Cryptid: Urban Legends

RRP: £20.00
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RRP £20.00
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There’s something hiding among us, a creature hitherto undiscovered prowling our very streets. If you track it down, well, that’d be the discovery of the century! Play as a determined scientist manipulating heat, movement, and sonic sensors to scan the city, identify your quarry’s true location, and capture them — or take the role of a cryptid, snaking your way t…
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Category Tags , , SKU ZOS-9781472850300 Availability 3+ in stock
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Awards

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • The cat and mouse type puzzle
  • The component quality
  • Games are tense and can swing very quickly

Might Not Like

  • Restricted choice of actions
  • The theme isn’t present in the game
  • It bears no similarity to original Cryptid
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Description

There's something hiding among us, a creature hitherto undiscovered prowling our very streets. If you track it down, well, that'd be the discovery of the century!

Play as a determined scientist manipulating heat, movement, and sonic sensors to scan the city, identify your quarry's true location, and capture them — or take the role of a cryptid, snaking your way through shadows and back alleys of the metropolis that surrounds you, eliminating all evidence of your existence as you go, desperately avoiding capture. Emerging victorious in this high stakes cat-and-mouse chase, played out across a sprawling urban landscape, will require all your ingenuity and foresight.

Cryptid: Urban Legends is a tense asymmetric game of competitive deductive reasoning for two players from the creators of Cryptid.

Players: 2

Playing Time: 20-40 Min

Age: 14+

Cryptid Cover

Deduction games are one of my favourite mechanics. I grew up playing Cluedo regularly with my grandparents. The problem is a lot of deduction games require at least three players. Even if they don’t, they generally scale better to a higher player count. As I don’t have a regular board game group, Cryptid: Urban Legends, a two-player deduction game certainly appealed to me.

To Start The Game

One player is chosen to be cryptid, the other is the scientist. Each player is given a deck of ten cards, plus a wild card which starts the game face down. From that deck, each player starts with three cards. On the table are three block cards in a checkerboard pattern, and ten sensors on the “active” side of the board.

The block card on the active side also has a presence counter on it. In the sensor phase, each player moves one or some of the sensors from the active side to the inactive side. You have a choice of three cards:

  • Split cards allow you to divide the sensors from one space in two directions
  • Shuffle cards allow you to move one sensor across space, and then diagonally in the same direction
  • Align cards allow you to move all the same-coloured sensors diagonally in one direction

Alternatively, you can draw two cards from your deck (you are allowed a maximum of four cards at any one time) or play your wild card if it’s in play. Your wild card allows you to do any of the movements.

Don’t Be So Sensor-tive

After this is the hiding phase. The cryptid chooses a feature based on colour or number. For example, if a block is adjacent to red and white sensors only, or if a block is adjacent to four sensors. If a block meets those criteria and is diagonal from a presence counter from the previous round, it gains a presence counter. Presence counters from the active side of the block are then removed.

After this, there are two blocks added to the now inactive side. The most blocks there can be at any one time is seven. Once there are seven blocks, it is possible for the cryptid to win the game. Their aim is to get a presence counter on the leftmost and rightmost block card.

The scientist wins if they can restrict the cryptid to only placing one or zero presence counters during the hiding phase. This can also happen at any time in the game. If this hasn’t occurred, the scientist will do a restrict phase, where they take either the leftmost or rightmost blocks off the board. If one of the removed blocks is a “mysterious” block (identifiable from its striking pink target) the scientist takes an evidence counter.

These are counters that will decide the winner if nobody wins the game outright. The cryptid can gain evidence counters by placing presence counters on the mysterious blocks. Once the restrict phase has happened, the player nearest the active row adds two-block cards. If the block cards run out, the person with the most evidence counters wins.

The Quality

The Cryptid Factor There are a lot of great things about Urban Legends. Firstly, I have to say the artwork of the game is very pleasing. I love the contrasting colours in the city block tiles. The cards evoke the eeriness very well.

The player cards also give clear instructions of what each of the three actions allows you to do. The component quality is also very good. The counters and sensors are satisfyingly chunky, and the cards are thick, meaning wear and tear will only be a problem if it’s played repeatedly.

Cryptid Cards

Winning The Game?

It was also very clear how easily the game can swing in and out of your favour. There have been several times where I’ve been in a position close to victory, only to have the wrong cards in my hand (or even occasionally no cards at all).

There are also times when your opponent needs to replenish their hand. Is that a good time for you to do the same, or should you take a turn and hope for a longer-term pay-off? The evidence counters being a tiebreaker is also a nice twist.

The game can be swinging against you, but what if you have more evidence tokens than your opponent? Do they abandon their plan to try and gain evidence counter parity, or go gung-ho into trying to win the game? For all I like about the game, it isn’t without problems. If you’re a fan of Cryptid, I would approach Urban Legends with caution.

A Puzzle Race

It promotes itself as a deduction game, but it doesn’t feel like one. It feels more like… well, it feels a bit like a game of chess. Cryptid was all about asking your opponent’s questions to help complete a logic puzzle race. Urban Legends is moving sensors one of three ways back and forth to win the game. If you’re simply hoping for a two-player version of Cryptid, this really isn’t the game for you. If I think of families of games like Azul, Kingdomino and Pandemic, the games are different whilst sharing the same core mechanics. Urban Legends feels like an entirely different game from Cryptid.

As well as the mechanics being very different, the theme of scientist v cryptid is also not present in the game at all. Whilst my partner and I were enjoying the puzzle, it didn’t really feel like one person was trying to catch the other. I honestly think Urban Legends would be better off as an abstract strategy game, rather than having a theme applied to it so loosely.

Finally, I also feel like the wild cards could have been asymmetric to make them relevant to their player rather than being more of the same action. It doesn’t really feel like that much more of a bonus to have it, other than giving you an extra turn before having to replenish your hand.

Final Thoughts

I don’t want people to read this thinking it is a negative review. There is a lot to enjoy about the game. If you’re a fan of puzzle games, this will very much be up your street. My biggest issue comes down to it being sold as a deduction game.

BoardGameGeek says deduction games are “those that require players to form conclusions based on the available premise.” I didn’t even feel like I was trying to reach a conclusion. I felt like I was just trying to win a game.

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • The cat and mouse type puzzle
  • The component quality
  • Games are tense and can swing very quickly

Might not like

  • Restricted choice of actions
  • The theme isnt present in the game
  • It bears no similarity to original Cryptid