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Review: In the Name of Odin!

What's going on everyone!? I've got a great new game in for review and wanted to let you know about it. The game in question is called In the Name of Odin and it's from NSKN Games! This one is fresh, VERY fresh out of the gate. It was successfully funded on kickstarter earlier this year and I happen to have a copy in hand.

So sit back, grab a cup of mead, take your horned helmet off for a while and let's take a look at my first impression of In the Name of Odin!









As always, here's an excerpt for you:

"The old Jarl is looking for a successor among the wisest and bravest, and the salty wind carries a promise of wealth and glory. Build your ship, gather your men and carve your way to the throne. Lord Odin is watching, will you become the one to rule in his name?"



Now, as you may have guessed by now the game has a Viking theme. If you've not guessed that by now then fear not, for now you know and it's ok if you missed that. :P




In the game players will be taking on the role of a proud viking who is out to get the throne. To do so you will have to build up your village, build a longboat, recruit warriors, traders and sailors as well as Heroes to help you on your way.


Sounds simple right? Well it is!... Let me explain a little further. The simplicity in the game is for the LEARNING aspect. The game itself offers some nice options as well as PLENTY of strategy.


To recruit vikings, build longboats, and build buildings takes resources. All of which can be found on your action cards at any given time. You won't ALWAYS have what you need mind you, but you can play cards to do the actions as well as hold onto cards if you'd like to save up for something.

The cards in the game couldn't be much more straight forward. There are action cards which have various combinations of two symbols on them. These will be used to purchase vikings, build buildings and longboats or help pay to go on raids.

Yes, there are raids in this game! :D



So once you amass your vikings, build a few buildings in your village, have a hero and a longboat you can go on these raids. Let's check them out a little more in depth:




Buildings - There are MANY different buildings you can build as the game goes on but be warned, you only have enough slots for 5 buildings(One of each type).

To build one, you first have to have a Construction Token. These are acquired by discarding action cards with the Green symbol on them. The way it works is that if you have 0/5 buildings on your player board it costs you 1 one green symbol.

As you acquire buildings though, the costs increases by one. An example of this is:
1 Building on your player board means it now costs 2 green symbols.
2 Buildings on your player board means it now costs 3 green symbols.
And so on...

So, what's the big deal about the buildings? Well probably most important is that certain buildings give certain benefits. Let's assume that you have just purchased a boathouse. Now, I know there are MORE than just these two but these are the two that I had seen in our session:
One boathouse may give you the ability to hold TWO longboats at your shore. Essentially doubling your raid abilities and allowing you to do twice as much or more frequent than the other players.

Another boathouse may give you an extra ore. This would give your longboat an extra life as well as distance.

Other buildings could also offer the option to hold more vikings in your village or even more cards in your hand. And please keep in mind, there are MANY others as well. These are just first hand examples that I had viewed in our first game.




With that being said, lets talk about the vikings in your village. You can only ever hold a maximum of 10 on your player board but like I mentioned above, there may be a building or other buildings that offer you to hold MORE than the default maximum.

To recruit vikings you do similar to building, by discarding cards with symbols matching the vikings you would like to obtain. For example:

If you discard 1 card that has a red/grey/blue symbol on it, that would grant you the ability to recruit 1 warrior viking(red figure). If you discarded 2 cards with the red/grey/blue symbols on them that would get you 3 vikings of that color. And lastly, if you discarded 3 cards with red/grey/blue symbols on them then you would be able to obtain 6 vikings of that color.

Again, it's REALLY simple. The vikings could very much be considered your "resources" for the game. That's essentially what they are and what you use to "pay" to go on raids.



Now, the heroes are a bit different but still just as easy to use and even better if they have an awesome ability. As the book states it (and I'm paraphrasing here) "Heroes will come and go, when you use one of their special abilities you must discard the hero to the bottom of the deck".

This may sound a bit painful to hear at first but it's actually very helpful. One hero in particular had a special ability to let your longboat not acquire a damage token on that particular raid that you used the ability. This is VERY nice when your longboat may be pretty beat up. I mean, it's allowing you to get an EXTRA raid out of it should you not want to repair it! What's not to like!?!

