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Subject: sennaho's impressions of A Feast for Odin rss

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Johannes Lindrupsen
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Spiel 2016 is over (I followed it from my apartment and dreamed of being there) and a lot of this years biggest releases has seen the light of day. One game that a lot of people is looking forward to, is the new, huge game from Uwe Rosenberg, A Feast for Odin. The game has been in the work for many years, and it even spawned a smaller game, Patchwork out of it’s mechanics.

Now that the game is released: How is it? Is it worth the hype? Let’s take a look at it!

First of all, I am no Uwe fanboy. I do own quite a few of his games, but none of them are my all time favorites. I have only played Agricola a couple of times, and It’s not my favorite. Caverna is more up my alley, and I have enjoyed it the times I have played it, even though it’s one one I will choose to play too often, I would play it if it get’s chosen at a game night or other event.

I have enjoyed Patchwork quite a bit as a small 2 player game even though my gf is a lot better at it and almost always wins. I haven’t played Glass Road in quite some time, but I did enjoy it, especially as a 2 player game.

So, as you can see, I enjoy most of the Uwe games that I have played, but I have not played them all, so you can take that into consideration if you want when reading this review.

Components

Let’s start off with a little look at the components. Or, to be more presise, let’s start with a look at the box. The box is huge. I remember how big I thought Caverna was when I got it, and this one is even larger. There are many game boxes that are bigger than this, for example the big FFG games. The difference has to be that the games like Caverna and Feast for Odin actually needs the space inside the box, not only around or below 50% of it.



So, as you might guess, there are a lot of pieces in the box. This might be one of the games I own with the most individual pieces. With 16 punchboards and hundreds of tiles in different sizes, I used around 30-40 minutes punching and sorting it all. I really enjoy that sort of activity, but I know some people might find it long.

The cardboard is pretty standard thick and feels nice. Both the tiles, the player board and everything else you will interact with is both appealing to look at, and feels good to touch and manipulate.



As a lot of this game revolves around taking and switching tiles, you get two big trays to organize and fit all the tiles in. This makes the set up and tear down a lot easier and I will go as far as to say that I would never play this game if I had to bag all the different tiles and sort them before and after every game. Really happy that they decided to include them. The trays themselves are not the best quality I have seen, but for standing on the table and holding pieces, they do a splendid job.



I also really enjoy the artwork in this game. I have read that some people are sad that it’s not the same artist as Agricola/Caverna, but for me, this art worked really well and had a great viking/norse feeling about them. The game looks good on the table and is beautiful to look at. You even get a cool moose as a start player token.

Gameplay

This is a worker placement game, with puzzle elements and a lot of different ways to score points. The biggest thing about this game, and one thing that has been discussed a bit is the fact that the game has 61 worker placement spots. That’s 61 different actions you can take on your turn.



Before you say: This is crazy, how can you ever do anything? Will you not always have 56 minutes of AP every time it’s your turn? Will there be any blocking? Let me answer those questions for you.

In fact, there isn’t really 61 different actions so to say. The action board is separated into four columns with the price of 1-4 workers. The horisontal rows has different themes, like market, pillaging or hunting. The actions in that row is often kind of alike and they are often better if you use the action that costs more workers.

Of course, this doesn’t make it so that there is less than 61 spaces, but there will never be a turn where you actually want to or can do all 61 of them. I have felt that there will often be many things I want to do on my turn, but based on my strategy and plan, the choice is often down to 4-5 actions I want to do.

The 61 spaces will feel overwhelming when you first start out playing, and I think the most important thing is to just try something and see where it takes you. A negative I can say about this, is that there will be action spaces that you will discover in the middle of the third game and be like «wow, that action is really good, why have I never used it?» For me, this has actually been kind of fun, but I am still not there that I have a complete overview and understanding of all the actions all the time. For that, I think that you must play the game a lot, and often.

So, there is a lot of actions, but what do you do with them? The short answer: a lot!

The long answer is kind of more like this:

There is a lot of different paths to take with the actions, but one of the things you have to do is to get tiles with different foods, drinks, fur, treasure and a lot more. The tiles comes in four different colors, with the orange the least valuable, then red, green and blue at the top. These tiles drives a lot of the game, and you can use them for different things. The red and orange ones are mostly used for feeding your vikings and to trade them for better tiles.

