|Release Date: 2023||Players: 1-2|
|Designer: J. Antscherl||Length: 10-15 minutes|
|Artist: Rory Muldoon||Age: 10+|
|Publisher: Minerva Tabletop Games||Complexity: 1.5 / 5|
|Plastic (by weight): <1%||Air (by volume): <1%|
It’s lunchtime and the queue outside your cafe is rather long. Everyone wants you to hurry up and make them their favourite sandwich from your hugely popular menu. The pressure is on to line up slices of bread and pile them high with lettuce, tomatoes, eggs, tuna or ham. Some want theirs even toasted. Well… Crumbs!: The Sandwich Filler Game by J. Antscherl from Minerva Tabletop Games.
Let me start with the artwork of the game. The amazing Rory Muldoon knocked it out of the park again. Apparently, his brief was to create 3D art that is 2D – or something along those lines. Anyway, when you look at the cards you can really say that he met the requirements perfectly. The slices of bread look three-dimensional, but at the same time also flat. As you layer the cards on top of each other, you can see the sandwich taking shape. It makes your mouth water, even though the style is more abstract than realistic. It’s a style you immediately recognise from any of the other games that Rory illustrated and often also designed, such as Skora or Tinderblox. It fits Crumbs! perfectly.
Anyway, let me talk about the game itself. It comes in a lovely little tuck box, which holds the cards and a number of tokens that help you keep track of what’s going on as you play. I’ve not seen a production copy of the game, but the prototype I was sent seems pretty close to being final. In any case, Crumbs! is a game that you can easily put in your jacket pocket and take with you anywhere. Set up on the table, it doesn’t even take a huge amount of space. With a bit of clever placement, you should be able to play it on an airplane table. It’ll definitely fit on a train table, except maybe the tiny fold-down ones.
You can play it alone or two-player. I’ve only ever played it solo, so I can’t comment on the cooperative version. Your goal is basically to use five actions in such a way that you can complete at least one order. If you succeed, you get five more actions to continue playing. If you ever fail to make a sandwich to order within those five actions, you lose. If you manage to complete all orders, you can add up your points to see how well you did compared to previous attempts.
Mind you, completing all orders is very hard. The rulebook provides options to make your task a little easier, but even then it’s going to take you a good while before you succeed. I’ve played Crumbs! a fair few times now and still haven’t managed to get to the end of the queue of waiting customers.
It all starts relatively calm and collected. You look at the list of orders and start to make your plan. You have all ingredients available, so the task is pretty easy. It doesn’t take long to complete the first sandwich. You will even have had time to start work on one or two other orders. The problem is, the ingredients you used for the first sandwich are put to one side. They are unavailable until you replenish them, but that takes an action and you can only bring back one type of ingredient.
Even so, your second set of five actions will be enough to get everything you need and complete another sandwich. You are probably also going to be able to deliver a third sandwich, but now things are starting to get tight. If you didn’t plan far enough ahead, you might already start to run out of bread or toppings. You will start to really feel the pressure.
However, let’s assume you manage another round and complete all the orders for two customers. After all, everyone is on their lunch break and getting food for the office or building site. Everyone wants at least two sandwiches, sometimes more. So, anyway, the first two customers go their merry way, only to be replaced by two more customers. The problem is, the new set of orders comes without warning. You won’t have been able to plan for them. So… yes… well… crumbs!
I think you get the idea. Crumbs! is all about planning ahead, but there is only so far ahead that you can look. There is no actual time pressure in the game, other than the limit of five actions. That means you could try and work out every step in advance. You could test out different combinations of using your actions. In fact, there is probably a perfect solution for each set of orders, but of course, the fun is not in planning everything perfectly. The fun in Crumbs! is when you just do your best and give yourself a little time pressure. Follow your gut to some extent and then see what happens. Try and resolve the challenges that arise. That’s when you will really see the game flourish. That’s when the panic will set in that makes Crumbs! such an exciting little card game.
Now, for those of you who don’t already know, let me just say that I’m not really a solo player. Yet, I really enjoyed Crumbs!. I can see myself setting this up when I have 10 minutes and play a round. It creates the same sort of addictiveness that a game of patience does. You know that the cards might be against you, but you also know that there is a good chance to win, if you play your cards right. If you just think far enough ahead and have a bit of luck that your next customers aren’t too demanding, then you’re in with a good chance of winning. So, yes, it’s happy customers all around – some of whom you might recognise.
I feel that this review reflects my own, independent and honest opinion, but the facts below allow you to decide whether you think that I was influenced in any way.
- I was sent a free review copy of this game by the publisher.
- At the time of writing, neither the designers, nor the publisher, nor anyone linked to the game supported me financially or by payment in kind.
Intro Music: Bomber (Sting) by Riot (https://www.
Sound Effects: bbc.co.uk – © copyright 2023 BBC
Main Music: Lo-Fi Chill Hip Hop | Chilling by Alex-Productions is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.