- Designer: Yoshiteru Shinohara
- Publisher: Asmodee
- Players: 3-6
- Ages: 8+
- Time: 15 minutes
- Times played: 4, with preview copy provided by Asmodee
I’m not sure whether to consider Crossing an Essen 2015 game or not because I didn’t hear anything about it while I was there, nor did I see it there. In any event, it arrived in a box on my doorstep on the first business day after I returned from Essen, so I guess that’s close enough! Crossing is a game designed by a previously unknown-to-me designer named Yoshiteru Shinohara. It appears to have been originally self-published in Japanese in 2013 with the name “Xing”.
The game is played by 3-6 players. In the setup, each player chooses a character tile and places it on the table in front of him. These cards are double sided. Players all start with the white bordered side up. (N-1) Mushroom tiles are placed in the center of the table, and then 2 life stones are randomly drawn out of a bag and placed on each mushroom tile. There are 60 total stones in the game: 18 each of red, blue, and yellow and 6 white stones.
On a turn, players count to three and then all simultaneously point at something on the table – either a mushroom tile in the center of the table or another player’s character card. As an alternative action, you could choose to cover your own character card.
So what happens? All the actions are resolved simultaneously!
The short rule, if you’re the only player to point at something, you get the stones on it; if multiple players point at the same thing, nothing happens.
- If you are the only player to point at a mushroom tile, you collect all the stones on it.
- If two or more players point at the same mushroom tile, nothing happens.
- If you are the only player to point at a different player’s character tile, you steal all the stones on it.
- If two or more players point to a player’s character tile, nothing happens.
Instead of pointing at a mushroom tile or an opponent’s character tile, you could choose to cover your own character tile with your entire hand. If you do this, you not only thwart anyone from stealing your stones, you also then lock in any stones on that card for scoring at the end of the game. Move those covered stones off to the side of your tile; they can no longer be taken from you. When you do this, you must flip your character card over to the black bordered side though; you will not play in the next turn – the only thing you do in the next turn is to flip your card back over to the white side.
Then, the board is reset. Any Mushroom tile with stones already on it gets one more stone added to it from the bag. Any empty mushroom tile gets two stones placed on it. Repeat with the counting and pointing.
The game ends at the end of the turn when the bag of life stones is empty. If the bag runs short, the player who is distributing the stones can place them in any legal fashion following the above guidelines.
Scoring – you organize your gems into sets of red/yellow/blue if possible. Then you score
- 5 pts for each set of red / yellow / blue
- 2 pts for each white gem
- 1 pt for each red, yellow OR blue gem that does not fit in a set of three
The player with the most points wins. Ties are broken by having the most white gems.
My thoughts on the game
When I first read the rules, I wasn’t sure if there was going to even be a game here – but I was quite mistaken. Crossing has hit the table a number of times, and it has always provided a spirited game, full of laughs and finger pointing. The simultaneous selection of locations never fails to provide agonizing conflicts when I failed to read your mind about reading my mind, and therefore I manage to pick the same unlikely spot as you, and as a result, we both get nothing!
Once you get gems on your personal pad, you can guarantee that they score because no one can stop you from covering them on the very next turn. However, the price of having to sit out for a turn after banking gems is high enough to make you consider going for more gems from the board prior to banking them…
The game moves along quickly. Each round takes maybe 20 seconds to point at stuff and then collect gems. The bag contains 60 gems total, and in a 5p game, you put out 10 stones to start with and then a minimum of 5 each round afterwards. The total game goes for about 8 rounds – which might almost be a few fewer than I’d like because it doesn’t give you a chance to catch up if someone gets an early lead. But, that’s really a minor quibble. The game is so quick, it’s not a big deal. Anyways, one well timed play can get you a whole bunch of gems and get you back in the running.
The only advice I can give new players is to set up the table so that it’s hopefully clear what people are pointing at. If you have the mushrooms and player pads too close together, sometimes it’s hard to tell. In our group, it wasn’t too much of an issue, and I think when there was confusion, people were honorable about saying what they intended to point at.
Thoughts from Other Opinionated Gamers
Larry (1 play): Ah, simultaneous selection! The thrills, the chills…the stifled yawns. Try to outguess your opponents, win if you get lucky, lose if you don’t. There’s very little here. At least it’s harmless and it’s over quickly.
Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers
- I love it!
- I like it. Dale Y, Luke H
- Neutral. Craig V., Larry
- Not for me…