Tyler Sigman's Crows - Junk Spirit Games
Crows of the Obsidian Wastes give off mana collected in magical stones.
Songbirds by Daily Magic Games
As a forest spirit, you help your favorite songbird color prosper in secret.
Theme and What is it?
You are an intrepid cryptozoologist in search of the mysterious and elusive cryptid. You vie against other fellow cryptozoologists in an effort to find the creature first for fame and glory. Using the clues and your brilliant investigative techniques to determine where the cryptid is likely to be on the map. In this game for 3-5 players, hunt about random locations to narrow down where the cryptid hides and become the envy of your peers.
Determine the location on the map where the cryptid is hidden before the other players.
There are two ways to set up the game: follow the directions in the rulebook or use the app found at www.playcryptid.com to give you instructions as to which clues the players start with and how the map and tokens are arranged.
If you follow the directions in the rulebook, use the Map/Clue card deck and pick a card from either the normal or advanced decks. One side of the card will show you how to arrange the six map tiles and where to put the tokens on the board. The other side identifies which clues each of the players get depending on how many are players there are. The colored columns on the card identify which of the Clue Books are used for the players (α, β, γ, δ, ε); the clues per player are different depending on the number of players.
The board identifies different terrain types (water, mountain, forest, swamp, and desert) and animal territories (bear, cougar). There are two types of structure (standing stones, abandoned shacks) that come in four different colors (blue, green, white, and black).
There are two types of actions that can be performed on a player’s turn: Questioning and Searching.
Questioning has the player place the pawn token on a location and ask any other player “Could the creature be here?” The player must respond by placing a disc or cube token. If a disc is placed, that means the location could be where the creature is. If a cube is placed, then the creature is definitely not there based on that player’s clue. The active player must then also place a cube on the board based upon his clue. Only one cube may be placed on a given location while multiple discs could be placed upon a location.
Searching has the player place the pawn token on a location and declare he is searching. Doing so requires him to also place a disc on the location to indicate that it could be where the cryptid is. In order around the table, the other players must place a disc or cube on that location. Placing tokens stops when a cube is put down by another player. If no other player puts a cube down, that is the location of the creature and you win!
For the game to work, players must be honest about where they place pieces as the clues relies on human interpretation and the logic of deduction for the responses to the questions asked. If you find that you made a mistake, you must correct the mistake as soon as possible, outside your turn if need be.
There are over 90 clues with the game which everyone has access to and they fall into one of six general clues:
- One of two types of terrain
- Within one space of a type of terrain
- Within one space of either animal territory
- Within two spaces of a type of structure
- Within two spaces of a type of animal territory
- Within three spaces of a color of structure
There are hints available based upon the map if the players are stuck on where to go with their questions because there are only so many tokens for players to use.
*Editor Note* These are your ONLY two options. This makes this game quite elegant, as it generally dissolves analysis paralysis, based on your ability to do many things.
This certainly wasn’t a game I was expecting. You could liken the game to Clue with its investigative and deduction aspects but that’s where the similarities stop. This game relies on the use of deductive reasoning and a bit of luck. It took some time getting used to it as a shift away from the strategy board games my group is used to playing. What? You really want me to *think* when *playing* the game?
Game Build Quality
The components and packaging for the game are of very good quality. The map tiles are a heavy cardboard. The Map/Clue card deck are of typical card stock. The tokens are made of wood, thick pieces that should stand the test of many game sessions. There are no intricate designs where pieces could break off easily. The Clue books and rulebook are glossy pamphlet paper.
I like the artwork even though there are like two different styles of presentation. The style of the rulebooks and cards are reminiscent of old scientific or explorer’s journals. The map work is simple, kind of cartoonish, for the terrains depicted but follows with the style of how specifically the cryptids are drawn throughout the Clue books and rulebook. The tokens are designed for utilitarian purposes only, there are no special designs or artwork on them.
*Editor Note* Kwanchai Moriya is everywhere it seems, with good reason. His art is superb, and paint brush kung fu is strong. It blows me away that even his choice of coloring, makes the game stand out.
This game took a little time for my group to really grok, but we got there. Once we understood how to frame our questioning, especially without giving our own clue away, there was some serious competition going on. But this game is one of finite solutions and it can be over quickly if someone happens to inadvertently pick the cryptid’s location on the first try.
Age Range & Weight
The game states that its age range is 10+. I wouldn’t try any younger than that, probably older. I believe that 10 year old could understand the rules of the game as they are but the concepts of deductive reasoning and the use of strategy. Where and when to ask questions begs for more mature players. This isn’t a heavy game by any means but it’s a deep game that require skills that some might feel are more like work than play.
As I mentioned before, this game wasn’t what any of us were expecting. The setup wasn’t taxing but it took us awhile to understand how to approach the turn actions. I don’t think my group would want to play this again (especially since I won a game on my second turn) but I could heartily recommend this game to schools for helping understand logic and reasoning – math, logic, philosophy, or any types of classes that deal with these concepts.