Did you just spill my gluten-free pint!?
Crave is a 1v1 (for each copy of the game) deck building game set in the modern world – but with some mythical creatures, poisonous plants and the odd hipster.
How to play
Each player takes control of either the Vampires or the Hunters and a starter deck of ten cards. The starting player draws four cards, whilst the opposition draws five, after which, every hand draws five – bolstered by any active cards or special abilities.
Each side also has a ‘private’ market from which they can buy more units from their faction and then there’s the ‘public’ market which is available to both sides and contain other ‘factions’ such as Werewolves (which gain strength from pack tactics – meaning the more you have the stronger the pack) or Groupies (that kid that laughs at anyone’s jokes in the hopes of being invited to join the group) or Enchanted (not your average big smiler). And then there’s Plants – which can heal or hurt and can be bought, added to the opponents deck and used to both think out a potentially good hand and hurt and damage the player at the same time.
Each card has Influence points and Attack points and special abilities.
Influence points let you recruit new cards to your deck, from either your private or the public market, whilst attack points grow and combine with progressively stronger draws, whilst special abilities do many things – from stunning an opposing creature or to turning them to your cause – to damaging the enemy if defeated or outright killing an opposing creature without effort.
Within the decks are characters or who are either Sentry’s or Sentinels and are cards that, when drawn, remain on your tableau, bolstering both your Influence and Attack points and access to their special abilities. There are also equipment cards that have to be ‘attached’ to a character, which strengthen it but are removed if the character is defeated. A Sentry character (represented by a triangle symbol) ‘patrols’ your camp and provides relevant bonuses but are optional targets whilst a Sentinel (represented by an octagon) are obligatory targets and must be attacked and defeated before you can damage the opposing player or any other patrols.
However, both can be ‘stunned’ or ‘turned’ if you possess a character with that ability, meaning that you can attack weaker targets or even hit the opposition full force without wasting any damage.
On top of that, Vampires have the ability to heal via the ‘Drain’ ability and Hunters can focus on healing – with the likes of cups of coffee or damage each other with things like nightshade and garlic.
The overall aim of the game of the game is to attack until the opposition’s health drops to zero – and then you win (Side note – the ingenious health tracker using two overlapping cards).
I confess, it may sound a little confusing or difficult but after one game, you’ll be fully in control and working out strategies to win.
The cards are beautifully illustrated, linen finished for quality and tarot sized, for more visual impact on the table. It plays fast once you’re all good with the rules and although there are only two base hands, which feel a little limited, once you begin to expand with other factions (or more of your own) the game really comes into its own. My only real gripe being – I wish there were alternate starter decks, just to maximize the replayability.
A great little card game!