Zeus on the Loose is a game designed by Jason Schneider, published by Gamewright. It is for 2-5 players. In this game, players will be trying to spell the word Zeus over several rounds of play by controlling the Zeus figure when Mount Olympus hits 100 points. The player that is best able to manage the cards in their hand will be declared the winner.
To begin, all the cards are shuffled together including the Greek god cards. Each player is then dealt 4 cards each. The remaining cards are placed face down in the middle of the play area along with the Zeus figure. Play now begins.
The game is played over several rounds. On a player’s turn, they will play a card from their hand onto the discard pile. This pile is called Mount Olympus. The starting total for Mount Olympus is 0. If a player plays a number card, they will add that number to the Mount Olympus total and then announce the new total. For example, if Mount Olympus is at 10 and someone plays a 5 onto the pile. They will then announce that Mount Olympus is at 15. If a player plays a Greek god card, they will perform whatever action that the text on the card says and then announce the new Mount Olympus total. The player will then draw back up to 4 cards. Play then passes to the next player.
During the game, the Zeus figure will be changing hands several times. Players will be stealing Zeus from each other in several different ways. A player can steal the Zeus figure if they play a card that makes Mount Olympus add up to a multiple of 10 or they play a Greek god card that says for them to steal Zeus. Players can also steal Zeus by playing a matching number card whenever an opponent plays a number card. For example, if an opponent plays a 6, you can immediately play the 6 card from your hand and steal Zeus. The player then announces the new total and play continues in order from the player that just played the matching card. This will sometimes mean that players might get skipped.
All this keeps going back and forth until one of 4 things happens. The round ends if a player makes Mount Olympus add up to 100 on their turn. They will then steal Zeus and win the round. If a player plays a matching number card that makes Mount Olympus equal or exceed 100, they will steal Zeus and win the round. If a player can only play a card that makes Mount Olympus add up to more than 100, the person holding Zeus at that time wins the round. If the draw pile runs out, the player holding Zeus wins the round, regardless of whether Mount Olympus equals 100 or not. When a player wins a round, they are given the first letter of the word Zeus. In consecutive rounds won, they will receive the next letter until someone is finally able to completely spell Zeus. The first player to do that is the winner.
There aren’t a lot of pieces to this game. Mainly there are 60 cards and a plastic Zeus figure. The cards are really well made and look really nice. The number cards have bright numbers and a cloudy background that makes you think of Mount Olympus. The Greek god cards have really great artwork that looks amazing. There are multiples of each one except for Hera. This is because her card is so powerful. I really love the art and design of the cards. They are very fun to look at and play with. The Zeus figure is bright yellow just like the numbers on the cards. It is well crafted and looks really neat. It’s just begging to be painted. The only thing that’s missing is a way of keeping track of the letters to spell Zeus. I really feel that something as simple as some little round cardboard tokens with the letters on them would have been perfect. As it is, you have to get out a pen and paper to keep up with the letters. In any case, the components that were included are great even without the letter tokens.
9 out of 10
The rulebook is rather small and in full color. It fits neatly inside the box. It has pictures and explanations of each of the Greek god cards and what each one does. There are also a few extra pictures of some of the components. There is a section of Greek Mythology included with pictures. It describes who each of the Greek gods were. There is also a variant for playing the game with players younger than 8. Everything is really simple to read and understand. It looks really nice and is really well put together. I like the little addition of the mythology section. It’s a nice touch.
9 out of 10
This game is really great. It’s a lot of fun for the kids and also helps them with their counting skills. Depending on the number of players, the game can usually be played in about 15 minutes or so. The Greek god cards really add a great variety to the game and make it even more fun. There is a little bit of a take that feel to the game with those particular cards as well as performing the same number sneak way of taking the Zeus figure. There is plenty of player interaction in this game in that manner. It’s very light hearted and fun. I really enjoy it and so do the kids.
9 out of 10
Zeus on the Loose is a light card game of mythological proportions. It’s very number oriented and little ones may need some help adding those bigger numbers. This is a great kids game but is also something that the adults can enjoy. I really feel like the Greek god cards are the best part of the game. Knowing when to use them and which ones to use makes it a lot of fun. I love the artwork and design of everything from the cards to the Zeus figure. I only wish that they had included some letter tokens. It’s a game that doesn’t take a long time to play. It can easily be played as a filler or as a light game with the kids. Speaking of the kids, They will love this game. I highly recommend it. It is a little bit educational in helping the kids with their counting skills. The good part is that it’s not shoved in your face and makes it feel like an educational game. It’s very subtle. The kids won’t realize that they’re learning. Shhhh….don’t tell them. In any case, I really love this game and so do my kids. We will definitely be enjoying this one for awhile. I’m sure that your kids will love it too.
9 out of 10
For more information about this and other great games, please check out Gamewright at their site.