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Temporal Odyssey Kickstarter Preview


Quick Look:

Designer: Chris SolisArtist: Megan Cheever
Publisher: CGC Games, Level 99 Games
Year Published: 2018
No. of Players: 2-4
Ages: 12+
Playing Time: 20-40 min

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

WARNING: This is a preview of Temporal Odyssey. All components and rules are prototype and subject to change.

Review:

Rules and Setup:
Gear up for an epic battle across time. To begin this deck builder, each player chooses a time traveler. The starting deck is formed from the small stack of cards underneath the player's chosen character, leaving out the turret and character cards (which start the game in play). Each player also starts with four stability points, which should remain face down until a loss of stability forces the card(s) to flip. Three drafting decks should be created, one each for cards from the past, present, and future. Once each player has chosen a character and has their starting deck, game play can begin!

Theme and Mechanics:
Time travel is the main theme for Temporal Odyssey. With the playable characters being time travelers, and the drafting decks coming from three different points in time, the theme is well represented throughout game play. Artwork for the cards also reinforces thematic elements by showing artistic differences between the cards in each of the different drafting decks. Artwork for the cards from the past is more natural with less complexity, from the present it has a high fantasy feel, and from the future it toys with science fiction elements.

Deck building is the mechanic focus of the game. Players begin with a base deck from their chosen character, and each turn make choices about which decks to draft from and which cards will work best for their personal strategy.

Image courtesy of CGC Games
Grouping is another emphasized mechanic throughout Temporal Odyssey's game play. Cards can be placed in groups of two, as shown above, with the first card being the leader and the second being the support. Only leaders can attack, and some support cards have shared grouping bonuses, so choosing the correct grouping of cards is an important element to overall game strategy.

Game Play:
Temporal Odyssey is a turn-based deck builder. Each turn, a player can choose to enlist cards from their deck, activate a card's effects, play spells, or attack. A player's turn ends when they have spent four action points either activating/playing cards or attacking other players. To play or activate a card, the player must pay the cost shown on the card.

To attack, a card must have an attack value, be grouped as a leader (be in the front row on the board), and the player must use one action point. While any number of combinations of actions can be played during a turn, each card can only be activated once during that turn. If an attack results in the defeat of another character, that character is placed in the opponent's discard pile and the attacker's character gains an XP bonus. The XP cards can be played during the action phase and can help to boost the effectiveness of characters.

Image courtesy of CGC Games
Once the action phase ends, the player goes into the drafting phase where one deck (either past, present, or future) is chosen and three cards are drawn.  The player chooses one card to put into their own deck, one card to place face up on top of the deck they drafted from, and one card to banish from the game.

Finally, players are given the opportunity to regroup their cards. This allows for leader cards in the front row to be shifted to support, or vice versa. This phase is helpful for protecting valuable cards and preparing for attacks on the player's next turn.

The goal of the game is to force the opponent to flip all four of their stability cards, and then directly attack and kill their time traveler. Once the time traveler is killed, the game is over and the player who killed them wins.

Image courtesy of CGC Games
Until all stability cards are flipped, the time travelers can simply go back in time and prevent their own deaths, making them impossible to defeat without first targeting the stability cards. Cards, artifacts, and characters can have effects which target stability cards specifically, or players can force opponents to flip them if there are two characters or objects in their discard pile. Characters enter the discard pile when defeated; artifacts may also be targeted by damage or may be forcibly discarded. Forcing opponents to flip stability cards is a great way to weaken their decks or put them at a disadvantage for their coming turns.

Artwork and Components:
Megan Cheever's artwork is a highlight of game play. The multiple styles, ranging from mythological to futuristic, help to solidify the theme of time travel. At the same time they add the element of diversity to the deck building game. With a deck that can reach high card numbers, having distinctive art helps players to remember cards better for the current game.  Memorable art also helps players to remember cards they want to look for in future games that fit their strategy well.
Image courtesy of CGC Games
The Good:
Potential strategies for the game are endless and can change from player to player. This insures that no two games ever really play out the same way, and allows players to hone their strategy over countless games. The theme of time travel is also well represented throughout the artwork, cards, and mechanics.

The Bad:
Downsides to the game's fantastic strategic potential are that building a good strategy and learning to play the game most effectively can take time. Rather than a game you just pick up and briefly enjoy, Temporal Odyssey requires a time investment for greater enjoyment of the game in the long run.

Final Thoughts:
With the grouping and deck building mechanics combined with an effective interpretation of a complex theme, the game is well worth not just a play through, but dedicated play time for any deck building enthusiast.

Players Who Like:
Fans of other deck builders, such as the Ascension series, will love the unique twist Temporal Odyssey brings to the mechanic.

I am giving Temporal Odyssey 8 out of 10 super meeples.

8 10

Check out Temporal Odyssey on:

      

Coming to KICKSTARTER soon!

About the Author:


Sarah Johnson is a freelance writer and board game enthusiast. When she’s not playing games or writing reviews, she enjoys writing articles for food and wine magazines. Sarah lives in rainy Corvallis, Oregon where she studies writing, English, and communications.
Temporal Odyssey Kickstarter Preview Temporal Odyssey Kickstarter Preview Reviewed by Dane Trimble on August 17, 2017 Rating: 5

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