The green and blue tiles are used on your player board, and it’s here the puzzle mechanic that turned into Patchwork comes in.



You start the game with a whopping 86 negative points, and you will have to cover these up with your tiles to get any points at all at the end of the game. Only green and blue tiles can be used on your player board, in addition to ore and silver coins. Green tiles can not touch each other, so the easiest tiles to puzzle are the blue ones, as they can be placed anywhere you like.

On the board you also have a diagonal line of income that you can unlock. To be able to cover up a space with an income, you will have to already have covered up all the spaces to the left and under it. You don’t have to start placing tiles any place particular, but to be able to get the income you’ll have to build in this specific way.

You also have bonus spots on your board. A space with a resource that you will get every round if you have completely surrounded it. These are really good to get, but harder to build around than to just put down a big blue tile that fills up a lot of spaces. There are interesting decisions to make as to which of these you want to go for, and which ones you will fill up to get more income or just get rid of some negative points.

In the beginning of the game, I always feel like I will never be able to fill the board this time around, but in the last 2-3 rounds the board will mostly be filled up and you can look down at it and be happy with what you have accomplished.

Beside your player board, you can also acquire houses, sheds, and you can explore islands to get new boards that needs to be filled to get rid of negative points. In the first game I didn’t even think about these, but after a play or two, you would want to get at least a couple of these for more income and variety in the bonuses you get every turn, in addition to a lot of points of course.

There is a lot to do in this game, so I will not go over everything in detail, as I feel like I have explained the most important things. There is breeding of sheep and cows, there is feeding the people in a way that I feel is more relaxing than in Agricola/Caverna. There is also occupation cards (three decks) that will give you bonuses and points, and that can sometimes help you form your strategy for the game. They feel really nice, but I have not gotten any ones that I feel like is making me win or swinging my game to much to my side.

One last thing I feel like I need to talk about it the introduction of dice in the game. A lot of people have been skeptical to this, and I can understand it, as it can feel like it’s kind of out of place in a game like this. For me, I don’t really mind it, and kind of like it. Of course, if you try for the third round to go whaling and you fail, it’s irritating, but if you plan to go whaling or raiding other villages, you can mitigate the die roll quite a bit. I also really like that you get compensated for failing your actions with the dice. All the actions gives you one pair of what you can use to help you with the action if you fail (i.e. a bow and a wood if hunting game) and some of the spaces also let’s you take some of the workers used for the action back, so that you don’t really have used so many resources in trying and failing.

If you really hate the dice, you have the great thing that there is over 50 spaces that don’t use dice on the board, and you can absolutely find good strategies ignoring dice all together, but try it at least once and see what you think before deciding not to use them.

Replay value

One thing I have had a lot of fun with in this game, is to try vastly different strategies each time I play, and I still have a lot of possibilities and roads to walk before I feel like I have explored this game. There is so much to do and so many possible combinations of strategies, that I think that I can replay this many, many times without it feeling samey. When you add in the occupation cards, and add in the more advanced decks later on, there is so many variables that makes this game feel fresh after many plays. You will also feel that your score get’s better and better, and that will make you want to play even more, to see where you can go.

Final thoughts

First of all, I really love this game. I was hooked the first time I played, and I enjoy it more and more every time I play it. I love the possibilities that the action board gives you, and it does so without feeling too much like a sandbox game. If you find a strategy and just go for it, the game gives meaning and you won’t be going «which of the 60 actions do I want to do now?»

I actually didn’t feel like the game was all that complex, but that will really depend on the player. I would suggest going into the first game as a learning game, just to try out some possibilities and see where they take you.

I have to say that I love the puzzle mechanic. I like it a lot better here than in Patchwork (and I like Patchwork quite a bit) To try to get the tiles that you need to fill your board(s) and try not to overshot, and not undershot in how many pieces you need. Which ones need to be traded for blue ones, and which can stay green, and still get them all puzzled in to get rid of those negative points.

The game offers a lot of different paths for the players, it offers nice, cool mechanics that feels fresh for a worker placement game. This is a game I want to play again and again to explore and get better, and that doesn’t really happen with that many games for me.

The interaction is not that heavy, but for me, that doesn’t really matter. If you love Agricola for it’s tightness, blocking and interaction, and that is your favorite thing in an Uwe game, I am unsure if you will like this. There will be blocking, especially in the late game when everyone is going to want to upgrade a lot of tiles to get the last spaces filled, but we have had blocking happening throughout the game every time we have played even if there is a lot of places to choose from.

