I’m not much of a reality TV buff and laugh at those who get caught up in The Bachelor or Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. They all seem scripted and sometimes unbelievable. If I want a manufactured story in my reality show, I’ll watch professional wresting. The few I do watch are more like documentaries. One I have caught every season of is Deadliest Catch. Sure, they also focus on the drama between the captains and their crews, but the situations they are in are real, dangerous and unique.
When I was young, my family would visit relatives on the coasts of North Carolina and Georgia. To pass the time we would go pier fishing in some of the inlets close by their houses. Along with a fishing pole we would bring along a wire box that looked like a rodent trap. These were crab pots. We would drop them over the pier’s edge alongside where we were fishing. This way we could do double-duty – we were trying to catch fish and crabs at the same time!
We recently took our copy of the Crabs! card game by Daily Magic Games back to the beach this Christmas when we stayed at a VRBO unit. It’s a good one to take on trips thanks to its small footprint and is simple to teach to someone who isn’t used to playing modern hobby games.
In Crabs!, you and up to four other crabbers will be competing to earn the most points by catching, raising and selling crabs to the market. Along the way you’ll upgrade your gear and make decisions on what to keep and what to sell. Set up the game by giving each person a crab token in the color of their choice and a Reference card. The deck of 60 Crab cards are shuffled together and dealt out to each player so they have a hand of six. Ten additional Crab cards are dealt out face-up to the center of the play area, forming the Crab Pool. The rest of the deck is set close by to be used as a draw pile.
Gear cards are lined in a row above the Crab Pool in ascending order. Vendor cards are sorted by their value, shuffled by stack and placed face-up below the Crab Pool. The Crabbing Permit goes to the left of the pool, leaving a space for the Crab discard pile. The last person to have gone to a beach becomes the first player. But…we were at the beach, so we elected to allow the youngest to go first.
Each of your turns during Crabs! is performed in the same way. First, take one of six possible actions. You can discard cards from your hand to upgrade your gear or you may take two new Crab cards from the draw deck and/or the Crab Pool. You could trade any number of cards in your hand with cards in the pool or raise crabs by playing any number of cards from your hand and exchanging them for other crabs in the pool that equal the total point value on the cards you played.
If your crabs are stressed, you can choose up to three of them and turn them vertical. Lastly, you could choose to catch crabs by playing one card from your hand face-down as a Rope card and then play at least one Crab card face-up. The face-up cards represent the crabs you are trying to catch. Total up the value on the cards and check the Crabbing Permit. This will tell you how valuable of a crab you may keep. Caught crabs are set face-up in front of you.
After you have performed one of those six actions, you have an option of selling crabs to the market to a single vendor. In the market are a number of vendors who have their purchase requirements listed. Only relaxed (not stressed) crabs may be sold and you must match their requirements exactly. Some Crab cards have a star on them, representing a premium example. These are caught and sold in the same manner and are worth an extra point when redeemed.
At the end of your turn you will make sure you have no more than eight cards in your hand (discard down if you do). If any player has earned 25 or more points at the end of their turn, the end of the game is triggered. Complete the current round so that all players have had an equal number of turns and the crabber with the highest overall point total is the winner of Crabs!
Catch your copy of Crabs! on Amazon, direct from Daily Magic Games or at your favorite local game retailer. Unless things get delayed, Daily Magic Games will have a new Kickstarter campaign starting this summer! Follow them on Facebook and Twitter to find out more!
Have you ever been crabbing?