If you’ve played another Level 99 game, you’ll be familiar with how ornately decorated each item is. Even a game such as this where there are nothing but cards with simple characters, the amount of detail is great. Sellswords: Olympus is a fast-paced two-player tile placement game produced by Level 99, with art by Fàbio Fontes. In addition, Sellswords: Olympus is a standalone sequel to the tile-placement game Sellswords that can be played alone or mixed with the original!
How to Play
First things first: make sure you’ve got a two-foot square area as a gaming area. Next, players build their decks. After removing the four terrain tiles, the deck is shuffled and seven “Sellswords,” or hero tiles, are dealt to the center of the table. Players take turns choosing tiles to add to their hand, and the seventh tile is discarded. This repeats until each player has six tiles total. A terrain tile is then selected and placed in the middle of the table, or “game board,” and the game begins!
The basics of the game are simple: players take turns placing tiles until all tiles have been placed. At this point, the game is scored and the tiles are left where they were laid. Players then repeat the setup phase to replenish their hands, and play a second round. After the scoring phase of this second round, the player with the highest total points wins! Easy enough, right?
Next, let’s check out the various details that give this simple game so much character. As mentioned above, the selected Terrain tile is placed on the game board before anything happens. There are four options for Terrain tiles, and each are neutral cards with specific traits that can impact the game. For example, the “Mount Olympus” tile adds +1 point to each adjacent tile; the “River Styx” tile allows players to move a tile at the end of their round; and so on. While these tiles function as the starting point for the game, they are not necessarily the center of the game board.
Sellswords are then placed next adjacent to any existing tile. These tiles may have abilities, which are then applied. The next phase is the Battle phase: the tile just placed does battle with all adjacent opponent tiles. This involves comparing the numbers that are touching each other; high number wins. If the tile that was placed wins a battle, adjacent losing tiles are flipped over to match the winner’s color. Otherwise, tiles stay. The maximum playing field is a grid of 5×5 tiles, and no cards can be placed past a row or column of five cards. Players continue repeating these steps until there are no tiles remaining, upon which the round is scored. One more round is played and scored, and that’s game!
Both setup and the rulebook were easy to learn. Very much like Millennium Blades, Level 99 does a great job with ensuring maximum replay value by providing 50 different sellsword character cards along with different options for terrain cards. While there were some questions along the way, they mostly had to do with the different abilities each card had. Otherwise, the game moved very quickly with players itching to add more sellswords to their hands! It brought me back to my childhood days playing war (high card wins), except now my cards have powers.
If you’re looking for a portable, quick game to bring to a bar, settle a bet with a friend, or play with your anime-loving nephew, Sellswords: Olympus is it. Every collection has a place for this game, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone.