Decrypto Review

Decrypto is a game by , published by Scorpion Masqué and distributed by IELLO. It is for 3-8 players. In this game, players will team up into two separate teams as they attempt to interpret coded messages from their teammates. Of course they’ll have to be careful as their opponents will be trying to intercept those messages by cracking the teams secret code. If the player’s are able to correctly intercept their opponents without any miscommunication of their own codes, they’ll be one step closer to victory. Likewise, if their own codes are too hard to decipher and they mess up, they’ll be one step closer to defeat. The team that can best decrypt the codes will be declared the winners.

To begin, players will split into 2 teams, as evenly as possible. Members on the same team should sit on the same side of the table, with the opposing players on the opposite side. Each team is given a screen which is placed in front of them where the windows are facing towards them. Each team will then draw 4 Keyword cards and place them in the windows of their screens, without showing them to the other team. Each team will then take the Code Deck that has the same corresponding color as their team’s screen. Each team is then given a Note Sheet and a pen or pencil (not included). Teams should choose a name and write it in the space provided on the Note Sheet. The Sand Timer, Interception Tokens and Miscommunication Tokens are placed in the middle of the play area. Once both teams are finished, play now begins.

The game is played over several rounds. At the beginning of each round, each team will choose one of their members to be the Encryptor. This role should be rotating, going from team member to team member as the game is played. Each round is divided into a series of steps that must be followed in order. First, each team’s Encryptor will draw a Code Card from their team’s deck. This card must be kept hidden from all other players. The Encryptor will look at the card and prepare themself. Once ready, the Encryptor will write 3 clues on the 3 lines of the current round on their team’s Note Sheet. It should be noted that each team should use the side with their team’s color on it at this time. Once one of the team’s Encryptors has finished writing their clues, they will then turn over the Sand Timer. The opposing Encryptor must now finish writing their clues before the time runs out. Once teams are ready, the White Team’s Encryptor will now read aloud their 3 clues, handing the sheet to their teammates when finished. The Black Team will simultaneously write down the 3 spoken clues onto the white side of their Note Sheet for the current round. Teams are then allowed to discuss the clues, as they try to determine which clues go with which number. Once a team has decided, they will then write down the number that they think correctly corresponds to each clue at the end of the line in the first column of the Note Sheet. It should be noted that the Encryptor that just read the clues, is not allowed to participate in the discussion or to make any sort of reaction to their teammates discussion. Once both teams have written down their numbers, the Black team is then allowed to try and intercept the code. They will now read aloud the 3 numbers that they wrote down in order. It should be noted that in the first round, neither team is allowed to try and intercept the other team’s code. Once the Black team has finished, the White team will now try to decipher the code by reading aloud their 3 numbers that were written down for the code. The White team’s Encryptor will then reveal the code card with the 3 digit code on it. If the Black team was correct, then they will receive an Interception token. If they were wrong, nothing happens. If the White team is incorrect, they receive a Miscommunication token. If they were correct, nothing happens. Each team will now write the correct code in the second column on the Note Sheet for that round. Teams should then write down the clues for that particular round in the corresponding section for that number. Once all this is done, it’s now time for the Black Team’s Encryptor to read their 3 clues aloud. The same process as above is repeated, except that the teams are now reversed. The Black Team will try to decipher the code while the White Team will try to intercept. Once both teams have completed this process, the round ends.

At the end of each round, both teams will check to see if one of the teams has either won or lost the game. If a team has 2 Interception tokens, then they are the winners. If a team has 2 Miscommunication tokens, then they lose and the other team wins. If either of these things happens, the game ends. If neither of the conditions has been met, then a new round begins starting from the beginning again. Each team should place their used Code card back into their deck and shuffle it. A new Encryptor is chosen for the team and the game continues.

