First of all, I have to say that I really, really like deduction games (although not all type of deductions). I love Codenames, Abraca…What?, The Resistance: Avalon, H.I.D.E, The Name of The Rose, Word Porters and others. So when I heard Osprey Games would release Cryptid, I was super stoked and excited. I was not sure how the game would work (despite me reading the rules before hand). It’s super abstract game and would really turn off people who likes a bit of thematic spice in their games. Cryptid in fact has an interesting theme (okay I would say it’s a back story not a theme).
So when it was available through my friendly local game store (I could get it online and cheaper, but I chose to support my FLGS, lol), I immediately bought it. Surprisingly the game is quite heavy, and I did have a look through the components inside from a friend’s copy, which I must admit, not bad. The game mainly uses wooden components such as discs and cubes. Important thing to note is that these wooden components are kinda bigger than the usual, which is a plus. The box is very sturdy for a small game like this, I like it! And in addition they print the insert with green color, a small step to make it inline with the overall box / art color tone. The booklets are kinda flimsy, thicker paper would be nice.
So what is Cryptid? Let’s start shall we? In Cryptid, players will take the role of competing Cryptozoologist, trying to be the first one to discover the natural habitat of a mythical / urband legend creature (such as Yeti, Chupacabra, Loch Ness and others). But their task is not an easy one as each one of them is only given one partial clue that point out the possibilities of the creature whereabouts. So players are forced to work together, sharing information in such a way that they gain more than what they provide for each other. I like its story setting, it feels right as a game and works really well.
In each game, players will have to set the game map using one of the cards (randomly choose one and follow the map setup). Once ready, flip the card to see the available clues and what colors will be played based on how many players you are playing with (3-5). Give each of them booklet, wooden discs and cubes of the corresponding color. They will have to check their booklet for the clue given secretly (do not share this information to anyone). Starting from the first player, they have to place a cube into one of the space on the map that is not the habitat of the creature based on their given clue. Once all players have place their starting cubes, the first player takes their turn. On a player’s turn, they have to choose either to ask a question or to search (you cannot do both actions in a single turn).
Question – To ask a question, a player must point out a location on the map (with a black marker provided) and ask one of the players if whether the location could probably here according to their clue. If the answer is a YES, that player have to place one of their discs on that location. If it’s a NO, the player have to place a cube, and in addition the active player have to place one of their cubes to another location where they have not have a marker, this location must not be possible to be the location of the creature based on their clue.
Search – If the active player feels convinced with their guess, they can Search. Search is done by point a location on the map by using a black marker, and place one of their discs on that location. Other players in clockwise direction, must give their answers by placing a disc or a cube on top of it. The Search ends when one player place a cube in the location, thus the active player must place another cube as a penalty. But if all players place their discs on that location, the player taking the Search action then wins the game. One reminder though, there is only one location on the map, so it is impossible to have more than one location for the creature, if there is more than one, one or more players must made a mistake during the game. I also have to point out that some of the game has misprinted rules, so make sure your rules are not misprinted one. Check this link for to get the clarification.
This is a simple logic game, which can be boiled down to a YES or NO question game, where you ask other players and based from their answers (on the board / map) you try to eliminate the impossible locations until it points out to a single location. I really like the idea, at first this game could be difficult to understand, players must build the mind on how the deduction works out and how they should get the information out of the situation. Once you get the idea things will just flow and only time will tell, though it is not easy and sometimes processing that many information at once could burn your brain to ashes. To be honest, this game is like a racing game, you will have to finish deduce the possibilities before anyone else. There is a tension and you can feel the excitement and nervousness waiting for your turn to come.
The game plays relatively fast, like 10 minutes per play and you would want to play another. The game also provides advance mode (more like setup), using different deck of cards for setup. The advance clues are reversed, that say negative statements of where the location is not, which made the deduction and elimination process more difficult. It also adds a new color of building structures into the game (black). With this, the advance mode requires new deck to setup the game.
Osprey Games also offers a digital game setup in case you don’t want to use the booklet and cards. Unfortunately it’s in their website and not available in the form of an app.
I really like the game. First turns you might be confused of have no idea about the location, but that’s okay turn by turn things will be revealed. Anything that players do here reveal some information to everyone else, just like H.I.D.E Hidden Identity Dice Espionage. It’s just this game doesn’t have direct conflict like H.I.D.E. I can play the game back to back, its short and when you successfully Search the location, it’s really a satisfying feeling. I bet you can play this with casuals, non gamer friends and families as well as with serious gamers (though it might be a filler game for them). It’s easily one of my favorite deduction games. Some people say it shares similar mechanic from Tobago, though I have not yet have the chance to try Tobago.