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New South Wales
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You are spy agencies caught in a war of surveillance and espionage. Both of you are listening in on each other as you transmit encrypted messages each other. You must communicate to your team without the other team intercepting you.
Decrypto is a party game for two teams, who will take turns sending coded messages to their team mates. However, with each transmission, the other team has a chance to intercept and guess the transmission first.
The goal of the game is to be the first team to correctly decrypt the other team’s sequences twice. Alternatively, if your own team fails to interpret your own decrypted messages twice, you lose.
Each team has a panel that contains four keywords, numbered from 1 to 4. On your team’s turn, a member of your team draws a code card, which has a sequence of three numbers. The idea is that you encrypt this sequence through coded words, using word associations with the number’s keyword. These coded words must be conceptually associated with the keywords.
After giving out the clues, both teams attempt to decrypt the numerical sequence, writing their answers down on their pad. The opposing team reveal their answers first, to confirm whether they are correct in their guess. If they have guessed the sequence correctly, they take a white decryption token. After, the home team reveals their answer. If their decryption was wrong, the home team takes a black miss token.
Both teams will take turns giving encrypted sequences that the other team tries to guess. If your team manages to take two white tokens (by successfully decrypting the opponent’s team twice), you win. If your team manages to take two black fail tokens (by failing to decrypt your own team’s message twice), you lose.
In the situation where both teams have accumulated two black or two white tokens in the same round, you progress to a sudden death match. Both teams must try to guess what the keywords of the other team is, and the better of the two wins.
Perhaps the easiest way to describe this game is Codenames meets Mastermind, with maybe just a splash of Dixit thrown in there. Word associations drive the game, but the fun is actually navigating the fine line between clarity and obscurity.
So on one hand, you have a lot of fun attempting to establish code words that have enough ambiguity that could mislead the opposing team, while also being unmistakable to your own. I have found that some of my best luck in misdirecting comes from using words with multiple meanings. Especially if they could be part of one or more of the context.
On the other hand, as the game progresses each team builds up a corpus of clues for word associations with the four keywords. They might not be able to guess that word exactly, but they can make educated inferences on which words are the best fit. Some of the most exciting moments are those epiphanies where you deduce the word, and you keep it secret so the other team doesn’t know.
It is also pretty interesting how you can lose through too much noise. It is imperative that you get across your message, and so you can’t just be wildly obscure to throw your opponent’s off. However, in the rare circumstance where the first team to act gets a second black mark, and the second team has none, that second team can deliberately obfuscate. Because they will win even if their team mate guesses incorrectly, and that is the safer option.
I think anyone who enjoys Codenames will probably like this game. It is a little more intricate, and this means that maybe it’s just that extra step of complexity for many non-gamers. In many ways, this does feel like the gamer’s version of Codenames with it’s double-jeopardy dynamic.
Days are early, but I think this one will prove highly favourable. I strongly recommend it.
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