Australian game-maker Kynan Hale devised a clever new way for card players to battle it out. Typically, card games have players compete for overall totals of points or to be the last one standing from a hit-point loss. Choose Your Crew instead gives each player several members of a party competing directly against one another in one-on-one battles. Originally in the form of pirates, Choose Your Crew takes a new direction with Rockband, which completed a successful Kickstarter May 30.
The mechanic in Choose Your Crew is solid, an effective engine upon which all kinds of stylish chassis may ride. Players have five main Band Members: a singer, three guitarists, and a drummer, who come with stats in Skills, Popularity, and Hits. Each player gets a hand of seven cards, which include Backstage Passes, additional Crew Members, Magazine Headlines, and Gold Albums, as well as a Wild Card Band Member: the elusive Keyboardist. Players use these additional cards to give bonuses (or negatives for opponents) to the Band Member’s stats for Ego Battles, where band members such as both Bass Players go head-to-head. Each stat is compared, and the Band Member who loses two or more comparisons is discarded.
Play continues with collecting good cards and battling until either one player’s band is eliminated or a player has accumulated all thirteen of the Band and Crew Members from Backup Singers to Tour Bus Driver. With two winning conditions, games will be very different depending upon the players’ cards and strategies. Aggressive players will want to knock out opponents as quickly as possible. More defensive players will want to build up their crew and maximize bonuses while working toward the lucky thirteen.
The rocker-lifestyle is a very fitting aesthetic for Choose Your Crew. Due to both players drawing from the same deck (Hale includes alternate rules for deck-building), most games are chaotic and luck-based, filled with spontaneous attacks and unpredictable plays for bonuses. Strategy-minded players will enjoy the longer games where they build up defenses and eliminate the effectiveness of certain Headline cards. The art is wild and cartoony, full without being busy, and loaded with tattoos and crazy clothes. Cards include hilarious situations to go along with the bonuses, such as +3 Skill for playing “with broken string, still sounds great,” as well as side-jokes, like the Pyrotechnie being covered in soot and singed hair.
Choose Your Crew: Rockband is a two-player game for ages twelve to adult. Once players have mastered the learning curve, games are very fast. Length of gameplay depends largely upon the cards drawn, as an uneven draw may give a player a brief advantage. An in-depth YouTube video shows how the game goes.
Hale is onto an interesting concept in table-top gaming. The use of five main cards serving as competitors makes Choose Your Crew unlike anything else. A player may be down by four within the first few rounds but then come back to win. With its versatility from pirates to rockers, players will be eager to see what group Choose Your Crew tackles next.
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