Kryptos is all about deciphering the cards in the other player’s hands. It’s a ‘code breaking’ deduction game set in a Cold War type era. Counter intelligence is the key to victory.
Through shared information and personal knowledge you’ll make an attempt to identify a card in an opponent’s hand. Guess correctly and you’ll gain valuable points. An incorrect effort results in knowledge for you…and the rest of the table. Piotr Silka has made a neat game from just a deck of cards and a code tracking board.
Everyone gets a hand from a deck of 48 cards. Each card is individually numbered between 1-48 and spread non consecutively over four different suits. Hand size is determined by the number of players, from 8-10 cards.
As soon as the hands are dealt out, players have to arrange their cards in ascending order. Everyone takes coloured tokens equal to the cards they have in that suit. Then counterclockwise from the start, players in turn reveal a card from their hand, by flipping it for everyone to see, but keeping its place in the order. They’ll then spend a token of that colour, covering the number on the code tracking board. This process goes around until every player has revealed two cards.
By now the code tracking board has filled up a bit and you can start to surmise a little about what people might have in their hand. In turn, players select a card from any opponent and make an attempt at guessing the value. If they’re right they get three points. You need 15 to win and you start with two. If they’re wrong, they can one time only (per turn) spend a point to make another attempt. The second guess can be about the same card or any other one.
Play continues until one player gets to 15 points. It’s a pretty quick game and you’re intended to play several rounds. The idea of a deduction card game reminds me a bit of Divinare. In both games players strategically reveal cards from their hands while hoping to deduce the contents of their opponent’s.
Kryptos plays 3-6 and while it’s not going to be the main course of any game night it is certainly a great starter or filler, albeit a bit more thinky than many. If you can get your hands on Kryptos it’s well worth checking out.