Posted by: gschloesser | August 9, 2011

Olympia 2000

Design by:  Steffan Dorra
Published by:  Hans im Gluck
2 – 5 Players, 20 – 30 minutes
Review by:  Greg J. Schloesser

Take a journey back to the ancient Greek Olympics in this harmless little card game desgined by Steffan Dorra and released by Hans im Gluck.  Now don’t get too excited …. this game is nothing more than a cute little passtime for the family and friends.  Hardcore gamers will undoubtedly turn up their noses as this one is very shallow and doesn’t offer much in the realm of strategy.  Nevertheless, it does have some entertainment value.

The basic idea of the game is for players to place an athlete from their hand into a sporting event.  There are five possible events: Discus, Long Jump, Archery, Racing and the Combined event.  Each athlete is rated on his proficiency … or lack thereof … in each event.  Some are terrific in several events, others only excel at one event, while others are plain lousy at all events.

After the initial random selection of the first two events, the player who entered the WORST athlete in the previous event gets to select the event which will be contested two turns from that point.  Thus, there is a small measure of strategy here in selecting an event in which you hold an athlete who excels.   Plus, if an event is being held in which you do not hold an athlete who has a chance of winning, it is a good idea to play a lousy athlete in that event in hopes of having played the worst athlete that round so you will get the next event selection.

The player who played the BEST athlete in a round captures the laurels.  These begin at only 2 laurels (worth 2 points), but increase by 1 each time that particular event is held (to a maximum of 6 laurels).  Again, another decision … do you play your athlete who excels at archery during a round when only 2 laurels are at stake, or do you hold him for a possible later round when the laurels will be greater?  This is risky, as it is quite possible that that particular event may not be held again .. it depends on which events are selected.

Oh … there are several cards in the deck which depict handicapped athletes (broken legs, etc.).  Any player who enters such a physically challenged athlete in an event wins the hearts of the crowd and is awarded 1 laurel.  These 1 laurel tokens are limited, however, so the crowd does eventually get disgusted by players who continually enter these challenged athletes!

Finally, after each round players receive a card to re-fill their hands to five.  However, each turn a player gets to look at a card before deciding to keep it in his hand or deal it off to another player.  He continues to do this until he selects a card or all players have re-filled their hands.  This special action does give one a bit of control once in awhile to actually be able to select an athlete.  It also provides an opportunity to ‘hit’ the leader by dealing him poor athletes.

The game is played until all cards are exhausted.  The player who has captured the most laurels wins the gold medal.

The artwork on the cards is cute …. athletes depicted in various conditions:  overweight, rail-thin, on crutches, badly sunburnt, etc.  Of course, the better athletes are all chisled and god-like.  Everything is color coded, so it is very easy to read and understand an athlete’s rating in each category.  The only board is very small and used only to keep track of the current and next event. 

Olympia 2000 has proven acceptable to my family and non-gaming friends, which is always a plus and gets me out of playing the drivel that is pushed on the public by U.S. gaming companies.  However, the game is nothing more than that … a nice little pastime to play with family and friends.

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