WBG Score: 7.5
Player Count: 2-6
Published by: Shot in the Dark
Crash Landed is the first game from Shot in the Dark that is not a quiz game. This time, they have tried their hand at a family card game. The game is played from the perspective of an Alien race who have crashed landed on Earth. They need to get their ship repaired and back out into space. Let's get it to the table and see how it plays.
First, each player must choose from one of the six available Alien races. The rules suggest to get each player to pick one at random and then keep it secret. This is because each one has it's own special power, and it works best if other players do not know which one you have.
You then need to remove some cards if you are playing with less than six, all clearly explained in the rule book. Finally, shuffle the remaining cards and deal out three to each player. Place the remaining cards face down as a draw deck in the middle of the table. You're now ready to play.
How to Play
On your turn, you can do one of four things. Either play one card down face up in front of you to complete your ship. You need four specific cards in order to win the game. One engine, an adductor beam, your Saucer of course, and the finally, your Controls. The first player to have all four of these cards face up in front of them wins the game.
The second thing you can do on your turn is play a damage card to break any of your opponents ship parts that they have played face up in front of them. Each part has a specific part that affects it. They are all colour coded, but make sense thematically. Rust affects your saucer. Daisy the cow blocks your beam. You know, obvious stuff. Those pesky bovines!
The third thing you can do on your turn is play a card to fix any damage to your ship. If someone has previously attacked one of your ship parts, you can now play the corresponding card to repair the damage. Again, this is colour coded, and makes thematic sense. Daisy the cow has got stuck in your abductor beam? No problem, just shrink that Cow down to a tiny size. The obvious solution! I am honestly embarrassed for you that you didn't think of that sooner!
Finally, the last thing you can do on your turn is discard one or two unwanted cards from your hand, and replace them with new cards from the deck. After playing a card or cards, you must ensure you have three cards in your hand again, before play moves to the next player.
Seeing as you all you are doing on your turn is playing one card or discarding one or two, the game moves very quickly. Equally, as all you need to do to win the game is have four specific cards played in front of you, Crash Landed can be over in minutes. The quickest game we had was under one minute! This was a two-player game, and I started with two engine parts in my hand, and draw the other two that I needed on my second and forth turn. In this time, my son who I was playing, did not draw the right cards needed to slow me down and the game was over in minutes. But he didn't feel bad. We just shuffled up and played again. The advantage of quick game.
I have also had games that swung back and forth. With the discarded cards having to be shuffled back into a new draw deck two or three times. It very much depends on the luck of the draw. There is some strategy to this in terms of what cards you discard and the order that you play your cards. But there is also a lot of luck.
There are a few other cards in the deck that add to the strategy. Such as the Worker Bot which can fix any part of your ship. Worth keeping hold of if you ever get one. Although you could hold onto it for a few rounds, finally use it when a ship part gets damaged by another player, only to then draw the specific card you need to fix that ship part on your next turn, which now is redundant to you.
There are also Galactic Thug, You've Been Spotted, and the Tin Foil Hat of Invisibility cards which add to the fun. The Galactic Thug will protect one of your ship parts when played, avoiding the possibility that it can be damaged by one of the other players at the table. However, Asa, the alien race, can steal a previously played Thug from another player if they are in the game.
The You've Been Spotted card brings the classic miss a turn opportunity to the game. And the Tin Foil Hat of Invisibility card allows you to steel one of your opponents ship parts, proving once and for all that tin foil hats are affective against Alien races. I told you Mom!
Is this Fun?
All in all, Crash Landed is a very simple game. But it is also a lot of fun. The games play very quick, mostly! The rules are incredibly light, and easily explained to most players within a few minutes. The game play is fast, fun, and heavily luck based. If you are looking for a game high in strategy, you will be disappointed. But if you want a bright, colourful, child friendly game, with a small dose of take-that, and a high dose of humour, you won't be disappointed.
The game is so accessible in terms of the rules, length, and space needed. I found I have played this between other games, before food when there are only a few minutes spare, and even once in the car. It has a small footprint and low complexity, but a big heart and large fun-factor.
I like the Alien races and the small about of asymmetric power this brings to the game. Each race has a fun ability that can affect the game a lot, although I did find some to be more affective than others. Blocking damage, playing an extra card, or being able to repair a ship part comes up pretty much every game. However, stealing a Galactic Thug is only useful if that card comes up, and is taken and played by another player, and you still need it. A fair few things that all need to align. There are only a few of these Galactic Thug cards in the game, especially in lower player counts when you remove some. And I found this power to be redundant in some games. Although this really is a minor quibble.
I would recommend this game to any young family who are looking for something simple to bring their family together. I applaud the team at Shot in the Dark for venturing out of their Quiz game comfort zone, and look forward to seeing what they come up with next. Crash Landed is a nice little family card game that I can see getting a lot of plays in my house. My children already adore it due to its pace, simplicity, and art. They often ask for a quick game, and I for one will never say no to that! Now, where did I put my Tin Foil hat?