Dive deep into the ancient post-apocalyptic past with Aeon Trespass: Odyssey. Take charge of the legendary Argo and your own towering Titan as you do battle to reclaim the ruins of Ancient Greece from the fell monsters that have overtaken it. Find out more about the fate that awaits you in in the dark and distant past in our Aeon Trespass: Odyssey review.
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Aeon Trespass: Odyssey Review – Summary
Aeon Trespass: Odyssey is not a game to be taken lightly. In fact, referring to it as a “game” at all feels reductive, as it sells short the artisan-grade level of craftsmanship that has gone into this masterwork product. Whilst it is an overwhelming and oft-times intimidating system to learn, Aeon Trespass: Odyssey is, without doubt, a triumph of both board games and miniatures design. It is simply awe-inspiring.
Aeon Trespass: Odyssey Review – Introduction
Aeon Trespass: Odyssey originally came onto FauxHammer.com’s radar quite by chance.
During one particular month in 2022 where I found myself frequenting Kickstarter more than usual, my targeted ads on Facebook started showing me pictures of all kinds of RPG and board-game related content. Only one really caught my eye, however – and, funnily enough, it wasn’t Aeon Trespass: Odyssey.
The product that caught my eye was Kingdoms Forlorn: Dragons, Devils and Kings by Into the Unknown Studios. The miniatures in the product looked absolutely staggering, so we decided to see if we could get our grubby little mitts on a few to show you all.
At the time, ITU Studios were swept up in the closing stages of their Kickstarter for their other game (you guessed it) Aeon Trespass: Odyssey, and asked us if we’d be up for doing a review of this in the meantime whilst they finish up Kingdoms Forlorn.
If you’ve so much as glanced at the title of this article, you’ll be able to guess what our answer was.
We’d like to say a huge thanks to Into The Unknown Studios for A) being such a nice bunch of people, and B) for sending us a copy of this incredible product for this review.
Aeon Trespass: Odyssey Review – Unboxing
Before we get stuck into the unboxing proper, I want to tell you a somewhat amusing story about how this box came to be in my possession.
Regular readers will know I’ve recently moved house. Unfortunately, Into the Unknown despatched our review copy of AT:O to my new address thinking it’d arrive shortly after I completed the move. They didn’t foresee DPD not only trying to deliver the parcel three days before the day they had originally advertised, but also did not anticipate that they would just ignore me when I logged onto their website and rescheduled the delivery date for a day after I’d moved.
Cue a frantic phone call from myself to our lettings agent in which I begged them to send someone to the empty property and ensure this box hadn’t just been dumped on the doorstep in the middle of the bitter end-of-2022 winter we in the U.K. suffered. “No problem,” the gentleman I spoke to said. “Can I just check: what’s in the box?”
I confirmed, a board game.
An hour later, I got a call back. “Yeah, the Inventory Manager has just dropped by – but she said the box weighed a ton and is absolutely massive. Are you sure it’s a board game?”
I was, indeed. See, dear reader, Aeon Trespass: Odyssey weights just shy of a mighty 15 kilos.
This monstrous box is so massive that I even get to introduce you to my brand-new kitchen table, as there’s absolutely no way this fits into just about any commercially available lightbox. Also, can you imagine taking a photo of this all-white box against an all-white background? No thanks.
Anyway, let’s see just why this box is so accursedly heavy. Prying the lid off, we’re met with no fewer than four massive token boards.
Placing those to one side, we find the folded gaming board (which is also massive – you can see it unfolded in the Gameplay section below), as well as a stack of books.
Aeon Trespass: Odyssey is a campaign-based co-operative board game, and as such players work their way through chapters called “Cycles” – those are the three books you can see in the image below.
But you aren’t looking at the books, are you? No, you filthy little plastic gobblers – I know you’ve spotted the miniatures.
Brace yourselves. You aren’t ready for this.
Even at this distance, these miniatures should be making your eyes widen and your pulse race. These things are unlike anything you’ve seen before.
ITU Studios clearly know their miniatures are freakin’ amazing, too. They’ve gone to great lengths to ensure that they are packaged as safely as possible in the AT:O box – and given that this box survived a trip from Poland, the custody of a DPD driver, and an indeterminate amount of time exposed to the elements on my doorstep, their packaging very clearly works.
And that’s not all. If you remove these two trays of minis, there are even more figures underneath – and these ones are really big!