I also think that it all works really good together. The tiles, the puzzling, the feeding of the people, the occupation cards and everything else feel like a big, great unity.

For me, this is my favorite Uwe Rosenberg game of all time! Thank you so much for making such a great game!

This game started out as a 8,5, but it’s now a

Thanks for reading the review! Please leave a comment. Have you played the game? Do you want to play it? Have a great time gaming!
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John Rudolph
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How long does it take to play an average game? Thanks for the review.
 
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Putzmanrudy1 wrote:
How long does it take to play an average game? Thanks for the review.


The box says 30 minutes per player (for experienced players, I would add ).

My first solo game lasted 90 minutes, the second game was about an hour.

You will also need some setup and clean-up time (about 10 minutes each).
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Johannes Lindrupsen
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Putzmanrudy1 wrote:
How long does it take to play an average game? Thanks for the review.


The first game will, as in most games, usually take a lot longer than games where all the players (or most of them) have played the game. It has been averaging around 100 minutes for now.

The setup will take a while the first time, but when more people are helping, we have the game set up in under 5 minutes, and the takedown takes maybe 7 or something!

But this is one of the games where I don't feel like time is passing. The game feel really "quick" and is just fun from beginning to end!
 
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Ken Sinn
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Putzmanrudy1 wrote:
How long does it take to play an average game? Thanks for the review.


We learned and played twice this weekend. both 2P games ran around 2 hrs (so 1 hr per player). we tend to play slow, so we could shave off an extra 20m if we have to.
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Johannes Lindrupsen
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mooken wrote:
Putzmanrudy1 wrote:
How long does it take to play an average game? Thanks for the review.


We learned and played twice this weekend. both 2P games ran around 2 hrs (so 1 hr per player). we tend to play slow, so we could shave off an extra 20m if we have to.


What did you think of the game?
 
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Brett Mowers
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I purchased this today and hope to tackle the rules tomorrow. How did you find the learning (and teaching) curve?

How is the solo mode? Does it feel tacked on or is it fun?
 
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Marco Teti
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Riotactor10 wrote:
I purchased this today and hope to tackle the rules tomorrow. How did you find the learning (and teaching) curve?

How is the solo mode? Does it feel tacked on or is it fun?


Where did you purchase it? Local game store? online it's out of stock at the places I usually buy from.

I've heard the solo game is very well done. Basically you play your round then leave those meeples on the board. You use another color and have to place in different spots than the ones you already did. Definitely seems to have the 'feel' of other players taking spots you would want to use. I was hoping for an automa like Viticulture or scythe yet the fact that it has 60+ worker placement spots, that would be huge undertaking.
 
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Brett Mowers
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SgtTenor wrote:
Riotactor10 wrote:
I purchased this today and hope to tackle the rules tomorrow. How did you find the learning (and teaching) curve?

How is the solo mode? Does it feel tacked on or is it fun?


Where did you purchase it? Local game store? online it's out of stock at the places I usually buy from.

I've heard the solo game is very well done. Basically you play your round then leave those meeples on the board. You use another color and have to place in different spots than the ones you already did. Definitely seems to have the 'feel' of other players taking spots you would want to use. I was hoping for an automa like Viticulture or scythe yet the fact that it has 60+ worker placement spots, that would be huge undertaking.


I picked it up at a FLGS that had 2 copies actually. I almost couldn't believe it as I was about an hour from home for an event and just happened to stop by this store before heading home.
 
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Jeffrey Erikson
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Riotactor10 wrote:
I purchased this today and hope to tackle the rules tomorrow. How did you find the learning (and teaching) curve?

How is the solo mode? Does it feel tacked on or is it fun?


I've *only* played it solo so far, and I'm loving it. I read somewhere that Uwe Rosenberg designs his games starting with a single player and then adds players as the game develops: I can believe that here. The solo game definitely does not feel tacked on in ways that a solo mode feels in other games. The way you block yourself by using two differently colored meeples on successive turns is great. While I don't have a multiplayer game yet to compare it with, I can't imagine it feeling that different. I'd say that, even if no one ever wanted to play this game with me, it'd still be one of my favorites!
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