Full disclosure: A review copy of Crypt was provided by Road to Infamy Games.
In the interest promoting friendly competition between sites on the web, I’ve also spent a bit of time getting acclimated to Board Game Atlas, a new board game database that’s recently popped up online (and has a text editor that doesn’t make me immediately want to download Limewire and fire up Runescape). As part of using that, a few publishers have been looking for reviews and I decided to try out Crypt, a game coming off of a recent Kickstarter run from Road to Infamy Games. Let’s dig into it a bit more, shall we?
So, for Crypt, you play as children of the late king. He promised you a kingdom of riches and wealth awaited you when he passed away, but in his dying breath he decided that he wanted to be buried with his vast fortune. Awesome; real stand-up guy, sounds like. Naturally, as resourceful youths, you decide that you might as well just go take what’s yours. But you’re still nobility, so you bring your servants with you as you descend into your jerk father’s tomb. Will you be able to steal what was should be rightfully yours?
Surprisingly, not much going on here. Give every player one of the Character Cards:
They should take dice in their color, as well:
Use the box bottom as the Crypt and the box top as an area for exhausted servants:
Shuffle the cards (removing the 3p / 4p cards if you’re not playing with that many players):
By that, I mean you still use the 3p cards at 4p; it should really say 3+ and 4. Oh well. Anyways, once you do that, give the first player the leader card and the player to the right of the first player the Lights Out card:
In a 2-player game, give the Lights Out and the Leader Card to the same person. Either way, you’re ready to start!
Like I said a bit earlier, this game’s all about breaking into your dad’s tomb and stealing all the valuable things back that he promised you you’d get when he died. It’s kind of a heroic tale, if you think about it. Sort of. You’re going to steal these treasures and maybe pawn them off for some extra help. Whoever amasses the most, well, they win. Either way, y’all are gonna get rich.
To start a round, take the top X cards of the deck and reveal some:
- 2 players: 2 cards face-up, 1 card face-down.
- 3 players: 3 cards face-up, 1 card face-down.
- 4 players: 4 cards face-up, 2 cards face-down.
Now, starting with the leader, every player in turn order may reclaim or place.
A player that chooses to reclaim pulls all their exhausted servants out of the box lid. That’s about all that happens. Their turn then ends.
A player that chooses to place places their dice on some of the cards in the play area (including the face-down one, if you want). When you place a die, choose a number to have up on that die; that’s how much you want your servant to try and exert themselves to get that item. Your opponents, on their turn, may bump your servants off of a card by placing a die or dice with a higher total value (5 > 4, 2 + 2 + 1 > 4). The final player in turn order can only place their servants on one card, however. In a two-player game, this means the Leader goes, their opponent responds, and then the Leader goes again (but is still limited to placing their dice on one card).
Once all players have taken a turn, the round ends. Players claim the cards (adding them to their tableau face-down) and then must roll each of their placed dice; if you roll a number lower than the value you chose for that die, it becomes exhausted. Place exhausted dice into the box lid; they live there, now, until they’re reclaimed. If you were unlucky and all your dice were bumped by other players during the round, you may perform the Reclaim action for free! It’s a consolation prize; hooray!
Some Collectors have a flip symbol on them; you can claim their bonus effect any time you have that number of face-down cards in your tableau. Other than that, the Collectors score at the end of the game.
There will be a round where there are no more cards in the deck; that’s the final round. Once the game ends, count the points that you have; the player with the most points wins!
Player Count Differences
Depends on what side of the Collector cards you’re using; one side has explicit race conditions and a bonus if you’re the only player to collect X of a color. Since there are more cards at a higher player count, it’s possible for a second player to hop on and mess you up, points-wise.
The advantage to going second-to-last is also decently high at higher player counts; the fix for this is to just bid higher with your dice and force them to exhaust their dice if they bump you, but that also feels vaguely unsatisfying over the course of the game, I suppose? I actually kind of like the way that the two-player game does it, with a tight call/response/call system.
I think I’d personally say that I like this the most at two players, but I’ve enjoyed it at all player counts. There’s also a solo mode included with the game, but I haven’t played it at review time. Online there are also cooperative and 6- / 8-player modes, if you’re interested in that sort of lifestyle.
