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Please check out my other reviews at:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/145695/item/2728438#it...



Conclusion:

A Feast for Odin is the rare game I was super excited to play. There are plenty of comparisons to Agricola, Caverna and Fields of Arle. In my mind, I don't think I like it better than any of those games. I need more plays though.

The main difference with this game, besides the overwhelming amount of choices you have in this game, is the fact you get these boards with a ton of negative points on them. You must get goods of different shapes to cover those negative spaces. The rub is that normally those goods could be placed on spots that don't score you VP, but give you an opportunity to get extra resources/money each round. Push and pull. Decisions.

This is the big rub with the game with me that might be fixed with more plays. The entire game is centered around getting goods to not score VP, but to cover up things on your board to get rid of negative points. I like this. I like that the goods are different shapes so they help you in different ways. These goods are not worth anything unless they can fit on your board(s) and do something for you.

There are a lot of different things for you to do in this game. You can't do it all. You can't do everything. You need to get a strategy and stick with it. Yes, you can punt; change mid course. But is that a good use of your actions? I don't know yet. I think the main strategy of the game is covering up those negative points everywhere. I think. But is it? Well, there are a lot of points to be found other places.

Does this make it a point salad? Maybe. But your choices matter here. Do you go for positive points or do you go after getting rid of those negative points? Is it possible to do both?

There is luck in this game. You are drawing random cards and rolling dice from time to time. I think this luck is more for flavor than determining who is going to win the game. I wouldn't let the fact there is luck in this game sway you from playing this game. It is very good and the luck is small, although it is there.

In conclusion, this is a complicated and very large game. It isn't for the meek gamer; instead, this is a rejoicing of those of us that love deep majestic board games. You will know if this is for you and whether you are willing to put the work into learning this game. Yes, work.

I really like this game. I'm on the fence with whether I love it. I really, really want to play it more. And I Plan on doing this very soon.


Keeper.



Components:

The components are pretty good and there are a lot of them. I like the components holders inside. It is much appreciated. The wooden bits are really nice. The boards are all thick and the icons used are fine. My largest complaint is that the tiles (which is the majority of the goods in the game) are double sided. I hate that. If someone accidentally flips something over, it is easy to make mistakes. I guess it is a small complaint to some, but for me it can be a huge problem. I still like the game and I understand why they did it (to save cost/space), but it is something I do not enjoy. Otherwise, there is a lot in the box, it is produced very well, but nothing you haven't seen before and other than the sheer amount of stuff, nothing that would make you stop at a table to check it out.




Rule Book:

The rules are about as solid as they can be. The game really has a lot going on and the rules include tips and plenty of pictures. It explains a little here and a little there. I had a lot of questions when I was playing and constantly checking the rules and the almanac. I totally recommend glancing at the book and start playing and placing workers here and there and practice the different spots until they are second nature. Then, start over and play the game.


Flow of the Game:

I am not going to even begin to attempt to explain how to play this game; instead, I hope to explain the flow of the game.

At is heart, this is a worker placement game. Where it differs is that each placement position gives you four options. The trick is the more powerful the position normally requires more of your workers. A position may require anywhere from 1-4 workers to utilize the spot.

While this use of worker placement is rare, what is even more rare is the number of spots on the board. There are over 30 possible spots on the board that be used to do any number of possible outcomes. This is the most overwhelming part of the game. While understanding the inter-connections between all of these spots are expected to take time, there is a huge learning curve to understand what each of these spots even do.

The game runs the gambit on possible of things to do. You can just get food, upgrade your goods, raid/pillage for more powerful items, take care of livestock, build ships (3 different types), and any number of other actions.

During the round, you will generate income, feed your vikings, watch your livestock reproduce, etc.

The largest facet of the game is the idea of these wide lands that you have with a lot of negative VP all over it. You "gain" VP (cover up the negative VP) by taking your goods and placing them on these individual board that you own. Each of these boards have placement rules that means you can't just put anything anywhere on the board. This forces you to upgrade certain goods to something else that will fill in your boards better. This is very unique for a worker placement game and will likely determine whether you like this game or not.





Should I buy this game?:

This is for gamers only. You better think Agricola and Caverna are nice fillers to tackle this game. This is for serious gamers only. This is a heavy game so you won't be playing with anyone who doesn't want to invest the time into learning this game. You will be overwhelmed the first time, even if you have played Agricola and Caverna. I highly recommend you committing to at least 5 games of this not so much to see if you like it, but so you can appreciate the game.

