Tuesday, May 07, 2024

Board Game Top 100 (2024) Part 15 (68-67)

#68 The Crew: The Quest for Planet 9

The Crew is a trick taking cooperative card game. Trick taking is a style of card game where cards are put to the center of the table. The lead card establishes the suit of cards to be played and then the other players must play cards of that suit if they can. The highest card takes the "trick" gathering all cards. This is repeated until all cards are played and the player (or team of players) with the most tricks is the winner. Classic trick taking card games include: Bridge, Euchre, Spades, and Hearts.

The Crew is a game like that, only cooperative. It accomplishes this by setting very specific goals for the hand. Players may be assigned specific cards like the 7 of spades or the 3 of hearts, and then must win the tricks that contain the cards assigned to them. And just like in the competitive games, table talk is forbidden. Players can't discuss the cards in their hands, they must "read the table" and watch what has been played to try to figure out how to achieve their goals.

The Crew is challenging and fun. It's my 68th favorite game of all time.

#67 Knarr

Knarr is another card game, but this one isn't trick taking, it's card drafting and set collection, and it contains some board elements. Players have a hand of cards, and there is a central board with colored slots matching all of the colors of the various suits of cards. (I think there are 8 if I remember correctly.) The board is randomly seeded with cards, one in each of these slots. 

On a player's turn they play down a card and gain a resource benefit that is shown on the card. Then the player draws the card out of the colored slot matching the color of the card that they just played, and that empty slot is refilled by a different random card. This mechanism creates an interesting push and pull. 

Cards you place in front of you are grouped by colored suit and each time you play a card from your hand that matches other cards of the same suit, you collect all the benefits from every card in that set. When you play a card you have to balance the immediate benefit that you get from playing the card against which card you are going to be able to add to your hand based on the slot the card you are about to play will allow you to draw from. 

All of this is only one aspect of the game. The lion's share of the points that you will need to score in order to win the game come from exploration cards. You get these by cashing in sets of cards that you have collected. So, you may have a great little engine going in front of you, but you have to cash it in to take a different card to try to get you some points. These exploration cards can also be activated to create yet another engine for gaining resources or victory points. 

Knarr is a really interesting and tight little game of resource management, set collection, and engine building that's played mostly with cards. It's small and portable and it packs a lot of punch. It's my 67th favorite game of all time.

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