Crude: The Oil Game
List Price: $69.95
Your Price: $55.99
(Worth 5,599 Funagain Points!)
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Crude: The Oil Game (a.k.a. McMulti) is a highly sought-after game with mechanisms similar to those in Settlers of Catan. This is an early euro-style game, which accurately simulates the market forces and elements of the oil and gasoline markets at all levels of production, including oil drilling, oil pumping, oil and gasoline buying and selling in the domestic and foreign markets, oil refining, and finally gasoline selling to the consumer.
In this game, each player is the CEO of an energy corporation and can risk drilling for oil, pump crude where they have struck oil, refine the crude oil into gasoline, and sell refined gasoline to the high-demand consumer market. The players also have the option to seek their fortunes by speculating in the oil and gasoline markets, both domestically and internationally.
In addition to allocating areas that they own for drilling, pumping, refining and selling to consumers, random economic events may occur, sending the economy into Recession or Rapid Growth (or even better or worse than that), which shifts the prices of all commodities and equipment up or down based on these economic conditions. News events also affect players by either rewarding or penalizing them for holding too many barrels of their commodities or taxing their facilities.
This game was originally published in the USA under the title Crude: The Oil Game, and was widely received as a break-through in euro-style and economic simulating games. It was then republished in an unauthorized version as McMulti without the knowledge of the original Designer. As McMulti, the game garnered even more attention due to its use of *hundreds* of beautiful little plastic pieces to represent the various game elements: oil barrels, gasoline barrels, oil drilling rigs, oil pumps, oil refineries, and gasoline station facilities. This game is certainly is a sight to behold.
In 2010, Stronghold Games announced a reprinting of the game along with an updated ruleset and and improved economic engine to be created in conjunction with the original designer, James J. St. Laurent. This will be a 2011 release by Stronghold Games, and it will hold true to the beauty of both the game's mechanics as well as the game components used in the unauthorized version.
This review is based off of three games, each played with three players.
The rules were short, simple, and easy to understand.
The quality of the board and plastic pieces are great. With all the different pieces out on the game board, it's visually pleasing to look at. However, there aren't enough pieces included in the game. We had to find substitutes to use for the oil and gas barrels in both games we played. If we had four players we might have run out of oil rugs and oil wells.
Players start by buying or selling oil and/or gasoline on either the foreign or domestic market.
Players purchase assets: oil rigs, oil wells (special purchase rule), refineries, and gas stations which are then placed on a grid with 36 squares. The six rows correspond to the numbers on a black six-sided die and the columns correspond to the numbers on a red six-sided die.
The dice are rolled and any assets that are in the row or column that matches the dice results carry out their functions.
oil wells - produce two oil barrels
refineries - convert a barrel of oil to gasoline
gas station - sell gas to the consumer market
Oil rigs need to be in the square that matches both the row and column dice in order to carry out their purpose - becoming an oil well. This is the only way to get an oil well; they can't be purchased directly.
The player to the left gets production from the current player's black die and the player to the right gets production from the red die.
Economy cards - these change the purchase and liquidation prices of assets and price of gas on the consumer market.
News event cards - change the game environment - such as closing down the foreign crude oil market for purchasing or providing payments when an oil well produces.
What I didn't like:
1) The game seemed to go on way too long. It really seemed to take a long time for someone to get to the $750 million goal. If I play it again I would definitely lower that value.
2) There are not enough plastic components included in the game.
3) Unless you have your quadrant covered in oil rigs, it can take a long time to get some oil wells going.
What I did like:
1) Nice components.
2) The domestic, foreign, and consumer economies were interesting as the purchases or sales of one players affected the price that other players could buy or sell at.
3) The economy cards that changed the prices of the assets that could be built affected how we played. We timed purchases or sales according to what the current conditions were compared to possible future economic conditions.
4) Game mechanics for production.
I was very disappointed in this game. It really bothered me that Stronghold did not include enough plastic components. It also lasted much too long, but the game mechanics were interesting.