Bird Review: Crows

Creating Murders

By on April 8, 2011

It’s time once again to talk about games that do not have any electronical parts involved. Games for cavemen, basically. This time we will be discussing a rather simple game with a touch of strategy. This game is called Crows, and it’s about ugly black birds.

The set-up for the game is easy enough. You are given a set of tiles that are placed initially in a checkered diamond. On the tiles are pictures of trees that have from zero to two crows on them. As luck would have it, these tiles have on them that amount of crows. Other tiles include shiny object tiles, garbage tiles, and graveyard tiles. Once this is all set up, the remaining tiles are put aside, and on each turn a player picks up a new tile and adds it to the board.

The player can choose any open adjacent side of the board to place the tile, effectively growing it with each turn. Here is where the strategy comes in to play: after the tile is placed, so too is the player’s “shiny object.” This object can be placed on any tile that doesn’t have a crow currently on it. The placement of that object will come in to play at the end of the round. After all the – up to four – players take a turn, everyone looks to the board to where the shiny objects are, and points are counted.

Like all birds, these crows are attracted to the shiny objects. They fly in a straight line up and down the board to the nearest object in its path. Those that are equidistant from two shiny objects will simply cause the birds to choose not to go to either, unless there are a lot of birds are on the tile. Then they stop being friends and split up as equally as possible. When the birds have finally found a home, the players count how many birds are on their tile and move their ticker up on the scoreboard. When all of the tiles have been placed, the game is over. And, of course, who ever has the most points wins.

By the by, the if there is a shiny-object tile in the way of the birds, they will go there instead of to a player’s shiny object. If there is garbage, the birds will stop there too. And if your birds end up on a graveyard tile with your shiny object, it’s double points. Graveyards are prime crow real estate.

So how is the game itself? On the whole, it’s ok. Not great, not horrible, but simple fun. It’s a good sit-around-and-conversate-with-friends kind of game. It’s not really anything that will get incredibly heated or exciting, although there are moments where you will get into arguments over where someone has placed their shiny object. It’s about of the level of getting mad at your friend for knocking your man off the table in Sorry! Then you get over it and move on.

So is it worth it? In my humble opinion, there are certainly better games out there that can take the place of the atmosphere this game creates. If you want a good game to relax with, this is not too bad. But if you want a GREAT game that you can both relax with and work your brain with some mighty fine strategy, then I can’t help but go back and suggest Dominion.