Keeper.


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Re: The Purge: # 1134 A Feast for Odin: They said it was like other games in the "series", but I think I disagree on this
I think I agree with you that this is not a mash up of some of his previous games. Sure, it borrows mechanics from his previous successes, but the strategy I feel is pretty unique. The challenge here is not that you are limited by choices; e.g. Agricola. The challenge is optimizing the plethora of choices, which is in its own unique way, very challenging. Trying to narrow down all the choices to produce optimal VP's is difficult. Very nice review and observations. As a stand out Uwe, it's definitely a keeper for me. But all his games in my collection are going no where anyway. I believe him to be a brilliant designer. Plus I've got this completionist thing going on
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Re: The Purge: # 1134 A Feast for Odin: They said it was like other games in the "series", but I think I disagree on this
What's the interaction like in A Feast for Odin (FFO)? With so many actions available, like Fields of Arle, it seems like the player interaction will be minimal. Is that a fair assumption?
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Re: The Purge: # 1134 A Feast for Odin: They said it was like other games in the "series", but I think I disagree on this
Desiderata wrote:
What's the interaction like in A Feast for Odin (FFO)? With so many actions available, like Fields of Arle, it seems like the player interaction will be minimal. Is that a fair assumption?

In my opinion this is definitely a game that needs 3-4 plays minimum before the learning curve really sinks in. One player mentioned it's one of the only games they've seen that went from complex to simple back full circle to complex.

Once players improve enough, general impressions from experienced players seem to be that there will be at least medium levels of conflict where strategies clash or certain actions become bottlenecks. Not as open as Caverna but not as evil as Agricola might be a fair assessment?
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Re: The Purge: # 1134 A Feast for Odin: They said it was like other games in the "series", but I think I disagree on this
Desiderata wrote:
What's the interaction like in A Feast for Odin (FFO)? With so many actions available, like Fields of Arle, it seems like the player interaction will be minimal. Is that a fair assumption?


Our games have been quite interactive. We all laugh at each others' stupid viking jokes, and people cheer or groan at the results of a pillaging attempt. It's much more interactive than Agricola and Fields of Arle - I mean whats to discuss about plowing a field or clearing a peat bog?
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Re: The Purge: # 1134 A Feast for Odin: They said it was like other games in the "series", but I think I disagree on this
I enjoyed your review. I see a little bit of Glass Road in the occupation cards. Yellow buildings and yellow cards are of a similar nature - instant effect. Blue buildings and blue cards - resource conversion anytime actions.
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Re: The Purge: # 1134 A Feast for Odin: They said it was like other games in the "series", but I think I disagree on this
Nice review! I would point out, though, that gaining positive VP and covering up negative VP are functionally the same thing for the vast majority of the game, if not the entire game -- as long as you have any negatives to cover, anyway. The interesting thing in this game, though, is that the VP value of a covering piece changes; it depends on your board layout at that particular time, especially on the islands where the negatives are intermingled with empty spaces (therefore devaluing covering tiles).

On the other hand, coins are pretty much always worth 1VP since they can cover up a -1 perfectly and without any waste. Therefore early income bumps, with income increases for the rest of the game, seem quite valuable! Of course, you get those income bumps by covering up a lot of empty spaces ... maybe it would be better to stick with 0 income and just cover up the negatives instead? Nah, probably not, since your base income counts double in the end!

I'd add one more thing: the first game takes a LONG time. But the learning curve is not steep: play speed picks up quickly!
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Re: The Purge: # 1134 A Feast for Odin: They said it was like other games in the "series", but I think I disagree on this
snoozefest wrote:


On the other hand, coins are pretty much always worth 1VP since they can cover up a -1 perfectly and without any waste. Therefore early income bumps, with income increases for the rest of the game, seem quite valuable! Of course, you get those income bumps by covering up a lot of empty spaces ... maybe it would be better to stick with 0 income and just cover up the negatives instead? Nah, probably not, since your base income counts double in the end!


Not sure what you mean here - How does your income count double at the end? In the final round you're not claiming the final income as coins as well as adding your final income to your score are you? I think the rules state that you don't claim income as coins in the final round, you just record your final income on your score sheet, therefore it doesn't count double.

