The Playing to grow series: Watch out for the Vikings

A brave Viking can’t set sail without all his brothers on board.

In this challenge you need to be a keen observer, use crafty strategies and try not to be fooled by those thick Viking beards.

Quickly run through your cards and choose your crew.

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Watch out for the Vikings is part of the Playing to grow series, a new line of board games, conceived by Gianluca Daffi, expert in childhood and adolescent psychology and university lecturer. Each game focuses on a specific executive function or cognitive process with the aim of developing it whilst having fun.

Watch out for the Vikings develops attention, working memory and planning.

Find out more »



  1. All players have a ship’s bridge in front of them, where the cards of enlisted Vikings are to be placed
  2. Shuffle and deal the Viking cards amongst the players into equal packs. All players need to have a face-down pack in front of them and nobody can look at their cards until the round starts
  3. The first game leader is the youngest player, who receives the wooden counter (the Viking ship)

Start of the game

Viking twins and triplets have the same mouth, nose, eyes and face shape. All other characteristics can change…

  1. The game leader starts the round by shouting out «GO!»: at this point all players should look at their cards, quickly trying to form families of Viking twins or triplets to enlist
  2. When players find a set of twins or triplets they place them on a free line on the bridge
  3. Vikings can get onto the bridge only together with a twin or two triplets (individual Vikings can not board, only in twos or threes)
  4. You can’t make more than three sets of triplets at a time. If players find a set of twins or triplets but have no free space left on the bridge, they have to leave them in the pack. Once the Vikings have boarded they cannot come down off the bridge, unless the families have not been put together properly.
  5. The round finishes:
    o when a player has completed at least one set of Viking triplets and shouts «STOP!»
    o when the game leader shouts «STOP!».
    Only game leaders can stop a round at will, even if they haven’t made a set of triplets. Players do not have to stop the game when they find a set of triplets and can carry on looking for other sets of twins or triplets in the pack if they prefer
  6. When the round is over, all players turn over their decks and hand them to the player on their left. The game leader passes the counter to the player on their left, who becomes the game leader for the new round and will start the game off as in the previous round
  7. Once all players have been game leaders (after going round once) all remaining cards are picked up and after shuffling them are re-dealt to the players

End of the game

The player who manages to form three sets of Viking triplets shouts out «ALL ENLISTED!» and the game stops: if the families are correct, the player wins the game!

If the sets of triplets are not correct, the player is eliminated and the round ends. The eliminated player’s cards, including those on the bridge are picked up, shuffled and re-dealt amongst all the other players and the game continues until a winner is declared.

If the two players’ cards have different actions, they have to do the action not shown on the cards: clap their hands above their head.


What are executive functions?

Executive functions are the set of mental processes which monitor our thoughts and behaviours. They incorporate various neurological operations which are needed to control and coordinate our actions.
Put more plainly they are like a series of little gnomes who all work together in our brain, helping us execute any kind of task we might face in our daily lives.

FLEXIBILITY – In other words the ability to adapt to new situations and handle contingencies appropriately
PLANNING – In other words the ability to see yourself reaching an objective and understanding the steps to be taken to achieve it 
FOCUSED ATTENTION – in other words the ability to concentrate on certain elements, selecting what is useful by “filtering” it from all the other information available 
WORKING MEMORY – In other words the ability to remember information connected to the execution of an activity and the time needed to conclude said activity
RESPONSE INHIBITION – In other words the ability not to implement the first response we impulsively tend to produce, whether it is opportune or not
EMOTIONAL SELF-REGULATION – In other words the ability to handle your emotions and keep your feelings under control so they do not prevent you from reaching your goals