Temporal Odyssey Card Game Review (CGC Games)


Temporal Odyssey is a drafting card game with a twist: you're drafting from the pastpresent, and future. Two to four players will select a character and battle it out, dealing damage to each other, healing, and building up their roster. All the while, they'll be recruiting from different time lines with the ultimate goal of destroying each other -- you know, for reasons Temporal Odyssey plays in less than 30 minutes once players have learned the game, and it has a fair bit of replay value.

Temporal Odyssey Card Game Details

Players: 2 to 4

Game Time: 30 Minutes

Age: 10+

Genre: Drafting / Battle

How is Temporal Odyssey Played?

Before the game begins, players select a character from the eight characters available. They will then receive a starting deck, which includes both their main character, and a protective tower. Their character and their tower both begin the game in play. The tower shields anything inside of its "column."

In Temporal Odyssey, you travel through time, fighting people, for reasons. 

When a first player is selected, the last player will get a "haste" card, which they can turn in at any time for an extra Action Points (AP). Other than this, players are always going to start their turn with 4 AP. AP is used to play cards, some of which are spell cards (immediate effects) and others which need to be enlisted from their hand (troops). When used, a spell card is exhausted and placed under the main character card. The main character must rest (at the cost of 1 AP) to bring spells back. 

You start out wth a hand of a few troops and spells.

When enlisted, troops go into play in front of the player. Once enlisted, players can use 1 AP to attack with a troop. Each troop has both an HP rating and a DMG rating. Many troops also have special abilities, such as the ability to protect those in their column, or reduce damage.

At the end of their turn, players will organize their troops into columns of two, but the troops that attacked that round must be at the front line. Columns are important, because they are used in shielding and blocking mechanics. The player will then look at the first three cards in the past, future, or present deck. The player will keep one, trash one, and put the other on top of the deck.

Also you can be a plant.

Temporal Odyssey: The Past, Present, and Future

The gimmick in Temporal Odyssey is that you're fighting through multiple timelines, and you're able to draft from the past, present, and future. In the past, troops and spells tend to be grand, magical things, which can do things like revive a lost troop. In the "present" (which is actually still about medieval times), troops tend to be things like armored paladins or assassins; general purpose defensive and offensive characters. In the future, troops tend to be robots and mechs; very strong, volatile technologies.

Your enlisted cards are always organized in columns of 2 and includes your main character.

In addition to having their own "flavor," these troops also have elements. Elements are used to increase the ability of spell cards. For instance, a troop might come with "red" and "blue" while another troop comes with "yellow." A red, blue, and yellow enlisted in front of you could enhance a spell to "Level 2," giving it even more power. Thus, you're also trying to create sets in front of you.

When troops are defeated, they go to the side. When two troops have been defeated, you gain an instability.

How Does Instability Work in Temporal Odyssey?

Instability in terms of the game lore means that you've been hunted down in space and time. If you gain three instability, you have lost the game. Each instability also gives you a special ability, though, which you can tap. If you choose to tap it, you can no longer use the element on that card.

There are three draw piles: the past, present, and future.

Due to the instability mechanic, Temporal Odyssey is a very fast game. You can make it longer if you play up until higher levels of instability, and you could presumably make it shorter if you played to the first instability (though that would be a very short game and probably not worth the setup). 

Is Temporal Odyssey Worth Buying? 

As with many Kickstarter games, this question can be met with a shrug. Temporal Odyssey, like its predecessor Terrene Odyssey, is a $20 game. For $20, it's absolutely a good buy; it's a very solid drafting game. Of course, it's also not available for sale, because it's a Kickstarter game. (It probably will be, though -- eventually.)

All the characters have the same ATK and DMG, but start with different kit.

It also isn't a perfect game. The mechanics are smooth and easy to learn, but the damage felt very volatile in our 1v1 game, in the sense that it ramped up so quickly and was so devastating that we really didn't feel in control of it. Troops die very fast in the game, and there's nothing you can do to defend them; you need to have thought out your defensive strategy before the attack began. That's common in this type of game, but because the damage could be so significant, it was more noticeable.

As an example, we went from doing 20 damage per round to suddenly doing 80 damage per round, between rounds. This is because we hit upon our elemental synergies at the same time, which made us able to perform attack actions 3-4 times rather than 1 time. However, though damage abilities go up, defensive abilities stay the same. You will always have a 10 dmg soak on paladins, for instance, even when you're doing 80 damage from them.

So it happened that the first 4-5 rounds went very slowly, without any damage at all, and then we suddenly ramped up to almost both being dead. We didn't play a 2v2 game to figure out whether it was any better, but I suspect it would be the same situation.

Consequently, the biggest problem with Temporal Odyssey is probably that it felt as though it ended when it was just gearing up. Of course, that could be a bonus for others, because it's easily a game that you could play a couple of rounds of. 

Temporal Odyssey Card Game Review
  • PRO: An easy to learn drafting game that you can play in about 30 minutes, either 1v1 or 2v2.
  • PRO: Fun characters to play, and a unique feel to the art and the world, with distinct flavors to past, present, and future.
  • CON: Game feels as though it ends just as it has begun, and may actually be too brief.