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.
I agree with you that Cryptid is an intriguing and beautifully aesthetic game of mystery and the tension builds in the game similar to Cluedo as you know people are getting closer to finding the mythical beast. I immediately went out and bought Cryptid after the first time playing it. I cannot wait until my children are old enough to enjoy it. It would be good to know what age you would recommend introducing this game.
I would probably say that its quite difficult for me to give an exact age that you could introduce this to your children as everyone is different when it comes to processing information, especially children. However, as long as you can give a helping hand and keep a relatively non-competitive atmosphere then you should be able to play this game with great enjoyment from a very young age.
Nicely written. Your final sentence — the warning about those of who a bit slow — is very important!
Very interesting review, Alfie. I particularly appreciate the point you make about deduction games being vulnerable to incorrect responses from players. I haven’t played Cryptid yet, but based on this review I want to check it out. Are the cubes and discs unique for each player – like one player has blue ones and another has green ones – so that everyone can see who made which response?
Hello American Jon!
To answer your question the cubes and discs do differ from player to player so that you can see exactly what each player has said and I highly recommend that you try the game out if you ever have the chance.