Olympus: War & Myth
A game of sacrifices, forbidden love, betrayal and civil war, where the card art features real people photographed as ancient Gods
Olympus: War & Myth
A game of sacrifices, forbidden love, betrayal and civil war, where the card art features real people photographed as ancient Gods
Civil war on Olympus
It is the end of the Golden Age and the people are turning away from the old Gods, and placing their faith in a single, divine entity. Without the power of the peoples' faith to sustain them, the Gods taste mortality.
Death comes to claim all but one of the fallen immortals and chaos erupts, as the Gods war amongst themselves and sacrifice each other to gain control of Olympus.
Will you be the last one standing?
When I was 9 years old we had compulsory religious education at school. I had enjoyed reading about ancient Greek myths, so I asked why we couldn't learn about those Gods instead. I was told that they had all died out when their followers stopped believing in them.
Now, 20 years later, the idea that Gods are only as powerful as the people who believe in them, has come to life in the form of Olympus: War and Myth.
We used splash photography to create the card art for the game.
The models wore nude underwear and stood still in a paddling pool in front of a green screen for over an hour as we threw cold, iced milk at them. This created the primordial liquid-style image of an ancient, divine being.
Each of the models had the opportunity to choose the God they represented. We planned the shoot to link their personality and style to their chosen deity and then tried to pick a warm, dry day to do the shoot!
Each image took a day to set up, throw milk and then clean up, followed by over 100 hours of computer work on each image, from piecing together the splashes and filling in the gaps, to retouching them until they looked divine.
The photos were taken in a well-lit set-up that we dragged around town to any studio brave enough to let us shoot there. We used a Canon 5Ds, a stupidly high-resolution 50-megapixel camera, with a Sigma 35mm f1.4 lens to get absolutely stunning results. Don't worry if that sounds like gibberish to you, it basically means we used cool gear so that we could get this level of detail:
Olympus: War and Myth is a card game for 2 to 6 players based on ancient Greek mythology. Each pack contains 52 cards made from 18 unique photographs of different people representing the ancient Greek Gods.
The objective is to summon Gods to your side and then offer other Gods to them as sacrifices in exchange for protection and to destroy the other players. With 15 summonable Gods and 3 wild card Gods, there are endless combinations and possible ways to win.
The main rules for Olympus: War and Myth are simple.
Draw a card, then play as many cards as you like, then sacrifice your other cards to activate your Gods' abilities. The wide variety of abilities and special rules for each card bring a deep level of strategy that even seasoned card gamers will enjoy.
- At the start of your turn, you draw a card and add it to your hand.
- You may then summon any number of Gods from your hand by placing them face up on the table.
- You can then activate the abilities of the Gods you have summoned by sacrificing some of your remaining cards.
- Gods abilities tie in with their stories, Ares destroys your opponents cards, Aphrodite seduces them, Eros makes them fall in love and Poseidon enacts swift vengeance against anyone who dares to cross you
- There are three wild cards in the deck, Thanatos, Tyche and Aether. Tyche allows you to rescue a God from the underworld Aether allows you to activate multiple Gods' abilities without requiring sacrifices. Thanatos will destroy one of your God cards.
- If you have no Gods remaining, you lose the game. If you are the last player left alive, you win the war and may rule over Olympus, and humanity, as you see fit.
When you play the game, you must balance the Gods you summon to your side with the Gods that you are willing to sacrifice in order to win.
You could summon Poseidon, Morpheus and Artemis to form an impenetrable shield. Or you could summon Aphrodite, Nyx and Ares to create the perfect war machine.
If you cannot pay tribute by sacrificing God cards from your hand, then the Gods you summon will not help you.
But you can't sacrifice too many cards or you will risk of losing the game!
As the number of cards in the deck dwindles, more and more death cards will appear and your summoned Gods will be picked off, one by one until only one player is left standing.
The primordial God of the 'upper' or divine air that only the Gods could breathe. This air encircled the Earth and spread far into the universe.
Aether energises and strengthens the Gods you have summoned, allowing you to unleash your full wrath on your enemies.
The God of eternity or circular, unbounded, eternal time, the zodiac and constellations. The Romans, when they adopted the Greek lore, worshiped Aion as a symbol of the everlasting power of their empire.
Aion is a powerful card in Olympus: War and Myth. With the ability to fold time and repeat actions to benefit you, you can turn your opponents strategies against them.
The God of love, beauty and passion, Aphrodite was born when pieces of Uranus, the primordial sky God fell into the Ocean. Her beauty almost caused a war among the Gods, to prevent bloodshed she was married to Hephaestus, the ugliest of the Gods. Whenever someone, be they mortal or God, was rumored to be more beautiful than her, she would often kill, torture or disfigure them in a fit of rage and jealousy.
Aphrodite is one of the most dangerous cards in the game, she can seduce other players' Gods, destroy them in a fit of rage, or even turn against her own allies if fate does not bow to her desires.
The God of violence and the brutal nature of war, he was hated by his parents (Zeus and Hera) and often shunned by others, immortal and mortal. He had a deep and passionate love for Aphrodite and had multiple affairs with her. From these unions of war and love came the gods Harmonia (harmony) and Eros (desire).