Or have I got that wrong?
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Jennifer Schlickbernd
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Re: The Purge: # 1134 A Feast for Odin: They said it was like other games in the "series", but I think I disagree on this
I suspect he's getting income in the last turn and then scoring final income as well, which the rules and FAQ explicitly say not to do....

Tsk tsk snooze!
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Re: The Purge: # 1134 A Feast for Odin: They said it was like other games in the "series", but I think I disagree on this
thisispaul wrote:
snoozefest wrote:


On the other hand, coins are pretty much always worth 1VP since they can cover up a -1 perfectly and without any waste. Therefore early income bumps, with income increases for the rest of the game, seem quite valuable! Of course, you get those income bumps by covering up a lot of empty spaces ... maybe it would be better to stick with 0 income and just cover up the negatives instead? Nah, probably not, since your base income counts double in the end!


Not sure what you mean here - How does your income count double at the end? In the final round you're not claiming the final income as coins as well as adding your final income to your score are you? I think the rules state that you don't claim income as coins in the final round, you just record your final income on your score sheet, therefore it doesn't count double.

Or have I got that wrong?

No, you are absolutely correct -- my mistake. I guess we were fooled by the turn sequence!

Even without the double-count, I suspect the income gains are still worth the effort. Hopefully some enterprising geek fan will figure out the math, but here's a first stab using an imaginary, optimistic income stream:
Round-income
1-2
2-4
3-6
4-9
5-12
6-15
7-18
Total income = 66
49 "wasted" spaces covered (37 empty ones, plus 12 income spots).
66-49 = 17 actual VP earned from coins alone (assuming 1 coin = 1 VP since each coin can be used to cover a -1)
(86 -1s were also covered)
In order for an alternative approach to be comparable, you'd still have to cover those 86 -1s. Is there a way to make up for that net gain of 17VP? Instead of covering those 49 wasted spaces, could you over at least 17 -1s elsewhere, for example on exploration tiles? Seems pretty likely. The islands are worth varying amounts of negative VP depending on when you acquire them, but it wouldn't take much to compensate. Of course, this back-of-the-envelope "analysis" completely ignores bonus income, and the flexibility that coin income gives you for taking actions and increasing your bonus income. Also, I think this rate of income gain is very optimistic; with a more realistic ramp up, there's a smaller net gain in VP ... maybe only 12VP instead of 17. Surely it would be easy netting 12 VP by building a bunch of ships, playing occupations, etc.?

Has someone tried a 0-income approach? Edit: yes (or close to it)!
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Re: The Purge: # 1134 A Feast for Odin: They said it was like other games in the "series", but I think I disagree on this
jschlickbernd wrote:
I suspect he's getting income in the last turn and then scoring final income as well, which the rules and FAQ explicitly say not to do....

Tsk tsk snooze!

Hey, I've only played twice, both times with other people teaching the rules and without my having read them myself!
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Re: The Purge: # 1134 A Feast for Odin: They said it was like other games in the "series", but I think I disagree on this
MrMzchf wrote:
I think I agree with you that this is not a mash up of some of his previous games. Sure, it borrows mechanics from his previous successes, but the strategy I feel is pretty unique. The challenge here is not that you are limited by choices; e.g. Agricola. The challenge is optimizing the plethora of choices, which is in its own unique way, very challenging. Trying to narrow down all the choices to produce optimal VP's is difficult. Very nice review and observations. As a stand out Uwe, it's definitely a keeper for me. But all his games in my collection are going no where anyway. I believe him to be a brilliant designer. Plus I've got this completionist thing going on


This is the heaviest for sure. Need more plays.
 
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Re: The Purge: # 1134 A Feast for Odin: They said it was like other games in the "series", but I think I disagree on this
Desiderata wrote:
What's the interaction like in A Feast for Odin (FFO)? With so many actions available, like Fields of Arle, it seems like the player interaction will be minimal. Is that a fair assumption?


Not a ton, but someone may take the spot you need. You have a limited number of workers and to do everything you want you need this exact spot. It happens. All the time. To me.
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Re: The Purge: # 1134 A Feast for Odin: They said it was like other games in the "series", but I think I disagree on this
GAFBlizzard wrote:
Desiderata wrote:
What's the interaction like in A Feast for Odin (FFO)? With so many actions available, like Fields of Arle, it seems like the player interaction will be minimal. Is that a fair assumption?