As we’ll see in more detail later, AT:O’s miniatures are simply awesome. We’ll have a good up-close look at them all in a little while, but for now we’re going to have to set these aside.
Even with approximately eight billion miniatures in the box, the guys at Into the Unknown Studios have somehow manged to cram an Ancient Greek trireme’s worth of cards, dice, and other necessary-for-play stuff into the AT:O box. In fact, whilst “eight billion miniatures” is a gross overexaggerating, “eight billion cards” might not be.
There is a vast amount of stuff in this box – it’s awe-inspiring and utterly overwhelming. Here it all is – most of it still in its packaging – laid bare for you all to see.
The care, attention to detail, and the love that has gone into every aspect of this box is already plain to see. The slivers of artistic style and the perfunctory glance at the miniatures we’ve had already tell a rich tale. Aeon Trespass: Odyssey is something seriously special.
…So, where the heck do we begin?
Aeon Trespass: Odyssey Review – Contents
It’ll come as no surprise that there are some pretty hefty stats attached to the image above. Here’s a detailed list of everything in the Aeon Trespass: Odyssey box.
- Miniatures galore
- 15 x Titan miniatures
- 1 x Exclusive Helios Statue Priority Target
- 11 x Primordial Miniatures
- 12 x Interchangable parts
- 3 x Voyage miniatures
- 1,500+ cards:
- 166 x Technology cards
- 64 x Clue cards
- 9 x Doom cards
- 30 x Mnemos cards
- 125 x Exploration cards
- 382 x Gear cards
- 27 x Fated Mnemos cards
- 15 x Story cards
- 41 x Conditions cards
- 25 x Terrain cards
- 168 x Secret cards
- 233 x AI cards
- 73 x Trauma cards
- 10 x Trait cards
- 20 x Divider cards
- 199 x BP cards
- 13 x Argonaut cards
- 27 x Pattern cards
- 6 x Kratos cards
- 10 x Single/Double Wound cards
- 8 x Moiros cards
- Information sheets
- 14 x Titan sheets
- 12 x Primordial sheets
- A heap of tokens:
- 56 x Kratos tokens
- 1 x Priority Marker token
- 36 x Modifier tokens
- 28 x Story tokens
- 55 x Generic tokens
- 30 x Charge/Trespass tokens
- 112 x Other tokens
- 74 x Terrain tiles
- 7 x d10s
- 13 x Custom d6
- 4 x Triskelions
- 1 x Rulebook
- 1 x Learn to Play book
- 3 x Storybooks
- 1 x Battle Board
- 1 x Control Board
- 8 x Secret Envelopes
Given that AT:O crushed its Kickstarter goal and raised a not-at-all shabby $1,082,551 thanks to the contributions of 8,184 backers, plenty of other stuff has founds its way into the box since its original listing. This includes new miniatures, new campaign features, and plenty of other stuff to bring your game to life.
Aeon Trespass: Odyssey comes with no fewer than five books. There’s the Learn To Play book, the Rulebook, and then the three Cycle books (named Truth of the Labyrinth, Abysswatchers, and Pitiless of the Sun respectively) which deal with the ongoing narrative of your campaign.
First up, we’ll take a quick look at both the Learn To Play and Rulebook. Here they are.
In spite of the sheer mass of game you get with AT:O, neither the Learn To Play book nor the Rulebook is as massive as you might suspect – and neither are too overawing to get stuck into.
Kudos really needs to go to the Learn To Play book here, which is more pamphlet than book, clocking in at 34 pages. That the guys at Into The Unknown Studios have managed to cram the meat of the game’s mechanics into only a few pages speaks volumes about just how much thought has gone into this book.
Not to downplay just how complex and massive this game is, though. AT:O is enormous, and there are all sorts of more complex rules and systems, including the Mnestis Theatre, which is an optional game mode that allows you to test your skills as an Argonaut piloting a Titan against powerful variants of Primordials.
The Learn to Play book starts by plunging you right into the meat of an adventure: you are under attack, and must fight off a Primordial that has broken through the Argo’s defences. It’ll be a punishing fight, but luckily you’ve got the Learn To Play book to walk you through every step.
There are a lot of mechanics and steps to consider (all of which we’ll look at in more detail in our Gameplay section), but the Learn To Play walks you through the basics in a concise and straightforward manner.
