As we continue to deal with the impact of COVID-19, it has been challenging for some of us to sit down and play board games with our gaming groups. So, we’ve decided to occasionally provide previews and reviews of games that we have played digitally. We won’t be able to comment on some elements of the game (like components), but we can provide insight into the gameplay experience. We hope you enjoy!
When I play games with people, I’m often serving as the game master. And when I do that, I usually want to make sure that everyone is happy, having a good time, and getting along with each other. That means that I’m usually going to go for a game that has limited player interaction, especially when it comes to the “take that” mechanics.
But sometimes, you want to raise the level of frustration in the room. You want to play a game where you can smirk at a person across the table as you ruin the work they have done for the past four turns. Where the “take that” happens nearly every turn.
Take Ya For a Ride on My Big Green Tractor
Crazy Farmers and the Clôtures Électriques is one of those games. Well, maybe it’s not as intense as what I’ve described, but it certainly doesn’t play very nice. The second game published by The Freaky 42, this game for two to four players (plus a solo mode!) features a fairly simple variation of area control at its core, but some creative twists will likely have you coming back for game after game.
Crazy Farmers has you competing against each other as… well, farmers. What did you expect? But these aren’t your regular farmers – they’re…. well, crazy. Yeah, I feel like this part may not have been necessary.
Anyway, there’s a big long explanation about how you’re in the future and you’re having to compete in the Ultimate Farming Championship and what not. All of that’s kinda funny, but it’s not super relevant to the game.
What is important is that you’re driving around a hexagonal board, trying to put up electric fences around parcels of land. You seem to have a magic tractor, as you’re just throwing out fences behind you as you drive, hoping to enclose the parcels and add them to your farm. You’re generally able to move three spaces at once, but if you happen to have a long trail of fences, you’ll be able to move an additional space.
I Need More Power!
Why wouldn’t you just keep a long trail of fencing then? Well, that’s where the “take that” comes in. If another player ever crosses over your line of fencing (except for the two pieces right behind your tractor), your chain is broken and you’ve lost your power connection. You won’t be able to enclose any land with electrical fencing until you get back and recharge at your own farm. Combine that with the ability to steal land from other players, and you have a game where no one is safe.
Another element that adds to the chaos are power-up cards that player obtain by adding barns to their farms. These cards can be used to improve your turns, like giving you extra moves or even allowing you to “parachute” from one part of your farm to another. Other cards will allow you to interrupt other players, like forcing them to get caught in the mud and reduce their movement or putting hay bales in their way to block their path.
It’s Crazy, All Right
First things first: I have a love/hate relationship with the theme. I think that the designers have done a really good job of creating a humorous back story, and the art goes with the wacky idea and title. However, while I’ve only played this game on Board Game Arena, I would say that the theme really doesn’t come through naturally as you’re playing. Really, it feels like an abstract game that got a theme pasted on top of that.
But here’s the thing: I think you can make the theme work. I like the idea of a bunch of folks out on tractors, trying to lay down fencing and ruin each other’s work with hay bales and mud. It’s funny, and I can see me bringing out my country accent (that I get naturally) as I describe my every move. I also like the artwork – it’s entertaining and smile-inducing. The components I have seen also seem to be well-made, giving the whole game a nice table presence.
The rules are simple to pick up – I explained them in about 4 chat messages to my friends. However, there seems to be a pretty decent amount of strategy that you’ll need to utilize in order to be successful. The first two games I played against an experienced stranger, I got my butt handed to me. While I won a game later against two other newbies, I felt like I still have a lot to learn if I want to get really good at the game.
I don’t think that this game is going to change anyone’s life. However, I do think it could be a funny little addition to your game library. I could see it doing well right next to my copy of Unexploded Cow. And whenever I feel like making my friends a little angry, I’ll throw this on the table, put on my overalls, and rev up my tractor.
Crazy Farmers and the Clôtures Électriques hits Kickstarter on June 18, and is also available in Beta on Board Game Arena. All components, artwork, and gamplay are not finalized.