So, how many of you out there played the game Stratego when you were young? Do you remember scheming to decide where the perfect spot was to hide your flag, while your opponent was trying to guess your placement strategy? Well in that way, Hera and Zeus is very similar. In Hera And Zeus which is a card game for two players, each player has a hostage card which the other player wants to capture. That card once drawn can be anywhere in there columns of cards or their hand. It’s up to you to find and capture/destroy your opponent’s hostage card.
There are some other basic similarities in Hera and Zeus and Stratego in that certain cards in the card game are like the spy in Stratego. By that I mean remember how the spy lost to every piece in the game except the piece with #1 on it? Well that’s the same with several cards in Hera and Zeus. I’m not going to go through all the special abilities cards have, because this article could go on and on listing them for you. Part of the fun of the game is learning the powers of the cards as you play. To do this they have a guide card for each player. Later I will reference a couple cards and their abilities, but like I said it’s more fun if you discover them on your own playing the game.
Each player has their own deck of fourty three cards with neither deck being more powerful than the other. Each have a collection of cards numbered 0-7 (with cards with 0 and 1 having special abilities). They also have their hostage card and mythology card which let you take special actions on your turn. In general on your turn you will do several actions including drawing a card, placing a card in your defensive columns, challenging an opponent, and playing a mythology card. If you have not played your Hera or Zeus card you can actually only use three of these actions on your turn. Obviously drawing a card is a simple task but I’ll expain the other ones quickly.
To start the game you will have three face down cards forming your “columns” each column as the game goes on can have up to four cards in each column. In general you will want to hide your hostage card here at some point in the game as you build your defenses up in the front of your columns. Challenging a card involves using a card at the front of one of your columns to challenge one of your opponents. Based on the rank and special abilities a winner will be determined. One of the most interesting cards is the Pandora card. If it is attacked it will destroy all the cards not only in your opponent’s column that was used for the attack but your own as well! This can be a very powerful card.
As I said, I am not going to go through all the special abilities of cards, and which ones defeat other cards. That is part of learning the game and will let you develop strategies from the experience of playing the game. This is one of the more popular Kosmos games and for good reason. At under $15 it’s an interesting game to play. I would say if you enjoyed Stratego as a child, or if you enjoy some of the “collectable card games” which involve battling your opponents this is a good basic introduction. While it’s not for everyone, I feel it does have a strong audience that would enjoy this game.