Board Game Review: Decrypto

One of the new games we got for Christmas this year is Decrypto. It’s a game that is excellent for parties, though it’s kind of difficult to explain just what’s happens in it. Basically, imagine something like Codenames, where you’re divided onto two teams, and each team is trying to give clues to get their team to guess certain words. The twist in Decrypto is that your opponents are trying to guess your words at the same time, so you need to be careful just how you phrase your clues.

To be a bit more specific, you’re presented with four different words, each of them numbered (1, 2, 3, and 4). Each round, you are tasked with getting your team to guess a three digit code (142 or 213 or 324, etc.) You do this by giving them three different clues, each one corresponding to the secret words that your team all knows (but which the other team does not). In other words, your whole team knows that Dog is #1, Celery is #2, Castle is #3, and Sewer is #4. So if your three digit code is 421, you might say “Mutant, Crispy, and Spot” as your clues. Your team looks at the clues and deduces which words each one goes with. Mutant is like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so “sewer.” Crispy is “celery,” and Spot is “dog.”

Your opponents hear the four clues, but they don’t know the secret words. They can guess which numbers you were trying to refer to, however. This gets easier the longer the game goes on, because it lasts for 8 rounds, and you never change those four secret words. So the more clues you give to them, the more your opponents can begin to narrow down what each word (or at least what concept) is matched with each number. (If you’ve given the clues “spot, walk, bingo, and fetch” over the course of four rounds, they’re probably going to figure out they’re all referring to “dog,” or at least something in that vein.)

While all this is going on, your opponents are doing the same thing as you, with their own secret words. So you take turns giving clues and guessing the code, back and forth. The game ends when one team cracks the opponents’ code twice, or when one team fails to give the correct code based on their team’s clues. (In other words, you need to make the clues specific enough so your team can guess the right words, but not so specific the other team can guess them, too.)

It all ends up being a whole lot of deductive fun. Better yet, you can still chat and have a good visit while you’re playing, because you’re writing down all the clues each time, so you can refer back to your notes when you’re trying to come up with the codes. The games don’t drag, I’ve enjoyed games from start to finish.

So if you’re looking for a great party game that pretty much anyone can play, regardless of how many people you’ve got or what ages you’re dealing with, then look no farther. Highly recommended.

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