Once the battle is over, the Learn To Play book then moves on to discussing the other key part of AT:O, which are called Campaign Rounds. This is when you pilot the Argo through the wreckage of Ancient Greece, placing tiles and flipping them over as you go to reveal new sections of the map. Again, we’ll have a closer look at this in our Gameplay section shortly – but there’s far more to it that just skipping from tile to tile. For example, engaging with certain merchants and factions affects your standing with others, so there’s a great deal of management involved too!
In all, the Learn To Play book is everything you need it to be: clear, concise, and not too intimidating. It’s very easy to become overawed by AT:O at first, but the Learn To Play book helps you realise that this game isn’t as terrifying as it may seem. Sure, it doesn’t make it easy, but it does go a good distance to de-muddying the otherwise murky waters you may find yourself lost in.
The Rulebook, whilst far heavier (clocking in at 81 pages), isn’t too unwieldy nor difficult to understand. The kid gloves have definitely come off, but the folks at ITU Studios have done a good job of ensuring their game remains digestible.
Within the rulebook, mechanics are broken down into easy-to-follow chapters and tend to follow the order in which scenarios or rules would be met during particular rounds, turns, or phases. Again, just how navigable the Rulebook is will come under further scrutiny in our Gameplay section.
Last, but definitely not least, we arrive at the Cycle books: Truth of the Labyrinth, Abysswatchers, and Pitiless of the Sun.
Now, these books form the third key element to an Aeon Trespass: Odyssey campaign – and that is the story. Sailing your boat around and stomping baddies is all well and good, but why are you doing it?
Well, the Cycle books tell you. In thousands and thousands of Fighting Fantasy-esque, choice-and-consequence-style paragraphs.
As you progress through each cycle, the choices you make as per the Cycle books affects how the narrative plays out, as well as what you do, where you go, and how the story develops. It’s a remarkable and extremely thorough system – and it’s also very well written. Characters you encounter feel alive and bestow either very meaningful boons or disadvantages on your party, and your choices have very real consequences that effect the way you play.
It’s an excellent way of getting your group to really engage with the story, take an interest in what’s going on, and to engage with their characters. It calls out to the D&D in me: as a regular GM/DM, the quality of the writing and the detail obtained – as well as the meaningful choices players can make – is a frankly brilliant addition to the game.
Cards and Tokens
This time, we’re mashing cards and tokens into one. Why? Because if we were to do the usual level of analysis and detail we do on this sort of this on Aeon Trespass: Odyssey’s deluge of cards and tokens, we’d never get the rest of this review written.
The sheer number of cards and tokens speaks volumes about the thought that has gone into constructing this system and the lengths to which it can be pushed. This isn’t a one-and-done in an afternoon sort of game. This is a weeks-long, lose-yourself, keep-it-set-up-on-your-table-much-to-your-family’s-chagrin sort of game.
And if you’re the kind of player who likes to have everything out and setup around them when they play, you’re gonna need one heck of a table
Whilst the sheer volume of everything available in the AT:O box is on another level entirely, what’s really jaw-dropping about all this stuff is the quality of it.
No expense has been spared to ensure that every token, tile and card looks and feels absolutely great. The artistic direction and attention to detail shines through on every single component. The sheer amount of love and care that’s gone into this game – as well as a boatload of artistic talent – is made most prevalent whilst looking at the cards, tokens, and other bits of wargear.
Each piece of artwork on every card is eye-catching, and some of the larger, more cinematic pieces on the Titan, Primordial and Story cards is close to breath-taking. Each and every card feels like it has its place, and of the literally hundreds of tokens I popped out of their punch-boards, not a single one snagged or tore due to poor cutting in the factory.
The only downside to this spread is that there are no plastic baggies on offer in the box, so you’ll have to either store the avalanche of tokens loose in one of the package’s cutaways or find your own baggies. I did the latter, as having sorted them all for these photos I decided I never wanted to do it again.
So far, every aspect of this product has been a near-masterwork. This sets us in very good stead for the following section.
You aren’t ready for this.
Aeon Trespass: Odyssey is as much a treasure trove of potential painting material for hobbyists as it is a huge dopamine hit for any hardcore board gamer. The minis (if all of them can even be considered minis, as some of them are huge) are serious business.
One feature of the miniatures of the Aeon Trespass: Odyssey box that might catch you by surprise when you first crack the lid open is the presence of lots of extra bits and pieces carefully packaged in amongst the figures.
These are interchangeable parts that can be added to or taken away from the figures to represent certain developments to their characters during the battle and the plot. See below.
