How to Play
Like the classic game of War, the object of Top Trumps Greek Mythology is to acquire the entire deck. The game begins with each player getting the same number of cards at the start of the game. A starting player is chosen and everyone takes the top card from their hand. The starting player calls out one of the statistics (bravery, wisdom, strength, ferocity, fear factor) and all of the players compare the value of that statistic with the card in their hand. The player whose card has the largest value for that statistic wins the other players’ cards and adds them to the bottom of their hand. The winner then picks the next statistic and all of the players compare their next cards. If there is a tie for the winner all of the cards are set aside and are given to the next winner.
Top Trumps Greek Mythology is essentially a clone of the game War. In War you just turned over your playing card and whomever’s number was higher won the card. Top Trumps plays the same way but lets the winning player choose which of five numbers will be compared to determine the winner of the next hand. Adding choices for a player in most cases is a good idea since it allows for more strategy and generally reduces luck. In Top Trumps Greek Mythology the choice of statistic adds very little strategy and actually makes the game worse in my opinion.
The statistic choice mechanic gives the illusion of adding strategy but really doesn’t because there really isn’t much thought put into which statistic you ultimately choose. Unless you have a good grasp on what the lowest and highest value is for each statistic, every player will just choose the statistic with the highest number. If you do become more familiar with the deck you may be able to apply a little strategy by picking a card that is higher relative to the max of the statistic instead of just picking the highest number. I can’t imagine many people wanting to play the game long enough though to be able to determine what the highest and lowest values for a statistic are.
The aspect of War that I liked the most was the back and forth. One player would win a couple cards and then the other player would win some cards. The game was a battle of attrition with one player slowly gathering power over time. The tables could be turned around pretty quickly as well. At least in the one game of Top Trumps Greek Mythology I played this was far from what transpired. I played the game with four people. I ended up not winning even a single hand before I ran out of cards. Another player won one or two hands before being eliminated. The third player won probably about five to maybe ten hands before losing as well. A game like this is broken when one player wins probably close to 75% of the hands.
The winner of each hand has a significant advantage in my opinion. When you win a hand you are essentially guaranteed to have one of the best cards in the next hand. Unless your next card is terrible in all of the statistics (all of the cards appear to have one attribute that they are strong in), the winner will pick their strongest attribute which will likely make their card one of the strongest cards for that hand. Therefore the winning player has high odds of winning once again. This advantage continues to stack until one player begins to win pretty much every hand. I can see giving the previous winner a slight advantage, but in this game the advantage is way too strong and breaks the game.
The problem is that there is not a easy fix to this problem. Somehow the next player to pick the statistic needs to be chosen. I thought maybe the player who played the weakest card in the last round should pick the statistic for the next card. I believe this will probably turn the game into a never ending game of passing cards between players since the player who loses a card is likely to win cards back the next hand. The other option I came up with would involve randomly picking who picks the statistic but with that option, luck would play an even bigger role in a game that already requires a bunch of luck.
Top Trumps Greek Mythology is a broken game that is just not fun. The only somewhat positive I could come up with for the game is the quality of the components (which has its’ own issues as well). The artwork (a hand drawn style) is not terrible but I wouldn’t call it great either. The card quality is decent and shouldn’t wear out too quickly. The biggest positive for the game is probably that each card has about a paragraph of information about the subject of each card. I didn’t really bother to read any of the information, but for someone interested in the subject the tidbits might be interesting. The issue with the components is that not all of the cards have the same artwork for the back of the cards. This makes the cards look kind of ugly and may allow players that know the deck well enough to know what card is next for another player which may affect their decision on picking an attribute.
I usually like to include recommendations at the end of every review, but for this game I really can’t recommend it to anyone. The game has broken mechanics and is not fun to play. It has no strategy and pretty much relies entirely on the luck of the draw and who wins the first couple of hands. Maybe if you were really into Greek Mythology you might get a little out of the game, but I make no guarantees. I know I will never play this game again.