THE CREW: THE QUEST FOR PLANET NINE
By Raymond "DuMeeple" Dumee on September 16, 2020
Ever since Pluto lost its status as a planet, I feel kinda lost. Like what is the purpose in life without Pluto, what are we all doing stuff for? So, I got very excited when 999 Games needed some good people who wanted to become an Astronaut, for a space expedition to the edge of our solar system in search for the mysterious Planet Nine.
The Crew is a cooperative trick-taking game in which you need to accomplish fifty different missions. Now, I didn't get to that point yet, but I assume we will discover Planet Nine when I do. In the box you get forty Playing cards, five Reminder cards and thirty-six Task card. Ten Task tokens, five Radio Communication tokens, one Distress Signal token and a Commander token, all nicely packed in a small box with a Rulebook and a Logbook.
For those of you not familiar with the term trick-taking, here a brief description. Players play cards from their hand in a series of rounds and the highest value or the highest "trump" wins the round. The round is also known as a "trick", and when you win the round, you "take" the "trick". Do you get it? It's like playing Hearts.
The Crew plays like a trick taking game; a player plays a card other players have to follow suit when they can. Now for the twist, instead of getting the most points, the mission sets out a task and that means a certain player has to get a specific card. In later missions, you will receive more tasks and even later than that, you'll have to fulfill those tasks in a specific order.
One could surmise that, when playing The Crew, it is all about getting the right trick to the right player, which makes you successfully complete the mission at hand. When every player fulfilled their mission tasks, you can move on to your next mission. When a player fails to complete their tasks, the mission will have to be played all over before you can continue to the next mission.
I must admit that I already bought The Crew just before the summer. I was kind of on the fence about it, seeing as how it's "just" a card game and I never was especially fond of trick-taking games. At home, I tried to get it to the table during my holiday, but because of the somewhat more expansive manual, we decided to leave it and played games we were more familiar with instead. Stupid, stupid, stupid! When I finally got to play The Crew, I immediately fell in love with and wanted to play more and more missions. Even when we failed, I really wanted to try again.
The things that make this game so great are the missions you have to complete. It is like a small adventure which starts out easy, but the further you get on your space exploring journey, the game just keeps getting it is getting harder and harder by the mission. Yes, you will definitely need a little bit of luck sometimes, but that's totally normal with most card games. Plus, a failed mission can be replayed within minutes, so the game's pace never falters. The absolute fun part of The Crew is the non-verbal communication, which you will need quite a lot, because players are not allowed to talk during play. This may very well be the reason I love playing this game with my wife.
But all silliness aside; The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine just won the Deutscher Spielepreis and that is a title that is well deserved. It has created an awesome new take on trick-taking by making it cooperative and adding the missions to the game. You can enjoy this game with friends or family and everybody will have a great time. So if you haven't already tried The Crew, please do yourself a favor and play it.
THE CREW: THE QUEST FOR PLANET NINE
999 Games (Dutch version) & Kosmos
Year of release: 2019
Designer: Thomas Sing
Artist: Marco Armbruster
Players: 2 - 5 players, ages 10 & up
Playtime: approx. 20 minutes