Tyler Sigman’s Crows – Junk Spirit Games – Preview

Theme and What is it?

There shall be no quothing ravens here, nevermore. There are of course no ravens here, only CROWS! This is a game that is large on the aesthetic of the dark. It made me feel as if it was the calling card of every EMO kid. 

This is of course the second major iteration of Crows. The first was published in 2010, and can still be found on a few websites. This is of course, not the 2010 version. This is new and updated, with a few mechanics made fresh.

Gameplay Mechanics

Much like the original game of the same name, Crows is a game about purposefully getting crows to do what you want. As with any wild animal, they largely do what they want. Here, they want shiny things, and are attracted to those shiny things. 

You job should you so choose to do it, is to try to figure out where they will be at the end of the round, after everyone else has taken their turn. The benefit in going first, is that you are likely to get the best spot on the board. The benefit to going last is the ability to make that best spot, less enticing. 

This is a simple programming game, disguised as a tile laying game. 

Initial Impressions

Crows circa 2018, is just plain pretty, in a dark black eyeliner sort of way. The table gets plenty of meandering looks.

The look of it is dark, and just made me want to see it on the table, when it was still in the box. So my first impression, was quite good.

Game Build Quality

There are 4 builds to the crows this time around. It adds some variety, but they are all functionally the same, except the red queen. She is bonus points. Though not strictly necessary, she adds some much needed color, even if it is just the other color in the game, red.

The cards are I would guess to be, black core, meaning light doesn’t pass through, and more costly. The tiles, as you can see still have some cardboard nit leftovers. It is a bit picky on my part, but I would rather not see those imperfections.

Artistic Direction

The box art and pawns are great, and the coloring of the game is a drawing point. I very much like this dark art, with just a splash of color.

With that being said, if all board game art went this way, it would become old fast. If you have room for only one black themed game, this one is quite pretty.

Fun Factor

I don’t know if it was my group, or just the game, but there were a few rules that we had a hard time with, like do the crows ever fly off the board. (They do not.) But the group I was playing with got so distracted by these rules questions, the game did not have the wow factor I expected. 

I think with the different group, and a better grasp of the rules, it would have been better received.

Age Range & Weight

10+. The theming is dark, and the content is light. I would say the publisher’s idea of 10+ is just about right. Do make sure you understand that the birds never leave, unless they do before you start the game.

Conclusions

I am not afraid to admit, sometimes art and theme draw me in, and make me want to like a game. It certainly did here. The tense coloring made the game feel rather blah, but that was the intent of the artist, the focus should be on the crows, not necessarily the tiles. 

As a tile laying aficionado, this is a solid game. I will likely send this to our other reviewers so they can have a turn at the bat, I mean crow.

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