Welcome to the dinner table everyone!
A Feast for Odin is one of my favorite games. Sure, it’s as beefy as Thor and almost as tricky as Loki, but I’m convinced that I can eventually finish games as quickly as the box indicates. I love how this game makes me feel every time I play it; I love that I haven’t found my favorite strategy—or even tried every strategy yet; and I love the intricate checks and balances that are evident in every mechanic this game offers.
A Feast for Odin is a heck of a sandbox to play around in. It doesn’t limit you in any way, but you have to beware the consequences of your decisions.
It is also a really big game: there are many components, boards, and strategies that change how the game is played. It can be intimidating to sit down with this game for the first time, but the mechanics are actually fairly simple. A Feast for Odin is a worker placement game at its core, just like Lords of Waterdeep. The trick is, you receive most of your rewards as tiles that must be eventually placed somewhere on a board. Tiles are roughly valued according to how useful and easily placed they are: yellow and red tiles represent foods and are harder to place on boards than the green and blue (trade goods and riches, respectively); coins and iron ore are much more ubiquitous and may be placed in most spots; and forged items are cheap but have weird shapes that can be both useful and problematic. Every action in this game gets you a reward, but it’s up to you to figure out how to best utilize them to maximize your final score.
The limiting factor for strategies in A Feast for Odin is that your main board and all the supplemental boards you can acquire have negative points on them. You need to fill up space with your tiles in order to score any points and offset these negative points. Your boards will also have income and rewards on them. Both of these reward smart placement of your tiles with money, resources, and even more tiles. As a player, it’s up to you to decide if you want to focus on removing negative points, building income, or even taking on additional risk for additional rewards. What’s important is that you choose one or two strategies to focus on early in the game, then follow through with your vision and let the points fall where they may.
What I love most about this game is how open ended it is. You can explore new islands, emigrate your population, hunt, fish, sew, trade, pillage, mine, build, and even breed livestock. Most strategies work best if you pay attention to them early on, so you’ve got to basically pick one up front, without knowing how it will all work out (due in part to the competition you’ll experience with other players). I love this feeling because, while the gameplay is fairly simple, it makes you consider your decisions and plan out your strategy carefully. Generally, players fill up their boards on the last couple turns; I’ve yet to see anyone score negative points at the end of the game, but the whole time those negative veeps (victory points) are glaring up at you from your board, making you question your every move.
A Feast for Odin is a masterpiece of a game. Uwe Rosenberg took the neat tile laying mechanics of Patchwork and upgraded them into a gamer’s game that challenges me, no matter how many times I play it. It’s a must have for any fan of the worker placement genre, players who like managing resources, and anyone who appreciates deep strategy. Gameology has a demo copy of this game in store, so feel free to come by on a Monday or Saturday night and I’ll demo it with you personally!
Game: Feast for Odin
Retail Price: $99.99
Duration: 30 min/player (it will take longer than this until you’re comfortable with it).
Keep an eye out for future reviews and board gaming articles. I will try to keep you all abreast of the hottest board games, Kickstarters, and strategies! Monday and Saturday nights are our board game nights at Gameology, feel free to drop in and play the games I’m discussing, or something else!
Editor’s Note: Help support more articles and pick up a copy of this game! You can pay for the game online and pick it up in store using the link above.