In my opinion this is definitely a game that needs 3-4 plays minimum before the learning curve really sinks in. One player mentioned it's one of the only games they've seen that went from complex to simple back full circle to complex.

Once players improve enough, general impressions from experienced players seem to be that there will be at least medium levels of conflict where strategies clash or certain actions become bottlenecks. Not as open as Caverna but not as evil as Agricola might be a fair assessment?


I think this is fair.
 
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Re: The Purge: # 1134 A Feast for Odin: They said it was like other games in the "series", but I think I disagree on this
oilerfan wrote:
I enjoyed your review. I see a little bit of Glass Road in the occupation cards. Yellow buildings and yellow cards are of a similar nature - instant effect. Blue buildings and blue cards - resource conversion anytime actions.


Thanks Jason. I can see that.
 
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Re: The Purge: # 1134 A Feast for Odin: They said it was like other games in the "series", but I think I disagree on this
It's funny. I put AFFO way under Agricola in terms of 'gamer's game.' I think it squats right on top of Caverna's head in terms of approachability, but manages to be a much better game for not trying to ape the past. You are rewarded for everything you do, feeding isn't hard, the negative points set clear goals early on. It takes a few plays to 'get ghud.' and really understand the risk/reward elements of shooting for a high score, but even for non gamers the *play* is a bunch of fun.

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Shadrach wrote:
It's funny. I put AFFO way under Agricola in terms of 'gamer's game.' I think it squats right on top of Caverna's head in terms of approachability, but manages to be a much better game for not trying to ape the past. You are rewarded for everything you do, feeding isn't hard, the negative points set clear goals early on. It takes a few plays to 'get ghud.' and really understand the risk/reward elements of shooting for a high score, but even for non gamers the *play* is a bunch of fun.



To us, its overwhelming in choice alone. Then, the negative points is not the norm. It is harder b/c of the different thinking more than anything (choices being second).
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william4192 wrote:
Shadrach wrote:
It's funny. I put AFFO way under Agricola in terms of 'gamer's game.' I think it squats right on top of Caverna's head in terms of approachability, but manages to be a much better game for not trying to ape the past. You are rewarded for everything you do, feeding isn't hard, the negative points set clear goals early on. It takes a few plays to 'get ghud.' and really understand the risk/reward elements of shooting for a high score, but even for non gamers the *play* is a bunch of fun.



To us, its overwhelming in choice alone. Then, the negative points is not the norm. It is harder b/c of the different thinking more than anything (choices being second).


Fair enough. Everyone approaches games differently. I find that for myself and when teaching starting with the line. 'There aren't as many actions as you think. Look at the left side of the board. There are 15 actions. Everything is just a flavor of those 15.' When people can parse actions into 'build buildings' 'build ship' 'buy animals' 'raid' 'hunt' etc. it gets a lot easier for them to understand. As a first-game goal simply completing your main board isn't too intense of a challenge, and yet provides a satisfying experience.

I find the fact that very few things are sources of points helps with the brain clutter a lot. Building, exploration, money, emigration, and the occupations are the only ways to get points. So just pick one of those and try to do it well.

It's definitely a game you'll tank hard if you try to do everything or mastermind on the first or second go, but it is great to explore.
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jschlickbernd wrote:
I suspect he's getting income in the last turn and then scoring final income as well, which the rules and FAQ explicitly say not to do....

Tsk tsk snooze!


To be fair, the player turn order aid is confusing in that respect as it has a cut-off point for where the game ends on turn 7 and Step 6: Income is before that cut-off point. If I were a betting man, I suspect that the decision to not pay out income in the last round may have been something that showed up late in the development process.
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JaydedOne wrote:
jschlickbernd wrote:
I suspect he's getting income in the last turn and then scoring final income as well, which the rules and FAQ explicitly say not to do....

Tsk tsk snooze!


To be fair, the player turn order aid is confusing in that respect as it has a cut-off point for where the game ends on turn 7 and Step 6: Income is before that cut-off point. If I were a betting man, I suspect that the decision to not pay out income in the last round may have been something that showed up late in the development process.


The real problem is that 'final income' appears on the scoresheet. Without it everything would flow smoothely without confusion.
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