Thames and Kosmos have crafted a delightful, high-stakes cooperative game in The Crew: Quest for Planet Nine. This trick-taking card game offers a rich and varied experience for every player, and it’s likely to be a hit among casual gamers and ambitious players alike. It’s gotten a huge amount of awards, including a Spiele de Jahres.
Astronauts wanted! Scientists say there is a mysterious ninth planet located at the edge of our solar system. Join this exciting space adventure to find out if the theories are true.
The Crew spans 50 missions that tell a thrilling story as you travel across the solar system. These missions can be played many times and take about 5 mins each.
To achieve your mission, teamwork and communication will be essential — but in space, things can be more challenging than expected.
What’s In The Box?
- 40 Large cards
- 5 Reminder cards
- 36 Small cards
- 1 Commander token
- 10 Task tokens
- 5 Radio Communication tokens
- 1 Distress signal token
How’s It Play?
The Crew is a trick-taking game, placing it in the same category as classic card games like Spades, Hearts, and Wizard. After the entire deck is dealt out to players, the person who receives the most powerful card available (the highest value card in the ‘trump’ suit, Rockets) begins the first hand.
Each other player must then, in clockwise order, play a card that follows the suit of the opening card unless they don’t have one. The highest card in the opening suit wins the trick, and the winner of the trick begins the next hand.
The heart of The Crew lies in its cooperative mission structure. This is a two-to-five player game that unites the people around the table under ever-changing circumstances. Each hand, the players flip over the round’s mission, which offers an objective – or set of objectives – that the players must achieve. This usually occurs in the form of specific players winning specific cards, and the deeper players get, the more complications arise.
What really makes the game exciting is the limitations on communication. Most rounds, players are given just one chance to reveal a card in their hand, as well as if it’s their lowest, highest, or only card in its given suit.
Choosing the right moment to communicate the right card can set up the entire team for success – or failure. Shedding cards that endanger the team’s mission, holding cards to take your own required tricks, and waiting for the right moment to communicate accounts for the bulk of The Crew’s gameplay.
The fun of a trick-taking game is quite dependent on a single element: the stakes of any given trick. Hearts works because it offers players the opportunity to both destroy another player’s score with a single card, and the opportunity to swallow all the bad cards in everyone’s hand to harshly turn the tables on everyone else. Wizard is at its best as players wager higher and higher, taking massive risks for the opportunity to score big.
However, both games offer a slow burn over the course of each round. The magical moment where a player’s game hinges on a single trick comes only once a round. The Crew is brilliant because it ratchets the stakes up to where any, and I mean any, trick can make or break the round. Someone takes a card in someone else’s mission, or takes it at the wrong time, and the round is over.
If this sounds stressful to you, there are two elements that counteracts the weight of each hand. Rounds go quickly, and you can retry the same mission in order to progress. Losing and learning are a natural part of The Crew, and the difficulty of the rounds, which increase at a well-balanced pace, makes each win feel cathartic. While this might not be the right game for easily-frustrated players, the gameplay is simple and fun for any casual player in the family.
The Crew is available at Thames and Kosmos for $14.95, which is a great price for the depth, replay ability and accessibility of the gameplay. If your family is a trick-taking game household like mine, there’s no telling how much fun you’ll all have as part of The Crew. Unfortunately the game is currently sold out but it should be back in stock soon. Plus this July, Thames and Kosmos are releasing the sequel, The Crew: Mission Deep Sea.
Images Courtesy of Thames and Kosmos
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