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Subject: SNAP Review - Review after playing one game of Krumble rss

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Sami Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
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Disclaimer: This review is written after one playing, it's quite possible that we read the rules wrong, or I've missed long term aspects of this game. Also everything in this review is my own personal opinion and yours may differ.


Introduction

Krumble is a game set inside an ancient temple deep in the rainforest. A group of adventurers has just discovered some ancient magical idols, but - alas, as they go to grab the idols some kind of trap mechanism is set off, and they realise that the temple is collapsing and must escape. I picked up my copy of the game from the Tenki games stand at Essen 2006.

The box for Krumble is regular game size, it's ever so slightly smaller in width and length to Puerto Rico, but slightly deeper, so easy to fit on the shelf amongst your other games. The box clearly shows flags for the 5 different languages whose languages are supported in the rules, and on the side specifies 3-6 players, 8+, and that the game takes 45 minutes.

Opening up the box a good portion of the space is taken up by a large insert, but this is relatively intelligent in design with good size compartments to hold each of the types of pieces together. In addition to the game components there was a large and a small ziplock bag included.

There are 6 character boards representing different players - each with an image of the character alive on one side, and as a ghost on the other. There is 1 car board, where characters escape to when they exit the temple, a board representing the idol strengths, and then temple tiles (divided into 54 temple tiles, 6 exit tiles, and 12 obstacle tiles). In addition there are two idols, and 6 character pieces with a plastic stand to wedge them in so that they stand up (seemed quite hard to do without wrecking the base of the character/idol, perhaps a bit too thin? but then this only needs doing once). In addition there are 3 krumble markers, a last player marker, a single 6 sided die, and 108 counters: blue cylinders; red cubes; and yellow triangular prisms. It's an interesting touch that the counters are all different shapes.

The general playing tiles are a little on the thin side, the counters are fine and sturdy, the graphics for the temple tiles seemed a bit dull and drab to me.

When we started playing this in the Essen hotel, someone nearby actually came over and said that the rules were badly translated from the Italian into their language (I think it was German), and difficult to follow. What there is in the English rules is I think relatively clearly written (except for an odd error with the templating where the general setup appears to be part of the 5/6 player setup - there is no space between the two). However there are some ambiguities, and these are not covered by the rules particularly clearly. In particular, the "crumbling" of the temple which is a major part of the game is not accompanied by an illustration to make the process clearer.

The rules are all in one booklet, and languages covered are Italian, Spanish, English, French, and German.

This review is based on a single 4 player game.


Gameplay
Each player chooses a character, and takes six counters of each of the colours, representing the starting skill in 3 different characteristics. These skills can never go above 6, and they all start at 6 when the game begins.
Each player is given one exit tile, the others are returned to the box.

Initially a row of 4 temple tiles (5 for 5-6) is placed across the table so that the opposite corners touch each other, think of a row of diamonds. Next a row of 1 more temple tiles is placed just above so that they interlock, and then a row of the same length as the original row is placed just above. This is the starting area.

Temple tiles always have two empty sides, and two which have coloured symbols matching the counters on them. The coloured symbols are always placed the same way around on the tiles, and the side they are on is the direction of travel. This means that to move away from the starting area the player will have to move through one of the two doorways which have the symbols on it.

Each player chooses one of the tiles at the back of this setup, and places their explorer marker on one of them, two explorers or more may not start on the same tile.

The obstacle tiles are mixed in with the remaining temple tiles, and these are all stacked together so they can be taken by the players. Each player draws 4 of the mixed tiles at random. This, with their exit tile is their starting hand.


The game is played in turns, in each turn a player may either:

Move: Firstly a tile is drawn from the shuffled stack, and then the player chooses a tile from their hand to place.
Then they either move forward one square, in which case they must pay the number of counters marked on the doorway they have passed through (between 1 and 3 of any one colour), and then they move their player piece to the new room
or move backwards one square, which is free, and tbh not usually a good idea.

or

Rest: They draw 2 temple tiles, place one from their hand, and then discard one from their hand regaining energy equal to the symbols shown on the tile they discard (eg if there was a temple tile with a single red, and a double blue, they would regain one red and two blue skill points).

Obstacle tiles may be played as well as temple tiles - they may either be played on a square with one or more explorers on - in which case they immediately need to make a saving throw, and if they can't, they must pay the obstacle price, or on a temple tile, in which case that square will cost the extra price of the obstacle to enter, in addition to the normal exit price from the previous tile (the obstacle counter is then removed).

