Crunch in Brief
- It's a new card game
- 2- 4 players
- Just £8.99 [Buy it!]
- You play a banking CEO who has to bonus and embezzle their way to a comfy retirement
- It all ends in tears
TerrorBull Games create games that help people grapple with the more unpleasant things in life.
Crunch is a card game for 2 to 4 players that allows you to experience the upside of down. Placed in the role of a global banking CEO, you have to juggle the conflicting demands of your ailing bank and your flourishing bank account.
Along the way, the game also replicates our modern banking system and foreshadows the inevitable collapse of capitalism, but that's just a bonus.
It's a Trust Thing
Each player starts the game with a number of Assets in their bank, a small workforce and a few Trust cards. Trust is essential to your bank's survival. Not only will capitalism falter without it, but each Trust card hides on the reverse a potential Government Bailout.
Government Bailouts can be called in at any time you're feeling the pinch (that's at any time) in return for a variable cash injection. Occasionally though you get nothing, so spend them wisely.
Debt Makes the World Go Round
Using your workforce, you lend out your bank's Assets as debt. You can dabble in high risk debt for potentially big rewards (and big losses) or stick to the safer (but less profitable) low risk debt. Either way, clever playing of the markets will bring in big returns.
Bonuses and Embezzling
But then that's all immaterial because what's really important is how much money you can secure for your own personal fortune. You do this by awarding yourself bonuses at regular intervals and by brazenly embezzling your own bank's Assets and hiding them when no one else is looking. If you get caught embezzling, you lose a Trust card and you remember how important Trust is, right?
Surviving the Crunch
Occasionally, the Crunch will hit and all CEOs have to make sure they can cover all the money they've lent out with the total value of Assets in their banks. If they can't, it's government bailout time or bust. But don't worry too much if that happens because if you've managed to bonus and embezzle enough, you can still win the game, even if you go bankrupt first.
Remember, you could run a model bank for the entire duration of the game, but if you fail to look after number one, you risk ending up yachtless.
For more details, check out the full rules and rule alternatives.
64 Asset / Action Cards, 34 Event Cards, 15 Trust / Government Bailout Cards, 15 Workforce Cards and one A4 sheet of rules.
Why we Made 'Crunch'
In 2008, as over-inflated markets, dodgy investments and diminishing resources all began to reach breaking point, the world's financial systems started to wobble.
Although the problems inherent in, say, spending over a trillion dollars on a war, while your country's exports diminish year-on-year, would be apparent to the average school child, somehow everyone seemed caught off guard by this. And, being simple people, we started looking around to find out who to blame.
There were many villains. The sub prime mortgage market in the US, inept financial ratings agencies, credit-addicted consumers (how dare we borrow cheap and easy money!), reckless city traders and rogue crooks like Bernard Madoff and Jerome Kerviel.
The Car or the Driver?
Unfortunately, you can't bomb the economy into shape, so looking for culprits was largely a waste of time. Even when bank bosses finally came under fire, it all felt like a bit of a diversion. Like sitting in an upturned, burning car and taking that moment to try and work out where you went wrong, when the car itself has no brakes, no steering wheel, tyres made out of butter and wood instead of glass for windows. And it's not even a car, it's an angry lion on roller skates and you've been trying to drive it.
It all seems a bit short-sighted. After all, in a system that rewards greed and profit, should we really be surprised when both get out of control? And in a society whose only measure of value requires a price tag, should we wonder when some people find it difficult to separate money and morals?
It's All Good Until It Goes Wrong
A hundred reasons have been given for the current global recession but no one's actually questioning the system itself. Surely everyone who ever over-borrowed, eveyone who overlent, every Madoff, every Enron, every Fred the Shred, every bonus-loving CEO were doing pretty much exactly what the system required of them? And while things were good, we loved these people - they were the grease in the wheels that powered the Good-Times-Inc.-Mobile
It's also worth remembering that this system is explicitly enforced in UK and US law, which states that all businesses have a legal duty to maximise profits whenever possible for their shareholders. What this means is that if you put your customers first, or you dare to think about the social, environmental or political consequences of what you do as a business, then you are breaking the law unless it's for the ultimate benefit of your shareholders.
This is a system that is designed to reach breaking point. The pattern of "boom and bust" is integral to capitalism and forever will be until we run out of people to exploit or resources to power that exploitation.
Skip to the End . . .
In a beautiful conclusion, we see the same is true in Crunch: while it doesn't help that the various CEOs (players) embezzle their own banks' funds, draw inappropriate bonuses and lend out too much money, the seeds of the game's distruction are sewn before the game even starts. In a way, it's pre-programmed to self destruct. The players are just along for the ride.