Almost five years ago, on April 22, 2017, I wrote a blurb on Crazier Eights – Camelot – a fast-paced revamp of Crazy Eights, the card game classic. Later that year, Crazier Eights: Avalon was released. Designed by James Gray, Avalon is a stand-alone expansion to the original base game Crazier Eights (you can see our write up to Avalon HERE). About a year following the release of Avalon, I had the opportunity to check out One Thousand & One Nights and Shahrzod – two more installments of the gateway fantasy card game Crazier Eights, this time inspired by the Arabian Nights stories with Aladdin, Ali Baba, Princess Parizade, Sinbad, and other famous characters from the stories.
Recently, James Gray sent over TWO MORE installments of this game – Olympus and Pantheon. As I write this review, my goal is to highlight a few differences between the other versions of this game. So, in case you are not familiar with the game, here are the basics.
The goal of the game is to get rid of all of your cards. The game progresses in much of the same way as the classic Crazy Eights. Each player begins the game with a hand of seven cards. During a players turn, she draws one card from the deck, attempts to discard a card from her hand (by matching rank or color), and may play one card from her hand.
Each card contains either details of an “event” or an “asset.” Events are one-time use cards with impactful, but temporary, effects. An example might be forcing a player of your choice to skip a turn or allowing the player to discard an additional card. Alternatively, assets are permanent cards that are played on the table in front of the player to affect various game mechanics. For example, as asset may allow a player to discard one additional card per turn or allow the player to prevent a card from being destroyed.
Okay, let’s start with Olympus. Crazier Eights: Olympus is a gateway fantasy card game inspired by the stories of Greek mythology. Like the previous renditions, the first player with zero cards in hand wins. Every card may be played for a unique and imaginative ability. Zeus, the Helen of Troy, Mount Olympus, and many more cards from Greek mythology comes to life with these fifty two cards.
The immediately noticeable difference between Olympus and its predecessors is the theme – Greek mythology. Along those lines, one new feature introduced in Crazier Eights: Olympus are gods. Every ace is a god and has a requirement — you can’t play it unless an opponent controls a certain number of assets. They are a bit more powerful than ordinary cards and can’t be destroyed. You can’t even try to destroy them.
Athena, Theseus, the Minotaur, and many other characters from Greek mythology come to life in Crazier Eights: Pantheon. Crazier Eights: Pantheon is a smaller Crazier Eights stand alone game inspired by Greek mythology.
It’s a 33 card deck of cards, which is enough for 2-3 players. It has multi-colored cards instead of eights. It is made to be mixed into Crazier Eights: Olympus, but it can also be played as a stand alone game or mixed into a different Crazier Eights game (other than the first edition.)
At this point, the Crazier Eights line of card games is starting to host a variety of cultural spheres. The artwork is fantastic, has is sports countless historical masterpieces. I enjoyed the newer renditions – Olympus and its add-on Pantheon – in a similar way as I did its predecessors. The fast-paced design of the game is somewhat refreshing. Nothing is more frustrating than a game that drags on and on into monotony and boredom. A swift game allows from several rounds to be played in one sitting and prevents the game from turning stale too quickly. Additionally, the basic gameplay rules all fit on a single sheet. The rules are straightforward and easy to comprehend, making this a great game for a wide-range of ages. It did not take more than 10 minutes before we were drawing cards and getting started. The card art is colorful, thematic, and appealing. Many card games seem repetitive and one-dimensional. This is not one of them. Crazier Eights has replayabilty and I could see this game leaving the shelf often.