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Crazy Commute Kickstarter Preview

Quick Look:

Designer: Rena and Daniel Lawhead
Artists: Rena Lawhead
Publisher: Sheep Tree Studios
Year Published: 2017
No. of Players: 3-5
Ages: 7+
Playing Time: 15-30 minutes

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com
DISCLAIMER: This is a preview of Crazy Commute. I was sent a prototype version of the game. All components and rules are prototype and subject to change.

You got out the door late, leaving only thirty-five minutes to make the forty-minute drive to work. Getting out of the neighborhood is easy enough, but the dreaded highway looms before you. The bumper-to-bumper traffic is thankfully still moving, but you're pretty sure the lady in front of you is more focused on her makeup than the road. And now the jerk next to you wants to cut into your lane? He's got another think coming!

Crazy Commute is a fast-paced party game about fighting your way through rush hour traffic. Players compete against each other in duels using items like "Canned Cop" and "Rocket Fuel," and winning items are adding to the winner's victory pile. Can you get ahead of the more aggressive drivers, or will you get left in the dust?

The box image certainly helps give you an idea of the "road rage" aspect of the game.

Rules and Setup:
Each round of Crazy Commute is fairly straightforward. At the start of a player's turn, they draw a card from the draw pile; should this card be an Event card, it's placed on the board and it immediately takes effect; otherwise, the card goes into the player's hand. Then, they have two options: either discard one card and draw two more, or attempt to pass the players ahead of them (on the very first play of the game, the player simply draws one card, discards one, and moves to the front of the pack). Each player they try to pass can let them pass and steal a card from their hand, or they can initiate a duel by playing an Item card.

During a duel, players place down Item cards to block each other's cards (each card has another that counters it) until someone either cannot block an Item card or chooses not to. The victor of the duel moves in front of the loser, and they also take the final Item card played and add it to their victory pile. Regardless of the outcome, the active player's turn ends at the end of the duel, and they draw until they have five cards in their hand. The first player to have seven cards in their victory pile is declared the winner.

The game comes with 65 cards and a ten-page rulebook, all of which fits into a tuckbox roughly the size of a standard deck of cards.

Setup takes less than a minute. Each player chooses from one of the five Driver cards, and the cards are lined up next to each other on the table facing in a direction designated as "forward." Then, the Event cards are set aside, and the Item cards are shuffled. Each player receives five Item cards for their initial hand, and the Event cards are then shuffled back into the Item cards to create the deck. Designate a spot on the table for the draw deck, the discard pile, and the event pile (where Event cards will be placed when drawn); the first player to have received a driver's license goes first.

The setup for a three-player game. The Zombie, Cyborg, and Minotaur race to reach the front of the pack!

Theme and Mechanics:
The game centers around the concept of morning rush hour, taking it to humorous extremes. Events can include situations like pot holes and dirt roads, and they can modify what items can be played or even change the rules of the game. Each of the five character cards embodies five stereotypes of annoying drivers: Zombie (the barely-awake coffee addict), Minotaur (the angry and aggressive driver), Cyborg (the chronic texter), Vampire (the lady applying makeup on the go), and Werewolf (the partier headed home after a long night). Each of the Item cards are also ridiculous extensions of things that can impede your daily commute, like cops and traffic cones; my personal favorite would have to be prune-fed pigeons, which... well, use your imagination.

Most of the Event cards prevent certain items from being used, but some change the game rules and modify how you play.

The game mechanics focus around hand management and pressing your luck, but at its core, the gameplay boils down to an elaborate version of Rock-paper-scissors. Each type of Item card has another Item card which blocks it, so depending on what cards your opponent has, you can win a duel with your very first card, or you could end up expending your entire hand if you're willing to keep fighting. The only Item card that doesn't follow these rules is "Invisible Paint"; if used to initiate a duel, it can be blocked by any other card, but if played in response to another card, it can block the card regardless of what it is and CANNOT be blocked back. There's only one "Invisible Paint" card in the game, so use it wisely!

Another very important game mechanic is the discard pile, surprisingly. The player in the front is unable to pass other players to duel them; instead, the top card from the discard pile is flipped over, and they duel that card instead. Because the back-and-forth doesn't happen when dueling against the discard pile, getting to the front makes things much easier. It also makes the front much more desirable, so players will often be fighting to get in the lead. Carefully managing your hand and deciding when to keep fighting or back off from a duel is crucial to victory. I believe Kenny Rogers said it best...

The Zombie already has six cards in his victory pile. One more successful duel, and he'll win!

Artwork and Components:
The artwork isn't anything breathtaking, but that's not to say it looks bad. Rather, it lends itself to the humor of the game.The pictures for each of the Driver cards and Item cards are immediately recognizable, and several of the Item cards are quite funny.

There's no mechanical difference to the Driver cards, but the names and images help to add some characterization.

While there are some who love games with hundreds of components, it's nice to have a fun and simple game that fits into a tuckbox. The game clocks in at 65 cards in total and a small rulebook. Each card is color-coded and has a similar layout, and the rules are very straightforward, so you'd have to try pretty hard to get confused.

"Insta-Cop: Traffic ticket dinner in gravy. Gluten-free!"

The Good:
Crazy Commute takes everyone's favorite thing to hate and turns it into a fun and fast game that anyone can learn. The game can be played nearly anywhere, its artwork is goofy, and no play-through ever lasts too long.

The Bad:
For those who love stunning art, multiple components, a complex board, and rules that take several hours to master, this isn't the game for you. Its mechanics are fairly simple, and it doesn't seem like it would hold a group's attention for terribly long.

Final Thoughts:
If you're looking for a fun filler game, Crazy Commute is a great go-to.

Players Who Like:
Fans of the press-your-luck style of Codenames, the hand management of The Red Dragon Inn, and Rock-paper-scissors mechanics will find this to be right at home on their game shelf.

I am giving Crazy Commute 7 out of 10 super meeples.

7 10

Check out Crazy Commute on:


On KICKSTARTER between now and March 30, 2018.

About the Author:
David Jensen has tried his hand at everything from warehouse work and washing dishes to delivering pizza. Now, he writes reviews and works as an editor for a literary magazine. When not busy procrastinating, he's playing tabletop games with friends and writing fiction.

Crazy Commute Kickstarter Preview Crazy Commute Kickstarter Preview Reviewed by David J. on October 23, 2017 Rating: 5

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