as Libertalia: Winds of Galecrest - with simpler actions and playing in around half the time at 20 minutes with two to five players, one fewer than Libertalia.

Vaalbara will be released in Q1 2023, publisher Studio H told Dicebreaker at this year's Essen Spiel convention, with a digital version of the game coming to Board Game Arena next month.

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About the Author
Matt Jarvis avatar

Matt Jarvis


After starting his career writing about music, films and video games for various places, Matt spent many years as a technology, PC and video game journalist before writing about tabletop games as the editor of Tabletop Gaming magazine. He joined Dicebreaker as editor-in-chief in 2019, and has been trying to convince the rest of the team to play Diplomacy since.