In the Ancient Greece, the poleis (city-states) thrived increasing their
population and culture, occasionally waging war against each other,
erecting buildings and celebrating ceremonies to get the favour of the
deities abiding on Mount Olympus. The players will lead one of these
city-states (like Athens, Sparta, Corinth, Thebes, Argos and others)
expanding it and worshipping the various gods in order to become the
hegemonic power of the Peloponnesus!
Olympus is a deterministic (i.e., non-random) strategy game, based on
worker-placement, resource management and building an efficient engine
to score victory points (VPs). It also features a few more aggressive
options than the average game based on the same premises (but the savvy
player knows how to defend against them, if he prefers to quietly
develop his own position).
Each player leads a city-state that is defined by six values
representing population, culture, military and productivity of the three
resources (grain, venison and fish). During your turn, you send one of
your three priests to worship one of the ten deities (Zeus, Hera,
Demetra, Artemis, Poseidon, Athena, Aphrodite, Ares, Hephaestus or
Apollo). Each opponent can now send one of his priests to celebrate the
ceremony with you. After that, the deity grants his favor to whoever has
sent a worshipper: the favor is larger for the leading priest (the one
of the active player) and smaller for all the others (for example,
Athena boosts culture by two points for the city of leading priest and
by one point for the others; of course no boost is given to those who
refused to send a priest to worship her). That deity cannot be chosen
again in the current turn.
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 but in a field that may not
interest them as much (sort of quality over quantity).
The resources your city produces (worshipping the correct deities) can
be spent (worshipping other deities) to create buildings giving a
variety of effects (and VPs), thus offering a lot of different strategic
approaches to the game. Victory can be achieved with a plethora of
buildings but also with very few ones. There are 45 different buildings:
33 can be built by anyone (even if someone else already did), while the
other 12 are unique as only one copy of each can exist (introducing
another element of contention between the players). You can also wage
war to steal the resources of the other cities (if they were so foolish
to keep their warehouses full and their military underdeveloped, it's
just what they deserve) or invoke a terrible plague to decimate their
All the actions (development, production, building, war, scoring, etc.)
are done by worshipping the proper deity (and some gods give you a
choice like "do you develop your grain productivity – thus receiving
more grain the next time you will produce it – or do you produce it now
even if you won't get much?", adding crucial tactical decisions to the
When all the priests have been used, there's a brief upkeep to check
some simple conditions (e.g., players with more than five unused
resources must discard those in excess) and then a new turn begins (all
priests return home and all deities can be worshipped again).
Being the first to reach the maximum value in a certain field (e.g.
culture 10) gives you an award worth two VPs. When four of these awards
are claimed, the game ends. Each player receives bonus points based on
how developed his city is and the highest score wins.