Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Cypher - A Cyberpunk Review

Hi everybody!

Welcome back to Daemonic Teutonic. Today was a wonderful day for gaming as I unexpectedly woke up to find a copy of Tiny Epic Kingdoms. I was so excited that it arrived that I took some time to play it and play it again and play it again. That being said a Tiny Epic Kingdoms review is in the works, but not for today. Today I want to talk about micro game from AEG, Cypher. Cypher by David Short is a cyberpunk microgame for 2-4 players that takes only around 10 minutes play. So let's get right into then.
The Blue Velvet Bag
Cypher is a quick game made up of only 19 cards. The setup works with dealing out the cards in a fashion so the first player receives 3, the player to his right receives 1, and the other players receive 2 each. After that the top card of the deck is put face up on the table to make the Display. The game is all about intrigue and influence. The players are all hackers looking to become the best and in doing so they will recruit other cyber trolls from the lower, middle, and upper classes. A player's turn is broken up into 4 stages. The first player plays one of the 3 cards from his hand and resolves whatever the card's action is. Some of the cards trigger only when they are played while others are always in effect.
The Middle Class Hackers
A player can only have up to 3 hackers in front of him in his play area at a single time. If a fourth hacker is played, the player must make a decision and discard one of the in play hackers he controls.
After that the player draws a card from the top of the deck or takes the card from the Display (which is then replaced). Out of the 3 cards in your hand 1 is passed face down to the player to your left while another is passed to the player on your right. This makes it so each player will begin their turn with 3 cards. The last step is to discard down to 1 card. If a hacker in your play area lets you draw more cards this is your time to discard them.

The end phase begins when either the draw deck is empty or when a player plays the Cypher Anomaly card. Once the end game is triggered all players get one more turn and then they total up their scores from the 3 hackers in front of them.

Aristocratic Hackers
The game is very simple and takes 10 minutes or less to play. It only takes about a minute or so to learn. I really like the art style here, every card feels like they fit the class and look like something out of a Phillip K. Dick novel. The abilities are very fun to use and can really make a player come out on top if played strategically.

The game works very well as a micro game, I really couldn't see it lasting much longer or being a bigger card game. It would lose a lot of its appeal if it hit the 30 minute or more mark.

The last thing I am going to say about it is that in some ways the game feels a bit like Coup without the hidden roles and the bluffing. Also the 2 player rules feel a bit wonky when you read them, but play pretty smoothly as well.

The game is enjoyable and works well. I give it a good recommendation for the player on the go, the group that wants quick intriguing game, or for a game to play while a bigger game wraps up or something in between bigger fare. Give it a look at and for the price point you really can't go wrong with the game.
What's in the Bag
Thank you all again for reading Daemonic Teutonic. As always, I hope you enjoyed the review.

Cheers,
Phil

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