You’ll notice the figure above has a number of slots on it. In this particular instance (it varies from figure to figure) you can add these little platforms to the mini.
This in turn allows you to mount smaller minis on the figure.
It’s a really nice touch, and features like this really encourage you to get hands-on with the miniatures and encourage players to really engage with the various mechanics of the game.
Okay, with that note to one side, we can get stuck into looking at all the miniatures properly.
Exclusive Helios Miniature
I was super excited when I opened up Aeon Tresspass: Odyssey and saw that the good folks at Into the Unknown Studios had based a miniature based off myself. This beats Ross’ 500 tiny versions of his own head.
I can only assume they used a pre-Christmas picture for reference. Still, ever so nice of them.
So, in all seriousness, this is Helios. He’s not actually used in the game (as per a little note in the Rulebook) but he comes with a priority counter that you can make use of as you see fit during your questing. ITU Studios suggest using him as a Party Leader marker and leaving him in the charge of whomever is steering your group through their adventure.
And we’d be lying if we didn’t say he wasn’t cool as hell. It’s a shame he doesn’t feature in gameplay because he’s one of the larger (100m+ height) miniatures in the box and would look stunning on the board.
When you dive into Aeon Trespass: Odyssey, you, the player, take control of a Titan. These are supposed to be thirty metre-high goliaths on a quest to salvage what remains of the ruins of Ancient Greece.
On the board, however, they take the form of a fairly standard-sized miniature.
There’s a really excellent spread of different models available, and each is as unique as the next. There are some more basic (if “basic” can truly be used at any point to describe these figures) minis, which are designed to represent the Titans you gain access to early in the game, as well as a mixture of more advanced, detailed, and unique figures that you’ll get to grips with as your story progresses.
Some of the Titans also have “God Forms”, where they channel some of the energy left over from the now-defeated Ancient Greek pantheon to reach new heights of tabletop power – and new levels of miniaturised magnificence, such as this one below.
What’s more, none of the Titan miniatures require any assembly. They all pop straight out of the box and are ready to go.
I think we can all agree, though, that these figures are absolutely gorgeous. On a basic level, there’s a huge amount of variation across the fifteen Titan figures, capturing everything from the more basic (that word again) starter classes up to the more advanced later unlocks and the god forms.
The post-apocalyptic Ancient Greek setting – which is splashed with a few steampunk elements here and there as well as a Miyazaki-like Dark Souls/Bloodborne/Elden Ring-style high fantasy weirdness for good measure – is refreshing and entrancing.
The longer you look at the sculpts of these figures, the more entrancing they become. Seizing the classical beauty one would expect to find in Ancient Greek sculpt such as Myron of Eleutherae’s Discobolus, Polykleitos of Argos’ Doryphorus, or Praxiteles of Athens’ Hermes and the Infant Dionysus, and combining it with twisted, dark modern artistic directions – from steampunk and dieselpunk to the Lovecraft-inspired eldritch and even perhaps a splash of the ridiculous over-the-top you’d expect to find in a final fantasy game – the miniatures in the box are in a league of their own.
Every miniature is absolutely unique, too. There are familiar elements across them all, for sure, motifs designed to evoke comparison with everything from traditional depictions of Zeus and angels to Ancient Greek hoplites and other mythological heroes.
The sense of the scale of these figures is very well embodied too. Whereas in Warhammer you might expect to find the latest Primaris Lieutenant standing atop his tactical rock, many of these miniatures – which, to remind you, are designed to represent 30-metre-high Titans – stand astride the ruins of entire buildings.
There are entire walls, buildings, and cliff-faces sculpted onto their bases – there are even one or two absolutely tiny people scattered amidst the ruins to give you a sense of the scale at which the battles of Aeon Trespass: Odyssey’s campaigns are being fought.
In one case, there’s even a guy standing atop the shattered ruins of a massive Ancient Greek warhsip.
There is so much to love here. These models are fantastic – and they only make up half the box.
The Primordials are the villains of Aeon Trespass: Odyssey. Their inspiration lifted straight from the annals of mythology (where the first generation of Ancient Greek deities are known as a the Primordials), these monstrous foes are ready to hinder you at every step of your journey.
And, my goodness, these things are works of art.
It’s hard to fathom where even to begin with these monstrosities. Each one is weird, haunting, and fascinating in its own right.
No two Primordial miniatures are the same. Each is as unique in its own right, a terrible blend of eldritch, psychological, and body horror. Every kind of nightmare is made manifest across these figures.