Like battle and violence, Ares is one of the easiest cards in the game to understand, the sharp end goes in to the enemy. Unleash his fury to destroy the other players.
As the God of the hunt, the moon, virginity and wild animals, Artemis prefers the company of nature to that of humans and Gods. She is known to protect and nurture others, while also sending wild boars to destroy anyone who is rumored to be a better hunter than herself.
Use Artemis to protect the virtue of your Gods and prevent them from being seduced or stolen by other players with dark intent.
The God of nature, the harvest and seasons, her daughter was stolen from her and, due to a technicality, must now spend part of each year with her captor. During this time Demeter is so sad that cold and death grip the land, leaves fall off trees and crops refuse to grow.
In the game, Demeter seeks out and rescues her daughter, adding her formidable power to your ranks.
The God of desire and attractions, and protector of all forms of love regardless of who it is between. A complex and vibrant character, he is the son of the God of Love and the God of War and he fell in love with a mortal who became the God of the Soul.
Eros will induce unbridled desire and love between two other gods, so strong is their euphoria together, that they cannot be used for a full turn.
The original God of life and creator of the Earth, Gaia came into existence as order out of the chaos of the universe and created the Earth and many of the creatures that now inhabit it.
Gaia's favor will bring new Gods to your side and allow you to create order out of chaos. What type of order you create is up to you.
The lord of the underworld and keeper of the dead, Hades is the eldest of the Gods of Olympus but drew the short straw when they were dividing the universe among them. Seldom seen venturing out of his kingdom, he fell in love with his sister's daughter and kidnapped her, tricking her into becoming the queen of the underworld.
You can use Hades to steal Persephone away from the world of the living, tricking her into your service.
Heios was the radiant and beautiful God who rode the chariot of the Sun across the sky every day, drawn by four fiery steeds. From the heavens, this God could see all that transpired on the mortal plane below and witnessed many of the Gods' misdeeds.
Helios witnesses the destruction that occurs in each players turn but may offer salvation and warmth to only one of the victims.
The God of dreams, Morpheus can shape shift into any form and visit mortals as they sleep, providing messages from the Gods and a safe place for mortals to escape to from their day-to-day troubles and woes.
Morpheus uses dreams as a sanctuary to protect your Gods from death and destruction.
The God of the night, Nyx has existed since the beginning of the universe. She possesses extraordinary power and beauty, enough even to instill fear in Zeus. She is the mother of many Gods with negative personifications, such as the Gods of darkness, suffering, doom, deception, blame, strife, vengeance and death.
Nyx can wreak havoc on your enemies under the cover of darkness. The more people playing the game, the stronger Nyx becomes.
Persephone's story is a sad tale of kidnapping and injustice. She is the God of fertility and the living embodiment of youth and life, so naturally Hades, the God of the dead fell for her. Desiring what he could not have, he tricked her and stole her away to his kingdom to be his queen. She was eventually rescued by her mother, Demeter, with the help of Zeus, but because she had eaten the forbidden fruit (a pomegranate) she was forced to return to her captor for several months of each year.
Persephone is a powerful addition to your forces, she can quickly swell your ranks and empower your Gods, however she is easily taken from you and needs protecting.
Ruler of the seas, bringer of earthquakes and God of Horses. As the protector of seafarers Poseidon was one of the most worshiped Gods in Ancient Greece. However, Poseidon's wrath was easily earned by any sailor foolish enough to even slightly mock the vengeful God.
If other players dare to cross you while Poseidon is on your side, they will feel the salty wrath of the ocean God
Born a beautiful, mortal princess, rumors of her flawless looks reached Aphrodite's ears. The jealous God cursed Psyche, turning away all suitors made her life miserable. Psyche fell in love with Aphrodite's son, Eros and completed a series of impossible tasks to prove her love to Aphrodite. In the process she dealt with severe depression and learned the value of giving and receiving help, and earned her immortality as the God of the Soul.
Pysche's devotion, loyalty and the power of her soul aids other Gods, helping them reach their full potential faster.
Understandably hateful of, and hated by, Gods and mortals, Thanatos is indiscriminate in the dealing of death, and without mercy when a victim has been chosen. However death is not absolute and very occasionally, it can be tricked.
Thanatos is the unrelenting and indiscriminate equalizer that players cannot control, but, with a bit of forward thinking, they might be able to avoid.
The God of Luck, Tyche is one of the fates and the symbol of plentiful gifts and good fortune. However occasionally also the dispenser of ill fortune and risk.
Tyche is a rare card, but when found will bring you valuable gifts from beyond the mortal realm.
The supreme God of Olympus, but also the youngest son of the father of the Gods, Cronos, Zeus is the king of Gods and humans and God of the sky and thunder, dispensing divine justice with bolts of lightning.
Famous for infidelity, illegitimate children and unlimited power, Zeus is normally portrayed as an old, bearded man. However, it's time we had more women as CEOs.
