Today’s Kickstarter Highlight is Ocean Crisis by Shepherd Kit!
Ocean Crisis is a co-operative game that’s super family-friendly and has a great theme as well as some neat mechanics at work. You and your fellow Ocean Defense teammates must stop the formation of Garbage Island by cleaning up trash, upgrading skills, and researching technologies. Now, if this all sounds a bit preachy, you’ll be happy to hear that Ocean Crisis handles the (very real) problem of ocean pollution in a serious, yet still fun manner. This looks like a great game; and yes, there’s a message behind it, but it doesn’t hit you over the head at the expense of gameplay.
Speaking of gameplay, there’s a lot to love here. At it’s core, Ocean Crisis is a worker placement game. However, unlike most games that use worker placement as an action-competition mechanism, Ocean Crisis uses it as an action-optimization mechanism. Since players are working together as a team, selecting actions becomes a discussion about “what should we do next?” and “what’s the biggest thing we should be focusing on?” I like this style of gameplay because it feels similar to games like Pandemic or Forbidden Island where the team’s got to use their own individual actions to achieve a singular goal.
Some of the actions you can perform in Ocean Crisis are pretty straightforward, such as cleaning up garbage – simply roll a die to determine whether the garbage is cleaned up, reduced, or put into research. There’s also a nice co-operative bonus that allows players to work together to boost their clean-up efforts. Other actions, like “eco movement,” are more complex and nuanced – players lay tiles to build a road on the game board that can be used to reach different areas to upgrade personal skills and reasearch new green technologies – making Ocean Crisis a bit of an engine-building game as well.
Another fantastic feature of the game is that it comes with several unique scenarios, essentially changing the objectives and mechanics around once players are comfortable enough to try something new. The game comes with 6 different scenarios, ranging from a dolphin rescue mission to protecting a nesting sea turtle. (Yes, the sea turtle meeple is downright adorable.)
As if that wasn’t enough to add tremendous replay value to the game, Ocean Crisis also comes with a simplified ruleset to allow for younger players (recommended for 6+) to play as well. And the game can be played solo, with 2-5 players, or even extended to a 10 player game with adjustments and tweaks. Helleuw, that makes Ocean Crisis a viable option for a ton of different families and gaming groups! Ocean Crisis is smashing through some cool stretch goals as I write this. Be sure to swing by the Kickstarter page to check out more of the deets.
Until next time, gang. Keep it plucky!