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Kingsburg designers Andrea Chiarvesio and Luca Iennaco have a new game in the pipeline, one that's based on real-world geography this time. In Olympus (3-5 players, 90-150 minutes), players control one of the city-states in ancient Greece and call on the powers of the deities to earn favors, aid the production of resources, help them in battle, and so forth. Says Iennaco, "Olympus is a deterministic (no randomness) strategy game, based on worker placement, resource management and the building of an efficient engine to score victory points. It also features a few more aggressive options than the average game based on similar premises – but the savvy player knows how to defend against them, if he prefers to quietly develop his own position."
A player's city-state has six values that represent its abilities: population, culture, military, and production levels for grain, venison and fish. Each turn, you send one of your three priests to worship one of the game's ten deities – Zeus, Hera, Demetra, Artemis, Poseidon, Athena, Aphrodite, Ares, Hephaestus or Apollo – with each opponent having the option of sending a priest to join you in the ceremony. The deity grants a favor to all who come to worship, with the first mover receiving a bigger favor; Athena, for example, boosts culture by two points for the first player and one point for everyone else who worships her. Naturally if you shun Athena, she'll do the same to you. No deity can be chosen twice in the same round.
Says Iennaco, "Since almost all deities are specialized in a certain field, the players must choose which ones they prefer to worship sooner – also guessing which ones may be of interest for the opponents and which ones are safer to skip as they will not be chosen until later – and when it is better to get a smaller benefit following the priest of another player rather than saving a priest to get a greater boon in a field that may not interest them as much." Further complicating your choices are deities who provide options when you worship them: Should you boost grain production for later, or take what's available now?"
Players can use their military to wage war on other players, especially those who keep their warehouses stocked well. They can also call on the heavens to deliver a plague on opponents to thin out their population. Resources allow players to erect buildings, which have a variety of effects and VPs. Says Iennaco, "Victory can be achieved with a plethora of buildings but also with very few. There are 45 different buildings: 33 can be built by anyone, even if someone else already did, while the other 12 are unique, introducing another element of contention between the players."
Once all the priests have done their duty and players have discarded excess resources, the priests return home to prepare for a new day. Reach the top level of one of the six values before anyone else and you receive two VPs; once four of these bonuses have been issued, the game ends and players tally their scores and bonus points to see who deserves to mount Olympus.
Olympus will be released in Italian and English – possibly in separate editions – and may be available in time for the Spiel game convention in October 2010. Note that the cover shown above is not necessarily the final version. Prototypes of the game board and other bits can be seen in coverage of PisaGioca 2010 on Gioconomicon.
Description written by W. Eric Martin and used with permission of BoardgameNews.com