Zeus On The Loose Game

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Zeus On The Loose

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In The Iliad, Homer’s immortal tale of immortals, the Greeks and the Trojans are the pawns of the gods, but even the gods seem like pawns to the supreme god, Zeus. This is ironic, because in Zeus on the Loose, the bearded Thunderer is the pawn, and the other Olympians have all the power!

That is to say, Zeus is a little yellow plastic figurine that two to eight players, ages eight and up, are fighting to control. The game is played with a deck of 56 cards, most of which bear numbers (1-10) but some of which portray super-deformed cartoon depictions of Aphrodite, Apollo, Ares, Artemis, Athena, Hera, Hermes, and Poseidon. Each player takes a turn discarding one card into the “Mount Olympus” pile and adding it to the sum of all the numbers in the pile. When a player brings the total to a multiple of ten, he or she gets to “steal” Zeus, and the winner is the player who possesses him when Mount Olympus reaches 100. There are other, sneakier ways to steal Zeus, too, including the use of those gods, all of whom have special powers that do unexpected things to Mount Olympus, raising or lowering the score as needed. I’m particularly fond of Hera, who, as in The Iliad, finds ways to assert her authority in spite of her “loose” husband!

It would take a deep breath to list all the awards this game has won, which include Dr. Toy’s Smart Toy / Smart Play Award. It helps junior mathematicians practice adding and subtracting but also satisfies the fantasy crowd in their affection for all things epic (the rules of play contain short bios on all the gods). This is definitely one game to add to your own family’s Olympics. “To play is human. To win, divine!”

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