Shuffle & Play Review: Cryptid

Move over Bigfoot, Cryptid is in town!
Hal Duncan & Ruth Veevers 2018
3-5 Cryptozoologists
30 – 50 minutes

A review by Philip Underwood

Welcome Cryptozoologists! It is time to Prove once and for all that the Cryptid is real and living in the beautiful landscape of North America. Firstly, players will choose a map card from the 54-card deck. This card shows the layout of the 6 map tiles and the positions of any structures used in that game. The reverse of the card shows the clue books and their clue number, for each player count, for that game. Players then take their clue books, secretly read their game specific clue, take their playing pieces and get reading to hunt down the elusive Cryptid.

It is worth noting at this point that each player holds just one piece of the required information to locate the Cryptid and this is very much not a cooperative game. This game requires players to read the board state and the actions of others to try and understand what their clue must be or cannot be. ‘So how do you find the Cryptid?’ I hear you ask. Well on a player’s turn they can do 1 of 2 actions, it really is that simple. A player may Question or Search. Or if you are a Vulcan, I guess you could try a mind-meld, but you probably will not be invited to games night anymore.

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Questioning requires the player to pick a hex on the map to place the pawn, then they may ask one player “could the creature be here?”. The questioned player then checks their clue and responds accordingly. If the Cryptid could not be in that location the questioned player places one of their cubes on that location and the questioner must place one of their own cubes on any other hex according to their own clue. If the Cryptid could be in that location the player must place a disc down to denote this.

Searching requires a player to place the pawn and a disc on a hex that could be the location of the Cryptid, then moving clockwise all other players place discs until the first player that places a cube, at which point the search is over. If no one places a cube, then that must be the location of the Cryptid and the Searching player wins. If one player places a cube, then the searching player must place a cube on another hex according to their own clue. Searching is rare early in the game as this could give your opponents a sizeable amount of information about your clue.

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Clues range from “on a forest or desert” to “within one space of a swamp” to “within two spaces of a cougar territory” and that is just the start. As you get better at the game you can change up the clues to the more complicated set of inverse clues, which means you will suddenly be trying to fathom out if that space is “not within one space of a standing stone” while also “not within one space of a bear territory”.

And that, my little zoological wonders, really is all there is to the rule set. The real depth of this game comes from how players try to hide their clues from each other while trying to work out what other players’ clues may be. I have seen recommendations that players write down the potential clues then cross them off as the board state proves them to be impossible but honestly it isn’t that tough to look at the board and get a reasonable understanding of what is possible and not. Having said that it is useful that each player clue book has a cheat sheet of clues on the reverse. 

 

Pros: 

+ The map tiles are beautiful and bright, and the components are a good size

+ The rules are super quick and easy to learn and teach

+ Plenty of variety and replayability

+ Quick setup and gameplay

 

Cons:

– Territories could be hard to see if eyesight is an issue

– If a player does not understand their clue, then games can be void due to mistakes

 

 

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