Odin’s Ravens
A Mythical Game For Two Players

Type: Race

From Osprey Games

This weekend past, I was on the road and had the chance to game at a friend’s table. I don’t often get the opportunity to play a strictly two player game (my usual table tends towards 5+) but I know some gamer couples out there who would get some enjoyment out of this game.

How to play / win
The concept is simple, Huginn and Muninn are in a race across the world and must travel through all manner of terrain to get back to Odin first. Adding complication to this are the Loki cards that can ease your way or add obstacle to your opponent. Each turn you may play as many terrain cards from your hand as you wish as long as they match the terrain you are about to enter, a match allowing to fly across an entire sequence of the same terrain. If you can’t match the terrain, you may play a pair of terrain cards to advance. You may also play a Loki card that might change the terrain, add extra spaces, or shorten your path. When done, you draw a combination of cards that come from your terrain cards deck or the Loki cards (discard if over seven cards total in your hand). The Loki cards do not refresh so use them wisely. Your opponent is racing the opposite direction, similar to backgammon so may gain some advantage from how you changed the row of cards.

Ravens racing across fjords, badlands, forests, plains, and ice to reach Odin first, but first they must overcome the obstacles placed by Loki

What I Liked …
The artwork is very pretty and the difference of color on the terrain cards is appreciated (I confused the badlands and the fjords a few times but for the colors). The set up and playtime is quick and you could easily fit in several games in the times it takes to set up some games (I’m looking at you Eldritch Horror & Arkham Horror). I was taught the rules pretty quickly and the Loki card illustrations are fairly intuitive for how they are used, making me pretty sure that non gamers and kids would be able to play it pretty quickly as well.

Attempts to interfere with an opponent are limited, and even a well placed Loki card that might help you in the short term may very well help your opponent later on.

With this I took issue …
It isn’t a very beefy game and the strategy can come down to just drawing the right cards at the right time. It is well balanced for two players but rarely do I find myself at a table with only one other person. The replay value might be good for a different layout each time, but the actual process is bound to get repetitive pretty quickly so this is not bad as a once in a while game.

Other Games Like This
Tales & Games: The Hare & Tortise – a similar card playing mechanic to advance the racers, though each one has special rules for how they move (optionally for younger players – all racers move the same according to cards played). As an added mechanic, each player scores based on the placement (1st, 2nd, 3rd) of the racer they secretly picked at the beginning of the race.