Updated: Sep 10, 2019
It’s time for another worker placement game and for this one we turn our attention to LudiCreations and Crisis.
Crisis is a worker placement game set in a dystopian future where the economy is crashing and the players are tasked with saving it. This twist on the worker placement genre forces players to work together and do things that don’t just benefit themselves. The game begins by setting a difficulty level, This will determine how many victory points per round the players need to achieve. Every player who falls short of this total causes the economic situation to worsen. While every player who surpasses this total increases the economic stability.
You begin the game with 4 managers who can be sent out to get cash, resources or license business such as farms, banks, public transport and utilities. To run these businesses you must also hire employees. You can hire the bare minimum required and run more businesses overall or concentrate your workforce on a smaller number of businesses and increase their output.
Players can also use their managers to collect contracts for goods, which is one of the few ways to score victory points. Selling your goods is vital for the economy, although you can sell your goods to the Black Market instead to increase your cash flow.
At the end of the game you score 0 points for left over goods, workers or businesses but you will score 1vp for every 5 credits in your bank account, meaning that you want bank as much cash as you can during the game.
Balancing your engine to produce enough resources to prevent the economy from crashing, while still lining your own pockets for the endgame scoring is what Crisis is all about. The game plays quickly, lasting only 7 rounds with 4 or 5 turns per round. Decisions you make during stage 1 (rounds 1 -3) will typically impact everything you do for the rest of the game. If you invested in industry you can expand that, turning raw goods into more lucrative contracts. Where as if you invested in banks and public transport you will find you lack the goods for such entrepreneurial pursuits and so will need to invest in freighters or resorts to generate victory points.
Overall Crisis looks like a complex euro game, but really it's very simple. The board is a large flow chart and the iconography, that may at first seem overwhelming, becomes second nature after a few rounds. The intricacies of resources and production may well take longer to master, knowing which workers to grab when and what resources to produce in order to score big in the last rounds comes with time.
Crisis then successfully provides a semi-cooperative worker placement game that isn’t too complex nor does it overstay its welcome, but it still provides a deep enough play experience to warrant many repeat plays.