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Temporal Odyssey: Review

Temporal Odyssey: Review

Information:

Mechanics: Head to head, Drafting, Competitive
Player Age: 12+
Player Count: 2 - 4 Players
Time to Play: 20 - 45 Minutes
Game Designer: Chris Solis
Game Artists: Megan Cheever, David Thor Fjalarsson, Laura La Vito
Publisher: CGC Games, Level 99 Games
Release Date: 2018
BGG Complexity: 3 / 5

The Game:

Objective:

The objective of the game is to make your opponent too unstable to travel, by giving them three instabilities then defeating their traveler while unstable. There are two ways to give your opponent an instability, either by killing their traveler (where each time the traveler dies they gain one instability), or by using effects of cards such as artifact cards to give instabilities. 

Card Anatomy:

Their are several card types; travelers, characters, spells, artifacts, instabilities and tokens.

Travelers: The travelers are who you will be playing as. At the bottom left of the card there will be an attack value, and health points at the bottom right (see below image). These cards act like other characters in all aspects except they will begin the game on the battlefield and will re-spawn after dying as long as you don't have three instability cards at the time.
Characters: These cards will be your main source of combat. They will have the same attack and health positioning as the leaders, however, positioned between these two card aspects there could be a defensive ability to be used when being attacked during your opponents turn. Above the defensive ability there may also be an ability to be used during your turn. These could come into effect at different stages throughout the turn:
  • when the card is summoned (enlisted) 
  • at the end phase (regroup)
  • when attacking (battle) 
  • at any time on your turn in exchange for action points (AP) 
Two additional card aspects are; the cost found in the top right corner (paid to enlist the card and can range from 1AP to 4AP), and elemental sigils that assist in the use of spell cards. These come in six elements (sigils); fire, earth, dark, water, wind and light.
Artifacts: The artifacts follow the same sigil and cost traits of the character cards. However, these aren't used for combat like the character cards are. Instead, these cards are played to the side of your battlefield for ongoing abilities and will often have a one time effect when enlisted to give the other player an instability card. 
Instability: The instability card will progress the game to completion. Gaining an instability is bad as having three will bring you closer to losing the game, however, they give a one time effect that will cost zero AP and give you sigil icons to be used with spell cards. Once this ability is used the card will be flipped over, the player still has the instability but can no longer use the sigils. 
Tokens: Tokens remain in their own deck until required by other cards (the card will name what token to look for). These tokens could be spells or characters.

Setup:

Pick three out of the six classes (classes are a combination of artefacts and characters in a chosen theme such as mechs) for each time period (past, present, future). Shuffle the classes within the same time periods together to create three decks named ‘Past’, ‘Present’ and ‘Future’. Set aside the class reminder cards to help identify what each class advantage is during the game. Add two spells to each time period deck. Each player should now pick their traveler and place them and their tower onto the battlefield, and place the rest of the cards for their traveler into their hand. The second player will receive a token spell named "haste" to be added to their hand and each player receives four AP tokens. Place all the left over tokens, token deck and instability deck to the side within reach of the players.



How to Play:

Start of Turn:

At the beginning of your turn you will do the following upkeep:
  • Resolve any start of turn abilities
  • Discard any AP/attack tokens on your cards and restock your AP tokens to equal four
  • Exhaust any spells used during your last turn and place them underneath your traveler

Main Phase:

This is where you will use the AP to try to defeat the opposing traveler. If any card already has an AP on it then you cannot place another AP/attack token on the card. This is to say that you cannot enlist a creature and attack with them on the same turn.

Enlist a card/cast a spell: This occurs simply by paying the cost of the spell, character or artifact then resolving the card accordingly (summoning the character onto the field or performing the one time effect). Place the spent AP on the card after enlisting or castings show what what used and how much.

Use an AP ability: Place the appropriate amount of AP on the character, artifact or instability card and resolve the desired ability.

Attack: Flip the AP token to the side with the sword (costing one AP to attack) and place the token on your attacking creature/traveler. During the attack, choose what group you want to attack (more on this in the section on regroup) and calculate the defensive abilities of the leader and supporting characters within the opposing group. Your attack will be aimed at the leader of the group, this character must be defeated to be able to attack the character cowering behind.

A couple of notes in reference to attacking should be addressed:
  • If a traveller dies during an attack the controlling player will gain an instability
  • When attacking, the damage that the attacker inflicts will be placed on the defending character in the form of damage tokens (these will not disappear at the end of the turn but they will be removed through abilities or spells)

Regroup:

Once you have ended your main phase you will have the option to organise your characters into groups of one or two. If the group is formed of two characters their will be a leader in the front of the group (the character that will take the combat damage) and a support character whose defensive ability may be able to support the leader as well as themselves. If any of your characters have an attack token on them they have to be the leaders in their group and are not allowed to be placed as support for this turn.

Drafting:

After the regroup phase there will be a drafting phase where you can add a card to your hand. This is done by choosing three cards from one of the past, present or future decks. With these three cards one will be added to your hand, one will be removed from the game and one will be placed back face up on top of the respective deck.

Final Thoughts:

Pros:
  • Very modular and replayable
  • Great art
  • Unique formation system when regrouping
  • No interrupting other players turns with spells or actions making for faster turns
Cons:
  • Setup and tear down
  • The supportive defences can be confusing with which ones also work as a support
Temporal Odyssey is a very replayable game. This is thanks to the modular nature of the setup with six travellers to choose from, each with their own unique starting hand; and 18 classes with only nine used each game. There is a lot to explore in Temporal Odyssey which is a good thing as the mechanics in this game are great. The player has a lot more control over the kinds of cards they draw to build the hand and battlefield that they want most. A couple downsides are the set up and multiple decisions to be made in a turn but the positives definitely outweigh the negatives here. The game seems complex enough to be able to go on for hours but with the lack of interruptions on your turn, and the limited resources of AP available, the game actually operates faster and more tactically than initially expected. If you enjoy head to head nature of collectable card games but want quick and tactical turns then I highly recommend Temporal Odyssey.

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Level 99 Games
CGC Games



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