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Crazier Eights: Camelot Review

Crazier Eights: Camelot and Avalon boxes

Quick Look:

Designer: James Wallace Gray
Artist: Various
Publisher: Recoculous
Year Published: 2017
No. of Players: 2-4
Ages: 13+
Playing Time: 10-30 minutes

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

Review:

Rules and Setup:
Crazier Eights: Camelot is a hand-management game, in which the object of the game is to be the first player to have no cards in hand. Each turn, you will draw a card, play a card, and discard a card matching either the color or number of the top card on the discard pile.


Game setup is very simple. At the start of the game, shuffle the cards together, and deal each player 7 cards. The remaining cards now become the draw pile, and you will create a discard pile next to it by turning over the top card of the draw pile. Play begins clockwise based off of the starting player, who can be determined randomly.


Within the deck are two types of cards: Asset and Event cards. Asset cards are cards that have an on-going effect, and can impact any or all players in the game. Event cards are single-use cards that allow you as the player to change parts of the game, whether it is allowing you to discard an additional card on your turn, or manipulate any assets that are in play. Once you play an Event card, it will be discarded to the Discard Pile, and placed at the bottom of that pile.

Play continues until a player has zero cards in hand. If, during play, there are no cards to draw from, the top card of the discard pile is set aside, and the remaining cards are shuffled and made into the new Draw Pile.


In addition to the base game of Crazier Eights: Camelot, an expansion of 33 additional cards is also available, called Crazier Eights: Avalon, adding a larger variety of Assets and Events to the game. 

Theme and Mechanics:
The theme of Crazier Eights: Camelot and Avalon is heavily based on the King Arthur mythos of the early 6th Century, where the fabled King Arthur, King of Britain, led the defense against the Saxon invasion. The artwork and text on the cards relies on the characters and items from that time.

Mechanically, the game is based on a solid premise of playing cards that allow you to discard cards while attempting to manipulate your opponent’s hands and future actions.  To discard a card, you will need to match either the color or number of the top card on the discard pile. The base game comes with four colors (or suits) of Orange, Blue, Purple, and Green. To help for players who may be color-blind, each color also has a symbol representing it (Orange is the Sun, Green an Ankh, Blue the Moon, and Purple an Eye). The cards are numbered A-10, J, Q, K. The Camelot expansion continues this by adding cards numbered 11-15. In the base set, the 8 card of each color is considered a wild card for any color. With the Camelot expansion, it introduces color-specific wild cards, so you may see a wild-card for Orange-Green or Purple-Blue that can only be used on those colors. Each wild-card can be used either a wild-card or to trigger the event printed on it. It cannot be used for both.


The majority of the event cards focus on either deck or asset manipulation, while the assets focus more on the draw manipulation or hand management. Striking a balance between the two types of cards is key in working towards a victory.


Game Play:
Game play for Crazier Eights: Avalon and Camelot consists of doing the following on your turn: Determine and resolve any on-going effects from cards in play (those specifically that start with ‘At the beginning of your turn’. Draw a card, play a card, discard a card, then determine and resolve any on-going effects from cards in play (those specifically that start with ‘At the end of your turn’). You can chose not to play a card on your turn, or may find that you do not have a card to discard.


Artwork and Components:
The artwork on the cards is very reminiscence of the renaissance, using a number of muted colors appropriate for the age they represent. Each card has a unique drawing on it, and goes along with the theme and name of the card.


The cards are a standard 63x88mm (2.5 x 3.5 inches) card, and have a satin finish on them, making them easy to read in bright lights. You’ll need to shuffle them a few times to make them easier to handle, as they seemed to have a slightly curved edge based on the cutting, and cling to each other a bit. As this is a card game with lots of shuffling is involved, you’ll possibly want to look into protecting the cards with sleeves.


The Good:
The game is very easy to learn and play, and has the simple goal of being the first to have zero cards in hand. Artwork and theme is very clear on the cards, and with only two types of cards (Asset and Event), very easy to remember which type does what action. A game of Crazy Eights: Camelot won’t take long, with a 4 player game taking around 25-30 minutes to finish. The inclusion of the wild-cards from the Avalon expansion help speed up the game, and limit the number of times someone doesn’t have a card to play.

The Bad:
With each card having a special ability, some players can have a difficult time selecting how they should play the card, and can slow down the game. Some of the cards can come across a bit text-heavy, and take a bit to read and remember. For those players who like to build up an engine, it can be frustrating for the other players to wait as they select the order the cards would trigger and effect the game state.

Final Thoughts:
When I originally opened the box, and started looking through the cards, I was concerned that with all the text visible, this game would be a slow plod as you tried to rid yourself of the cards. But, after the 3rd play through, gameplay was moving along at a rapid pace for those familiar with the cards and engine building. While you have to have a plan going into each game, and be able to adjust as cards may change what is visible or happening each round, Crazy Eights was a great romp, somewhere between an engine-builder with a hand-management style. Some games you’ll be able to have 3-5 Assets running each turn, letting you search through the top of the draw pile and eliminating cards while having your opponent draw more cards. Other times, you may have cards that keep putting cards in your opponent’s hands, while you keep taking their Assets away from the board. Then there are the times where you are just going with a speed set, where you only have assets that allow you to discard more than 1 card a turn. With a sweet spot of 3 players, though it supports from 2-4, Crazy Eights: Camelot and the Avalon Expansion fall into that fun area between game sessions where you want some strategy game without having to give up a lot of time.

Players Who Like:
If you’re looking for a game that can be done in around 15-20 minutes and have some strategy and take-that mechanics involved, then Crazier Eights: Camelot is right there for you.

I am giving 6.5 out of 10 super meeples.



Check out Crazier Eights: Camelot on:

               

About the Author:


Delton Perez - Reviewer

Delton Perez is a FLGS owner with 2 locations in Puerto Rico, and 1 location in Ohio. Originally from Boston, he currently lives in the wilds of Ohio (O-H!!), where he currently resides with his family. By day, he is a Retail Consultant working in New York in the Fashion Industry, but by night, meeples, dice, and cardboard take over. Delton also runs a gaming organization based in Northeast Ohio that focuses on running game nights at Libraries, Schools, and Churches on a scheduled, monthly basis. At times, Delton has even been able to sleep, though proof has yet to be found.
Crazier Eights: Camelot Review Crazier Eights: Camelot Review Reviewed by Delton Perez on November 16, 2017 Rating: 5

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