The Meeple’s Eye View is an in depth review of one of the many games in our board game library.
Every morning the Norse god Odin sends his ravens, Huginn and Muninn, across the world to bring back news of what life is like on Earth. Naturally, after thousands of years, they’ve gotten a little competitive…
Theme: Norse Mythology, Nature
Number of Players: 2
Game Time: 20-30 minutes
Age Appropriateness: 8 and up
Game Type: Racing Game
Game Play: Odin’s Ravens is a deceptively simple game.
A track of sixteen “Land” cards is laid out on the table. Each land card is split into a top and bottom half, each depicting a specific type of landscape. The two halves of the cards form a thirty-two space track which the ravens race down and back. One raven is placed on the starting space of the top of the track, the other on the starting space of the bottom of the track, and the game is set.
Each player draws a hand of five cards, made up of their desired number of “Flight” cards or “Loki” cards. Flight cards each depict a certain type of landscape, which the player must match to the landscape on the space in front of their raven to move forward. If they have no Flight cards that match the next space on the track, they may use any two matching Flight cards to move forward.
The player may also use Loki cards to engage in some form of trickery, either changing the makeup of the track or interacting with their or their opponent’s raven directly.
After playing as many cards as they can, the player draws three more, up to a maximum hand size of seven, and ends their turn. Play continues until one raven has moved down the track, rounded the corner and traveled the other side, all the way to their opponent’s starting space. The first raven to reach the finish line wins.
Component Quality: Odin’s Ravens does not contain much in the way of components, but what is there is of great quality. The box is of heavy duty cardboard and opens at the binding like a book, which is appropriate coming from a publisher that deals as much in books as in games. The cards are of high quality stock and feel good in the hand. The wooden raven tokens representing Huginn and Muninn are a nice touch. Best of all is the great artwork. From the box art to the stylized depictions of the ravens on the back of the cards and the landscape on the cards themselves, the art is fantastic and evokes a very Nordic feel.
My Take: I have an interesting history with Odin’s Ravens, starting years before it arrived on my table. Way back in 2013 I was one of 679 backers who supported a Kickstarter campaign to create a new version of Thorsten Gimmler’s classic game Odin’s Ravens. Although the campaign was successful, the creator disappeared with the funds and the game was never produced. I took the incident as an example of the risks of Kickstarter and moved on.
Three years later, having completely forgotten about the game, I received an email that Osprey Games had secured the license and that a new version of the game would be produced after all. Although Osprey had absolutely nothing to do with the original Kickstarter – and no legal obligation to its backers – they felt that they had a moral responsibility. They met this self imposed responsibility by offering all backers of the original Kickstarter a free copy of the new game. This first class behavior got my attention, and renewed my interest in the game itself. I am happy to report that when my copy arrived, I found it to be as high quality and first rate as its new publisher’s behavior.
The game is also a lot of fun, has a surprising amount of depth, and is appropriate for all ages. It will soon be found in both Ravenwood Castle and The Malted Meeple’s game library. Perhaps more telling, it has also secured a spot in my personal library, something not many games do these days.
Expansions and Replay-ability: There are no expansions to Odin’s Ravens. Although I have only had the game for a little over a month, I do not foresee any shortage of longevity. The ever changing track combined with the variety of ways the Loki cards can be used to change the track and interact with your opponent should keep the game fresh for many plays to come.
Jim Reed is a lifelong gamer who started with the original red box Dungeons & Dragons. After spending 20 years in the corporate world, he decided it was high time that work be fun and struck out on his own. Jim now owns and operates Ravenwood Castle and The Malted Meeple, and spends his days ensuring his guests have as much fun as he does.