Top critical review
5 people found this helpful
Fun for 4+ players or children
on November 14, 2011
Let me preface this by saying that on a fundamental level this game is fun and innovative and is great for children. The extra suit is an interesting twist plus the progressive number of cards in your hand and change in wild cards adds a nice dimension to the game. With that said, a Rummy enthusiast might find the game a little boring with less than four players. As a family we love Rummy games and play a particular version every time we get together. She said she liked Five Crowns as much as our favorite version so I was excited to play it.
I played it over the weekend with two other people and was less than impressed, though. My first issue is with the required discard. Yes, it adds to the strategy but it's a huge drawback. It lowers the difficulty of the game if, after someone ahead of you goes out, you're given another chance to make your hand with the discard of the person ahead of you or lower the points against you with your discard. It turns out my aunt plays Five Crowns without requiring a discard, which partly explains why she likes it so much. My second issue is that when you only have two or three players there are far too many wild cards to make the game much more than a game of chance. In one round, one person went out on their third or fourth turn in the three highest hands and had three or more wild cards in it. One time he had six. If you took the suited wild cards out he would have been at least four turns (with a lot of luck) away from even possibly being able to go out. Some people might think that's fun but for me it takes all of the strategy out of the game. It was also absolutely impossible to "stick" anyone with lots of high-value cards. Between everyone getting an additional turn after someone "goes out", the forced discard and 14 wild cards in the deck there was no way to force anyone into taking a large number of points unless you could go out on the first one or two turns. I might try some variations and see if that changes the "fun quotient" of the game. I rated the durability as two stars because the cards feel cheap and warped badly while playing. We were playing poolside in an indoor waterpark. More plastic coating on the cards would have kept them from becoming soft and sticky within a hand or two of starting.
In short, this game is great for a group, as an introduction to Rummy or for children. I would highly recommend finding a different game if you're used to more challenging Rummy games or plan on playing with only a few people.