Review: Crypt

The King is dead...let's get his stuff.

Designer: Jeff Chin, Andrew Nerger
Artist: Jeff Chin
Publisher: Road To Infamy Games
Category: Set Collection, Card & Dice
Players: 1-4
Price: $17.55

In Crypt, you play as descendants of the recently-deceased king, vying for your shot at stealing your inheritance from the king’s crypt. Players will place dice, representing servants, hoping to win treasures each round. You can place your dice on any face, but the higher the number also means it is more likely to result in that servant becoming exhausted. So wager your dice, collect sets of treasure, and try to be the most profitable familial grave robber in Crypt!

Content Guide

Grave Robbing

Players are placing dice on treasure cards, but thematically they’re sending servants into the dead king’s crypt to steal treasure. Also, there’s a category of treasure called “Remains.” It’s bones, skulls, and other skeletal remains. 

Review

Crypt is a 1-4 player game that sees players trying to rob, er, reclaim their rightful heirlooms that were buried with their father, the recently departed king. There are six different types of treasure, each with different set bonuses. Also each collector comes with an A and B side, so you can mix up what those bonuses are each game. When the treasure pile runs out, whoever has the most valuable collection is the winner. 

Props to this concise call to action. The whole rule book is well done, from the endgame scoring to the quick reference on the back page.

Play starts with treasure being dealt out, depending on the number of players. Starting with the player with the Leader card, players will place out dice, representing servants, on treasures they wish to claim. The servant’s effort value, represented by the number on the die, can be placed on any side. If a player wishes to use multiple servants on the same treasure they may, but their effort value must be the same. If you put out a number better than one of your opponents, their dice are returned to them and they will not get that treasure. The example in the rule book shows that a die value of 2 pushes out 1, two dice both with a value 3 pushes out a single die value of 5, and two dice both valued at 4 push out three dice each valued at 2. Again, you can pick any number for your servant – but after all the treasure is claimed and the last player has gone, you must roll to see if they become exhausted. Each die rolled lower than it’s original effort value is considered exhausted, and goes into the box until that player uses a turn to recover them, or uses a set bonus to get them back. Also, the last player to claim treasure, the one who has the Lights Out card, can only place servants on one treasure card. 

The Collectors at the top, and the 4 loot cards for a three player game at the bottom.

Being able to choose the servant’s effort values makes for some interesting decision possibilities, but mostly just for the players who aren’t starting or finishing the round. The first player can do the most, but if you spread yourself too thin, you may end up with all three servants back in your lap, empty-handed. The last player is almost guaranteed to get one card, but only one as they cannot place servants anywhere but on one card. The player(s) in the middle have truly the biggest wealth of options, as they weigh whether to go after the first player’s spoils, claim their own, or wonder if playing after them will render their decisions useless. For this reason I would suggest playing this at the max player count. Otherwise it just feels like a back-and-forth or “islands” game where everyone keeps to themselves as much as possible. 

These are the oddest looking siblings. Their back sides feature alternate art with a different gender.

The art is interesting. I have no problems whatsoever with the components or the loot cards.  However, the portraits of the siblings (which are kindly two-sided with the opposite gender) and the different collectors are all wonky. At first it reminded me of Red Raven Games, but whereas they are just a bit cartoon-y in a good way and charming, the characters in Crypt trigger the Uncanny Valley response to me. I would have liked them more if they were either more or less realistic than they are now. Physically, the cards feel like a nice weight and it is easy to tell just at a glance which of the six types of loot they are.

Being able to choose the die faces is an interesting mechanic, and will likely punish unlucky or overly aggressive players. Ultimately it is up to you whether that mechanic is enough to make this set collection part of your game collection, or if you’d rather pass this Crypt on by.  While I do think it was fun, I can’t help but compare it to some of the other set collection and small box games on my shelf that have a bit more polish.  If the character art doesn’t bother you, I’d say give it a try. 

A copy was obtained at discount thanks to R2I Games’ “Pay what you feel” program, with no promises given regarding review. 

The Bottom Line

Being able to choose the die facing is an interesting mechanic, and will likely punish unlucky or overly aggressive players. Ultimately it is up to you whether that mechanic is enough to make this set collection part of your game collection, or if you’d rather pass this Crypt on by.

 

7