|Players:||3 - 8|
|Time:||15 - 45 minutes|
Players compete in two teams in Decrypto, with each trying to correctly interpret the coded messages presented to them by their teammates while cracking the codes they intercept from the opposing team.
In more detail, each team has their own screen, and in this screen they tuck four cards in pockets numbered 1-4, letting everyone on the same team see the words on these cards while hiding the words from the opposing team. In the first round, each team does the following: One team member takes a code card that shows three of the digits 1-4 in some order, e.g., 4-2-1. They then give a coded message that their teammates must use to guess this code. For example, if the team's four words are "pig", "candy", "tent", and "son", then I might say "Sam-striped-pink" and hope that my teammates can correctly map those words to 4-2-1. If they guess correctly, great; if not, we receive a black mark of failure.
Starting in the second round, a member of each team must again give a clue about their words to match a numbered code. If I get 2-4-3, I might now say, "sucker-prince-stake". The other team then attempts to guess our numbered code. If they're correct, they receive a white mark of success; if not, then my team must guess the number correctly or take a black mark of failure. (Guessing correctly does nothing except avoid failure and give the opposing team information about what our hidden words might be.)
The rounds continue until a team collects either its second white mark (winning the game) or its second black mark (losing the game). Games typically last between 4-7 rounds. If neither team has won after eight rounds, then each team must attempt to guess the other team's words; whichever team guesses more words correctly wins.
This is a really great game for such a good price. You play in teams, giving your team members clues to help them guess your code, which relates to four hidden words on your secret screen (only members of the same team can see the same words). The other team keeps a track of the clues you've used for each number and uses that to help them try to intercept future codes. You quickly learn that your clues need to be as cryptic as possible, but not so cryptic that your own team members can't figure out which word you're referring to. Just one obvious clue can give the word away to the other team quite quickly.
To intercept the other team's code you need to make associations between clues to pick up the common thread that connects them. Great for developing lateral thinking skills! It's quite funny seeing that some things are so obvious to some people and not to others.
We've played this with a wide range of people and everyone has enjoyed it. I think kids as young as 10 could play this quite happily despite the listed age rating.
I've seen this compared to Codenames quite a bit - but I think we actually enjoy this one more.