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A Feast for Odin» Forums » Reviews

Subject: First impression after three plays rss

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Benjamin Nobbe genannt Kemper
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Hi there! Have to tell you about Odin, because.
Won't explain the rules, though -
you can already read them online, watch certain videos, and what not.

Pre SPIEL
Thought about not even buying it because random factors such as dice and cards, but also the fear that there are simply too many action spaces for any tense interaction to occur.
The puzzle looked immensely fiddly, as well.
shake

Post SPIEL
After three plays I rate it a 10.
I know it's way too early to tell if it holds up and so it might drop down to a 9.
Still, this means that (for me) Odin is an outstanding board game.
Here is why:

1) It's indeed not fiddly, at least not very much.
It's a pain to unbox for the very first time but after that you won't even need additional trays and can set it up surprisingly fast.
The different tiles on the puzzles stay in place, unlike my worries.

2) If somebody explains the game to you, it's rather intuitive and feels more streamlined than e.g. Caverna or Ora et Labora.
However, do not, by all means, try to play the game and learn the rules on the fly since you are a Rosenberg veteran.
Don't.
I really don't want to say that the rule book is bad but it somehow is confusing in certain instances.

3) Even though there are many action spaces, blocking happens.
Not so much in the two player game but frequently with the other player counts.
In theory there are about 60 spaces, but some are heavily contested and the placement mechanic (up to four vikings for some spaces, plus card draw or play on columns three and four) further restricts options and makes players predictable.
It's still fair enough with two, though: Not as open as Caverna where one could basically take a completely different path than the other player(s).

4) Same applies to feeding. It's not too mean but definitely influential.
You get some feeding tiles every other turn and thus it can feel redundant to some or at first.
But I understand that if you play efficiently, you will make use of these tiles for the puzzles by e.g. upgrading them etc.
It feels tight enough at that point, especially if you don't pursue a hunting strategy anyways.

4) Solo game is great.
As there are no spaces that accumulate resources, it doesn't feel like abusing the system by waiting as long as possible and then taking a huuuge pile at once.
Artifical rules such as "if number x pieces are on a space then empty it except you spend y" (Caverna) weren't really able to fix that notion, in my opinion.
Solo Odin in contrast feels smooth and much more akin to a multi player game.

5) Dice aren't so bad, really.
If you hate them you could even ignore the respective spaces altogether and still compete.
(Probably. I mean, who knows after three plays. But looks very much like it!)
Only take an action that involves dice if you have enough resources to mitigate bad luck and it's no problem.
Failing a roll yields you some compensation, too.
Rolling well could be somewhat swingy over the course of a whole game, however, by saving some time and resources.
On the plus side, this mechanic in combination with the viking theme could interest people in this highly strategic game, who would otherwise not even bother trying.
I have to say that I enjoy it, too, somehow. It's really nothing to worry about, at all!

6) Neither are the cards that bad.
Adapt to your randomly drawn weapon and occupation cards.
There are options to utilise inconvenient cards, for example one space allows you to play up to four occupation cards at once - use this at the end of a game to convert your hand straight into victory points.
Only use column four actions if you want to play a card from your hand.
It's actually exciting and fun. And rich in variety, quite like the card play in Agricola (although not as much).
I saw two cards so far who let me alter the weapon mechanic completely:
a) I traded weapons for ore
b) I didn't draw any more weapon cards for the rest of the entire game but chose resources instead

7) All things considered, Odin is a best of Rosenberg.
Let me explain.
It's not as tight and punishing as Agricola, but also not as sand-boxy as Caverna or Aler Erde.
It has some readily available tiles to fight over (e.g. Caverna) but also individual cards (Agricola).
Everyone has to do puzzles and feeding to a certain extend (Agricola forced diversified scoring) but can differ with emigration/islands/breeding etc. (open scoring like in e.g. Caverna).
Odin features the direct buying of tiles and ships from Le Havre, expanding territory (Islands, Houses) from Ora et Labora/All Creatures Big and Small, and tile placement matters like in the latter.

It combines everything I love about those individual games in one big streamlined game.
And then adds to it a little bit more theme and Patchwork.

I know some people are skeptical about this release, especially because they probably own at least one or two other Rosenberg games already.
Don't be!
I can understand if you feel that you really only need to own one of both Agricola and Caverna.
This game, however, is in no competition with e.g. Agricola or Le Havre as it feels vastly different with the placement and puzzles.

Therefore, if you enjoy these types of games, you should most certainly try it! (Since people like stars: )

Thanks for reading!
Let me know what you think and have a good time!

sauronsauronsauron
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dirk breiden
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Nice review!

Danke Ben!
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Michael W.
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Thanks for your first thoughts.

