Enigma: Beyond Code
Designer: Sergey Pritula
Artist: Nadezhda Penkrat (Manager), Andrey Lipaev, Aleksei Kot, Nikolay Mitrukhin, Anna Nenasheva, Valeria, Marina Trembach, Rafael Piloyan, Nina Sidorenko, and Pavel Magas
Publisher: CrowD Games
Year Published: 2020
No. of Players: 1–5
Playing Time: 5–10 min per single game and 30–60 min for 3 victories
Main mechanic / Theme: Deduction, Bluffing
A fast-paced game of deduction and bluffing to accomplish a personal mission before Chaos rises.
Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com
Through a series of short rounds, or you can play just one, players work to complete a personal mission. This is done by discovering where particular rooms in the mansion are now located and finding out information other players are working to keep private.
Gameplay and mechanics:
Each player takes on a secret character role who has a personal mission. Not all the characters are out to stop Chaos. And because the mansion has been touched by Chaos, a player’s mission may change. There are events that can cause players to trade characters, or swap with a character who isn’t currently in play.
The nine rooms of the mansion are randomly laid out face down. On a player’s turn, they can choose one of the rooms to privately view. Then the player tells everyone else which room it is. They can tell the truth or name another room. If another player thinks they are bluffing, they can call them out. Then the accusing player checks the card. If the accuser is correct, the initial player takes a silence token and passes their turn, and the card remains a mystery to all but the two players who looked. If the initial player was not bluffing, then the accuser takes a silence token. Silenced players have limited action when it comes to their turn.
After announcing the room and no one accuses the player of bluffing, or they were telling the truth, the player takes the actions for that room. The actions help them discover more information so they can complete their mission. A Theme Guide and player reference cards list the room actions and the characters with their missions.
A player can choose to attempt to complete their mission on their turn. If they successfully complete their mission, they win. If no player can complete their character’s mission before time runs out, then you have to consult what happens to see if the Saboteur wins or if Chaos rises.
Time moves quickly in Enigma. Unless the time is backed up with one of the room cards, there are only four rounds of play. The base game is designed to be completed in 10 to 15 minutes. You can play just one game, or, as suggested, start again and you continue until a player completes 3 missions or Chaos rises a second time (or 3 times for new players). Playing till a player completes 3 missions is estimated to take 30 to 60 minutes.
Theme, Artwork and Illustration, Graphic Design and Layout (optional)
Set right after World War II in a mansion in England, Enigma: Beyond Code has a team of artists who have created a completed theme throughout everything in the game. There are details in the works to provide interest in what they have created.
The pace of the game gets players involved. Having it run in multiple rounds means everyone has a chance to win a round and be a part of the race to win.
Enigma: Beyond Code is a fun game that can be used as a filler or played for a longer time. There are elements of sleuthing the location of the rooms which reminds me of playing Clue. But, with everyone going after their own mission, there is more than just figuring out where the rooms are. It is finding the right ones to complete what you need to do while taking actions to block other players from achieving their missions.
The limited time creates for a faster paced game, but not in terms of how fast a player has to react. This provides a quick game that feels longer as you deduce what is happening and determine if another player is bluffing.
Because of the element of secrecy of the characters and the rooms, card sleeves are included as part of the game. There are also extra blank cards in case a card is damaged. This is a nice touch. It is a thoughtful approach to having ways of protecting the game from the beginning, instead of looking for a means of creating additional sales later. This is also carried through with the notepads provided. These are simple affairs for using to track information about rooms and characters. The game rules state they can be copied, or other paper can be used.
I like Enigma: Beyond Code. This game provides a simple premise with a lot of variation as the game unfolds. From the beginning it is designed to play back-to-back games, which gives it playability. Rules are included for solo and two player gaming.
About the Author:
Daniel Yocom does geeky things at night because his day job won't let him. This dates back to the 1960s through games, books, movies, and stranger things better shared in small groups. He's written hundreds of articles about these topics for his own blog, other websites, and magazines after extensive research along with short stories. His research includes attending conventions, sharing on panels and presentations, and road-tripping with his wife. Join him at guildmastergaming.blogspot.com.