And some of them are absolutely huge, such as the above amalgam of bad dream and Ancient Greek polis, and the below…er…thing.
The variation in design from figure to figure again evokes the Miyazaki-like boss design you might expect to find lingering behind any fog/light wall in a Soulsborne title.
There’s a little bit of assembly required on one or two of the Primordial miniatures – but nothing extensive at all. In most cases, it’s just a matter of pushing in a single component that otherwise wouldn’t fit in the packaging when attached to the rest of the miniature.
The creativity exercised across the miniatures will be a huge draw to painters. Each model is stand-out in its own right, and the diversity across those in the AT:O box will delight anyone looking for something new to get their brushes around.
Even just as unpainted playing pieces, these miniatures are magnificent. There’s such a sense of scale and presence with each monster that when they’re on the table they command attention. The level of detail and weird exercised across each miniature draws all eyes to it as you try and riddle out just what it is you’re looking at.
There is also a sense of building as you mover through the miniatures. Whilst each Primordial is magnificent in its own right, some are far more striking than others. The really mean enemies feel like really mean enemies, not only because of their gameplay, but also because of how they actually look.
They are absolutely spectacular, one and all. Whether you’re after some miniatures that will command the attention of everyone at your table, or just want something new to paint, there’s a huge amount on offer in AT:O
Aeon Trespass: Odyssey takes place in two theatres. The first, as you may expect, is the tabletop battles where you and your allies sic your Titans on whatever foes are assailing you. The other part of the game takes place in the overworld as you and your intrepid crew explore the ruins of Ancient Greece.
To do that, you’ll need some transport.
Your ship, the Argo (name takes from the ship used by the famous Jason and his titular Argonauts upon whom your crew are based), is one of the three smallest minis in the box – but it’s still quite striking to look at covered in wonderful details. You get a real sense of presence and movement thanks in particular to the waves sculpted on the miniature’s base.
There are a couple more miniatures for use in the overworld as well. Here they are:
Even at the truly tiny scale these figures are at, you can see clearly which of the big enemies they relate too (Horrifying Mosquito Butterfly Man and Walking Tennis Ball of A Thousand Souls, as I’ve fondly named them). There’s a pleasing level of detail on each, and painters looking for a real challenge will be drawn to these tiny figures.
Aeon Trespass: Odyssey Review – Gameplay
I’m afraid our playtesting of Aeon Trespass: Odyssey will likely fall short of the full experience. Let me explain.
Aeon Trespass: Odyssey is part RPG, part board game, and part miniatures wargame. As some kind of fusion between D&D, a management simulator, and with a good slug of boss-crushing dice-spinner thrown in for good measure, AT:O is not a game that can be played quickly. In fact, rather like Homer’s story from which it takes its name, Aeon Trespass: Odyssey is more likely going to be played over a serious length of time rather than in one sitting.
It is vast. Overawing, staggering, and beautifully complex, AT:O makes other systems look like child’s play. What’s more, everything is tightly tied to an overarching story arc to keep gameplay and character development meaningful. There’s no: “you’re all in an Ancient Greek temple, fight!” Everything has far more purpose and point to it.
Before you can start playing, there are a few extra bits you’ll need to get hold of – namely, an Argonaut Sheet for each player and an Argo Sheet for your ship. These are a little like character sheets in D&D, and can be obtained straight from into The Unknown Studios’ website and printed out, or copied from the back of each of the Cycle books.
Playing the Game
Aeon Trespass: Odyssey is played across three Cycles. These are essentially story chapters that take you across AT:O’s hellish post-apocalyptic Ancient Greece, seeing you build your ship, develop new technologies and go on exciting adventures – and, of course, fight intense battles with Primordials.
But before that, there’s also a Learn To Play book. I wouldn’t say the Learn To Play book eases you into AT:O, rather than it makes sure there’s a parachute attached to your back before kicking you out of the plane. There’s no easy way to get into a game this vast, but the Learn To Play does make it a little bit easier.
The Tutorial chapters in the Learn to Play book act as an introduction to the proper story that is played throughout Cycles 1, 2 and 3. In terms of narrative, the Tutorial serves to deposit you, your Titans, and the Argo in Knossos, where the training wheels come off and the adventure truly begins.
So, we’ve looked at all the bits and bobs in the box – but what’s the game like to actually play?
