Dirk Henn


No. of Players:
3 - 6



G@mebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game :

Eketorp from QUEEN GAMES is a new release of Dirk Henn which he originally published under his own label db-SPIELE in 2003. In comparison to the original game, the rules remained nearly the same, but the design of board and components changed considerably. Typical for a game from QUEEN GAMES, the design is now held in green and brown colours and clearly signifies where the players have to place their tokens and cards.


Dipping back a bit into history, Eketorp is the name of a very famous Viking stronghold on the Swedish island Öland. Thus, the game is about building a stronghold with different building materials and about attacking opposing strongholds to destroy and steal building materials of other players. On the game board you find the five strongholds of every player and a place for building materials that is divided into seven spaces and which is filled up at the beginning of each turn. For this, a random building card is drawn that indicates the amount and the type of each building material which will be available this turn. The different types of building materials are distinguished between grass, wood, clay and stone, with an ascending order of value at the end of the game.

After the current building card has been revealed, the next phase brings the players to take Viking figures from their stronghold on the game board and assign these to the spaces with the building materials, to their own stronghold or to another player's stronghold. Each player prepares this assignment secretly behind his screen.


After all players have made their choice, the screens are put away and all Vikings are placed on the game board according to their positioning on the hidden sheet behind the screen. Wherever there are more Vikings on a building space than there are building materials a fight takes place. Fights also take place on the three fields before a stronghold if other players have placed Vikings there.

Every fight is carried out between two players, and if there are more than two different Vikings on one field, the fights are solved one by one. In a fight the involved players play one of the cards from their hand, and the card with the higher value wins the fight. The player with the smaller value looses the fight and places his Viking in the military hospital. The higher the difference between the two cards, the deeper was the inflicted wound and the longer the Viking will have to stay in the hospital (meaning that the figure of the wounded Viking is placed further away from the exit of the hospital). At the end of a fight the two players exchange the cards they just have played, and by this method a good balance is created because the stronger and weaker cards rotate between the players. However, there is also the possibility to track the cards of the opponents and thus the players may try to figure out where to attack in the next turn and which card they should play in the next fight in order to have a good chance to win.

If all fights of the current turn have been resolved, the building material is distributed and then it is placed on any side of the strongholds of the players. The buildings materials are given to the player's with a Viking at the corresponding spaces, and also the winner of a fight at a stronghold takes some building material from the opponentīs stronghold. Afterwards, Vikings in the hospital are moved one step towards the exit, Vikings that leave the hospital return to their players and a new round begins.


The game ends after the tenth round or if a player finishes his stronghold by placing the 18th building material. Then the values of the building materials accumulated by each player are added up (1 for grass, 2 for wood, 3 for clay and 4 for stone), plus some additional bonus points which might also be scored. As usual, the player with the highest score wins the game.

Eketorp is a nice game with a good design and a very good balance, independent of the number of players. It is a lot of fun to destroy and steal from other player's strongholds, and to bluff other players in the phase of secretly placing the Vikings. Sometimes this can result in a situation that no one has placed a Viking to a building place with stone, the most valuable building material, because all players thought that the other ones would go there. Then there will be a fight for grass or wood, the cheapest building materials. In a way, this secret bidding mechanism reminded a bit of Piratenbucht from DAYS OF WONDER, but as you can see the similarities between both games do not go much further. The game is recommended for players aged 8 or older, and although I would agree that Eketorp is a nice family game, I would think that players should be a little bit older in order to enjoy the bluffing element and the somewhat strategic combat mechanism.

The year 2007 seems to be something like "The Year of the Viking" in the game world, since next to the very good Wikinger game from HANS IM GLÜCK there were several other releases that adopted the theme of the Vikings as well. Also, 2007 showed a growing tendency towards releasing new versions of older games from well-known authors, and although this is not reprehensible, one might wonder whether there should not be enough ideas to produce games new games. However, unlike some other releases, Eketorp is really worth to be published again!

Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

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Copyright © 2008 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany