Game Buzz: Two from Uwe

Back in May, I did a list of games from the career of Uwe Rosenberg.  This year, at Spiel, he premiered two more.  So let’s take a look, starting with

image by BGG user SimonF2Z
image by BGG user SimonF2Z

A Feast for Odin is a game from Rosenberg that was published by Feuerland Spiele (Z-Man in the US).  It’s a game for 1-4 players that takes 30-120 minutes (I’m guessing that’s half an hour per player).  You will be playing Vikings, and will be raiding/exploring, as well as collecting goods in order to establish yourself financially.

Much has been said about the amount of stuff in this box – an orange d8; a blue d12; an action board; 4 home boards; a small supply board for the ships; 4 two-sided exploration boards; an oval supply board for the special tiles; 15 special tiles; 2 extension tiles to make the action board bigger; a round overview tile; 3 shed building tiles; 3 stone house building tiles; 5 long house tiles; 32 ship tiles; 125 silver coins; 96 wooden goods (wood, stone and ore); 190 occupation cards; 47 red weapon cards; 346 goods tiles (food, animals and equipment); 48 vikings; a brown start player moose; and a white round tracking cube.  Storagewise, it also comes with two trays for the goods tiles and 12 plastic bags.

image by BGG user dotKeller
image by BGG user dotKeller

At the start of the game, each player gets one light brown occupation card, one bow and arrow card, one snare card, one spear card, and one mead goods tile.  You also get a home board and 12 Vikings in your color, with one Viking going in each numbered space of your Banquet table and the rest going in your Thing Square.  Two mountain strips are drawn and seeded with goods, with the rest placed in a face-down draw pile.  You’ll also set up the action board and four exploration boards, and also group the other components.

A Feast for Odin takes place over the course of seven rounds (six if you want to play a short game).  Each round consists of the following 12 phases:

A NEW VIKING: Take one Viking from your Banquet Table and add it to your supply in your Thing Square.

HARVEST: You’ll receive new goods depending on the round.  In the third, fifth, and seventh rounds, you get nothing.

TURN EXPLORATION BOARDS AND PLACING SILVER: If explorations boards have not been claimed by certain times in the game, they get flipped over to their back side.  This will happen during rounds 3-6.  During these rounds, place two silver on each exploration board that is unclaimed to make them more attractive.  These silver are lost if the board is turned later.

DRAW A NEW WEAPON: Put it face up in your supply.

ACTIONS: Players take turns placing workers in unoccupied action spaces.  There are 61 different action spaces:

image by BGG user MiWi
image by BGG user MiWi

The actions are grouped by type.  Rows of the same color do similar things.  The columns determine how many workers must be placed – one for the first, two for the second, three for the third, and four for the fourth.  Placing three Vikings gets you an occupation card as well, and playing four allows you to play an occupation card.  I’m not going to go through all of the actions, but here’s generally what you can do:

  • Produce. You’ll gain goods as indicated.  Sometimes you’ll need other goods to get the goods (i.e. you need cows to get milk).
  • Exchange. Here, you’ll exchange something (usually building resources) for house building, ship building, or crafting.
  • Mountain. Here, you’ll take resources from the mountain strips.
  • Trade. With this action, you can exchange goods in your supply for more valuable ones.
  • Knarr. With these you can trade overseas (turn green tiles into blue) or buy special tiles.  You need a knarr (ship) in order to use these actions.
  • Emigrate. Put a knarr or longship on your Banquet Table, reducing the amount of food you must pay this round.  It also costs silver to do this.
  • Raid. Roll the orange die (d8) up to three times, taking whichever result you want.  If you roll 6 or higher, take a blue goods tile with a value equal to or lower than the result.  If your roll is 5 or less, you fail and get a stone and long sword as compensation.  You need a longship in order to raid.
  • Pillage. This works like the raid, except you use the d12 (blue die).  You also may move a Viking back to your Thing space to use again later.
  • Hunting or Laying a Snare. Roll the d8 up to three times, and reduce the result by one per ore on the boat you’re using.  Pay the number of wood or weapons as the final result (negative results are treated as zero), and take the indicated reward.  If you choose to fail because you can’t or won’t pay, you get a wood and a weapon as compensation, and can return one Viking.
  • Whaling. Same as above, except with the d12 and you can return two Vikings if you fail.
  • Exploration. Take an exploration board into your area, keeping any silver that is on it.
  • Occupation. Draw new cards, or play them.
  • Extension. In a four player game, there are two extension tiles randomly selected at the start of the game.  This will allow you to imitate an occupied action in the indicated column (first or second and third or fourth only).

At any time, you can place goods on your home board, place goods on the exploration boards, place goods on the house tiles, buy ships with silver, change silver, arm your ships, or play occupation cards with an anytime effect.  Goods need to be placed on the boards to cover up negative spaces that will cost you points.  You can only place green and blue goods, as well as silver and ore, on the various boards.  Any good can be placed on a house tile.  The round ends once all players have placed all of their Vikings or passed.

DETERMINE START PLAYER: The player who last placed a Viking in the previous phase receives the moose token and will be first in the next action phase.

INCOME: On your home board, there is a diagonal of numbers.  During this phase, you will earn silver according to the lowest uncovered number in this diagonal.  You can only cover up a number if every space below and to the left is also covered.

ANIMAL BREEDING: If you have two of the same type of animal, and neither is pregnant, turn one to its pregnant side.  If you have a pregnant animal, make it not pregnant and gain another of that type.

FEAST: Cover every uncovered space on your Banquet Table with a red or orange food tile from your supply, or a silver coin.  You get a Thing Penalty for every space you couldn’t cover, which loses you three points at game end.  Goods used for the Feast are discarded after this phase.

BONUS: Some spaces on your home board show goods.  They count as covered for the purposes of advancing your income, but if you leave them without a tile on top and surround them with other tiles, you gain that good in this phase.

MOUNTAIN STRIPS: Remove the leftmost resource from each mountain strip and discard it.  If this empties the mountain strip, discard it as well.  Then, draw a new mountain strip and place the required resources on it.

REMOVE PLACED VIKINGS: Take your Vikings from the action board back to your Thing Space.

After the Feast phase of the seventh round, the game ends.  Score for ships, emigrations, exploration, sheds and houses, sheep and cattle, occupations, silver, and your final income.  You also lose points for uncovered negative points and Thing Penalties.  The player with the highest score wins.

image by BGG user MiWi
image by BGG user MiWi

This is a massive game from someone who is looking more and more like he wants to be the king of massive games.  And there is a TON going on here – the amount of actions available is a little intimidating.  At the same time, it ensures that there will always be something you can do.  That’s what I hated about Agricola – you would spend so much time building a plan, only to get beaten to the one thing you needed and have to wait three more rounds for it to be helpful again.  This one does not appear to have that problem, and despite the plethora of choices, I think it’s one I would like better.  I especially like the tile placement mechanism, the design of which was apparently the inspiration for Patchwork.  Definitely one I want to check out sometime.

image by BGG user W Eric Martin
image by BGG user W Eric Martin

Cottage Garden is the other Rosenberg offering, this one published by Edition Spielwiese.  It’s for 1-4 players and takes 45-60 minutes to play.  You’re a gardener trying to fill up different flower beds in your garden.  Similar to Patchwork, you’ll be using polyomino tiles.

The game comes with a double-sided nursery board, 36 flower tiles, 9 flowerbeds, a green large Gardener die, a large round Parasol token, 30 Cat tokens, 16 Flowerpot tokens, 2 Beehive tokens, 4 Planting Tables, 12 orange Flowerpot scoring cubes, 12 blue Plant Cover scoring cubes, and a cardboard Wheelbarrow.  At the start of the game, the nursery board is filled with 16 random flower tiles, with the other 20 lined up in a queue.  Each player gets a Planting Table, along with three orange and three blue cubes that are placed at the start of the scoring track.  Players also get two flowerbeds (one dark and one light), as well as two Cats.  Set the Gardener to 1 (2 with 1-2 players), and place it on the starting space of the nursery.

image by BGG user Mouseketeer
image by BGG user Mouseketeer

Players take turns completing the following four phases: refill, plant, score, and Gardener.

REFILLING: Check the Nursery spaces in the row or column indicated by the Gardener die.  If 3 or 4 spaces are empty, fill them from the front of the queue.  If only 1 or 2 spaces are empty, you can fill them by spending a Cat.

PLANTING: Take a flower tile or take a Flowerpot.  If you take a flower, you can choose a tile from the current row of the Gardener die.  It immediately goes in one of your Flowerbeds.  Tiles can be rotated however you want, but may not cover other tiles, stick off the edge of the board, or cover any Flowerpot or Cat tokens.  You also can’t move a tile once it has been placed.  There are Flowerpot and Plant Cover icons printed on the board, and you may cover these, but you don’t necessarily want to.

You could instead take a Flowerpot from the supply and place it on an empty space in your Flowerbed.  It’s basically a one-space tile.  Cats can also be placed in your Flowerbed.

SCORING: If you have covered every empty space on a Flowerbed, score it.  You’ll move one orange cube the number of spaces equal to the number of Flowerpots you have show, and one blue cube the number of spaces equal to the number of Plant Covers.  Once you’ve scored, all flowers go to the end of the queue, flip your Flowerbed, put it back in the center of the table, and take the remaining Flowerbed.

GARDENER: Move the Gardener one space.  When it reaches a target space, turn it to the next number.  When it reaches 6, the final round begins.

In the final round, players give up any Flowerbeds with two or fewer flowers.  You then continue playing until you have completed your remaining Flowerbeds, losing two points for each turn you have to take to do so.  The player who has scored the most points wins.

image by BGG user Boardgamescafe
image by BGG user Boardgamescafe

This game seems like a step up from Patchwork, which was just pure tile placement.  Here, you have to consider leaving spaces empty, and are working on two boards at once.  The game sounds very intriguing, and looks quite nice as well.  I think it’s pretty cool that Rosenberg is focusing in on this particular tile placement mechanism, and exploring it in some very different games.  I wonder if he’s got anything else in the works with it – we shall see.

That’s all for today.  Thanks for reading!

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