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The Crew The Quest for Planet Nine Two Player Review

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All board game reviews and ratings from “A Pair of Meeples” are entirely based on the game at two players. You can learn more about our rating system by clicking below.


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The Crew The Quest for Planet Nine is one of the greatest trick-taking games of all time, but Houston, we might have a problem, does that greatness apply to its bonus two-player variant?

The Crew The Quest for Planet Nine Review

6 out of 10

Is it Good For Two Players? : OK, but better with more players

If your board game collection is small and you don’t mind artificial players and a little bit of fiddliness The Crew The Quest for Planet Nine still might be worth playing with two players. It is much better at higher player counts but if you still want a quick to play co-op trick-taking game for two it is still quite decent.

Theme: 7/10
Replayability: 7/10
Components: 5/10
Conflict: 0/10
Fun: 6/10

Husband’s Rating
5 out of 10
Wife’s Rating
7 out of 10

Pros

Unique Co-op Trick Taking

High Replayability with 50 Unique Missions

Gradual Increase in Difficulty of Missions

Quite Portable

Cons

Fiddly

Some rounds are too easy while others are “literally” impossible

Uneven share of gameplay between players

Gameplay Experience:

We pulled out our copy of The Crew to get ready to review it for two players and I was shocked at how worn and tattered the cards were.  I was quickly reminded of how much we played this great game with friends and family, but it had been quite a while since it was pulled from the shelf.  

The Crew The Quest For Planet Nine
The Crew The Quest For Planet Nine Components

In two player games of the Crew, players use a third set of open and hidden cards that represent a third crew member, Jarvis, the ship’s artificial intelligence system.

Oh Jarvis, you dumb AI robot.  If Jarvis is any representation of what AI is like in the future, we don’t have to worry about it taking over the world.  Setting up Jarvis and then having the Commander control it seems a little silly in our opinion.  Shouldn’t an artificial intelligence be more useful and smart enough to choose the optimal decision itself?

Anyway, we got down to playing a few rounds of The Crew with two players.  We started with mission 1 which takes about two seconds to play with this variant, but we pushed through and played quite a few more missions.  Man, the ups and downs you go through when playing with two players are kind of crazy.  

Some rounds can be extremely easy to the point they are no fun because of Jarvis, while others are “literally” and we mean literally impossible because of Jarvis.  These super hard and super easy rounds probably account for around 50% of them.  The other half of rounds work fairly well and provide a little bit of challenge while still being decently fun.

This crazy variability in enjoyment is from how dependent the game is on the luck of the deal, so you never really know what you’re getting when you deal a round of The Crew The Quest for Planet Nine.  Its saving grace is that rounds can be quite quick so if the win was unachievable it doesn’t sour the entire experience.  Just redeal and try again.

The Crew Rules Summary:

In The Crew The Quest for Planet Nine, players are trying to work together to complete 50 different missions in order to successfully search for the mysterious planet nine.  It is a cooperative trick taking game, so players will have to play cards in the right order and win tricks that meet the mission’s requirements.

 Each of these missions has its own unique win condition and will require excellent teamwork and communication. Without spoiling too much, most of them usually require a player to win various tricks containing a certain card.  Sometimes they have to be done in a particular order and in later rounds players typically have multiple different tricks they will have to successfully take.

The Crew The Quest For Planet Nine Mission Tasks
One player will have to win a trick with the pink two first and then the next player will have to win a trick containing the yellow 4

The catch is communication is limited and cards cannot be discussed.  Players have one radio communication token they are allowed to use once per round(unless specified by the mission).  This token can be used to show one card from your hand and specify whether it’s your highest, lowest, or only of that suit.  

The Crew The Quest For Planet Nine Communication Token
A single card per player can be revealed and communicated about each round.

Just like most trick taking games, there is a trump suit (rocket cards), but it only goes up to a 4 in that suit.  The player who is dealt the highest-valued trump card is the commander for that round.  The commander goes first and may have to make additional decisions about the round’s mission.

The Crew The Quest for Planet Nine Trump Cards
The Trump Cards (Rocket Cards)

That’s all there really is to playing The Crew, but the two player variant has a few additional steps before players can begin playing.  This is the setup of a third artificial player named Jarvis, the ship’s artificial intelligence.  Players decide where Jarvis sits and then it is dealt seven cards facedown and then 7 cards face up on top of those(excluding trump cards).  

The Crew The Quest For Planet Nine Two Player Variant
Jarvis Two Player Setup

Jarvis isn’t the smartest AI so the commander will have to make decisions for it.  Only faceup cards can be played at any time though so players will have to reveal the hidden cards first if they are required for that round’s mission.

Other than Jarvis, two player games of the crew play in a similar fashion to higher player counts and players can still attempt to make their way through the 50 different missions.

Conclusion:

The Crew is a very well designed and fun cooperative trick taking game, possibly the best of its kind.   

The gradual increase in difficulty of the missions makes it great for pulling out with new players. The initial rounds are great for introducing the concept of cooperative trick taking or even trick taking in general.  The Crew almost progresses with you through your game night and you and your crew members can take it as far as you want in terms of difficulty and complexity.

