Crossing is a family board game by designer Yoshiteru Shinohra with illustrations by Charléne Le Scanff. It works with three to six players ages 8 and up and takes about 15 minutes.
The U.S. release of Crossing is expected this month from Asmodee Editions. It has a retail price of $24.99 but can be preordered online for nearly $10 less.
In Crossing, players become elves, gnomes, and the like, claiming life stones that appear on colorful mushrooms by pointing at them.
It’s as simple as it sounds. But is it fun?
How it works:
Each player gets tile with a role on one side and mode of transportation (like a hummingbird or a ship) on the other.
Take the number of players, subtract one, and put that many mushrooms in the middle of the table. Each mushroom gets two life stones to start.
Life stones are drawn out of a black bag and come in four varieties, gold, red, blue, and clear. The clear stones are worth two points at the end of the game. Sets of gold, red, and blue are worth five points each, and those left are worth one point each.
On the count of three, each player points at a mushroom. If that player is the only one pointing at that particular mushroom, he or she gets all the stones on that mushroom tile.
If more than one player is pointing at a mushroom, they get no stones and the stones stay on the mushroom.
One stone is added to each mushroom that has remaining stones, and two are added to empty mushrooms.
Play continues the same way, except players can now point at another player’s tile. Players can protect their tile instead of pointing, too.
If the tile isn’t protected, the pointer (provided there is only one) can steal that player’s stones.
When players protect their stones, they move them to the side and flip over their tile. They’ll have to sit the next turn out.
Talking, making plans, and lying about plans are allowed.
When the proper amount of stones can’t be placed, the game ends, and the player with the most points wins.
Why you might buy Crossing:
This is a charming game. The art is lovely, the stones are big and sparkly (my 3-year-old’s description), and the gameplay is quick and largely social.
Anyone can play, and it takes moments to teach.
Crossing is perfect with all ages, and while age gives a slight advantage, in terms of being able to calculate points, it won’t throw the game in favor of the adults playing, especially if they decide to be meaner to each other than they are to the kids.
The game is fine with just adults, too, mainly because it’s so short.
Kids like stealing from adults, and this gives them a safe way to do so.
The game is funny. Since there’s a shortage, there’s lots of second-guessing, and table talk can be lively.
Why you might not buy Crossing:
If this type of game doesn’t appeal to you, Crossing won’t win you over. It’s not layered or subtle.
What I like best about Crossing is the sly grin my 4-year-old gets when she’s about to steal my stones. Even though the game is recommended for ages 8 and up, my 3- and 4-year-old ask to play it nearly every day.
They don’t play well, of course, but even they understand the rules. And sometimes they beat their parents because they don’t do the logical thing.
It’s also great to break out with adults and kids. The adults appreciated being able to play something that didn’t have to be modified for kids, but also wasn’t mind-numbingly dull.
If it’s out in time, this would make a great stocking stuffer or gift for under the tree. It’s fun, funny, and a way to bring family together.
Full disclosure: I got a review copy of Crossing from Asmodee Editions. I wasn’t required to write a positive review. These are my honest opinions.