Moving from an exit to the car takes one turns movement.

If a player pays a 3 point exit price to move, or moves into a room with an obstacle in, then they may take one of the two idols, initially from the reserve, and them from another player. When they do this, they also move one of the skill points they just paid onto the idol they didn't take.

Idols are a second source of skill points (they start with one of each, and gradually accrue them during the game). You can spend skill points from an idol you are carrying instead of from your own reserve when paying the exit cost from a tile.

When the last player has their turn, they pass the last player marker to the person on their right, and then take another turn.

Now, the temple is crumbling, and if at the end of a players turn there are 3 rows of tiles behind them, then the row which is 3 tiles back crumbles - all the tiles are removed, and any players on those tiles die and turn into ghosts (immediately removing either 9 skill points during the first 3 crumbles, or 3 skill points when the crumble counters are gone). Ghosts can move around without paying costs and leech skill points from players who are still alive, but they cannot escape. In theory a ghost with enough skill points can still win.

The first three times this crumbling occurs, a crumble counter is discarded. After the third time, the temple starts to collapse. Before this point, players may not play their exit tiles, but now they can. In addition, after every players turn they roll the dice, depending on the number of players this may cause the furthest back row of the temple to collapse. Ghosts and escaped explorers do not roll the dice.

Players escaping to the car have a slim chance of gaining 1 skill counter back by rolling a die. The game is won when all live explorers have escaped the temple, and the player, or ghost, with the most skill points wins - ties are won by live player, then by the first to escape.


Our Game
Normally I'd just go into thoughts from the players at this stage, but I can't do it for this game, because I need to explain something first. The thing I need to explain is that for whatever reason, either we misunderstood one bit of the ambiguous rules, or the game doesn't play well with 4, or we weren't playing as the game has been playtested, anyway: the game did not work.

What happened was as follows: In each players turn, they placed a cheap tile next to themselves and moved in that direction, sometimes clumping, sometimes not. After 5 rounds we'd spent around 10 of the skill tokens, with no rests, and the third crumble occurred because we'd moved so fast. At this point everyone had a couple of tiles comfort zone, and were far forward on the board. Believing that the crumble would occur quickly, two players placed exit tiles next to themselves and escaped to the car. At this point, because with four players there's only a 1 in 3 chance of the temple crumbling per move/rest, the two remaining players could just stay there and rest, with only a little bit of danger of the temple crumbling underfoot right at the end. Explorers outside in the car had much less luck regaining their skill points, so the two who stayed in the temple scored best.

If anyone out there has any comments as to why the game didn't work for us please do let me know!


Thoughts from the players

Game seems flawed based on the one playing, the imagery and gameplay interior of the temple is a bit dull and unexciting and although the game setting has a lot of flavour this doesn't really make it into the game itself.

Was hoping for more from it, seemed rather dull; Possibly because we got a rule wrong but I can't see one!


Conclusion

Great idea for a game setting, but it just didn't seem to work for our play. Maybe it needs six players?
 
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Christian Becker
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We played the game in Essen at the fair. In our game with three players I had a good head start. I just put my tiles next to me and went the cheapest way, the temple behind me starting to crumble soon. The other players tried to slow me down by placing traps in my way. This didn't stop me, though. The costs for the doors and the traps together were so high, that I got access to both of the idols. That made it very easy to cope with the traps. After some rounds the first player, and soon after that, the second player died (there was some luck involved). Now I played the exit tile, but both ghosts were stealing my cubes now. That way I couldn't reach the exit tile and finally also died. The first ghost won.

I wasn't too happy about the game. There was a lot of luck involved and the ghosts were very powerful. I couldn't do anything against them. Should I have escaped before they died? Maybe just bringing them into trouble and then escaping? It's hard to say after just one game.

It seems to be a light filler game with a lot of theme and atmosphere, but also some flaws (or deeper tactics??)

 
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Sami Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
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Your game sounds like it worked though, the temple crumbling came into it and more than one player died. It sounds like your game was played more negatively, maybe that's what made the difference. I have to admit I was expecting a light filler with theme and atmosphere and not so much skill so this sounds more promising.
 
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Sami Khan
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Shefford
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Have played this game again, with four once more. This time I played agressively trying to get idols and placing traps whenever I had the opportunity. The other players reciprocated in kind.

The game did play better, "working" this time, but I still found it uninspiring. Players seemed to be eliminated by being unlucky with the 1 and 2 dice roll landing depending on where they were in the turn order, and we still had to wait for ages while the last player rested.

This is going on the trade pile.
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