From the first time I heard about Odin I knew, I have to buy this game.
Your thoughts confirm my overal opinion about Odin (actually we have a very similar taste for board games I would say because of your video reviews on YouTube in the past)

Btw: I'm a big fan of your video Reviews which you did. Are you planning to do this again in the future?

Greetings
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Tilou
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Thanks for the review!

The concern I have: Isn't everyone playing and puzzling in their corner? You say that it happens that players block some action spots. What about interaction?
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Johannes Nelson
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I've played the game about as many times as you, and I have to agree on most of the points, I really think this is a fantastic game so far.

I really like that the game is not necessarily only about hoarding resources and getting as many points as possible from them. You have to instead sometimes be cautious about which tiles you get. What is the big 9 tiles chest piece worth for you if you can't fit it into your homeboard? Then you rather get the small runestone piece that atleast can cover up two -1 points.

I also enjoy that all of the different strategics seems pretty valid. Raiding is good, housing is good, sheep and cattle and upgrading, whaling and hunting etc. So there seems to be a lot of replay value, you can try a different strategy every game and adapt depending on which occupation cards you receive.

My main criticism so far is that it's alot to take in. It took me about 45 minutes to fully explain the game the first time (this will of course get more efficient the more you've played and explained the rules before). There is a lot going on on the table, and it can be really hard for new players to makes sense of it. The exploration boards is my biggest gripe on this part. They take up sooo much space. And at first glance it's so much information to take in, all the negative and positive points and the bonus tiles and the income and which ships can I use to explore this board and when do that board turn over and is this board better than that one and and and etc. It's just clunky, you already have to analyze so much of what is going on, and on top of that you have 8 boards you can potentially add to your strategy, but you don't know if you want to because you don't have the time to analyze the boards in depth.

So yea, this criticism is also the reason why I think this game will get better the more you play it and the more experienced the players are.

I do have a lot more to add, mostly on the positive side, but I realized I rambled a lot now! (maybe I should have just made my own thread...) But overall I really like it so far, and I want to play a lot more.
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Aernout Casier
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Stop doing this. Stop making me want the game more. You are mean...

(ON a serious note though: thanks. I have nothing but great experiences with Uwe games, and thus preordered this game in Dutch. It's likely to arrive some time this month and I hope to enjoy it as much as you do.)

Aernout
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Benjamin Nobbe genannt Kemper
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Quote:
What is the big 9 tiles chest piece worth for you if you can't fit it into your homeboard?


Very true!
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Benjamin Nobbe genannt Kemper
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Quote:
Btw: I'm a big fan of your video Reviews which you did. Are you planning to do this again in the future?


I just recently finished my studies and am actually thinking about it right now.
I can't promise as of yet but it may very well happen...
Videos are a lot of work though. I'll probably stick to shorter text reviews like the one above (because work, you know ).
We'll see modest
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Thomas Leitner
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I find myself in general agreement with the OP. I've played once with two, once with four and twice solo now, and I just love the game.

I, too, had serious concerns about randomness when I first read the rules, and also about the volume of action spaces.

After playing, I no longer have any concerns. The game is an absolute joy to play. Like La Granja, disperate mechanisms just seem to fit very well together.

A Feast for Odin is a real winner.
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Benjamin Nobbe genannt Kemper
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Quote:
What about interaction?


Blocking has always been the main interaction in these kinds of worker placement games.
Nice people like us don't want to fight!

It's true that everybody has their own puzzle(s) but certain pieces (puzzle pieces, islands, array of wood/stone etc.) are limited.
By blocking, these and other vital options (e.g. food for your vikings) can be denied, with the result that opponents have to make suboptimal choices.

So interaction is definitely a huge part of Odin.
If you want it the hard way, though, try Agricola. sauron
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Tilou
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BNgK wrote:
Quote:
What about interaction?


Blocking has always been the main interaction in these kinds of worker placement games.
Nice people like us don't want to fight!

It's true that everybody has their own puzzle(s) but certain pieces (puzzle pieces, islands, array of wood/stone etc.) are limited.
By blocking, these and other vital options (e.g. food for your vikings) can be denied, with the result that opponents have to make suboptimal choices.

So interaction is definitely a huge part of Odin.
If you want it the hard way, though, try Agricola. sauron


Still not convinced but I am curious to try the game as soon as someone in my gaming group gets it.
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Mohammad Ali
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I get to play it for the first time this weekend, so I went ahead and read the rules.


I'm excited to see if the player interaction is reasonable; I see that reviews people say that there is some blocking... I'm more on the Agricola side of things than Caverna, so I want the players to be really taking other players into account.

I have two questions after reading the rules:
Is there much variation to set up? After reading the rules it looks like it was just a starting occupation per player.

Is there a lot of contention for being first player?