Zeus is the divine, all powerful judge, jury and executioner. With Zeus on your side you can silence another player's God and sentence them to death.
Beyond the cards
Your support for this project will help to bring Olympus: War and Myth to life, your pledge will cover printing costs, shipping costs and rewarding the men and women who put their warmth, dignity and bodies on the line to make this card game a reality.
Anything that is left over will then be used to fund for a new environmentally minded start-up project my friends and I are creating.
The Olympus: War and Myth card game
This kickstarter campaign will only run for a month and then it's gone, so don't miss your chance to own this unique piece of history. As far as we know, it's the only game to feature photos of real people, splashed as Gods as card art!
But wait.. there's more!
Tiny Instax Prints!
Teeny tiny, low contrast, low quality but strangely popular instant prints!
If you aren't a fan of card games and don't have enough space for art on your walls but still want to help us out then we will send you two of these little beauties in an envelope to any address in the world to say thank you very much!
Each instax print is 46 × 62 mm (1.8 x 2.4 inches) and comes with a short introduction to the God shown on the picture.
Stick them on your fridge, keep them in your wallet or make someone's day a little bit more confusing when they find tiny, milky Greek Gods in their post box.
Fine Art Prints
We went through a lot to bring these images to life and we made them using a huge 50 megapixel monster camera. It would be almost sacrilegious not to offer the full size images as well, unspoiled by rules and labels!
Sizes available are
A4 (210 x 297mm, or 8.3 x 11.7 inches)
A3 (297 x 420mm or 11.7 x 16.5 inches)
A2 (420 x 594mm or 16.6 x 23.4 inches)
All fine art prints are printed in high resolution and high quality on either Illford photorag paper or 310gsm German etching paper using fully archival inks to produce professional, beautiful quality results.
Both papers are high quality, long lasting, matte papers and the printing is done by industry professionals with over a decade of printing experience in New Zealand's capital city.
Which Gods can you choose from?
We will print any of the War and Myth Gods you like, there are 18 to choose from:
$5,000 NZ and the boxes get flick-able lids!
We have no idea what this type of box is called, but it looks and feels flippin cool! We've affectionately named it the flick box.
If we reach the $5,000 mark we'll go the extra mile and give every game a flick box.
Story Book of the Myths
$6,000 NZ and we can print enough of the decks without having to sell our kidneys on the black market! Which means we can add extra stuff!
The first addition will be an A4 saddle-stapled booklet printed on fine-art paper using fully archival inks to produce beautiful, professional quality results. The book will contain all 18 images and a story about each God from the mythology.
The ancient Gods were an interesting group and there are lots of stories of incest, torment, murder and torture. So we will make a version for children and a true-to-the-mythology NSFK (Not safe for kids) version for the adults!
Behind the scenes - director's notes
$15,000 NZ and you'll learn what we learned.
All backers will receive a detailed PDF guide detailing the steps we went through to create the photos, from the photo shoot through to pulling it all together on the computer.
If you're just curious about exactly what we went through then this will be a fun little read, but if you are keen on trying this style of photography for yourself then learning from our mistakes will save you a lot of time and heartache!
$25,000 NZ and we will create a 19th God image.
It might seem like we've got this down, throwing milk like a well-oiled machine. But in reality it's total chaos, lots of fun and requires a ton of improvisation!
All backers will receive access to a tutorial-styled video of the chaos that goes on during the photo shoot while I try to explain the camera settings, lighting setup and other techniques we stumbled across when pulling the first 18 photos together. I can't promise you'll learn anything useful, but it will be fun!
$50,000+ and plans for a sequel will begin!
I already have dozens of ideas for what a follow up game could look like, maybe Egyptian Gods made with sand and fire, Norse gods or even expanding the Greek Pantheon with heroes and monsters!
All backers will get to submit suggestions and vote on the final themes, and will then receive ongoing updates, behind the scenes exclusives, live social media feeds and more as we develop the next phase of War and Myth.
Risks and challenges
This is a relatively low risk project, the images have all already been created. It's just a matter of printing and shipping them!
There are three key risks we've identified and here's how we plan on overcoming them:
No one wants to support a cool kickstarter idea only to be disappointed when they open the mailbox. We are working with professional printers to make sure this doesn't happen to you.
These guys do loads of printing for big companies, movie studios and advertising firms around Wellington and the quality of their products is amazing. We accidentally spilled water over the samples they gave us and the cards dried out perfectly! (note, this is not a guarantee that they are waterproof...)
Somewhere in the past few years postage seems to have become complicated. But I think we've figured it out, luckily we have printing experts with solid experience and processes who will help us reduce the risk of losing post and sending the wrong packages to the wrong people!
We set out to make an awesome, card-based strategy game with simple rules, but this still our first ever card game.
Over the next month we will be playing it and testing it with everyone we can to make sure the rules are as clear and balanced as possible.
We will be shipping the deck with a foldout that explains the stories, inspiration, rules and the nuances of the game in greater detail. We will also develop a website where we can answer questions and maintain a FAQ to support our supporters and ensure your games run as smoothly and argument-free as possible.
- (33 days)