Crunch is a card game for 2 to 4 players placing you as head of a global bank, juggling the conflicting demands of your ailing bank and future retirement fund. The game ends when all the banks are finally bankrupt and it’s time to count up that well-earned personal fortune. The richest CEO wins.
Four MULES sat down one night to try it out, taking a much-needed break from the gruel of putting out this newspaper. It took quite a few rounds to figure out the rules, but once we settled in there was no leaving the table for the next hour.
A lot happens each turn, and it can be tricky to keep up. You have to pay your workforces through assets you have in your hand. You might have to fire some of them too and lose a lot of money, or take a chance on a government bailout. You lend money, getting interest if the conditions are right – that’s how you make profit.
At the same time you need to think about how to siphon funds off for your pension, legally or illegally. Other players might play an action card at any time, investigating your bank’s finances or attempting a hostile takeover of your working assets (it’s great then being able to send the workers on strike!).
Fluctuations in the global economy after every go also influence the game. A war is great news if you have assets in arms and oil companies, but a bad turn and things may turn sour, especially if you’re lending to lots of high risk borrowers.
Crunch does a lot really well and makes you think. You watch how the richest banks get all the breaks and bailouts even when they don’t need them, how greed is the only way to survive and how workers quickly become an inconvenience.But trying to squeeze every aspect of global capitalism into a card game is a tall order, and it makes the game slightly overcomplicated. However overall this task is pulled off very effectively. It’s great fun and comes highly recommended.
Crunch is the second release from independent publishers, TerrorBull Games, following the highly acclaimed board game, War on Terror. It retails at £8.99
in the UK. See www.crunchthecardgame.com