The Curiosity Room

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Every year I make my kids a game of some sort. And since I am, among other things, an enormous nerd for mythology, the past couple games have been all about ancient Greece. This does not go unappreciated - both children are deep into myth as well. In kindergarten another child told my daughter that 'god wasn't real', and she responded that she knew, because there were many gods, of course. She then got into a mini-fight defending Zeus' honor.

Anyway, last Spring's game was all about the the Argonauts, but this year it's the Race to Mount Olympus. [scroll down to see gameplay pictures]

This is a three-dimensional tabletop game for 2-3 players. It combines elements of D&D, BattleMasters, and 'move forward' games like Candyland.

The story: the Titans have just been defeated by the Olympians. Now, the three godly brothers (Zeus, Poseidon and Hades) are fighting amongst themselves to see who becomes Lord of All the Heavens, by racing to see who can get to their throne on Olympus first. But each god has an army of heroes and monsters underneath him to help stop the other's progress.

Players start by picking their god from the three, then placing them at opposite ends of the board. On their turn, they move their God three spaces towards their throne at the top of Mount Olympus, and they also roll a white die. Each of their minions has a number on it, and whatever number they roll is the minion they can use on that turn. They can choose to place that minion anywhere on the board, or use minions already on the board, and attack with it. The number also indicates that minions' strength, all the way from a 1 reflecting mortal men to a 5 representing dread creatures like the Hydra and Manticore, to a 6 which means the God himself can attack.

The attack/defend dice have skulls representing hits and shields representing defense, and every piece rolls the exact number of dice printed on their base. Every minion dies after three undefended hits; if a God is hit and does not defend, He cannot move on His next turn. There are some additional variations on minions (some are archers and can attack from a larger range; some are on horseback and can move double speed; some have wings and can fly up Mt. Olympus without climbing).

The first player to reach their particular throne wins all Mount Olympus, and thus the universe.

The game has proven a massive hit, especially with my 4-year-old son, who not only likes playing with the little pieces, but actually has started to appreciate the strategy of it. Even his mother enjoys playing it, which is saying something.

To make this game I used the D&D Jungle Temple battle mat, several cardboard D&D and Seven Wonders Tiles which I scored and bent and taped (courtesy of the good folks at Brooklyn's Twenty-Sided Store), and dice from Battle Masters. The figures I found from the Age of Mythology boardgame, except Hades (which must be a D&D figure), Poseidon (who came in a Safari Toob of Myth characters) and Zeus (who came in a card game called Zeus on the Loose, and who I then painted). The game folds up into a much smaller footprint.


At the beginning of the game, Zeus waits in his corner for his chance to get to the throne of Mount Olympus.


Poseidon makes his sneaky way up to the stairs, but one of Hades' deathly cavalry prepares to try to stop him in his tracks.


The game from above. Poseidon has worked his way onto Mt. Olympus, with Hades right below him; my 4-year-old gets ready to place Zeus.


Hades has placed a pair of demons in front of Poseidon's throne to make it difficult to get to, but Poseidon responds by placing some of his warriors to fight them off.


The test audience truly enjoys this game.


All three gods are almost at each of their thrones. Now it's a race to see which can break out first.


And it's Poseidon, in his blue circle. Normally this would be the end of the game, but my son insists on continuing to play, so Zeus and Hades race against each other.


At the end of the game, all three Gods have reached their thrones, and a couple of Gorgons, Centaurs and Zombies have been destroyed along the way. A typical day for the Gods of Mt. Olympus.