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Odin's Ravens 1.0 Solution

A Rich Finish

Solution:

First, we observe that if we merely tie our opponent on the Magic Way, we will be able to win by finishing the race as it stands since we will collect four points and our opponent will collect none (for a final score of 12-11 in our favour). If we instead take control of the Magic Way, we need only finish the race in order to win, even if we do so by shortening the flight path. (We would collect three points for the Magic Way and at least one point for winning the race for a final score of at least 12-11 in our favour.) We examine each of these possibilities:

Winning the Magic Way

In order to take control of the Magic Way, we must use the Forest in our hand as well as the Forest and the two Snows in our auxiliary deck for that purpose. In order to access the lower Snow, we must play the Odin card that lets us rearrange our auxiliary deck, placing the Forest and two Snows on top. We can then play four flight cards to the Magic Way but this leaves us with the opportunity to play only one more card to finish the race, which is impossible since we lack a Water card. It is therefore impossible to win this game by taking control of the Magic Way.

Tying the Magic Way

If we choose only to tie on the Magic Way by playing three cards to it, we are left with various options. We could, for instance, use the auxiliary stack as it stands, playing the top Forest to the Magic Way as well as the Forest from our hand. We could then move our raven one space forward with the Odin card now at the top of our auxiliary stack, followed by playing the Snow beneath it to the Magic Way. We would then need only to advance one more space with the use of two more cards. Unfortunately, rotating the last land card will not help as we lack any more Snow cards, and removing it also fails because then we beat our opponent by only three points, which is insufficient to end the game. We cannot use the Odin card to swap in a land card with a Grass space to match the Grass in our hand, because there is only one card in play with a Grass on our side, and our opponent is standing on it! If we use the raven movement card to move him off of it, we are left one space short of being able to finish ourselves. We may think instead of rotating the second-to-last lands card before using a Grass to move onto it, but if we do this we must do it before playing the raven moving card, and after we play that card we will end the game immediately—without being able to play the Snow card beneath it to the Magic Way*. In other words, there is no way to untangle our cards so as to finish the race while playing three cards to the Magic Way without rearranging the auxiliary stack.

If we do rearrange the auxiliary stack, and then play three cards to the Magic Way, we then have only two more cards to play to finish the race. We cannot use two flight cards as a joker to advance because we have no pairs of flight cards remaining. The only way to finish the race would be to remove at least one of the remaining land cards with an appropriate Odin card. However, if we do this, we will collect fewer than the four points necessary to end the game.

Conceding the Magic Way

How, then, can we win the game? Since we cannot do it by tying or controlling the Magic Way, we must therefore concede it to our opponent, raising his score to 14 points.

The solution is as follows:

  1. Play the Odin card that allows you to add two cards to the flight path. (We'll assume that neither of these two cards have helpful spaces so it does not matter how they are oriented.)
  2. Use the Odin card that allows you to swap land cards to swap the first of the two cards you placed in step 1 with the fifth card in the flight path (it's the one with a Water on your side). This creates a slide of three Water cards directly in front of you.
  3. Use the Forest in your hand with the Forest from your auxiliary stack as a joker to move to the end of this slide.
  4. Finally, use the Odin card from your auxiliary stack to move your raven one space forward finishing the race.

We collect six points for finishing six cards ahead of our opponent while he collects three points for controlling the Magic Way. The final score is therefore 14 to 14, but we win the tie because we finished the final race.

- Thorin N. Tatge

*Editor's Note: There is some disagreement as to exactly when a race ends. (The English rules only state: "When a player's raven reaches the end of the flight path, the race is over.") There are two interpretations:

  1. The game ends immediately once either player's raven is at the end of the flight path.
  2. The game ends at the end of a player's turn in which either player's raven is at the end of the flight path.

Jay Tummelson of Rio Grande Games has stated that 2 is the correct way although I do not agree with this ruling. Either way, this solution assumes 1 is correct.

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