So the heroes do have a price, just like the other elements in the game. Their currency is a gold/yellow symbol. In order to purchase a hero you need to have the correct amount of those symbols on cards in your hand. If you do, then you simply discard the cards with the symbols and take the hero you paid for assuming you had ENOUGH to pay for it.




So I've been doing a LOT of talking about these longboats. Let me get a little more in detail with them and WHY you need them.

The longboats are what you use to go on your raids. They also offer certain bonuses or perks just like the buildings can. Every longboat in the game isn't the same though. Some may have better distance but poor bonuses and others may have GREAT bonuses but poor distance.

When you go on a raid the card gets flipped over and you acquire one damage token on it. This damage is unpreventable in most cases(unless you have a hero with an ability like I mentioned above) and represents the hardships or difficulties you faced on your journey to and from the raid.

To use your longboat once it's flipped face down from a raid you must pay 2 purple symbols to flip the card back over, signifying that you have returned from your raid and are ready to head back out. The same is true for the damage tokens. You can discard 2 cards with the purple symbol to repair one damage from your longboat.

It's important to note that you do NOT need to repair in order to take your longboat on another raid however for each damage token that longboat has, it loses 1 distance. If you ever acquire equal to or more damage tokens than the distance of your longboat, it is destroyed and placed on the bottom of the deck and you must purchase a new one to continue on raiding.


When you take a longboat on a raid, the first thing you do is pay the amount of resources required to complete the raid. Once done, you then see if any other players are going to play a card which represent difficulties on your journey. If no one plays a card, you're not out of the woods just yet! You have to draw three cards from the action card draw pile and resolve those instead!

To resolve a card is simple. You look at the symbols on the cards played in front of you and you take any cards you would like that have the matching symbol from your hand and play them card for card. If you can play cards that have at least one symbol that matches then you have conquered that difficulty!

Now you get to collect on your points. Depending on how many face up cards that were played as "difficulties on your journey" you will collect points with either a bonus of +1 for getting rid of all three cards or anywhere up to a -2 if you couldn't remove any of them.


I know that may sound a bit tedious to some but please oh PLEASE understand that when it's put down in writing it sounds more complex than it is most of the time. It's truly, VERY simple.











And that's about it. I know this is a very LENGTHY review but I just can't get enough of the game. I wanted to make sure that I mentioned everything that I could remember that is important or at the core of the game itself.


On to my opinion:

Game Art: Ok, so I seem to say this a lot but the art is BEAUTIFUL! It really drags you in and keeps the viking theme fresh in your mind and right in your face!

Gameplay: The gameplay is quite easy to understand but is still going to require strategy to win. I love when the options for a turn are as simple or complex as I may want them to be and this game allows that(within reason).

The steps for your turn may seem a little intimidating but I promise that by your 2nd or 3rd turn you will know EXACTLY how to play the game. It truly is that easy to learn.

Game Quality: The quality on this game is right up there at the top. The mini's have nice sculpts on them, the board and cards are wonderfully done and feel very sturdy. The player boards are the only thing that seem like they could get easily damaged but to be fair, they are just like other player boards out there. They're made of a thicker than cardstock cardboard and very nice to the touch. The tokens are wonderful as well and seem like they MAY possibly have a linen finish on them.

The box is nice and sturdy. I was a little disappointed to see that the game didn't come with extra baggies for the cards or tokens but I have plenty of them so I was able to solve that problem on my own. This obviously doesn't affect gameplay in any way. :)





The BIG question.... Should you buy this game??? Ya know, this is one of those games I feel everyone should have on their shelf. Not because of the viking theme even though that is WONDERFUL but because at it's core, this game is a resource management game and even if that's not your "cup of tea" it is definitely a wonderful introduction of the modern games of today.

It's one of those games that even if someone has not played a resource management game before, they'll be up and running in 2 or 3 turns without the need for constant help. The best part is, even though it's that type of game at it's core, the theme does a great job of "hiding" that to a point. With the theme and art it really helps you to unwind and just "Play" while still allowing for more depth for the strategist in you.

So in the end I say BUY THIS GAME!


Click here to check out more great products from NSKN Games!

Click here to go directly to the page for this game!

As always, thank you very much for reading and don't forget to stop and smell the meeples! :)
-Tim

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