Neglect and avarice have caused an ecological disaster. The world’s fruits and vegetables have become horribly mutated. Once inanimate and non-threatening, these essential food-stuffs now hunger for flesh. Wiping them out is not an option, people still have to eat. Luckily, the farmers are hearty and resourceful people, who are willing to risk life and limb to bring the people their food. And earn a nice bit of coin while they are at it.
Mutant Crops puts players in the shoes of the Head Farmers, the only people tough enough to cultivate the wayward plants. Players take turns placing their farmer workers on cards, which fulfil actions such as collecting water, sowing crops or changing the players place in the turn order. Actions allow players to collect Crop cards, which generate money when fed. After seven turns the player with the most money wins.
The structure of the game seems quite interesting. At the beginning of the game six Stage 1 cards are arranged face-up, with each card containing two actions. As each turn progresses one Stage card is flipped over, adding more action options. Players move their farmer meeple from action to action, which means that there is some strategy to where you appear in the turn order.
On a visual level the box artwork and cards look nice. The illustrations have a soft, painterly feel to them that juxtapose nicely with the mutated aspects of the fruits and vegetables. It makes them look aggressive and confrontational while not being completely inedible. Which is important for maintaining the overall concept of the game.
While Mutant Crops will appear on Kickstarter in a matter of months, an important aspect of this game to keep in mind is its lineage, and what this may mean for the end product. This game is based on Cultivos Mutantes, which was originally published by OK Ediciones and El Dragon Azul in Argentina.
The rules for Mutant Crops I was supplied with, to look over for the preview, were an English translation. I assume made from the original Argentinean. It was a passable job; I understood the game after a couple of reads. But in its current state I can imagine gamers in general having a difficult time deciphering the rules exact intent.
After the Kickstarter the game will be published in conjunction with Atheris Games, known for Cul-de-Sac Conquest. Hopefully they will edit the rules document before production, to make it clearer and more consistent.
Generally speaking, though, Mutant Crops appears to be a fun and quick filler resource management game. Everything is laid out in front of the players, so there is no need to remember action options. And every game has a specific and defined turn length, which should make it easy to slip in between more involved games.
Mutant Crops should go live on Kickstarter in March. Keep an eye on The Campaigner website for details on when it launches.