The Crew has taken “trick taking”, an old and widely used game mechanism, and turned it into a new and unique cooperative gaming experience.  There are a few other games that are in a similar category, such as Fox in The Forest Duet, but what makes The Crew stand out is its 50 different missions that make each round feel like its own mini game.  

The wear and tear on our cards doesn’t lie, there’s no denying The Crew is a great game at the intended player counts, but how well does all this carry over to the two player variant?

Is The Crew Good For Two Players?:

I have to admit I am a little biased, and do not like artificial players in board games, but I will try to set those feelings to the side, at least a little.  The setup of Jarvis is a little tedious but nothing too major and without him, the game wouldn’t work in the slightest.  

When playing with two players, the essence of the game is definitely still there.  It mostly plays the same and you and your partner are still trying to accomplish the same missions that you would be trying to complete if you were playing with more players.  

Our main issue is the high variability of difficulty and fun that are dependent on the luck of the deal.  It’s no fun to have certain rounds be too easy and others be impossible due to hidden cards.  The latter is the more negative aspect because certain rounds even start to feel like treasure hunts, as you and your crew member go searching for Jarvis’ hidden card that you need to complete a mission.

I dislike the artificial player in The Crew a bit more than in other games too, because only one player gets to control it.  Again depending on the luck of the deal, one player may be the commander much more often and be controlling Jarvis more than the other player and as a result, is playing the game much more.

This comes with a lot of other considerations too.  If a lower skilled player is the commander the game can become much harder and usually a lot less fun for that player too.  Controlling Jarvis is still a decent amount of work for players who are comfortable with the game so it’s easy to see how newer players could have a harder time with it.  This means the two player variant is probably best played with players who are both fairly comfortable with the game.

All the artificial player stuff aside, I think we are still quite lukewarm on The Crew with only two players.  It can be fun at times, but in our opinion there are a lot of better two player games out there that aren’t as fiddly or variable.  After you have played The Crew with more players too, it’s much harder to enjoy the more mediocre experience of it with only two.  It’s so good with more players and just “ok” with two, at least in our opinion.

In our early days of board gaming we probably would enjoy The Crew much more and be willing to accept its weaknesses, but now that our collection of games has grown there are just much better games to play with two players.  Now, we rarely reach for The Crew on our two player board game nights.

Now, to be fair, the box for The Crew doesn’t even list two players as an official player count.  The variant is an “as-is” mode that the designers included as a bonus.  Given this fact, it works quite well considering.  Many players may not see all the things we discussed as major weaknesses and even more so if you’re newer to the hobby.  

Even I have to admit that this game fills a spot that hardly any other game can, so if I’m itching to play a quick co-op trick taking card game I would still reach for this or Fox in the Forest Duet over anything else.  

So if your collection is small, and you don’t mind artificial players and a little bit of fiddliness The Crew The Quest for Planet Nine still might be worth playing with two players. For the price, it’s not too big of a risk to give this game a try and really we would probably still recommend doing so and at least playing through the missions at least once, even if you can only play the game with two players.

Pros

  • Unique Co-op Trick Taking
  • High Replayability with 50 Unique Missions
  • Gradual Increase in Difficulty of Missions
  • Quite Portable

Cons

  • Fiddly
  • Some rounds are too easy while others are “literally” impossible
  • Uneven share of playtime between players

The Crew - Quest for Planet Nine | Card Game | Kennerspiel des Jahres Winner | Cooperative Space Adventure | 3-5 Players | Ages 10+ | Trick-Taking | 50 Levels of Difficulty | Endless Replay
The Crew - Quest for Planet Nine | Card Game | Kennerspiel des Jahres Winner | Cooperative Space Adventure | 3-5 Players | Ages 10+ | Trick-Taking | 50 Levels of Difficulty | Endless Replay
The Crew - Quest for Planet Nine | Card Game | Kennerspiel des Jahres Winner | Cooperative Space Adventure | 3-5 Players | Ages 10+ | Trick-Taking | 50 Levels of Difficulty | Endless Replay

We hope this The Crew The Quest for Planet Nine two player review has helped you.

Our reviews are not paid reviews, but some games are given to us, we do not let this affect our opinions in any way. This post may contain affiliate links so we might receive compensation if you sign up for or purchase products linked to. As an Amazon Associate, we can earn from qualifying purchases. This helps cover our site's costs and allows us to continue reviewing games.


The Crew - Mission Deep Sea | Card Game | Cooperative | 2 to 5 Players | Ages 10+ | Trick-Taking | 32 Levels of Difficulty | Endless Replayability
The Crew - Mission Deep Sea | Card Game | Cooperative | 2 to 5 Players | Ages 10+ | Trick-Taking | 32 Levels of Difficulty | Endless Replayability
The Crew - Mission Deep Sea | Card Game | Cooperative | 2 to 5 Players | Ages 10+ | Trick-Taking | 32 Levels of Difficulty | Endless Replayability

The Crew Mission Deep Sea

The Crew Mission Deep Sea is the follow up to the original.  It doesn’t change things up too much but makes the missions much more variable without increasing the complexity significantly.  It makes the decisions and thinking required quite a bit more interesting than in the original.  

Overall it is a step up from the original and improves the game in our opinion.  The two player variant rules are still the same so everything we’ve said above still applies to The Crew Mission Deep Sea.


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