Recommend
39 
 Thumb up
 Hide
18 Posts

A Feast for Odin» Forums » Reviews

Subject: A Solo Gamer's Perspective of A Feast for Odin rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Apollo Melo
msg tools
mbmb
Let me start with this: I'm something of an Uwe Rosenberg fanboy. I'm at the place in my personal and professional life where I just don't have the time to get together with other gamers more often than about once a month. It's not ideal, but that's just the way things are going to be for me. Uwe has been a godsend for my situation - he always makes a game that scales well to many player counts, yet I can get plenty of use out of it when I'm on my own. With that in mind, A Feast for Odin was the first board game I actually pre-ordered. Keep in mind, I have only played this game solo, and it will likely stay that way for another month.

Was it worth it?

YES

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. So here are my thoughts on this wonderful game, broken into a few broad categories that are worth talking about:

- Setup
You know, I was expecting the set up to be a little worse, but other than punching out what felt like countless cardboard tokens, setup hasn't been too bad. While the game is large, it's also not the largest thing I've ever squeezed onto my coffee table. In fact, I think there are other games that have strained the limits of my table more, such as Eldritch Horror. It's big, but not too big, and I think that's important. Also, nothing is really wasted. The game is efficient in its use of space, with very little waste going to useless decoration. Which leads me to -

- Appearance
I don't have much to say here. The aesthetic of the game is pleasant and thematic. In fact, this might be Rosenberg's most thematic work to date, and he took every opportunity to work the theme into the mechanics. For a Euro, in fact, this thing is really dripping in theme.

- Gameplay
As a solo game, it's fairly tough to beat this. The puzzle that's presented to you seems overwhelming at first, but the sense of development and progress is just amazing. You end your first round covering a few meager spaces, wondering how you're ever going to conquer all of that empty space, but by the last round you're covering spaces left and right, even doing a pretty solid job of covering spaces on expansions tiles and buildings. The fact that you can add on to your board adds such a tactile sense of progress that adding the islands or buildings feels momentous.

But for the first time, this is a solo game that I feel is no different from a multiplayer game. I adore Agricola, Caverna, and just about every other Rosenberg game, but I adore them even more with other players (well, except maybe At the Gates of Loyang). This one? Playing solo feels like a two player game. Utilizing the system of alternating colors in the solo game leaves you getting in your own way. One of the prime features of a worker placement game is the ability to block other players, and the necessity of rethinking your plans when you're blocked. In solo games it's tough to capture that feeling, but he's been pretty successful here. You leave behind your pieces when switching colors, so your previous set of workers are still hanging out on the board, getting in your way. This, to me, is the single best solo innovation of this game. Since 100 is the suggested score to beat, rather than feeling like you're just trying to get your personal best, it feels like you're playing against an invisible opponent who routinely scores 100 points.

- Replayability

I would stack this against solo Agricola for replayability pretty favorably. The occupation cards add a nice layer of variability, and the starting occupation cards give you a viable and interesting path to success about 90% of the time. Every once in a while you're dealt a card that you have no interest in using, but it feels rare enough.

AFFO's occupation cards are both less powerful than Agricola's but more important. Even though the cards in Agricola felt much more useful, many players still went about the same basic strategy that felt successful to them. At the end of the game, your farm probably looked a lot like it did the last time you played. Not so in Odin. Instead, the massive variety of resources, combined with cards that tend to point you in clear directions (even if they don't help immensely) lead to tremendously varied games starting from the first round. I've found that, at best, I've done maybe for the first one or two actions similar between games based on my own play style. The power of the starting occupation cards can't be underestimated here - that first round is often spent wondering how to position yourself to take advantage of your opening hand.

