Crazier Eights – A Review

This is long overdue and I owe a large apology to James Gray the creator of Crazier Eights for not having all of my shit together and putting this out sooner.  I hope that my excitement for this game is enough to put the campaign over and get this produced.  Here is my thoughts on James Gray’s Crazier Eights.

 

Crazier Eights: Camelot

Designed by: James Gray

2-4 Players

Play Time: 10-30 minutes

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When I was a child growing up in the middle of a field in the rural area of Pennsylvania we would get snowed in like what.  Whenever we would get snowed in one of two things would happen.  We would play video games, or we would play analog games as a family.  Snow days were how I learned the rules of Chess and the bullshit that is Candyland.  We would play games from sun up until way too late in the evening for a school night.  One of my fondest memories of this time was learning the long form game of Crazy eights.  Eight rounds of a game with an unforgiving point structure that made giant swings a norm and insane world burning plays a very real thing.  I immediately fell in love with the elegance and simplicity of Crazy Eights as a card game.  It was simple to learn and savage to play.  So naturally when I see a game named Crazier Eights I become intrigued.

How can you make a game that is so simple and yet so shit-bonkers with its scoring and round end rules any better?  You keep the core idea of the game and throw the rest away, of course.  Crazier Eights is a love letter to it’s predecessor.  Still a card game, Crazier Eights introduces events, actions, and permanents that change the end game conditions and the overall flow of the game.  Instead of color and symbol matching being the core of the game, what people have in front of them as permanents and what they have done, or can do, becomes the focus of a game that holds up to the name.  The game truly is a crazier version of Crazy Eights without being purely chaos.  The structure of the game is tight and the mechanics added to the game work so well you almost forget that you are playing a variation of a simple card game.  The strategies that are engrained in the sets and the control over many of the random elements make this game a surprise slam dunk coming from a place no one was looking.

 

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The Rules are fairly simple and do not get lost within themselves as you play.  On your turn you play a card as a permanent or an event and then you discard a card that matches the suit or number of the previous card in the discard pile.  First person to achieve a win by card ability or to run out of cards in hand wins the game. This makes a round of Eights go fairly quick and allows for more plays within a set amount of time.

I see a lot of games pitched as “It’s this, but better” and it usually isn’t.  It is either less good, or not anything like the game it is compared to.  Crazier Eights is the first game that lives up to the claim that it is like Crazy Eights, but better.  The game is currently on Kickstarter and is set at a price that works.  I think the only thing that is holding people back from this one is that claim of being something that it might not be.  I am here to assure you that it absolutely is what it is billed to be.  Any person that loves the OG card games and is looking for a fresh look at a fantastic classic please, look at Crazier Eights.  I personally am excited that this game was created and presented to the industry and I feel that the industry as a whole will be remiss to overlook this title.  This is a game that works for all ages and can be taught within minutes.  I am most excited to share my love for a classic card game with my kids through Crazier Eights.

Kickstarter page is here.

Timothy Mattes

Games on Tape

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