Every morning Odin the Allfather sends his two ravens Huginn and Muninn around the world to bring back news on how things are going on Earth. After thousands of years of circumnavigating the globe every morning the two ravens have gotten a little competitive and turned it into a race.
In Odin’s Raven’s you and your opponent each play as either Huginn or Muninn as you try to get around the world and back to Odin first.
The game is incredibly simple. Sixteen land cards are laid out to make a racetrack, two wooden ravens are used to show where each player is around the track and each player makes a hand by drawing from two decks, the flight deck and the Loki deck.
The sixteen land cards you’ll race around each have two land spaces on them. Both of these spaces will be one of five different types of land. The flight cards in your hand are how you’ll progress around the track, for example you move through a forest space by playing a forest flight card or if you don’t have a matching flight card you can discard two of the same flight cards that don’t match the land in front of you.
So far the game doesn’t sound too exciting, maybe it’d be a nice little time killer, but the only other mechanic in the game lifts it from being a warm up or wind down game to being a serious contender for table time.
Huginn and Muninn are pretty competitive so they’re not above getting the god of tricks involved in order to win this race. When playing you’ll be throwing down Loki cards to switch the course around, add extra spaces to the course, remove land cards entirely or even just sneak forward an extra space or knock your opponent back one. Each player only gets eight of these Loki cards and after one is played it’s removed from the game. Not only that, but when playing the card you’ll have to choose which of the two tricks to play.
The Loki cards are the real core of this game, instead of just drawing from your flight deck and playing cards to move forward when you can you’re also drawing from your Loki deck to tip the odds in your favour.
This Loki deck is where the strategy lies. Everything about them is a strategic play, even when you choose to pick them up. At the end of your turn you’ll draw three cards, and you can take these three cards in any order from either deck. Once you have a Loki card in your hand you have to decide when it’s best to play it and then you have to decide which of the two actions on the card you want to take.
The whole game feels centred around when it’s best to use your single use tricks to the best effect. Is now the right time to add an extra loop to the track? Or should you push the other raven back a space? Games in our group have been won and lost on holding on to a Loki card waiting for the right moment.
Overall, mechanically the game is incredibly fun for a half hour two-player blast and physically the game is just as good. The ravens are lovely little wooden pieces and the cards themselves, as well as being a nicely unique shape, feel sturdy enough to survive plenty of games.
On top of all this, a big draw to getting this game out on the table is that it’s just so pretty. The five types of land are beautifully drawn and even the back of the cards have a nice Nordic inspired design. You can just tell that when Osprey Games were publishing this second edition of Odin’s Ravens art was a huge focus.
For a game that you can often find sitting around the £16-£18 mark it can’t be recommended enough. Not only does it tick plenty of boxes; two player, short and strategic, it’s also just so damn pretty.