The game comes with some really interesting looking pieces. First off there are the 2 team screens. One is white and the other is black. Both of these look like some elaborate computers with some of those red screens that you can place a card behind and see the hidden message. This is the same type of thing that you might find in a McDonald’s Happy Meal but it’s used in a much better way and looks way better too. There are 2 different code decks; one white and one black. These have the codes that each team will be trying to decipher while the Encryptor gives the codes. These look great. The back of each card looks like a floppy disk which is a pretty cool looking design. The Keyword cards have the hidden words to be deciphered. When placed in the screens, the words are uncovered and easy to read. There are also some Interception tokens and Miscommunication tokens. These have a stylized cartoon computer character. On the Interception tokens, he’s listening to a keyhole with his hand against his ear, while the Miscommunication token has him passed out on the floor. These are all thick cardboard and rather funny looking. It also has a large note pad full of Note Sheets. One side is white and the other is black. Finally the game comes with a plastic sand timer that is present in a lot of different party games. Overall I think the pieces look a lot like something you would find in most party games. The quality is really good and everything looks nice. I’m rather pleased with the overall production of this game.
8 out of 10

The rulebook for this game is very good. The pages are all glossy and full color. There are plenty of great looking pictures and examples throughout the book. There’s a wonderful looking setup example, as well a thorough example of gameplay. There is an explanation of how to give clues and what they should be. It’s very detailed and a great help for playing the game. The rules even include a way to play the game with only 3 players. The back of the book has a summary of turn order along with a summary of the clue rules. Everything is explained quite well and is fairly easy to read. I think the rulebook does a good job of covering everything and it looks good to boot. I didn’t see anything that should cause any problems or that was unacceptable. Overall, i think it’s pretty good.
8 out of 10

I’ve pretty much given up on most, if not all, party games. They just don’t really appeal to me. I’d much rather do anything else. I will say however, that there are some games like Crappy Birthday and others of that sort that are pretty fun and always end up making everyone laugh. Anything that makes me laugh will usually hang around for awhile. Decrypto, while it isn’t really categorized as a party game, it has a lot of party game style qualities. It must be played with at least 4 people, although the rulebook explains how to play with only 3. Still, I prefer having teams of equal size, the more the merrier. The game is team-centric, meaning that it’s us vs. them. My team has to try and beat your team. It also encourages laughter, like most party games. Try giving a bad clue that you thought your team should have easily gotten and see how quickly you get laughed at. Sometimes the simple clues in themself are laughable. Like when your team doesn’t see anything relating to the word that you were giving a clue about. Sometimes you can’t help but to laugh. I find myself laughing when the timer is about to go out as someone is desperately trying to write down a clue. Just as long as it’s not me trying to think of something. So while this game does have party like aspects, it’s still fun and not one to be turned down. Over the past year or so, I’ve been ever on the lookout for games to play at family gatherings. Codewords didn’t go over too well. 1 playthrough and the family was pretty much over it and bored. Decrypto, however captures the fun that we’ve had with games like Crappy Birthday and others of that sort. I like that teams can win based on the other team losing. It’s not just about you trying to decipher the other team’s codes, you have to make sure that you don’t screw up your own codes. In a lot of ways it comes down to the overall ability of your team’s Encryptor to give out clues that are easy enough for you to get but hard enough for the opposing team to mess up. I will say that I enjoyed this one a lot more than I originally thought that I would. I fully expected to give this one a pass, but it surprised me. It’s actually fun. This is a game that I would recommend, especially with more players. It’s great for family gatherings and get togethers. It’s one that even younger players can participate in. You just might not want to let them be the Encryptor, as you might wind up with some really wild and unrecognizable clues. Of course that can be kind of fun and humorous in it’s own right. Overall, I like this game and think that most players should enjoy it as well.
8 out of 10

Decrypto is a team style game of deciphering codes that everyone should enjoy. The game doesn’t take a long time. Most game sessions last around 30 minutes or so. Of course if you have slow Encryptors, it may take a little longer. The components for this game are all great quality and are up to par with pretty much anything IELLO makes. I do like the whole computer like designs on many of the pieces, especially the floppy disk code cards. The rulebook is also quite good and has lots of great pictures and examples. The game itself borrows a lot of party style ideas and molds them into a game that is great for families gatherings and get togethers. It is easy enough that even young players can help out and be a part of the team. Fans of party style games and word games should really enjoy this one. This is one that I recommend, especially with a big group of players. This game is fun and is one that I think most people will enjoy. So, put the Uno cards away and give this one a try, or do you need another clue?
8 out of 10


For more information about this and other great games, please check out IELLO Games at their site.



About Gaming Bits - Jonathan Nelson

I'm a happily married man with 2 wonderful kids. I love my family very much. I'm a big fan of board, card and RPG games and have been playing for over 20 years. As a board and card game reviewer, I'm hoping that this blog will inform, educate and entertain you. If you like it, please tell your friends and have them join in on the conversations. Thanks and GAME ON!!
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