02 January 2021
Is Osprey's version a bird-brained re-issue, or a fantasy phoenix?
Osprey Games | Racing | £16.99 | 2 players | 30 minutes | www.ospreygames.com
Designed by Thorsten Gimmler, Odin’s Ravens is a two-player game that has actually been around since 2002 but Osprey has given it a makeover with some revised rules that streamline the experience and do away with the points system and magic elements introduced in the previous Kosmos version. Alongside this there’s the addition of some truly gorgeous artwork depicting the locations you’ll be flying through during the game.
So, what’s the game about then? Well, at the start you create a line of 16 Land Cards that form the ‘track’ for Odin’s two ravens to race around. Each card has two locations on, e.g. a mountain/field or frozen tundra/forest and the winner is the raven that flies to the end of their track and back around the opposite track first.
Along with the Land Cards, each player also has a stack of 25 Flight Cards and 16 Loki Cards (more on those in a moment). The Flight Cards depict the various land types on the track and must be played for a bird to travel from one space to another, e.g. to travel to a forest, you must discard a forest card or if you haven’t got the matching land type, you can discard two Flight Cards of the same type (e.g. two mountains) to progress no matter what the location on the racing track.
However, the clever stuff comes into play with the Loki Cards… which you might expect considering his infamous reputation for trickery. Along with playing a Flight Card you can choose to play Loki Cards too. On a simple level they allow your birdy to move one space forward or knock an opponent back a space but the more complex actions can swap cards around, add extra track or rotate a Land Card.
The Loki Cards are what elevates an otherwise simple race into a battle of tactics as both players try to stich up their opponent with a clever bit of trickery, particularly aspects like adding an extra land card to your opponent’s track… something you don’t want to do too early on because you’ll be coming back along the same section on your go, eventually.
Despite the addition of the Loki cards, Odin’s Ravens isn’t an overly complex game and can certainly be picked up within a couple of minutes. As mentioned previously, Osprey has streamlined the rules and that has certainly made it more accessible, alongside giving those who own the original Odin’s Raven a reason to pick this up too.
If you’re looking for a quick two-player game with pick-up-and-play rules, then look no further than Odin’s Ravens. It may lack a little additional depth compared to the older version but Osprey’s revisions actually make for a more enjoyable, faster experience that’s perfect for filling half an hour now and again.
IF YOU LIKE JAIPUR TRY ODIN’S RAVENS
If you’ve exhausted the excellent two-player game Jaipur, then Odin’s Ravens is a neat addition to your collection.
- 106 cards
- Two wooden ravens
This feature originally appeared in Issue 4 of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.
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