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Mutant Crops Review

Quick Look: Mutant Crops

Designer: Sebastian Koziner
Artist: Rocio Ogñenovich
Publisher: Atheris Games
Year Published: 2016
No. of Players: 1-4
Ages: 14+
Playing Time: 15-30 min.

From the publisher:

There once was a time, long ago, when farmers could walk their fields in safety.  Their worries included pests and insects, and the occasional bout of poor weather.  But then the world changed.

Empowered by the combination of agrochemicals and the mining industry's toxic runoff, the mutant crops rose from the earth with a vengeance.  Water was no longer enough to satisfy them, they needed to feast on the flesh of the living to survive.

Now, only the bravest and hardest of souls dare to tame the mutants, with hopes of turning at tidy profit.  Get the most cash out of your crops in this new eat-or-be-eaten world!

Mutant Crops is a light worker-placement game designed by Sebastian Koziner with art by Rocio Ogñenovich. The husband and wife duo created Mutant Crops in Argentina and sold it through their publishing company, OK Ediciones. It is now published in the US by Atheris Games.

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

Review: Mutant Crops

Overview and Theme:
Agrochemicals and genetic engineering have run amok, and farmers now raise melons with teeth and pears with clenched fists! The mutant crops require seeds, water, and meat to grow and be strong, but raising them with care earns the farmers not only money but also special abilities.

Mutant Crops is a light worker placement game with a very memorable twist on the farming theme.  My family got a kick out of the illustrations of the crops like the scheming Onion and the angry Pepper, and thought the theme was fun and engaging.

Components and Setup:
Mutant Crops is a crop-based game with a deck of 19 linen-finished Crop cards, a Field of 12 action cards, adorable wooden Farmer meeples, and tiny tokens for Seeds, Water, and Meat. The instruction booklet is well illustrated and well laid out, making it easy to learn the game.

Set up is explained clearly, with an illustration showing the layout in the center of the table:

The Field is an area in the center of the table where players will use their Farmer meeples to choose actions. At the beginning of the game, all 6 Stage One cards will be available, and the 3 Stage Two cards and 3 Stage Three cards start out face down.

A row of Crop cards are dealt out above the Field to show the players what Crops are available to sow.

Each player takes 2 (or 3, in a 2-player game) Farmer meeples and a starting number of Seed tokens.

The starting player takes the Action Counter card and the black Action Counter meeple, and you are ready to play.

Game Play and Mechanics:
Mutant Crops is a worker placement game in just seven short rounds, with two turns for each player per round. The goal is to make the most money by the end of the game by sowing crops and then watering or feeding them to make them as profitable as possible.

Players place their Farmer meeples on one of the vacant action sign posts on the Field cards and take that action to gather Seed, Water, or Meat tokens; sow Seeds to collect a Crop from the available row of Crop cards; or water or feed their Crops with the gathered tokens. Some spaces give Farmers a choice of actions or the chance to take two actions.

At the beginning of the game, players have a choice of twelve actions (two actions are given on each Field card). At the end of each phase, one new Field card is flipped over, giving players two new actions to choose from in the next phase. By the final phase of the game, all twelve Field cards will be face up, giving you a choice of twenty-four actions.

The instruction book includes a helpful appendix that details the various Field spaces you will encounter during the game, and we referred to it often as we learned the game.

Unlike some worker placement games, in Mutant Crops you don't refresh your meeples off the board at the end of each phase. This gives an extra bit of strategy as you decide which meeple to move and which one you may leave in place, blocking an advantageous action that your opponents might want to use.

Each Crop card has two basic ability spots to provide money at the end of the game - one for Water and one for Meat. Once you have used watering and feeding actions to fill both of those basic spots, you can water or feed a third time to activate the Crop's special ability, which may give you extra actions during the game or may make certain cards pay even more at game's end.

The game continues with sowing, watering, and feeding until seven phases are complete. Then each player adds up the activated abilities on each of their cards: the money-making abilities on the top row as well as the special abilities on the lower row.

One bit of confusion for us during scoring, which may have been a factor of translation (the game was originally published in Argentina), was the Broccoli Crop card. The Broccoli's special ability is: "At the end of the game, choose a plant another player has sowed and copy the ability," but the rules refer to the two basic abilities which earn money and the single special ability all as simply "abilities." We weren't sure if we could copy an upper row money-making ability and/or if the ability we chose to copy needed to have been activated by the card's owner. An email to Atheris Games got me in touch quickly with the game's designer, who clarified for me: Broccoli can only copy the lower special ability (or "skill"), but it does not need to have been activated by the card's owner. I was grateful to Sebastian Koziner for getting back to me so quickly!

The Good:
Mutant Crops is a lovely light worker placement game - it is good for families who enjoy the worker placement mechanic but don't have time (or the attention of younger children) for a longer, deeper game. There is enough strategy here to make this game meat-y, but the quick pace of its seven short phases keeps the game moving quickly.

My family found the theme funny and memorable, and we made plenty of angry-vegetable jokes and silly voices as we played.

The quality of the components is very nice, with linen-finished cards and unique Farmer meeples in a sturdy, small box.

The Bad:
As I mentioned earlier, there was a little confusion with the ability of one of the cards, which could be avoided in future printings with a different word choice, by calling the larger, single ability the Special Ability, and/or by including an almanac for the Crop cards as well as for the Field cards.

The only other thing that my family struggled with was the extra-small size of the tokens for Seeds, Water, and Meat.  My daughter and I had nimble enough fingers to move these around easily, but it was a bit of a challenge for my larger-handed partner and son!

Players Who Like:
Mutant Crops is a great game for families or for gaming groups looking for a lighter game. Families who enjoy Mint Works, Harbour, Vikings on Board, or similar light worker placement games will enjoy this one.

Final Thoughts:
From eerie eggplant to creepy cucumber, the angry, distopian fruits and vegetables of Mutant Crops make the game unique and its family-friendly worker placement makes it an engaging play that our family will return to again and again!

Check out Mutant Crops on:


About the Author:

My name is Alexa: I'm a life-long game player and homeschooling mom to two awesome kids. I've loved board games since my early days playing Scrabble and Gin Rummy with my grandmother, and life only got more interesting when I married a Battletech enthusiast and fellow game lover. We've played games with our kids since they were small, and I helped start a thriving homeschool co-op where we have weekly sessions of board games with kids.  In a family with kids raised on Catan and Pandemic, life is sure to be fun! You may run into me on Twitter, BoardGameGeek, and other social media as MamaGames. Be sure to say hi!
Mutant Crops Review Mutant Crops Review Reviewed by MamaGames - Alexa C. on May 03, 2018 Rating: 5

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