There are board games that simply fly under the radar and, wrongly, still receive relatively little attention. If you ask for two-person games in forums and groups, you will usually find popular titles, and Crimson Company has not yet been included. In this game presentation, I'll tell you why it shouldn't stay that way.
Crimson Company is a 2-person game by Fabian Fischer and Dario Reinhardt, which was realized at the beginning of 2019 via Kickstarter and was already delivered in October. At its core, Crimson Company is a duel game that impresses with its simple basic rules and great tactical depth. We play 2 enemy noblemen in a medieval, slightly fantasy-like setting. The goal is to conquer two of three castles. To do this, we assemble troops from a number of mercenaries. A game lasts about 30 minutes, so that you can quickly be challenged to a revenge.
This is how Crimson Company works:
Building up the game is quick and easy. The three castle cards are laid out in the middle. The deck with the character cards is shuffled and four cards are placed face up between the players. The top card of the character deck is placed face up on it. The coin supply is laid out and the first player receives three coins, the second player four coins.
Then turns are played alternately, with each turn consisting of four phases. In the income phase (phase 1): The player whose turn it is receives three coins. Then recruiting takes place (phase 2): The player whose turn it is places at least one of his coins on one of the 4 cards from the “offer”. Now his opponent has two options. Either he pays the player, which means that he doubles the number of coins on the card and the player whose turn it is receives the coins and his opponent the card. Or the opponent passes and the player whose turn it is receives the card. It is important to note that the card has not yet been played.
Then follows the deployment phase (phase 3): The player whose turn it is plays all of his recruited cards, in any order, in the "lanes" (the rows in front of the castles). It is possible that one of the various card effects is activated.
Then it is scored (phase 4): Now it is checked whether there are four or more cards in one of the lanes. If this is the case, this lane is counted. For this, the strength of your own cards, expressed by numbers on the cards, is added up. The player with the greater overall strength wins the rating and takes the castle.
The moves including all phases are played alternately until one player has captured two castles.
The specialty of the game: fairness and predictability
The tactical depth comes into play primarily through the different character cards and their effects, which can be triggered at very different times. It can be that cards allow me to destroy my opponent's card when playing, or that a card gives me an advantage in my income phase. There are a total of 30 different character cards with different abilities.
It can be that cards allow me to destroy my opponent's card when playing, or that a card gives me an advantage in my income phase. There are a total of 30 different character cards with different abilities.
According to their own statements, the idea of the two designers was to develop a fair card game for two players, which is primarily determined by the skills of the players and not by luck factors or coincidences. And they both managed to do that really well. You win and don't lose to bad luck because the wrong cards were revealed. Profit and loss depend solely on your own game decisions. It has to be said that the mixed and repeatedly played deck always offers enough replayability.
Crimson Company is highly competitive and a very exciting head-to-head race. A special feature is the open display and that the next card that will be displayed is always known. So you always have to deal very carefully with the possibilities of the cards in order to then use the clever bidding mechanism to weigh up which card I want, or maybe also which card I will not allow my opponent because the effect would be far too strong. "Do I put so many coins on a card so that he cannot pay me out, or maybe he wants a completely different card and I pay way too much". These are thoughts that can go through your head while you are playing.
I also have to praise the coherent artwork on the cards at this point. All drawings are an eye-catcher for me. I also love the design decision to make the card text legible on both sides of the card.
The only point of criticism for me is that the topic falls by the wayside, despite the beautiful artwork, because you are very busy with the card effects and values and thus more an abstract style of play is encouraged. I am simply fascinated by the fact that the designers have managed to create such a tactical depth with 30 playing cards, with a short playing time at the same time. A round is played quickly and with the knowledge of the abilities of the cards, so do my abilities. At the same time, the game can be learned very quickly.
- quick setup - short playing time - simple rules - low space consumption
- The subject falls by the wayside
I am glad that exactly such projects can be realized on Kickstarter and that even unknown designers can realize their great ideas.
For all those who are flirting with the title: So far, the board game has only been available for direct sale via the official website. You can reach the in-house shop of the Crimson Company at www.crimsoncompany.cc/shop/.
A new campaign for an expansion on Kickstarter will start on October 29th. You can also play the game on the SPIEL'19 in Essen test (Hall 4 / 4L114).
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