The Crew: Mission Deep Sea
A submarine crew
Get to the bottom of a mystery by getting to the bottom of the ocean.
Any game that can almost get our whole family back to the table uncomplainingly, for an hour or so, has my vote. This one, like its predesister (a portmanteau I just invented to combine predecessor and sister), is such a game. It helps that the whole thing is built on a basic trick-taking format, so no one really needs to learn too many new rules coming in. It’s just a card game. Kids can come to the table without thinking they need to listen as we drone on about rule after rule, even as they sit down to play for the first time.
What makes the game cool is that it builds on the trick-taking platform and, through a series of stories and missions, requires the players to cooperate – in specific ways and only those ways – to accomplish missions together.
For those who have played the original Crew: Quest for Planet Nine, all of this will be very familiar. The only difference is that everyone who played the original Crew had to take on the same 50 missions. In Crew Mission Deep Sea, there is an entire deck of missions, and each is assigned a number based on its difficulty. Every time you play, they make it harder by asking you to pick missions from the deck that have a higher total number. There are millions of permutations of missions that could give you the same level of difficulty. Thus, this game is truly unmatched for replay value.
The missions are introduced and discussed via a clever little Captain’s diary, unfolding what appears to be a deep-sea archeological adventure. The story is once again irrelevant and entirely forgettable, but it keeps us moving from one mission to the next to see what secret our success may unlock.
Each round, one player is randomly assigned to be the Captain, and that person helps figure out how best to achieve the goals in play. Table talk is not forbidden, but there are specific rules that limit it in ways that we’ve found increasingly hard to stick to as the missions get more complex.
Over the course of 90 minutes, we can play 4-5 different missions, and then put the game away until the next time. It’s all fairly elegant and simple, and a perfectly good way to spend quality family time.
Not sure this one will ever crack our Top 10, just because the ones that do are usually a bit more complex, or have a story that IS riveting, etc, but this one will come down from the shelf a lot more often than those that are less user-friendly, so it gets a high recommendation.
Crew Deep Sea is like the original Crew: Quest for Planet Nine, but with better storytelling and slightly improved mechanics. Overall, I would recommend getting it. Super fun… ish.