- The Dice
Really no big deal. In effect, there are a handful of hunting/whaling/pillaging spaces that aren't a guaranteed victory, yet you have plenty of opportunity to prepare to use them and maximize your success rate. They're not particularly powerful spots, and I have yet to actually use a pillaging space at all. Yet, well played, they COULD BE very powerful spots, which is the beauty of them. You are by no means forced into these spaces, and they're easily managed anyway, complete with a consolation prize for a run of bad luck. It's a bit like seeing something you're offended by on TV - instead of complaining, watch a different channel.

- Tear Down
Alright, this is... uh... "less fast" than setting up, and relates to the only weakness I've found with this game. It's a bit fiddly. The sheer number of little chits and larger tokens, wooden pieces and a huge number of options, everything just combines to make you feel like there's a lot to manage. Even though the mechanics of the game are very simple (this is not a heavy Euro, just a large one) there's a lot to keep track of and, when you're done, a lot to put away. Worst of all is cleaning up your player board, and sorting back out the tokens. Picking up one silver piece between several others can be a pain. I think I've sped up the process by picking up all the goods tokens first, then sweeping all the leftover coins into my hand. It's not a difficult cleanup, but it can be a little time-consuming.

- Summary

I've given this game a 9 for now. It may become a 10 for me, we'll see, but for now I feel comfortable with that score. It's so replayable, gorgeous, thematic, and fun that I see myself coming back to it over and over again for many years to come. This game is well worth the somewhat steep price tag, and if you ever liked any single one of Rosenberg's other games, you're going to adore it. I suspect that if you don't like Rosenberg or Euros, this game isn't going to change your mind, but it's a fair bit more thematic than his past offerings and at the very least it's going to be worth your attention at least once.

Everybody needs to play this at least once. The rules are not complicated, and even the rules for tile layouts on your boards are clearly reinforced with some icons next to your map. These symbols are so well done I suspect that I could actually teach this game without speaking the same language as the other players. What makes Rosenberg's work so elegant is that he doesn't do obscure or unclear rules - rather, his games are a collection of interlocking yet simply rules and actions. A Feast for Odin is no different, and I think he may have finally, after many attempts, replaced Agricola as his magnum opus.
46 
 Thumb up
3.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
B S
msg tools
mbmbmb
Just finished my first solo game and agree with all of this wholeheartedly. Great game, all the nice sandbox elements of Arle with some great tile placement puzzles built in.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew Aggerholm
Canada
Toronto
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
Having never played a Rosenburg game before, I'm struggling to do well in this. I like the game a lot, but I'm terrible at it. I managed a meager 39 points in my game today. I'm still trying to figure out how to fill up the one board, let alone multiple boards.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Apollo Melo
msg tools
mbmb
Six plays in and I haven't "won" a single one yet. That's okay! Frankly, if I played and immediately hit the 100 point goal, I'd be a little disappointed. With Rosenberg, and in particular this game, early efficiency translates to late game gains. It's very easy in this game to be receiving tiles and feeling like you're accomplishing something while getting no closer to a higher score.

My two tips are this: First, try to utilize that starting occupation early and often if you can. Let that guide you down a path that will be more efficient for you. Second, start getting those goods bonuses as soon as you can! Increasing income takes some time and investment, but you can get many of those goods icons surrounded with a couple goods and some coins. When you can start pulling them down every round you'll have a lot more material to work with and a lot more flexibility in your planning.

Finally, a weakness in my playing that I'm trying to fix is that I just don't get enough emigration going. I completely forget that buying a boat for coins is an anytime action, and I rely on building them more often than not. Purchasing something with coins is the far more efficient action because it requires no workers.

Otherwise... well... who cares, right? Now you have a long range goal to strive for that's going to take a lot of work, and frankly, I'm pretty bad at his games myself (no matter how much I love them). When I do get to multiplayer (rarely) I tend to lose more than I win. yuk
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
GAF Blizzard
msg tools
mbmbmbmb
raika11182 wrote:
Six plays in and I haven't "won" a single one yet. That's okay! Frankly, if I played and immediately hit the 100 point goal, I'd be a little disappointed. With Rosenberg, and in particular this game, early efficiency translates to late game gains. It's very easy in this game to be receiving tiles and feeling like you're accomplishing something while getting no closer to a higher score.