It will come as absolutely no surprise to anyone to learn that setting up a game of Aeon Trespass: Odyssey is quite an endeavour. With a vast amount of cards, tokens, and other bits and bobs required at any one time, there’s absolutely no way of getting this game set up quickly.
Usually, when we playtest stuff here at FauxHammer.com, we go in completely blind. We start with the box, unopened or as close as we can get it to unopened, and approach it as if we were brand-new buyers. We set everything up and work through tutorials and rulebooks with fresh eyes. However, because there’s so much to get into with AT:O, I actually started setting everything up a good two hours before the day’s nominated playtester, Leo (of Horizon Zero Dawn: The Board Game fame) arrived – and I’d only just got it done when he showed up. Admittedly, I lost thirty minutes to trying to get my wretched printer to link up with my PC so I could print out the necessary character sheets and Argo sheet from Into The Unknown Studio’s website, but this game is a monster to get ready. However, it is all clearly signposted in the Learn To Play and Rulebooks, which does make the ordeal far more bearable.
But I do have one serious bugbear with AT:O’s setup. Once you’re playing the game and getting into the swing of things, you will often be required to find a single card (be it a Mnemos, Research, Item, or other type) to add to your character. In a game that boasts close to two-thousand cards, this can be extraordinarily time-consuming. It interrupts the flow of the game and can really eat into your play time – and be quite frustrating to boot. Plus, if you don’t have a gaming table the size of a football field, there’s absolutely no way you can fit every card and deck you need onto a single table at any one time – you’re kind of forced to keep a lot of stuff in the box, which means you’ll be leafing through hundreds of cards trying to find that one specific thing you need.
However, as irritating as this may be, I’d advise you to push on – because Aeon Trespass: Odyssey is a work of art.
Aeon Trespass: Odyssey introduces you to one of its three major ways of playing by plunging you – a newly-awakened Argonaunt in control of a Titan – face-first into combat with a horrific monster.
At its core, Combat in Aeon Trespass: Odyssey is not too complex to grasp. At its most basic level, it is reminiscent of games such as Dark Souls: The Board Game or Horizon Zero Dawn: The Board Game. But beneath the surface, there’s a fair bit more going on – as we’ll show you.
First, the Primordial takes its go. Its behaviour is dictated by a randomly-drawn AI card which lists priority behaviours based on certain conditions on the board, such as attacking whoever has Priority, whoever is directly in front of the mini, whoever has the highest Danger value and so on. What’s more, the more damaged a Primordial gets, the deadlier it becomes as players must shuffle a more dangerous AI card into the deck to “Escalate” it each time it is hurt. Players can try and dodge attacks, but will likely take quite a beating each turn. These Primoridals are tough – even on easier difficulties.
When players’ Titans suffer damage, they draw Trauma cards of increasing danger and severity. These cards are either blessings or boons, perhaps causing your Titan to be knocked down as an additional effect of taking damage, or maybe allowing them a sudden burst of strength and the opportunity to counter-attack. It’s an exciting mechanic to the game that means every hit you take matters.
Once the Primordial has finished smacking the ever-living daylights out of your Titans (which, believe me, it will knock the snot out of them), the Titans take their turns. But instead of each Titan just getting to attack the Primordial in their turn, things are a bit more dangerous. Each time a Titan successfully lands a hits on a Primordial by rolling a number of d10s, they draw a BP (Body Part) card from the Primordial’s BP deck. This dictates where their strike lands on the Primordial’s body, what Aeon Tresspass field value (a fancy name for “armour class”) that part of the body has that must be beaten on a roll of one or more d6s, and finally certain things that happen following the attack. You see, dear reader, there’s a good chance that should you hurt a Primordial, it’s not going to be too happy about it – and certain BP cards allow the Primordial to retaliate and potentially deal you even more damage.
Similar to the AI deck, the BP deck is also “Escalated” when a Primordial is hit. The BP card is set aside and one of a higher difficulty is moved in. This represents the creature getting tougher and more desperate as it gets hurt, as the body parts represented by these cards tend to have higher Aeon Trespass values and more punishing effects should your Titan fail to actually do any damage.
