Crazy Tower – The Architect Meets the Saboteur
If you’re anything like me—the average Dad hoping to connect with your kids—you’re always on the lookout for a game that keeps both you and your kids engaged. A little strategy for Dad, and a lot of laughs for the kiddos. Put a little “fun with gravity” in your next family night with Crazy Tower, a building game that’s engaging for both builders and destroyers—you know who you are!
Crazy Tower is brought to you by Synapses Games (via Luma Imports in the USA) and plays in only 15-20 minutes. It’s a quick game with a simple goal: build a stable structure. If this was a friendly cooperative game, I suppose that goal would be easy to achieve. But this is Crazy Tower—you build to win! Bring your competitive spirit because this is a game that rewards both the thoughtful architect and the crafty saboteur.
There are several different “modes” to play with in Crazy Tower. We’ll follow along with Competitive Mode, which is the most common way my family plays. In this setup, each player takes a group of Blocks in the color of their choice (each group consists of seven wooden blocks that resemble a game of Tetris). Take a Floor card with no Special Boxes (just a grid of white and red squares) and place it in the center of the table. Shuffle the other Floor cards to form a facedown deck.
Turns are pretty simple: Players either put a Block on the highest Floor card of the Tower, or take a new Floor card from the deck, lay it on the Tower, and then put a Block on the new Floor.
Play continues clockwise. The first player to place their last Block on the Tower without it collapsing is the winner.
If the Tower collapses, the player who caused the collapse does not score any points—too bad! The player with the smallest score in front of him or her wins, according to the value of each Block (essentially just the size of each Block).
Raising the Floor
The Floor card determines a lot for how a player gets the most out of their turn. Floor cards are a grid of 16 squares, and each one comes with a different layout of Special Boxes that affect gameplay in unique ways.
Some Boxes limit where you can place a Block, and others allow you to “cheat” in fun ways. For instance, one of the Special Boxes allows you to remove a Block from a lower Floor card and hand it back to the person playing that color (my personal favorite move). Another Box allows you to exchange one of your unplayed Blocks with one from another player. There are tons of little nuances like this in every turn, making Crazy Tower fun to watch even when you’re not the one placing a Block.
Several rules govern the placement of Blocks. Blocks must be laid flat and cannot cover any red squares, but they can “overhang” Floor cards (you don’t have to get your entire Block onto the card). New Floor cards can be offset from the Tower (place it however you want). Only one hand may be used to lay a Block or Floor card.
Finally, there can never be two Blocks of the same color on the same Floor card.
In most games the Tower is going to collapse before a winner is declared, so it’s essential that players try to get rid of their higher value Blocks first.
To win, a player must have a steady hand and a crafty heart, maximizing the use of the Special Boxes on the Floor card and doing their best to set up their competitors for failure. But, be careful—what you did on your last turn to hamper your opponents may just come back around to ruin you. And that’s why it’s so crazy!
Move over Jenga, there’s a better tower game in town.
Though Crazy Tower plays extremely quickly, it has a surprising amount of depth to it. It has strategic tension in each turn to keep the adults happy, and the kids love seeing how much they can mess with their parents—or is it the other way around?
The Floor cards and Special Boxes determine a lot about how each turn will play out, and make the game more than just a simple dexterity test. If by chance you didn’t have what it took to win the first time around, there’s always the quick rematch to look forward to. The crazier you play, the better, so have a little fun!
Crazy Tower comes loaded with high quality wooden pieces and great artwork. The well-produced Blocks are the heart of the game. The Floor cards do feel a bit thin and don’t have rounded corners—a minor quibble.
The game designers get extra points for breathing new life into an old genre. The “crazier” your play style, the more fun it is for everyone—lots of laughs are guaranteed. Gameplay moves quickly between players.
With several different game modes to try out, the game has surprising replay value. The “Saboteur Mode” is especially fun for those with destructive tendencies. In this mode, the Saboteur plays against the other players—the Architects—and wins if the Tower collapses on the Architects’ turn. There’s even a Solo Mode with 20 different puzzle challenges to try.
I had a blast with this one, and my kids love it too. Kid and parent approved! Highly recommended! Find Crazy Tower on Amazon or at your friendly local game store!
The Family Gamers received a copy of Crazy Tower from Luma Imports for this review.
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Number of Players: 1-4
Age Range: 8+
Playtime: 15 minutes