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Alfie Dix, 16, reviews board games that he plays with the family and subsequently with groups of friends. 

Games of deduction and mystery like Cluedo have been popular for years. I bet there’s almost one in almost every home. There are, however, innate problems to these games which any devoted player notices. Firstly, the skill one requires to master such concepts are overshadowed by luck, namely the rolling of dice for movement or other similar random mechanics, and even if rolls average out within the game you are playing, players stick to regular strategies and individual plays of the game become quite similar. With that in mind let me introduce you to my new favourite deduction game: Cryptid.

In the world of the cryptid each player is a zoologist in search of a mythical monster.  They layout of the board is different each time. Each player receives one clue to aid them in finding the cryptid and when all these clues are put together, there is only one possible space on the board where the cryptid can be lurking. There are many benefits to this game over the traditional deduction game. One of the most attractive mechanics in this game is the way in which tun order and note taking mean very little. This is due to the fact that players gather information by asking whether, according to different players’ rules, the cryptid could be in a certain position on the board. Each player answers by placing a cube (for no) or a disc (for yes). The answer each player gives is displayed for all players to see. This nullifies any advantage one might get from going first. It also greatly benefits younger and less experienced players, as the game board produces a wealth of knowledge and essentially records all previous game actions, which creates a much more level playing field where taking detailed notes isn’t necessary.

Deduction games don’t seem to get much better than this, however, there are still disadvantages to this type of game. The worst of these is when a player doesn’t answer one or more questions correctly, the game is easily ruined. These types of mistakes can be easily made if one or more players aren’t fully concentrating. This pressure makes the game pretty mentally taxing. In addition, the wealth of information displayed on the board can be overwhelming, which might slow the game down.

However, I still think that Cryptid is the perfect game for families or groups looking for a new type of deduction game. It is both in depth and quite challenging, but games are not overly long. The game is complemented by the beautiful board. It’s a game I enjoy a lot. However, think carefully before you buy this to play with those who have short concentration spans or struggle to make decisions quickly.