Wednesday, 12 February 2020

FIGHT FOR OLYMPUS - Review

FIGHT FOR OLYMPUS


FOR TWO PLAYERS!!!!!

I think this game is intended for 2 players. It's not always clear what player number is best for a game when it gives you an option for 2-6 for example. Is it better to have 2 to 3 so turns are quicker or 5 to 6 for more in depth competitive strategy. This game is firmly two players as you can see subtly displayed on the box - BIGGER THAN THE TITLE!?

This game claims to be three things (four things if you include the two player nonsense).
1) Easy to learn rules.
     This is true. This took me all of 10 minutes during my lunch break to read the rules and fully understand them.
2) Head-to-head play.
     Really wants to drill in that this is for two players - by the gods, what happens if a third player tries to join in!?
3) Fantastic illustrations.
     Again, true. The artwork is fantastic. But that is the highest compliment I can play this game.

Like I said, this game took me 10 minutes to learn in my lunch break and I feel this game was made in the same circumstances. 
I have not heard of Mayfair Games doing anything other than Catan, which is a hugely popular series of games. Unless they blew all their budget on the art designer, spent months developing the images then only had a Friday afternoon left to come up with a game to go around the concept art.

Board setup.







     The board as you can see is tiny. It's not written on the board but apparently the far left brown section is Troy. Followed by Delphi and finally Olympus - which is what we're fighting for!
     The big purple counter at the top is placed on the 0. That will be the Victory Point tracker. Multi-coloured meeples are placed on the Oracle of Delphi, which are part of the games resource currency.
     The deck of cards at the bottom of the board (far left) are there for both players use - *remember TWO PLAYERS!!! 20 random cards are discarded from the game and returned to the box and completely unused so there isn't always the exactly the same set reoccurring in every game. I would think you could just include them as that deck is not going to run out - even though that is a game ending condition. Must be the will of the gods.

Both players draw a hand of 6 cards.










     Now both players have 6 cards each in their hand, let's have a look in a bit of detail how this game operates. The picture above shows Player 1's hand of 6 cards. They want to play Patroclus. In order to do so, look at the three symbols on the upper left column of his card. To play Patroclus Player 1 must discard three other cards from their hand, one coloured green, one yellow and one red - this will generate the resources to play Patroclus onto the board.
     This is a feature used in one of my favourite games ever, or atleast my newest favourite game which is Marvel Champions The Card Game by Fantasy Flight. Rather than having a seperate mechanic to generate resources and something else to keep a track of, you have to sacrifice other cool things from your hand to do what needs to be done - IT'S THE WILL OF THE GODS. This makes for some tough decisions. Obviously, some cards are cheaper than others. Maybe it's better to play a couple of cards per round but they're cheaper and naturally not as powerful. Or, do you save up a couple of rounds to play a truly legendary hero, such as Achilles. 
     




 An alternative option for Player 1 is to play Telamon. By discarding a blue, yellow and green card he may be played on the board, triggering any special rules he may have.

     "When you 'play' Telamon draw 1 card for each enemy hero in play."
This comes into effect immediately as it is when "played." Unfortunately, at this point in time, there are no enemy heroes in play, so perhaps not the most efficient choice of heroes at this point.
   
     This game is very good at explaining additional rules on the card, when they happen and keeps them easy to keep a track of by including the additional symbols on the card indicating whether they are an immediate one use, an in-game effect and a response action.

Player 1 plays Telamon in Troy.








     Player 1 may now attack. Since there are no enemies to attack Telamon may lay siege to Troy. This area effect or "area bonus" allows you to draw 1 card.
If Telamon was in Delphi he'd take a coloured meeple from The Oracle and that can be used as a coloured resource to help pay for a card, or if he were to attack Olympus he'd gain a victory point and the tracker would move to Player 1's side of the board.


 Player 1 finished their turn by drawing 2 cards from the main deck.

Player 2's hand of 6 cards.

 Player 2 is in a slight predicament. They cannot afford any heroes with their current resources available to generate. However, the soldiers have no play cost! Lapiths, Tauri and Phaeacians require no resources to play. There is no limit to how many cards a player can play each turn - providing they can afford it. But since these 3 soldiers are free...

Whilst two of them have no attack value, they cannot attack enemies or gain "area bonuses" but are just a nuisance to the opponent an help toward one of the end victory conditions.

Player 2 has 6 allies along their board edge.

This is a winning condition. Starting your turn having completely filled all available slots on your side of the board.


     Or by claiming 7 victory points which can battle back and forth between players.
The final end condition is if the deck runs out of cards, then the player with the most victory points is the victor and has won the Fight For Olympus.

This game isn't balanced.

     Having played this five times, the player who gets a good start and a few allies across his board has always been able to gain a huge advantage and it's always been unsalvagable. There is minimal skill to this game. Yes, it's simple to learn but there isn't alot to master. You just have to get lucky with the cards you draw and hope your turns are maximised. Admittedly that goes for most card games but this really restricts strategy, especially when you don't have your own deck to use or customise. There's a lot of compromising and just having to play what you have, despite you being well aware that that particular ally will either die immediately or offer you no gain. You have to keep playing the cards to the board though, because if you don't your opponent can freely fill up their side and just keep gaining "area bonuses" and rack up the victory points, so sometimes it feels like the game is the third player and is helping one of you.
     It feels ideal to play played with a younger player. Despite being aged 12+ this would be a game I'd introduce to a 9-10 year old. Even if they can't grasp it to begin with atleast the huge element of chance and luck involved will still give them a chance. It'll let them see the cool artwork and perhaps show an interest in Greek mythology. For adults, it's too infuriating because either you can't do anything or it's too easy as everything is just handed to you. Of course you have to choose the best card to maximise your turn from what you have but it's so obvious what's the best choice or the worst or what you're stuck with. more often than not, you're just stuck with it.

     Right, mindless rant over.
What are the key points to note about this game?

Pros:
- Lovely art.
- Easy to learn.
- Quick pull out and put away game.

Cons:
- One sided.
- Cheap playing tokens.
- Probably better for younger players.


SCORE = 3/10.


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