Creative Clash by the Infantree Studio combines a need for cunning strategy to gather victory-points with a rich theme of white-collar ultramodern office competition. Players’ first impression of the game will be its sleek, solid design, from the Apple-style classy white game box to the wooden Ego and Coin tokens for each player to keep track of their scores and treasuries on their own player boards.
The aim of Creative Clash is to be the first creative agency to meet its principal’s goal. The game begins with each player being dealt a Principal card that gives a personality, Ego number goal, and special abilities. For example, the Idea Man draws three cards and chooses one to discard rather than simply drawing two cards each round, reflecting his wealth of outside-the-box thought. Meanwhile, the Executive earns an extra Ego point for each Project she completes that earn few points, showing that hard work on the little things pays off. The game is carefully balanced so that players with really good powers have to earn more points, while the Rookie’s limitations give her the win with fewer points.
Through the game, Creative Clash drives players to build up their agencies while laughing at themselves and the too-true flavor text on each card. Players take turns drawing cards and then playing them in strategic sets, hiring employees and building them up by adding skills like Design or Development. These skills and man-hours allow players to complete Projects from Album Art to Mobile Apps that give Ego points and provide money for stuff like a Company Car or Vinyl Toys that give even more Ego points.
While the pursuit of points is a noble occupation, the real spice of the game (and life) are the wild cards that pop up. Offices may become occupied by People, some good, like a Workaholic or an Assistant, some bad, like the Owner’s Kid or a pricey Consultant who doesn’t really explain anything. Event cards allow players to steal workers, cancel others’ cards with a Round of Golf, and even sabotage one another’s workers with a Hangover.
In-box variants can shake up Creative Clash for especially creative players. Special Expert cards may be shuffled into the deck, allowing players to hire high-salaried employees who already come with a set of revenue-generating skills. Alternately, they may be dealt out like Principals to each player.
The game can also be simplified so that everyone plays a single Principal, thus having the same goal in Ego points. There is also plenty of room for customization, such as each player picking a favorite Principal to match his or her own business philosophy.
Creative Clash is a card game for two to five players aged 12 and up. It is a moderately long game, lasting somewhere between half an hour and an hour, depending on how much time players spend strategizing decisions or dramatically acting them out. The social aspect of Creative Clash is truly what makes it shine, giving everyone a laugh whether the game is for fun or an office team-building exercise in studying the flashy world of creative business.