Battle of the Park Animals – A Review of CrumbsMay 19, 2020
Tom reviews TidBit Game’s Crumbs.
- Designed by: Dylan McClusker
- Art by: Andy Varvisoda
- Published by: Tidbit Games
Summary: In Crumbs players are factions of park land animals competing to collect crumbs. They place their minions (animeeples) throughout the park (board) attempting to control areas from which they will score. Then the crumbs fall and players score based on how they land.
Gameplay: The game is played over a number of rounds based on how many are playing. Once setup is complete, players take actions to do several things. First they will draw a Daily Buzz card and do what it says. These set up special conditions for this turn in most cases. Then they get to move one animeeple for free. Lastly, they can purchase actions using points. They can choose to move one animeeple to a new area, purchase new animeeples from their store, drop the dog, place the dog, or a special action. Battles take place immediately when animeeples of two differentplayers occupy the same area. The player that moved into that area is the attacker. Players roll the battle dice (one each) and calculate their scores by adding the number of animeeples they have in the area to the number on their die. The high score wins. The loser’s animeeple(s) is removed. Once the current player has taken all the actions they wish, play passes to the next player. When all the players have taken their actions the game moves to the Feeding Phase. The first player takes all the crumbs cubes and drops them all onto the board from about 10 inches about the center. The cubes scatter across the board and the game moves into the Scoring Phase. Players score based on the number either printed on the board in each area they control or based on the number on the scoring die in their area multiplied by the number of crumb cubes in that area. Players move their scoring marker accordingly on the scoreboard, with play continuing until the Daily Buzz deck is exhausted. The player with the highest score wins.
Uniqueness / Cool Stuff: There are two unique aspects to Crumbs. First are the components. The animeeples are well designed and easily distinguished. The rest of the components are well made also. But the coolest component is the board and its fence. That’s right there is a fence around the outside edge of the board (see the picture below). The fence is there because of the other unique part of Crumbs – the drop. Once a round, the crumb cubes are all actually dropped en mass from about ten inches above the center of the board. The fence keeps them from escaping the board. It’s a pretty neat thing. Another thing I like is the action purchase system as it creates good decision points. Being able to take multiple actions on a turn is vital and you can do that as long as you are willing to spend victory points to do so.
Not Quites: First not quite is the rulebook. It needs some work. The frequent switching between the terms ‘crumbs’ and ‘points’ causes confusion. Other than the components list there is no mention of what the blue and brown cubes are for. You have to get that from two of the player boards. There is no mention, anywhere, about the fence stands. Nothing about how essential they are. You can’t play properly without them. You only find out about the fence stands when you empty the box completely and find them in a small bag. It has instructions on it as to how to use what is inside. I reached out to the publisher about this and he explained that there were some necessary last minute changes to the board that resulted in the inclusion of the fence stands. The next small not quite is randomness. There is a lot of randomness in Crumbs. It comes from several places. First, the dice rolling for the scoring dice and for battles. Not a huge deal as there are ways to mitigate some of this. But the biggest point of randomness is the drop. There is no way to control where the crumb cubes end up on the board. So scoring is very variable. Granted it is for everyone. But you are not guaranteed to score every turn. If there are no cubes in an area, no score. The only way to guarantee scoring every turn is to have control of every scoring area. And to do that you would have to win every battle.
Gameschool-ability: As mentioned scoring in Crumbs involves multiplication and addition. Purchasing actions requires subtraction. The take-that element of the battles teaches good sportsmanship as well as addition. The park theme could lead to a study of famous parks around the world. The animals in the game could be subjects of biology study.
Who is this for:
- People who don’t mind randomness or take that. The battles are very take-that.
- Families – The game is not a heavy game. It’s easy to learn and the theme, ease of play, and art will appeal to many families.
- Casual gamers – this game was made for casual gamers. Again it’s a lightweight game, easy to learn, easy, and quick to play.
- People who like quirky gameplay
Crumbs has a few issues as stated above. But, for many, they will not take away from the enjoyment of the game. It’s easy to learn and easy to play. It has some unique aspects not found in other games. I like the action point purchase system. The components are of high quality. While most heavy gamers will not care for Crumbs, I think this is a good game for most families or casual gamers.
Crumbs won Best In Show 2018 at the Boston Festival of Indie Games.
You can learn more about Crumbs at Tidbit Games.
We thank Tidbit Games for supplying a copy of the game for an honest review.