My two tips are this: First, try to utilize that starting occupation early and often if you can. Let that guide you down a path that will be more efficient for you. Second, start getting those goods bonuses as soon as you can! Increasing income takes some time and investment, but you can get many of those goods icons surrounded with a couple goods and some coins. When you can start pulling them down every round you'll have a lot more material to work with and a lot more flexibility in your planning.

Finally, a weakness in my playing that I'm trying to fix is that I just don't get enough emigration going. I completely forget that buying a boat for coins is an anytime action, and I rely on building them more often than not. Purchasing something with coins is the far more efficient action because it requires no workers.

Otherwise... well... who cares, right? Now you have a long range goal to strive for that's going to take a lot of work, and frankly, I'm pretty bad at his games myself (no matter how much I love them). When I do get to multiplayer (rarely) I tend to lose more than I win. yuk

It might be a coincidence since they had a card that benefitted emigration, but the only person I have seen mention 100+ points as being simple and easy used a strategy of constantly emigrating. I have also not seen them post other solo game results, so I don't know if they consistently got this to happen.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Apollo Melo
msg tools
mbmb
And not to call their reading comprehension into question, but it's also hard to know if they followed every rule correctly along the way. Because I remember that post, and they sort of described the 100 point score as "too low".

However, it could have just been an awesome one-time synergy they achieved with their occupations, or maybe they're just waaaay better at this game than I am - which is totally possible.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Germany
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
DoesNothingGaming wrote:
Having never played a Rosenburg game before, I'm struggling to do well in this. I like the game a lot, but I'm terrible at it. I managed a meager 39 points in my game today. I'm still trying to figure out how to fill up the one board, let alone multiple boards.

My first game was a total mess with 40 something points, but who cares?
I wanted to try different things and had an island wich earned me a lot of negative points.

My second game was 100 + though. I concentrated more on boats and had two emigrations plus one of the buildings.

Boats and sheep/cattle seem to be important. Also, I have to concentrate on updating my products which I often seem to forget.

I gather it will take just some time to get used to all of the actions and to connect them mentally to get decent production and upgrade chains.

Another thing is to get used to the puzzle aspect and to get a grip of what markers are best for certain situations. (I tend to overlook that green tiles aren't allowed to touch and I also overlook easily that income points only are allowed to be covered due to the rules).
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dave Moser
United States
Escondido
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
DoesNothingGaming wrote:
Having never played a Rosenburg game before, I'm struggling to do well in this. I like the game a lot, but I'm terrible at it. I managed a meager 39 points in my game today. I'm still trying to figure out how to fill up the one board, let alone multiple boards.


Don't feel bad. I played for the first time yesterday (with 3 other 1st timers) and I think I scored 38. At least I beat the trailing player who had -3.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ted Fleischel
United States
Utah
flag msg tools
mb
For those that are playing solo about how long is this taking you to play? Do you imagine that your playtime will decrease as you get to know the game better?

Thanks!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Apollo Melo
msg tools
mbmb
The game plays surprisingly quickly. If I'm free of distractions, I finish a game in about 45 minutes, maybe up to an hour if I'm really taking my time. I'd say it takes a solid 10 minutes to set up (but I'm very particular), and another 10-15 to tear down. Putting the game away takes a little bit longer because you have to sort the goods, coins, tokens, etc on your board and possibly some expansion boards back into their areas.

I suspect I could buy a smallish plano box to speed up the setup and tear down times for many of the wooden bits and coins.

