Great Heathen Army Variant
Variant for 3+ players, with no player elimination
- Owning the King Card and the Cathedral, at the start of your turn, wins you the game.
- If you are ever the only Earl on the table (i.e. the other Earls have no Fiefs) before the Vikings have arrived you immediately win the game.
- Once the Vikings have arrived on the table the special "Great Heathen Army" victory conditions apply. You will either save the land, or the Vikings will take the Kingdom!
Does not happen.
- When you run out of cards in your Earl Deck you are not eliminated. A lesser relative of your House inherits your title, and continues the struggle on your family's behalf.
But when you pass away from "old age" you do lose all your Earldom's Fiefs, and any Mercenaries and their Garrisons, and also any Banners placed for Kingship (but not the King card if you possess it). They are all immediately discarded when you fail to draw when required. All your discarded cards are then reshuffled into a new Earl deck (as if you had Bequeathed normally).
- When you lose your last Fief you are also not eliminated. You will lose any Mercenaries and their Garrisons, and any Banners played for King.
You are "off the table" and a noble refugee, hiding in the marshes with your retinue, as Alfred the Great famously once did.
You can continue to play your Hand, and you might also get back on the table by placing a Castle or Palace down on your turn. You still need to have a Fief to place any Properties or Lords on the table. You can, for instance, still use Intrigue on another Earl but, as you cannot retain any new Properties without a Fief to place them in, those stolen Properties are immediately discarded into the appropriate discard pile.
When you are "tabled" or "die of old age" the following things remain: Towers, the King card and any Royal army, Army cards in your Army card Pool, Cubes in the Viking bag and Emissary cards with the Vikings.
The Great Heathen Army
These are similar to the Danelaw rules found in the Wessex campaign variant.
When the Vikings arrive the kingdom enters a unique period of crisis.
The Vikings can win the game by establishing their hegemony over the land, and creating a new Danelaw.
Once the Vikings have arrived, the game will be resolved in 8 rounds, come what may! Either an Earl will win the Kingdom, or the Danes will take over. It is the moment of crisis for the Anglo-Saxons.
Once the Vikings have arrived the 8 black markers are all pushed back behind the Vikings, and re-used. At the start of each further Viking turn (but not on the turn of their arrival) 1 black marker is pushed forward again. The white combat marker is no longer in use. After the Vikings' arrival sending Emissaries to the Vikings no longer pushes out an extra black marker.
There are a maximum of 8 rounds left in the struggle.
The Vikings themselves play by their normal Ortus Regni rules. With control going to the Earl whose cube is drawn from the bag - when they are active - and with the Vikings gaining a card each turn, etc.
Original Victory condition #2 is gone. You no longer win if you are the only Earl on the table... because only the combined forces of the Anglo-Saxons can now save the land, and you cannot hope to stand alone.
And if there are ever no Earls on the table, the Vikings win immediately. All hail King Cnut!
The primary victory condition still applies. If an Earl holds the Kingship and the Cathedral at the start of their turn they have won and united the Kingdom, in the nick of time!
At the start of the last Viking turn, when all 8 black markers are back out, the Great Heathen Army phase is over and the game resolves as listed below.
Final Great Heathen Army Victory conditions:
When all 8 black markers are out again, and the end of the Great Heathen Army phase has arrived, the following occurs:
- Greater solo victory - If there is a King and that Earl has a Fief on the table... then that player is acclaimed King by "all the land" in the chaos of the Viking crisis. And that Earl is written into the history books with the added moniker "The Great."
- Dual victory - But if there is a King with a Fief on the table, and another Earl holds the Cathedral then they share the victory. The Anglo-Saxon kingdom has been saved, but two great Houses share the two key power centers of the land. The future of these two great families is unknown, but certainly something like a Tudor era War of the Roses is probably going to come to pass. Thus, the King has saved the Anglo-Saxons but has not managed to guarantee an undisputed place in history.
- Lesser solo victory - The Archbishop can win alone. If there is no King, or the King fails to stay on the table at the close of this phase, and another Earl holds the Cathedral then that Earl has saved their House. However, in this case the victor has only secured the prestige of their family and House... as the Danes come to rely on the power and prestige of the Church during their dominion. You have not saved the lands of the Anglo-Saxons, though, and everyone better start to learn a little Old Norse to prosper. It is still a new Danelaw.
- Complete Viking Victory - If there is no King with a Fief on the table, if no Earl holds the Cathedral, then it is a complete Viking victory. And a great Viking empire is born!
Free Mulligan rule
All Earls may reject their 5 card starting Hand and reshuffle and redraw their Hand once. This occurs just before play begins, in turn order, with each Earl taking a Mulligan, or not.