Olympus is a game where you are the Leader from one of the poleis or city-states of ancient Greece. You are responsible for their population and culture growth but most importantly, their worship of the ancient Gods to gain their favors.
The setup of the game is fast. Every player gets a polis board with six progress tracks for culture, population, military strength and the production for grain, venison and fish. On the board is a warehouse space to put your produced resources. There’s also a tribute area where you can hold your spoils of war. Each player also gets 7 wooden disks to be used as markers on the progress tracks and the scoring board. A player also has five priests of which they start with 3 on the board and 2 in the reserves (these can be earned later by progressing the culture and population track). Every player also has a deck of 33 building cards which they can build throughout the game. The board is placed in the middle of the table and has space for the 12 unique buildings available to all the players.
The game is played over several rounds until at least four of the six Glory Bonus cards have been claimed. At that time players continue to play until the round is finished and an end scoring occurs. The player who has scored the most victory points wins the game.
A round consists of 2 phases, the Worship phase and the Upkeep phase. The Worship phase is the meat of the game, this is where you send out your priests to worship the Gods. In turn order a player chooses a God he wants to worship. This is done by placing its priest in a free α-space of a God. Then the other players in turn order may place a priest in the corresponding β-space of the same God. It speaks for itself that the α-space gives a better favor then the β-space. When every player has chosen if they want to worship the God it is time to grant the Divine Favor of that particular God. The Divine Favors vary from progressing your progress tracks to producing resources, from waging war to building, from getting victory points to bringing down the plague. The progressing and producing speaks for itself. Progressing means move the corresponding marker one space forward (some progress tracks have pillars in them, you can only cross those pillars if you have built the appropriate building). If the progress marker reaches the end and you are the first player to do so, you get the corresponding Glory Bonus Card which gives you 2 victory points. When you produce, you check where your marker is for that resource and it tells you how many resources you get of the product. When you are waging a war against another player you check your military strength against your opponent’s. If the attacker has a higher strength (or equal if the attacker is on the α-space), he wins the war and steals an amount of resources from the defending player’s warehouse equal to the difference in strength with a minimum of one. Buildings need a minimum amount of culture to build them. If your culture has not progressed enough you cannot build it. It is only normal that the higher your culture is, the better buildings you can build. Every building also states the resources you need to spend to construct it. Usually, constructing a building gives you victory points. When the Plague Bringer has been worshipped, every player who did not worship him has his population reduced by one third (rounded down), ouch…
When the Worship phase is over, the Upkeep phase begins. At the start of the Upkeep phase, players have to check the resource limit. You may not have more than five resources in your Warehouse. If you do, you simply remove the excess. The next thing you check is your population limit. Your other progress tracks except for culture may not be higher than your population. You have to slide them back until they are equal with your population. Now you can use your buildings which have an effect during the Upkeep phase. When this is done you can move your tribute into your warehouse. Finally you return your priests to your board and acquire additional priests if you have progressed enough.
This continues until at least four Glory Bonus cards have been handed out. The final scoring consists of gaining victory points for your progress track. For each track you get half (rounded down) of the progress in points.
What do I think of this game? In my opinion it’s an OK worker placement game. The main thing you have to do in this game is progress your bars, make sure you produce goods and construct your buildings. It is a game in which you will play better and better the next time you play it because everything in the game is always the same. There is no variation in the game. Some people might love this but I love some variation in a game. All the buildings are always the same even the unique buildings. In my opinion they should have made more unique buildings so that those would change every game. Every player has a deck of 33 buildings and in the first few games this will a bit overwhelming. You should take your time to read every building card because the knowledge of these cards will influence your strategy and your chance of winning. This unfortunately takes time and you will have to repeat it often if you don’t play the game on a regular basis. If you do play it often you will work out a certain strategy and stick to it since the game is always the same. The artwork of the game is fine and the cards are nice and very clear to understand. The main mechanic for this game is the worshipping. You select the God you want to worship and the rest can choose to follow or not, but even that isn’t as unforgiven as it sounds since there are two gods which offer you wilds. In my opinion it is not a bad game but it doesn’t stand out either.
Play with Honor