WBG Score: 8
Player Count: 1-4
You’ll like this if you like: The Goonies: Escape With One-Eyed Willys Rich Stuff, Scooby Doo: Escape From The Haunted Mansion, Cantaloop.
Published by: Funko Games
Designed by: Prospero Hall
This is a free review copy. See our review policy here. This review has zero spoilers.
Indiana Jones: Cryptic – A Puzzles and Pathways Adventure. Quite the mouthful isn't it! Well, it is quite an adventure too! If you are a fan of puzzles and the Indiana Jones films, then oh my, you are in for a treat. It's quite hard to show or say too much with a game like this, but I will keep this review 100% spoiler free, as a large part of what makes this game great is the sense of discovery, and I do not want to spoil that for you. So, with that said, let's get this to the table and see how it plays.
How To Set Up Indiana Jones: Cryptic Board Game
Inside the box you will find just a few components. But the first thing you will be greeted with is the instructions saying STOP. The game doesn't want you to open anything else just yet, for fear of ruining the game. As such, I won't do that either. I will talk you through what you will see from the very beginning and what you need to do to get started in your first adventure.
There are three adventures in the box. The game recommends you start with Covenant of Raiders. The stories interlink, and run in sequence in the guide, so I suggest you stick with this order.
Open the journal and begin to read the instructions on page one. It will tell you to open the envelope marked Covenant of Raiders, which will contain all you need for your first game. You are now ready to play.
How To Play Indiana Jones: Cryptic Board Game
During Indiana Jones Cryptic, there are two main types of challenges. Puzzles and Pathways. Starting to see where the name came from? Puzzles can vary as you go through and may use other components and elements. Each will have a number of coins on offer if you solve it. This will be shown in the journal with a number next to a coin symbol. Gather this amount of coins and set them aside. Then read the instructions in the journal, gather any components it shows, and do your best to solve the puzzle.
Each puzzle has a one or two word answer. Sometimes this is indicated by a certain number of red boxes, telling you how many letters are in the word, or a selection of words you must pick from. When you think you have solved the puzzle, look up the word you have decided on in the back of the journal in the hints and answers section. It will tell you if you were right and what your next cause of action needs to be if this is the case. If you were correct, take the coins on offer and add them to your kitty.
If you get stuck on a puzzle, do not worry. Each one has a hint. Find the hint word associated with the puzzle you are on, and look that word up in the hints and answer section at the back of the journal. This will give you clues as to how you might best go about solving this current puzzle. The hints are pretty good. They do not give anything away in full, and nudge you along just the right amount. Each time you use one you may have to discard one of the available coins up for grabs in this current puzzle though. This will be explained as you read the hint.
If you get the answer wrong, you will lose coins and the journal will explain how you move on. Generally, just to the next page of the journal and the next part of the story after losing all the coins on offer in that puzzle.
The other thing you will encounter as you play are Pathways. I don't want to spoil how these work so I am just going to show you what the instructions tell you about these. At certain parts of each adventure the story will bring you to a certain point of peril. You will need to navigate difficult terrain just like Indie in the movies. The way the game brings this to life is by showing you the path you are on and where you are in a clear picture like below. You must study this and then place a clear piece of plastic over the top of the image and mark a dot on the starting location. Then remove the plastic and place it at least one markers length away from the image. You must now draw a path using the provided white board pen, trying to avoid the dangers and guide Mr. Jones to safety. You may need to interact with certain things described as GOALS along the way, the journal will make this all very clear. When done, flip over the original image and place your drawing on the clear plastic over this, lining up the start dot. It will now show you if you managed to stay on the right path or not. The journal will explain clearly how you will score your performance, again, rewarding you with coins for your kitty.
Some of these pathways will have Action Tools that can be used with them, where you can draw around or alongside different shapes to form your path. This will allow you to jump over certain things and hit certain things with other objects or elements. All will be made clear as you play though. Do not fear.
After you have finished each adventure, the guide will explain how well you did based on your coin total. You can try again, play the next chapter, or pack away for another session. The coins do not carry over to the next adventure so you can just throw everything back into the box. Each adventure takes around an hour to play.
Indiana Jones: Cryptic Board Game Review
Playing this game feels very much like you are on an adventure with Indiana Jones. The theming of the game is excellent. I suggest you put on your best Indie hat and play the theme tune and fully immerse yourself in the game.
I played these adventures with my ten year old son. He was able to contribute fully to each puzzle. He would not have been able to play alone, I would say it would work for 12/13 and up in that respect. But you can certainly play with younger children if there is an adult to guide them along. The Pathways work with any age though, and my seven year old daughter enjoyed trying each of those. We generally all tried the pathway ourselves, and scored whoever did the best! The rules say you have one turn, but this was a fun way to keep everyone involved in the game. Plus, playing with the pathways is fun! Everyone wanted a turn, so why not let them.
We all very much enjoyed the story in this, and being a fan of the films made this a very special experience for me. For my children who had not seen the films, they still loved the sense of adventure and characters, and now want to watch the films. Another win for me! There is a real sense of exploration and discover in the game, with a lot of hidden treats and unexpected surprises as you play. This game will continue to delight you through the three adventures and when done, you can easily try them all again. Although it will be significantly easier the second time round, and without the initial surprise and delight. But I would imagine after a year you will have forgotten most of it! This is not a one and done. Nothing is destroyed. You could easily reset and go again or play with another group.
I would very much recommend this game to anyone who enjoys puzzles and playing cooperative games adventure games with their family. It will create a wonderful experience for you all, and memories to cherish. This game certainly does not belong in a museum!