Odin Card Game Review


02 July 2024
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The tiny card game with big numbers

Written by Emma Garrett

What is Odin?

Originally planned to be entitled Valhalla, Odin is a tiny, deceptively simple card game designed to be like sending your Viking warriors off into battle. Each numbered card has its own caricature of a Viking, standing tall in an outfit of that suit’s colour. They have a certain charm about them that welcomes you into the game, and makes you stick with it through the initial confusion I’ve seen from everyone I’ve tried to teach it to so far. Look out specifically for some of the fantastic fur boots and the Viking sneakily dressed as a tree. 

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How to Play Odin

It starts out as a familiar concept to those who play card games. Take turns to lay cards, you must play a card higher than the previous one. What seems to consistently blow minds is that the two 9s someone has laid on your 6 aren’t two 9s or even 18, but 99 and in the space of three moves you find yourself trying to beat the 3 card play of 932. This game escalates quickly. Each round you are dealt 9 cards. Your aim is to get rid of your hand. You’ll score points (points are bad) for any cards left in your hand when another player is out. After playing your number, you pick up one of the cards from the previously player number.

In a bid to get rid of your cards quicker, and beat higher numbers, you can play more than one card as long as it matches in number or colour. Theoretically, if you have a hand full of matching coloured cards you could play 986,531. A round continues until all but one player has passed, at which point the player to lay the final cards starts a new round from the beginning with one card. If a player lays all of their cards during a round, or if ever you are due to start the round but have a hand in which all the cards are of one colour or one number, you win. Opponents score what is left in their hand and a new round begins. The winner is the person with the lowest score when someone reaches a pre agreed number of points. 

Playing Odin

There’s a lot more strategy to this game than is initially apparent. Unlike other games where you’re aiming to get rid of your hand, here you also choose what card to pick up at the end of your turn. Okay, the choice is limited, but there is some scope for choosing which cards to take into your hand. There’s also the option to pass your go, if you want to wait until you’re allowed to play your four cards of the same colour, rather than wasting half of them on a two-digit number. With the right forward thinking, and the right cards available, you can collect the right colours and numbers in your hand.

It’s cheap, it’s colourful, it fits in your pocket. It has some laughs and some logic. From the description I was hoping it would remind me a little more of the battle element in Schotten Totten but sadly Odin’s only connection to its Viking Valhalla theme is the paragraph in the rulebook explaining how it has a Viking Valhalla theme. That said, the cards are beautiful and charming. The concept of using cards as individual digits in bigger numbers is different, and can lead to hilarious battles where each person is sure no one will beat them, only to find the numbers getting unpronounceably high. The gameplay is quick, entertaining and gives you scope to learn how to play better. Once you play once, you’ll want to play again! 

Should you play Odin?

Yes, as it’s a good filler game to take with you and play on the move, and at the price you can’t go wrong. You'll like this if you like Uno Flip, because like this genuine gem of the overloaded Uno universe, Odin is quick and simple, but with an enjoyable twist.

About Odin

What's in the box?

  • 54 cards
  • Rulebook

Designer: Yohan Goh, Hope S. Hwang, Gary Kim

Publisher: Helvetiq

Time: 15 minutes

Players: 2-6

Ages: 7+

Price: £12

 

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