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Michael W.
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BNgK wrote:
Quote:
Btw: I'm a big fan of your video Reviews which you did. Are you planning to do this again in the future?


I just recently finished my studies and am actually thinking about it right now.
I can't promise as of yet but it may very well happen...
Videos are a lot of work though. I'll probably stick to shorter text reviews like the one above (because work, you know ).
We'll see modest


Thanks for your answer. Would be really nice if you would do text reviews because of short time. You have the skill to describe the most important things of a game in few sentence - that's really not easy.
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No Way
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This might be a dark horse candidate for game of the year. I really didn't have much expectations from the game since you don't expect Uwe to hammer out too many great games this late in his career, especially in a year with so many great new games from younger designers, but this one impressed the hell out of me. I haven't had that much fun of a first playthrough of an Uwe game since Le Havre. Even the feeding mechanic, normally an annoying feature in Uwe's games that only wins on the necessity of it holding everything in place, is really alive and vibrant in this game with its tile placement mechanic.
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Thomas Leitner
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OnlyForDownloads wrote:
This might be a dark horse candidate for game of the year. I really didn't have much expectations from the game since you don't expect Uwe to hammer out too many great games this late in his career, especially in a year with so many great new games from younger designers, but this one impressed the hell out of me. I haven't had that much fun of a first playthrough of an Uwe game since Le Havre. Even the feeding mechanic, normally an annoying feature in Uwe's games that only wins on the necessity of it holding everything in place, is really alive and vibrant in this game with its tile placement mechanic.


This late in his career? Mr. Rosenberg is 46 years old. I'd say that puts him right in the middle of his career.
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MDJD wrote:
OnlyForDownloads wrote:
This might be a dark horse candidate for game of the year. I really didn't have much expectations from the game since you don't expect Uwe to hammer out too many great games this late in his career, especially in a year with so many great new games from younger designers, but this one impressed the hell out of me. I haven't had that much fun of a first playthrough of an Uwe game since Le Havre. Even the feeding mechanic, normally an annoying feature in Uwe's games that only wins on the necessity of it holding everything in place, is really alive and vibrant in this game with its tile placement mechanic.


This late in his career? Mr. Rosenberg is 46 years old. I'd say that puts him right in the middle of his career.


I wasn't trying to say that Uwe was an old man or anything. But you'd think with games like Le Havre and Agricola under his belt he wouldn't have that much to prove anymore. He could basically make revisions of those two games forever and coast on that and still collect an ample paycheck. Yet he comes out and blasts us to the face with something this fun and creative. It's almost not fair. Let someone else make a great game, Mr. Rosenberg!
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Y P
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OnlyForDownloads wrote:
This might be a dark horse candidate for game of the year. I really didn't have much expectations from the game since you don't expect Uwe to hammer out too many great games this late in his career, especially in a year with so many great new games from younger designers, but this one impressed the hell out of me. I haven't had that much fun of a first playthrough of an Uwe game since Le Havre. Even the feeding mechanic, normally an annoying feature in Uwe's games that only wins on the necessity of it holding everything in place, is really alive and vibrant in this game with its tile placement mechanic.

I'm not sure a game that has garnered this much buzz can be considered a dark horse candidate
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MentatYP wrote:
OnlyForDownloads wrote:
This might be a dark horse candidate for game of the year. I really didn't have much expectations from the game since you don't expect Uwe to hammer out too many great games this late in his career, especially in a year with so many great new games from younger designers, but this one impressed the hell out of me. I haven't had that much fun of a first playthrough of an Uwe game since Le Havre. Even the feeding mechanic, normally an annoying feature in Uwe's games that only wins on the necessity of it holding everything in place, is really alive and vibrant in this game with its tile placement mechanic.

I'm not sure a game that has garnered this much buzz can be considered a dark horse candidate


It's hard to imagine any game beating Scythe. I think everything is dark horse compared to the insane hype of that one.
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Brian Moore
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Scythe in my opinion is over hyped for what it is, a resource gathering limited action bore where you get sent home if you don't play nice.
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alphawolf0557 wrote:
Scythe in my opinion is over hyped for what it is, a resource gathering limited action bore where you get sent home if you don't play nice.


lol people love it though, no denying that. I wouldn't mind an Odin win, it deserves it.
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Michael nut
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Cheers for the review, just continues to make me keener for it (although it's so big and heavy I fear the boat bringing it down here might sink!).

On a side note (and because you're suggesting making more text reviews), you've misused 'by all means' which is typically used as encouragement eg "by all means, go right ahead". I think you were after 'by any means' which is typically used in your phrasing "do not, by any means, attempt this". Means being a method or way so you can do it any way you like or you shouldn't do it at all, regardless of which way you try.

Thanks for the great review, keep 'em coming!
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