Since it has a relatively fast play time, I usually get more than one play in per session. Plus, it's kind of addictive. In fact, that's a quality this game has that I haven't felt as strongly in Uwe's other works, no matter how much I love them. I ADORE a solo game of Fields of Arle, but when I'm done with the game I feel like I'm done. With AFFO, I look at my board in frustration and want to take another run at it right away, to try some other path or strategy.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marco Teti
United States
Arizona
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
Nice simple review. I have never played a rosenburg game but I hear they are one of the better ones out there. That said something about Agricula just doesn't impress from the game-play videos I've seen.

I'm more interested in the solo aspect of most games and something about caverna just doesn't sit well with me. It seem to constricting as far as I can tell.

Quote:
But for the first time, this is a solo game that I feel is no different from a multiplayer game. I adore Agricola, Caverna, and just about every other Rosenberg game, but I adore them even more with other players (well, except maybe At the Gates of Loyang). This one? Playing solo feels like a two player game. Utilizing the system of alternating colors in the solo game leaves you getting in your own way. One of the prime features of a worker placement game is the ability to block other players, and the necessity of rethinking your plans when you're blocked. In solo games it's tough to capture that feeling, but he's been pretty successful here. You leave behind your pieces when switching colors, so your previous set of workers are still hanging out on the board, getting in your way. This, to me, is the single best solo innovation of this game. Since 100 is the suggested score to beat, rather than feeling like you're just trying to get your personal best, it feels like you're playing against an invisible opponent who routinely scores 100 points.


This by far intrigues me. I've tried playing many worker placement games solo with different variant from BGG. Viticulture's Automa system is great step forward but many times it picks spots that you would likely ignore.


AFFO's solution sounds intriguing. I would love to see it in action.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Apollo Melo
msg tools
mbmb
I've played Viticulture so I can speak to how it feels in comparison. Imagine taking your turn in the solo game, and then grabbing another color from the box and having to play around your previously placed pieces. That's suddenly a VERY different game, because in order to truly maximize your scores you have to plan to not have the same space available twice in a row.

If you're anything like me, the sheer number of options you're going to be presented with in AFFO makes this difficult enough, but since you can assign a different number of workers to different types of actions, it's hard to predict exactly how many separate spaces you're going to use in a turn. In the end, there's this really nice balance between planning your moves out, and cursing your moves you made five minutes ago for getting in your own way.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Don Quichotte
Romania
flag msg tools
mbmb
For solo playing, Fields of Arle and Glass Road are wonderful. Many people seem to really enjoy At the Gates of Loyang solo, but I'm not so excited about it, not sure why, I prefer it as multiplayer.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Apollo Melo
msg tools
mbmb
Oh they certainly are wonderful games solo. Fields of Arle has the single highest playcount from me. I'm not sure I could ever get sick of it! However, I think AFFO might dethrone it as my favorite. I dunno, I feel like there's a bit more to explore before I make that decision. But that massive variety of occupation cards, and the way they're integrated, is really giving this game a replayability many of his others can't quite match.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marcel Van Assen
Netherlands
flag msg tools
mb
Today I played my first game. Still very much to discover... i ended up without animals and did not discover an island. With lot's of plundering, whaling, migration, and updating goods I ended up with 63 points.

I am sure that with practice 100 points should be easy to beat. I played solo Agricola more than a thousand times - my personal goal is 70 points there (50 is the score to beat according to the rules).
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Apollo Melo
msg tools
mbmb
I have to ask - without animals or discovering an island, where did you get all the points?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Redston
Israel
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
If I didn't like Arle (didn't hate it, I'd give it 6/10) would I like this? What really drove me off Arle was that it's too sandbox for my taste. I'm one of those people who prefer linear video games to open world games, and it's the same with solo board games. Do the occupation cards give you a strong focus or more like a nudge? Are there fewer action spaces, after switching colors, than Arle? If not, do you think alternating 3 (or even 4) colors solve this? (Obviously the target score should be lowered accordingly.)
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Don Quichotte
Romania
flag msg tools
mbmb
More like a nudge, usually. My guess is that you might find this too sandboxy as well, albeit to a lesser degree than Arle.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.