Roberta Taylor
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
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Battlefields of Olympus is a compact 2 player card game which has players battling to control land in ancient times.

The game will fit in your pocket, which is great, because it is also fairly brief and has a small footprint on the table, making it perfect for playing while out and about. The publisher (Smartass games)could have given this one a larger box with a fancy insert to make it look more imposing, but I'm glad they resisted the temptation.

Let's take a closer look.

The small box holds 2 decks of cards, 2 rule books (One in English and one in French), a quick-reference sheet with a gameplay flow chart (every game should have one of these- it's genius!), a sheet of optional rules, and a simple cardstock divider.



The first deck of cards is the Warrior deck. These are the meat-and-potatoes of the game, and are used to battle for the land cards. The game is won by the player controlling the most valuable total lands (we'll look at that in a minute).



There are 5 types of warriors: Archers, Cavalry, Heavy Infantry, Spearmen, and Swordsmen. They each are valuable against certain other unit types, as well as vulnerable to certain unit types. For example, Cavalry are effective against Swordsmen and Heavy Infantry, and can be defeated by Archers and Spearmen.



Battles are fought with the attacker playing a unit and the defender either retreating or countering with an equal or stronger unit. For example, Cavalry is played, and may be countered with Cavalry, Swordsmen, or Heavy Infantry.

The second deck of cards is the Fate deck. These have a red stripe on the back rather than the Warrior deck's green stripe, and there are actually 3 distinct types of cards in this deck.



The first type are the Land Trophy cards. These represent terrain or monuments which have varying value, from the 1 point Woodland cards to the 6 point Olympus card. When a Land Trophy card is drawn, the player must lay it on the top of the Land Trophy pile, and battles are always contesting the top card. This means that players may avoid starting a battle for a less valuable Land Trophy, such as Woodland, choosing instead to concentrate on building up their hand in the hopes of a better Land Trophy turning up. To prevent this slowing the game down too much, the second type of Fate deck cards come in handy.



The second type of card in the Fate deck is the Ares card. There are 6 of these cards depicting the god of war, and if one turns up, players must battle for the topmost Land Trophy. This keeps the game moving, whether you like it or not, and can spoil well-laid plans on occasion. Ares is often greeted with groans of 'Oh, no!'. As perhaps is fitting for the god of war.



The final, and most abundant, type of cards in the Fate deck are the Action cards. These allow special action, usually in battle, and include Ambush, Elite, Flank, Raid, Rally, Scout, Skirmish, and Surround. Like the Warrior cards, some of the Action cards cancel each other out, while others give special strategic benefit. For example, playing a Scout forces your opponent to lay the Warrior cards in his hand face-up on the table and leave them there until they are all played.



Game play is simple, with players choosing either to draw a card from the Fate deck, discard and re-draw a number of Warrior cards, purchase Warrior cards with Action cards from their hand, or battle for the top-most Land Trophy card. Turns move quickly, with virtually no down-time for either player.

There are some additional rules, including the use of a reserve deck, where you may 'store' Warrior cards above your hand limit of 4, as well as use of a mercenary if you have at least 3 Land Trophy cards bearing the same symbol.

We found that we referenced the rules quite a bit during our first game, but by the end we were really comfortable with what was going on. The flow chart included with the game is brilliant, making it easy to remember when to draw a new card and what actions may be taken at any point.



The game ends when all 6 Ares cards have been used and discarded or a player reaches 16 Land Trophy points.

In conclusion...

This is a great 2 player card game. My husband and I enjoyed it a lot. The graphics are gorgeous, and really add to the ambiance of the game. I applaud the designer and publisher- this game is beautiful, game length is appropriate, it's fun to play, and did I mention that it will fit in your pocket?
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Peter
Canada
Vancouver
British Columbia
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My Best Bud Parker 2004-2016
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Thank you for the kind review Roberta. I am so happy you and your hubby are enjoying the game.
 
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T. Nomad
Netherlands
Den Bosch
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Thanks, Roberta. Moved up a notch on the wishlist.
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A. B. West
United States
Beech Grove
Indiana
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Why aren't you PLAYING a game?
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Yeah, great review! On The List now.
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Vincent Appel
United States
Fairchild AFB
Washington
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You got me. I'll give it a try!

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