The fights feel tough but fair. A huge amount of effort has gone into balancing and scaling bosses, with each Primordial available at different difficulty levels to ensure your Titans are consistently challenged as their prowess grows and their gear and builds improve. Admittedly, both Leo and I rolled abysmally for the entire day, constantly missing attacks and failing to dodge blows, and things repeatedly came down to the wire with the Danger, Rage and Fate values (each increased for damage suffered, risks taken, and attacks made) got dangerously high. But in spite of our hopeless dice rolling, combat felt meaty and meaningful. When we felled enemies, it felt significant – very much a cause for celebration, akin to downing a devilish boss in a Souls game.
The combat round-up also begins to introduce you to an other very important part of Aeon Trespass: Odyssey. Every time you damage a boss, you keep its BP card – and that body part is then harvested for resources at the end of the game. Each BP card gives the players loot, which they can utilise later on to craft powerful equipment and upgrades.
Combat is a remarkably thorough and meaningful experience in Aeon Trespass: Odyssey. It’s tough, tactical, and requires players to really, really work together in order to be successful. Rewards are great, and failure is devastating, which makes combat all the more exciting. It’s a tricky system to get your head around at first (as many systems are) but once you’re into the swing of things turns should only take a few minutes, and the ebb and flow of battle will be mirrored in the speed with which you’re spinning dice, figuring out damage and – hopefully – beating Primordials.
Between rounds of Titan versus Primordial combat, players also undertake a Voyage Phase. This is when you have the opportunity to craft upgrades, review your loot, run your ship, and get stuck in to the management side of the game. It’s here you also get the chance to move your ship from tile to tile and reveal more of post-apocalyptic Hellas.
The exploration system – where you move your ship from one tile to the next, gradually revealing more and more of a map, is a feature we absolutely loved. Similar to how you may reveal a world map as you run from zone to zone in any open-world RPG, there’s something really exciting and gripping about skipping from place to place, uncovering new areas, and delving into the unknown. Sure, you basically need a whole other gaming table to get into this as you reveal more and more of the map and gradually fill your play space up with even more cards, but the system creates a very fun and meaningful way of continuing your story and exploring the world.
Now, whilst the Battle Phase takes a little while to get into the swing of, the Voyage Phase is a totally different beast. The complexity of the management side of this phase is absolutely mind-boggling. If you’re the sort of person who keeps spreadsheets for Eve online or thinks Dwarf Fortress is a great game for a quick laugh, Aeon Trespass: Odyssey’s manual ship, crew, research, and crafting management will be right up your street – because it is absolutely bonkers just how infinitesimally detailed and yet phenomenally well-designed this system is.
Once you get your head around the near-nauseating complexity of this part of the game, the absolute beauty of it opens up. The game’s economy, the way you acquire resources, upgrade your ship, perform research and so on, adds so much to the campaign. There’s a vast amount of freedom to be enjoyed here, and a near-limitless number of ways to personalise your experience.
I cannot actually put into a few words just how ingenious this system is – it has to be seen and engaged with to be appreciated in its full grandiosity. Rather like the exploration map you move the Argo around, the vast web of interconnected crafting and management systems opens up to a staggering degree the more you engage with them – and you have to engage with them in order to progress.
It will be at this point you either fall in love with or abandon Aeon Trespass: Odyssey. You will either become completely infatuated with the mesmerising intricacy of its Voyage phase – or you will find it all too much like working out your tax return and will ditch the thing here. To any reader, however, I would beg you to persist. Leo and I, both gamers or relative experience, struggled to get into it at first, but as we stuck at it we began to see just how clever – and ultimately rewarding – the system is.
And we’re not done yet. There’s one more Phase we have to get to.
As you bounce your way across Hellas in your mythical ship, you will frequently encounter Adventures. These are the quests and tasks that take the Battle and Voyage Phases and give the whole Aeon Trespass: Odyssey experience a reason to be happening. You don’t just float around messed-up Greece wrecking Primordials in a vacuum; no, your character, your ship, and your entire journey, is lashed to a story – one of which you are an author.
If you’ve ever flipped the pages of a Fighting Fantasy, weighed up red or blue text options whilst playing Mass Effect, or been kept awake at night trying to choose between Triss or Yennefer, Aeon Trespass: Odyssey’s Adventure Phase will blow your mind. Via its three Cycle books, AT:O takes its complex and rewarding systems and adds yet more meaning to them.
As you progress on your adventures, exploring as you go, you encounter characters, cities, quests, and all sorts of other scenarios with narratives attached to them. Players refer to the relevant Cycle book and read a few paragraphs of story text to set the scene and then present the party with a choice – choices which have very real effects on the developing game.