- Roll high numbers. That’s a winning strategy, right there, for as much as you mild telekinetics out there can control that sort of thing. Personally, I’ve never had much luck with it, but hey, if you can, do it. That allows you to place higher-value dice on cards without worrying about losing them, which is explicitly good. Naturally, this isn’t something you can control, but you can control what the ordering you choose to use is.
- If you don’t have many things you want, use multiple dice to bump someone. The best thing you can do is place a 4 with two 2’s. Then your odds of losing either of them is pretty low. Naturally, three 1’s is better, but also then kind of ineffective.
- Never bump someone’s only die if their others are exhausted. You can’t just give them that gift; they have to earn it on their own. Make sure you’re not letting them reclaim for free. Just don’t let them know that you’re doing that, otherwise they’ll place a 1 so that they can take the treasure with basically no work. Your goal should be to goad them into losing all of their dice and having to pass their next turn, essentially.
- Generally speaking, I kinda just recommend picking a Collector whose abilities you want and just heading in that direction. Do you want points for certain card types? Special abilities? Whatever you’re interested in, just focus on getting cards of those types, where you can. Naturally, try to get high-value cards as well, but the combo bonuses often can offset a point or two here or there, if you’re getting enough cards.
- Set yourself up for opportunity. If you see a bunch of high-value cards coming out, it may not be a bad idea to bid all your dice and hope that the next round is relatively worthless. What you don’t want to have done is waste all your dice on a low-value round and then have no dice for the big finale.
- Don’t worry too much about having the servants at the end of the game. In my opinion, those extra 2 – 3 points aren’t necessarily worth missing out on picking up a few cards, depending on what bonuses you’re getting lined up. This is even more true if you need some of those cards to activate certain bonuses on the Collectors; at that point, just go for it.
Pros, Mehs, and Cons
- Great art. It’s very well-done, in my opinion. Does a nice job of combining thematic appropriateness and color and just looks great. It’s got a solid table presence, even for a fairly small game.
- Fun theme, as well. Who wouldn’t want to steal from their deadbeat dad if they got clowned for their inheritance? I certainly wouldn’t begrudge someone that desire; lots of respect.
- Fairly quick game. It’s a swift little dice-rolling game; maybe a bit longer than a like, Oink game?
- Portable. Helpfully, you can just kind of roll the dice in the crypt and keep the exhausted dice in the lid; you just need to make sure you have a stable place to place the dice and you’re basically set.
- I like the dice a fair amount. I think it might be the available colors or the opaqueness of them; I’m not a hundred percent sure what it is; I just like it. Which is good enough.
- Taking a turn to Reclaim is pretty rough. You miss out on (potentially) very valuable goods and your opponents get a lot more of them. Plus, if you do this, it sort of takes you out of the action for a round, which isn’t terribly fun, either. It would be nice if they gradually came back or something so that you weren’t stuck with one die until you decided to waste a turn.
- I kind of wish there were more dice rolling? Or events or something to mix it up a bit.
- Pretty much like, heavy on the luck. I find that the game is a bit too long to be relying that heavily on dice luck, but I mean, you’re basically bidding on cards and then hoping you roll high enough to keep them. If you were cursed by a wizard to only roll 6s, well, you’d be perfectly set in this game. It makes me wish there was a bit more luck mitigation (there’s some; the A-side Remains Collector can reclaim dice if you get enough) to compensate or that the game played a bit more quickly so that I didn’t dwell on it.
Overall: 6.75 / 10
Overall, I had fun playing Crypt. I think the things that draw me to it are definitely the art and component quality; both are pretty solid. Naturally, I’m pretty aligned with shorter dice games that are easy to pick up and learn, as those are generally the ones that get played the most. Where it kind of lets me down a smidge is that it doesn’t feel like a dice game, that much; similar to Pie Town, the dice are there but I don’t feel like I get to do enough with them. That said, I do get to roll these, so it’s got that over Pie Town, for sure. Beyond that, it’s also a bit reliant on player luck for ultimate success. I got crushed my first game due to bad luck, and crushed my second game for the same reason (I never exhausted a die in my second game, for instance). Overall, that’s not bad, sure, and it makes for a nice, short, quick game with a fun theme. If that kinda thing sounds up your alley, then Crypt might be worth checking out!