I've thoroughly enjoyed getting Decrypto to the table over the last year.
If you are one of those people who actually reads all the way though the rules before playing, you will come across the recommendation that you DON'T shuffle the clue cards. Instead, you start using the “Blue Key” sides of the cards and play through them. Once you have finished the blue key side, you take the stack of clues and start on the “Red Key” side so that you never have the same word twice in any game until you have finished the entire deck 4 times (all the cards are double sided and feature words on the top and the bottom of the cards). Despite playing it since it's release, we still haven't gotten to the first Blue Key side, which is great because by the time we actually make it through all the cards, I'm sure we will have forgotten what the blue key clues even were. It's a brand new game for those of us whose memory sucks!
So, when Iello announced an expansion to Decrypto, I wasn't sure it needed anything added to it. I still have plenty of clue cards to make it through, so a typical “More Stuff” expansion wasn't something I was looking for.
What Laser Drive does is it puts an extra layer of challenge onto the base game of Decrypto and, in the process, adds a new way to score. One of the constantly asked questions at the end of a game of Decrypto is “When do we guess what your words are?” Well, unless the game ends in a tie, you simply don't. The developers of Decrypto must have realized this was a real missed opportunity.
The Laser Drive expansion is Expert Mode...that also sneakily gives you a low-key nudge in the a direction of where to farm your clues from. Every round you flip over a Laser Drive expansion card. At least one of your clues MUST use the new modifier. If you are looking for a real challenge (and to kick in the “We think we know your keyword” mechanism), you use the modifier to describe ALL of your keywords that round. If you attempt this (your teammates don't even have to succeed in guessing your clues correctly), you immediately get a laser drive token. Collect two laser drive tokens and you can trade them in to try to guess one of the opposing teams Keywords. If you are successful, you get a Interception Token to that puts you one step closer to winning the game.
Sure, sometimes using the Laser Drive modifier on all three words seems impossible. Trying to use “A weapon” to describe keywords like “Door, Time, China, Message” isn't easy. Doing it without giving the keyword away is even harder. Using Bottle for message, Nunchucks for China and Phased Plasma Rifle in the 40 watt range for Time, I found out it could be done...only to lose a couple of rounds later when those “just too specific” clues virtually gave away our keywords. The cool part is that you don't HAVE to use it for all three on every turn. You only have to use it for one in order to not default on the challenge and give your team a miscommunication token.
I like the way Laser Drive manages to retroactively add-in the challenge of guessing the other teams words. I also enjoy how it gives a subtle nudge to players who may have frozen up when trying to think of a good, yet vague, clue. I wouldn't call it a “Must Have” expansion but if you enjoy playing Decrypto, it is certainly a clever “Good to Have” add-on. And if you are one of those players who was disappointed when you found out you didn't always get a chance to guess the other teams actual words, this is a exactly what you are looking for.
You can find my review of the Decrypto Base game Here.
A review copy of this release was provided by the publisher. Therewillbe.games would like to thank them for their support.