Wave after wave flows towards the beach and crabs begin to rush and climb on each other’s backs. Why? They should not be afraid of the water, everyone knows that. A crab can breathe, even when he walks along the bottom of some pud. And that is precisely the reason for this. Everyone wants to stay on the air and see everything, that is happening on the surface, because every moment, a real crab miracle will happen. At least that’s, what the prophecy says.
And because they were not flushed by the wave, we recevied Crabz board game, which was prepared for us by publishing house Blue Orange Games. Author is then Henri Kermarrec, who created it in 2015 with illustrations by Stéphane Escape.
Box is neither small nor large, and it is showing crabs playing in the sand. They are red, blue and yellow and each would happily climb on back of the other. We should also quickly learn to master all six legs, because we need them to peeks inside the box. There is a hexagonal board and pile of positions divided into three rings.
Board is folded into quarters and set carefully into one hole, while the second half of the box has a deeper compartment in it and therein lie all crabs. They are represented by wooden colored tokens of three different heights (thickness). All the stones also have image of a crab with a number of stars printed on it, which together with the height of token marks each crab properties.
Players put board on the table and everyone chooses a color, that will be his. But he will not get any of those crabs into his hand, nor will he has a chance to position them to his liking. Starting positions are decided by luck, because stones are shuffled and randomly distributed. Their amount depends on the number of players and accordingly is also gaming area for the whole game growing bigger or shrinking.
All participants can expect classic alternating in turns. When one side gets into action, he may choose one crab and move him from his current post. Speed of this figure is corresponding to its size, so while biggest crab can only move one square in any direction, smallest will be shifting already by three positions each turn.
In any case, stone must always use full number of points and finish his movement on other crab, that is smaller (lower), than the active creature. That makes player constantly rearrange the entire field of crabs. Whenever some smaller group is cut off (not connected to the main field), it is immediately flushed into the sea by waves and all the stones are lost. If a player gets all his stones into position, when he can not move any further, he is immediately eliminated from the game. And the player whose last crabs remains active, will be the winner.
Crabz is simple positional game. Really simple, especially if we are talking about level of the rules, because the actual battle on the plan is a little more challenging. In addition to starting positions, there is no luck involved and players must think through every shift of a crab.
Those options each round have a tendency to slow down the whole gameplay. However, this effect depends entirely on the players, who can all influence their thinking. With a greater number of colors (and therefore larger board), it is an interesting game in terms of development. But players have better control, if they only play a duel.
Although the game has simple rules, because of the demands on planning and imagination, it is recommended correctly from eight years up. We identify with this number too. If you do not plan to delay turns too long, then the game itself will take about twenty minutes, which is very positive number.
But what displeases many players is presence of elimiantion. While this is not absolutely vital given length of the game. However, victory can only be achieved by everyone leaving the battle one by one, so at one time, two players will be waiting and two others playing (in the extreme case). It is also the main reason, why you could lose interest in this game, because its otherwise pretty functional.
Putting crabz on top of each other is not only means to victory, but also important tactical element. Free to move is always only top crab of the pack, while others cannot be moved further. Squashed can be only crab, that is smaller. So also number of floors is to some extent limited.
The whole game is of course purely abstract, though its trying to tell some theme. Finally, gameplay is just about pushing rocks back and forth. Yet treatment is very nice and game looks really childlike, which should be a pro here.
Crabz is fine abstract game, that tries to look childlike, but its more challenging and thoughtful entertainment. Still, older children will enjoy it. Although it does not offer anything extra, although the gameplay is fun as is the whole game. There are slight cons, that you must consider before buying. Overall, we appreciate Crabz as solid logical fun for two to four claw owners.
Crabz is absolutely classic representation of abstract logic games. This time, stones will climb on top of one another in a blind desire to remain last on the board, free and able to move. All players are playing move-and-block and once there is nowhere to move, crab owner is eliminated from the game. The whole gameplay is pretty good, but player elimination and longer turns may have a chance to ruin it for you. However, if you like logic games, then Crabz is another contender for place in your collection.