One of the examples given in the Learn To Play guide is simple to explain: you and your crew and running out of food and fuel. You run down some mercantile vessels who have plenty of supplies. Do you steal the merchants’ goods, or do you leave them be? Whichever choice you take affects the storyline, and comes with boons and disadvantages. In the example here, opting to steal the merchant’s supplies leads to your crew stealing something very valuable, but you losing reputation with one of the local factions (because there’s also a reputation system in the game!) . Opting not to take anything causes some of your crew to desert – proof that not all decisions have positive outcomes!
And that’s one of the most basic choices used as an example in the Learn To Play book. As the game progresses and you get really stuck into the meat of the three Cylces, your choices have deeper consequences that can shake the very foundations of the world around you and cause serious damage or provide huge benefits to your progress.
Aeon Trespass: Odyssey boasts over 200 hours of campaign content, and looking over the simply vast amount of text available through Cycles 1, 2 and 3, it’s clear to see where this number comes from. The Adventure phase is the glue that holds the rest of the game together – yet describing it as such feels like selling it short. It is so much more: a complex and deep system that brings so much more to the game, that takes it from a dungeon-crawling resource-management game and elevates these already near-flawless systems to new heights of meaning and nuance.
it is an inspired inclusion in the game, and one that completes it.
Vast, sprawling, complex, at times skating close to the edge of just being overwhelming, playing Aeon Trespass: Odyssey is no easy undertaking. It is a game of many elaborate and competing systems, each of which have all kinds of different rules and regulations attached to them and requires time and energy to come to terms with.
Make no mistake: this is not a game you can play in one sitting. Leo and I spent four hours chunking through the Learn To Play booklet alone; this is not a board game, it’s a lifestyle choice. It is a game that devours hours as easily as its Primordials devour your Titans, one that requires perception, persistence, and no small amount of patience.
But within the staggering intricacy of this board game is an artistry, an understanding, and the potential for near-limitless reward and enjoyment that makes it a true masterwork. There is nothing else like Aeon Trespass: Odyssey out there. It is a unique experience that will not appeal to everyone – but to those people who do like it, it will absolutely blow them away.
Aeon Trespass: Odyssey is simultaneously perhaps the most complicated game I’ve ever played, yet also easily one of the very best.
Aeon Trespass: Odyssey Review – Price and Availability
You can still late pledge to Aeon Trespass: Odyssey’s Kickstarter, where there are a number of add-ons available as well. You’ll need to get over to these fast, though, as there’s not many of them left!
You can also pledge to Kingdoms Forlorn: Dragons, Devils and Kings, which is Into The Unknown Studios’ latest product.
Aeon Trespass: Odyssey Review – Final Thoughts
Beautiful design direction and artistic style
Legitimately interesting and refreshing concept
Meaningful adventures and character development
Mind-bogglingly complex yet staggeringly impressive management system
Epic in every sense of the word
At the time of writing, Aeon Trespass: Odyssey had a phenomenal 9.4/10 score on Board Game Geek, coupled with a complexity rating of 4.7/5. Nothing sums this game up better.
Aeon Trespass: Odyssey is one of a kind, and it is not for everyone. This is not the sort of game you can pull out for a spin with your family at Christmas. Heck, this game is something your die-hard gaming pals might struggle with. There’s nothing else quite like it, as it takes so many competing elements from various table top influences and blends them all together to create something truly special.
And that strange mash of Dungeons & Dragons, miniatures skirmish game, Fighting Fantasy, and management simulator coalesces into product that is quite simply excellent on every single level.
AT:O targets a very specific type of die-hard gamer (the sort who thrives on cards, on stats, and on complicated mechanics) whilst simultaneously spreading its net wide enough with its show of genuinely phenomenal miniatures and a brilliant, engaging plot to tempt the less experienced in. And once it has got its hooks in you it’s not letting you go, because as soon as you get your head around the complexities of this game, Aeon Trespass: Odyssey will become your board gaming holy grail.
It is massive, sprawling, overwhelming, and yet nuanced, intricate, and beautiful. Its systems sprawl and roil with furious intensity, and it’s so easy to get lost beneath the crash of wave upon wave of daunting mechanics and rules minutiae – but once you learn the ebb and flow of the game, it becomes so rewarding and so satisfying to toy with. All is framed by an artistic direction and a level of quality that is second to none, and once you’ve sussed out its rules, it also delivers on the single most crucial, must-have component of any game:
It’s a huge amount of fun.
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