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November 21st, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments

I said a lot of great things about “Love Letter: Batman“, so I took a chance I picked up both “Cypher” and “Lost Legacy: The Starship” on a whim as they seemed to be somewhat similar.  I have yet to play the latter, but “Cypher” appears to be like “Love Letter” in the sense that each character has special abilities that have a synergy with the others.  However, “Cypher” takes it to a whole new level as it introduces a class system and gets rid of player elimination, among other things.  Let’s have a look!



Cypher: 2-4 Players, Ages 14+, Average Play Time = 10 Minutes



The game includes 19 character cards, 4 reference cards, 1 nexus bag, and a rule book.

Setup & Gameplay

The 19 character cards are shuffled and three cards are dealt to the starting player (who is chosen at random).  The player to the right of the starting player gets one card and all the rest get two. The rest of the cards form a face down draw deck, with the top card being drawn face up to form the “display”.  Each player also gets a reference card.

Editor’s Note: The setup and flow of play for two players is slightly different than what is listed here.

The active player will have three cards in their hand and perform the following actions:

1. Play – The player chooses one card to be played face up into their play area.  The effects are resolved. A player’s play area can have a maximum of three cards.  When playing a fourth card onto their play area, the player must discard one of the three existing cards to the bottom of the deck.

2. Draw – The player draws a card from the deck or the display, adding it to their hand.  If the display is empty, it is refilled from the deck, face up.

3. Pass – The player passes one card from their hand to their left and one card from their hand to their right.

4. Discard – If the player has more than one card in their hand, they must discard down to one (they are placed face down below the draw deck).

Turns continue clockwise until the draw deck is empty or until someone plays a Cypher Anomaly card into their play area.  ALL players get one final turn, including the person who triggered the end of the game.  The person with the most influence in their play area, wins!

Editor’s Note: The above doesn’t cover all of the rules found in the manual, but should give you an idea as to how the game is played.

The Review

Compared to “Love Letter: Batman”, this game is slightly more complicated (but in a good way).  For one, there’s no player elimination, meaning you’ll be trying to deduce who has what from start to finish.  The players in my group hated sitting out when they were eliminated in “Love Letter: Batman”, even if it was for only two to three minutes tops.  We don’t have to worry about that here.  The biggest challenge with “Cypher” is getting used to what all the different cards do and how they interact with one another.  The upper class can net you a lot of points, but other cards don’t jive well when played in conjunction with them.  Once you get used to it all, the gameplay flows relatively well.

All things considered, “Cypher” is a pretty neat alternative to “Love Letter” that’s worth looking into.

Final Verdict: 7/10

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