We love games at Chez Three Time Daddy – especially ones that don’t involve any fiddly gimmicks or electronics.
Which is why we’re a big fan of Zeus On The Loose! – a relatively simple card game that involves counting quickly and a little bit of strategy. We actually found the game by accident after looking for birthday presents for our NJ (10 years old). He loves maths and was obsessed with Greek Gods at the time (thanks to the Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson books – big thumbs up!) so this game sounded perfect for him.
It was actually even better than we expected.
What’s it all about?
The idea is to capture Zeus – if you can!
You start the game with four cards – a mixture of numbered cards and ‘Greek God Power Cards’ – and you take turns placing them on a discard pile, or otherwise known as ‘Mount Olympus’.
If you place a number card, the Mount Olympus total goes up by that number. For example, if the Mount Olympus total is 15 and you play a 9, you have to say the new total of 24. If you place a Greek God on the pile you follow the instructions on the card: these can vary from skip the next player, subtract 10 from the Mount Olympus total, to ‘stealing Zeus’ from whoever has hold of him.
There are various opportunities to steal Zeus along the way and whenever Mount Olympus reaches or exceeds 100, the person who has Zeus is the winner.
How did we get on?
If I’m honest, reading all the rules made the game feel more complicated than it actually is. It’s essentially a counting game with wildcards thrown in to mix things up and quickly picked it up once we started playing.
As we played, we found different strategies naturally sneak into the game. For instance, there is one power card (Greek God Hera) that immediately increases Mount Olympus to 99. The only way to combat this and not lose is by playing a 1, or a couple of other rare power cards. Knowing this meant that we were holding on to our 1 cards just in case, or plotting the perfect moment to stun our opponents with the Hera card. NJ loved this calculated risk aspect of the game.
It is recommended for people aged 8 and over. We played with Roo (age 6) who had no trouble picking up the rules but just wasn’t as quick with the counting as her older brother. As the game is turn-based this didn’t actually matter – it just meant the pace was a little slower.
What did we think of Zeus On The Loose?
If you’ve read my other reviews, you will know what I look for when picking a game to play with the kids:
- Will it give them the chance to be creative?
- Will I have to spend two hours explaining the rules?
- Will it leave thousands of bits all over the house that will inevitably get lost?
- Will it be too hard and make one of them cry with a) frustration b) anger or c) disappointment?
Zeus On The Loose works for me on all these points.
My kids get to use maths, which admittedly isn’t a problem for NJ as it’s his favourite subject. If your kids aren’t as confident with numbers, the game is essentially just adding and subtracting and the number cards vary from 1 to 10. The trickiest bit is probably when you are required to flip the number – so if the Mount Olympus total is 37 you swap it around to 73.
Thankfully, it also comes in a compact box so it’s easy to tidy away and there’s little chance of bits being left everywhere and lost. Even the Zeus figure can be replaced with something else if the worst came to the worst.
Overall, we would recommend Zeus On The Loose to any families looking for a fun game that gives kids a gentle challenge with maths and counting.
Disclosure: We bought our copy from Amazon. We were not gifted it or asked by anyone to write a review. We have written this purely because we enjoyed the game and thought other families might do too All thoughts and opinions are genuine and our own.