Released by Sierra Entertainment in 2000, Zeus: Master of Olympus was set in the vein of the same company's Caesar series; lead a multitude of cities from their humble beginnings to become sprawling city-states, complete with economies, armies, and vassals. Along the way, the player would be challenged by rival cities and less-than-hospitable gods, who would do their best to eliminate the player's city with armies and monsters.
The gameplay in Zeus: Master of Olympus mainly focuses on economic aspects of a running city-state. During the campaigns you have to complete quests given by the gods, meet economic goals, defeat monsters and conquer other cities. Economy
The only currency in the game is the Drachma You need Drachmas to pay wages, to import products and to buy buildings. Sanctuaries are the only kind of buildings requiring materials as well as Drachmas. There are many different kinds of food, materials and goods. These are stored in storehouses. Citizens
You must provide houses for your citizens to live in. There are two kinds of housing available in Zeus: Master of Olympus - namely common housing for your workforce and elite housing for your military.
Housing citizens requires food, fleece, olive oil and culture in order ‘’evolve’’ into a house that can hold a bigger number of people. Elite housing also needs wine, armour and horses to evolve. Only a certain percentage of your citizens will be available for employment. This percentage is determined by the wage rate and the difficulty settings of the game. People living in elite housing do not contribute to the workforce. Appeal
Good appeal in the neighbourhood is also necessary for houses to evolve. Elite houses can’t even be built in an area with a bad appeal. Almost every building has a positive or negative influence on its surroundings. Things like gardens, fish ponds and monuments will increase the appeal in an area. Industrial buildings will decrease the appeal in an area. Culture
There are four types of cultures in Zeus: Master of Olympus- Philosophy, Drama, Athletic and Competitors (Competitors are athletes going to a stadium). Your scholars, actors and athletes can compete with other cities in the four different kind of Games. Winning one of the Games allows you to build a monument. If your city wins the Olympian Games it can host it’s own Games. Services
Food and other goods are distributed among your citizens by the Agora. Your city’s buildings are maintained by the maintenance offices. Infirmary’s will make sure your citizens stay healthy. Fountains provide water and the watch posts will prevent criminal activity. Industry, Husbandry and Storehouses
Citizens can work in farms, orchards and many other kinds of industry in order to provide your city with the many goods it needs. Goods produced by your citizens will get transported to storehouses, trade ports or workshops. An example of a workshop is a sculpture studio, which can turn bronze into a statue. Income
A city has several ways to earn Drachmas. Your city earns Drachmas from taxation, a palace and tax offices are needed in order to start collecting taxes. Your city can also earn Drachmas from exportation, you’ll need trading posts to start trading. It’s also possible to mine silver and convert it into Drachmas. Military
Warfare plays only a minor role in Zeus: Master of Olympus. Your city will occasionally get attacked by other cities. When your city gets attacked you can choose between the following options; fighting to defend the city, bribing the enemy, and; surrendering. If you choose to defend your city you can call people from common housing to arms. However, this will have a negative impact on your city’s economy as people will leave their normal jobs in order to defend the city. You need people from elite housing to form a military that’s capable of attacking other cities. A sanctuary to Ares will also provide a city with two companies of troops that are able to attack another city. Mythology
There are a total of 12 different gods in Zeus: Master of Olympus. Building sanctuaries to the gods will give your city bonuses. For example, praying at the sanctuary of Athena will provide the city with olives and olive oil. Olive presses blessed by Athena will have temporarily increased production output. Heroes, Gods and Monsters
Your city will occasionally get attacked by monsters. You can defend your city against those attacks by summoning a hero. In order to summon a hero you need to build a hero’s hall and meet a list requirements before the hero in question will go to your city.
Gods can also attack your city. If you have built a sanctuary to a god, that god will sometimes come to your city’s defence. Some gods are stronger then others. Zeus being the strongest god is the only god able to defeat all the other gods.