Some of my fondest memories are playing with friends while my parents connected, laughed and passed the time over card games with the other adults in my life.
As soon as I could play games, trick-taking card games like Rook became a staple. As an adult, I continue to build connections with friends playing these simple, yet interesting card games. So, I’m a little biased when it comes to trick-taking card games as they hold a special place in my memories. It’s with that context I recommend: The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine, by the game maker KOSMOS.
This is my favorite game of the last few years. It has the trick-taking of the game “Rook,” the silent wonder of the game “Werewolf”, and the team strategy of the game “Pandemic,” (though maybe that’s a little too close to home with our global situation).
I’ve never played a game like it, and find myself wanting to play it again and again, with as many different crews (small groups of people I’m playing with) as I can gather.
This game won the internationally recognized German Game of the year “Kennerspiel des Jahres” Award in 2020, which Google translates as ‘Expert game of the year’.
Though it has relatively simple construction and gameplay, there is nothing simple about it. A warning about this game is that I’ve played with some different crews that have not liked this game because there is an intense strategy and some ‘missions’ can be very challenging. Having a dedicated crew of 3 to 5 players with the commitment over many different game nights to try to achieve all 50 missions can be a challenge but don’t worry, there is also a 2-player version.
The most interesting aspect of the game is the silence, with minimal game-based communication. It takes deep concentration, determination, individual initiative while focusing on dynamic team play, and patience with your fellow crew. I find it compelling as some missions seem impossible and you can complete on the first try, and others take multiple times to be successful. Regardless, if all tasks are fulfilled and a mission is complete, or if we fail, I always find myself quickly shuffling the cards to play again.
Ease of Learning:
6.5/10 – Like any game, search YouTube for a quick tutorial on the gameplay as there are a few nuanced challenges of learning this game. It’s quite straightforward, especially the basics, once you play a few missions. Every mission is different and takes some work as a crew to fully grasp the task at hand.
Fun and Replayability:
8.5/10 – For just over $20, the hours and various crews you can play with is a great investment. I think it’s an incredibly engaging game, where hours fade away and it’s very fun to go on the adventure of the 50 different missions together.
Benefit to your life:
9.5/10 – The rulebook states “You win together, or you lose together–only if each of you is successful, and you help each other, will you be able to complete the missions and win the game”1. That’s a good metaphor for an ‘iron sharpens iron’ life together if I’ve ever heard one. It’s a fun and deep way to learn about those who become your crew.
You are going to fail, I guarantee it, but I believe we learn the most about ourselves, and those close to us when in times of challenge. You lose as a team, but often you feel the sting when it’s your actions that fail the mission. Talk it out, learn with your crew, and try it again.
Go on the adventure to the edge of our solar system, have fun, and learn a ton about yourself, your crew, and the motivation that keeps you going! I’d encourage you to go to your local games store, or check out amazon.ca for an easy way to purchase!