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Crazier Eights: Shahrzad Review

Quick Look: Crazier Eights: Shahrzad

Designer: James Wallace Gray
Artist: Various
Publisher: Recoculous
Year Published: 2018
No. of Players: 2-3 or combine with One Thousand and One Nights for more players
Ages: 10+
Playing Time: 10-20 min.

From the publisher:

Sinbad, Zummarad, and wonders from the Arabian Nights come to life with these creative and unique thirty-three cards inspired by Shahrzad's stories. You get enough cards for a three player game and this set may be combined with Crazier Eights: One Thousand & One Nights. (Note: Shahrzad has multicolored cards rather than eights.)

Crazier Eights is a gateway fantasy card game. Every card has a unique ability and the first player with zero cards in hand wins.

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com


Overview and Theme:
Crazier Eights: Shahrzad is set in the world of the Arabian Nights and is a lightly strategic version of the classic card game Crazy Eights. The goal is to be the first to get rid of your cards by playing matching suits or values to the discard pile, but in Crazier Eights you can also play one card per turn for its ability as an asset or as an event. The abilities of the cards make your turns more complex but the basic structure of the game stays the same.

Components and Setup:
Crazier Eights: Shahrzad consists of 33 linen cards, a quick-play card, and a rulebook, all in a small tuckbox. The cards are heavy and thick and are pleasant to hold and shuffle, and the art gathered from a variety of sources is deeply evocative of the world you are entering.

Set up is simple: shuffle the cards, deal 7 to each player, and flip one card face up to start the discard pile.

Game Play and Mechanics:
The basic game play of Crazier Eights: Shahrzad is easy to follow: each turn, you will draw one card and then you have the option of playing one card for its ability and/or discarding one card to match the color or value of the card on top of the discard pile.

The meat of Shahrzad comes from the Assets and Events. As the game progresses, you'll build up a row of Assets in front of you, like the Forgotten Palace: You may discard an additional card during your turn as long as you control two or fewer assets. Other Assets allow you to give cards to your opponent, look through the draw pile, etc.

Events are one-time use cards that will immediately cause an effect in the game, such as First Strike: Destroy up to three assets of your choice that are controlled by a single opponent.

Assets and Events can help you discard your cards more quickly or slow down your opponent by taking away their own Assets or adding more cards to their hand. The game will move more and more quickly the more times you play it and the more familiar you are with the cards and their effects.

A few new items in Shahrzad include Split cards--cards with two events printed on them, and you must choose one to use when you play it--and multi-colored cards taking the place of the wild 8's.

Crazier Eights: Shahrzad is a stand-alone sequel to Crazier Eights: One Thousand & One Nights, but the two decks can be mixed together to accommodate more players or to give a longer and richer game. These decks can even be combined with the original Crazier Eights or with Crazier Eights: Camelot and Avalon to make a unique game experience.

The Good:
It is easy to teach the basics of Crazier Eights: Shahrzad, because most players will have already played Crazy Eights, UNO, or a similar matching-discarding game. The interest and depth comes from learning and combining the abilities of the various assets and events. Crazier Eights: Shahrzad has a good level of decision making in a game with a small footprint and short play time.

Families who are interested in the literary and cultural side of things may find themselves weaving stories about the characters and events as you go, and being interested in looking up the original stories or the artists to learn more after you play. If you wanted to play with younger friends, you could even start them out with the basic rules of Crazy Eights using this deck, and work them up to being able to add in the abilities of Assets and Events.

I also appreciate that the colors in this game are doubled up with symbols, making it completely accessible to colorblind players.

The Bad:
Our only complaint about the game is that we'd love to be able to see the carefully chosen illustrations in more detail, and would love to see a second-run printing of the Crazier Eights line of games that used tarot-sized cards rather than the standard poker-size.

Players Who Like:
Players who enjoy Crazy Eights or UNO can use Crazier Eights as a stepping stone to more complex strategy and gameplay, and players who enjoy Magic: The Gathering or Dominion but want a shorter play time or lighter experience will enjoy Crazier Eights as a filler or family game.

Final Thoughts:
With each release, the Crazier Eights universe becomes deeper and more versatile. Crazier Eights: Shahrzad is a welcome addition to the family of games with new twists and fascinating characters, and it will join the other Crazier Eights games as one of our go-to games for light but thematic storytelling and card playing evenings.

Check out Crazier Eights: Shahrzad on:


Alexa Chaplin- Reviewer

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!

See Alexa's reviews HERE.
Crazier Eights: Shahrzad Review Crazier Eights: Shahrzad Review Reviewed by MamaGames - Alexa C. on January 09, 2019 Rating: 5

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