Saturday October 25, 2014

Crazier twist makes this one an eight


There are many cards games which are essentially, standards of our childhood.

I would count crazy eights among those games.

While the specific rules of Crazy 8s is about as diverse as the homes which play it, in general terms players start with a specific size hand of cards.

On a turn they draw a card, then discard one which must follow the card number, or suit of the previously discarded cards. Eights are wild and can be played anytime, establishing a new suit of the player’s choice.

As a game its simple, quick and as a game which allows adults and kids to play together, it’s fun.

But as a game for a gamer group, Crazy 8s, simply does not cut it. There isn’t the depth of just about any game most groups are likely to pull off the shelf.

Enter designer James Wallace Gray.

Gray saw something in Crazy 8s which could be the foundation to something more-suited to a gamer group. What he emerged with is Crazier Eights.

Gray took the basic element of ridding your hand of cards and the idea of eights being wild, and then built on those foundations.

The built game, from looking at a game such as Magic: The Gathering, I am sure,

Crazier Eights has a definite fantasy element with dragons and castles incorporated into the game via extraordinarily nice art.

The next thing Gray did was make each card within a suit offer something extra to the game. Unlike the original Crazy Eights game, every card can have a unique effect on the game.

What that means is that players have much more ability within a game to influence their fortunes. It is not simply the luck of the draw, but how they manage the effects the cards in their hand may have on the game.

On a turn a player still draws a card, but can also play two cards. One card played initiates the affects outlined on the card.

The second card is discarded according to more standard Crazy 8s’ rules, with the unique card effect lost.

So players must balance having a card to throw away, with the need to use powers to influence their chances.

Since there are only 13 cards per suit and all fours, as an example, have the same unique ability, Crazier Eights can seem a bit repetitious at time.

It is a game that could use a fifth and sixth suit, those cards having some new abilities, especially for four-handed and above games. With seven cards drawn per player to start, the draw deck is very small and must be reshuffled often, meaning the same cards reappear over and over. An expansion would take this from a fun filler, to a game that would hit the table far more often as a game favourite.

Check it out at



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