First Take Fridays - Cryptid, Bargain Hunter, and Architects of the West Kingdom header

First Take Fridays – Cryptid, Bargain Hunter, and Architects of the West Kingdom

On First Take Fridays we offer short first takes on games that are new to us. This week we have Cryptid, Bargain Hunter, and Architects of the West Kingdom.

Cryptid – Ashley Gariepy


Deduction is one of my favourite board game genres and I always enter a deduction game confident I will do well. That is, however, unless deduction is only a minor gameplay element (like in Alchemists) because I get so focused on finding solutions that I forget everything else and lose. Thankfully Osprey Games’ recent release, Cryptid, is purely a deduction game.

In Cryptid, players are cryptozoologists trying to find the location of an elusive creature, the cryptid. The theme here doesn’t matter because this game is basically colourful map tiles and terrain hexes. What does matter is how to win the game: a player must find the one hex on the board that marks the cryptid’s habitat (location). Each player has their own secret condition (clue) for the cryptid’s habitat (on a desert or mountain space, for example) and the combination of all the players’ conditions will lead to a single space on the board. Players try to deduce the conditions by asking each other questions, with player pieces acting as the response. A cube means a space does not meet that player’s condition and a disc means it could. Once someone thinks they’ve found the location, they may search that space and if each player places a disc, they win.

Cryptid is a pure deduction game– and a clever one at that. I’m astounded by how mathematically cool this game is since there are over 50 cards with different map setups and conditions which lead to just one hex space every game. It’s fascinating! Cryptid also plays so smoothly and quickly, yet gives your brain a real workout. It is a great deduction game that I cannot wait to play again.

★★★★★☆ Ease of Entry
★★★★☆☆ Excitement Pre-Game
★★★★★★ Excitement for Rematch

Read more from Ashley Gariepy.

Check out Meeple Mountain author Logan Giannini’s full review of Cryptid.

Bargain Hunter – David McMillan

Bargain Hunter

If you know anything about me, it’s that I am a huge Uwe Rosenberg fan, so it might come as a shock to you that this game has been sitting on my shelf unplayed for almost a year now. It certainly isn’t for lack of desire. It’s more that Bargain Hunter has a 3 player minimum and it isn’t often that I find myself in a group of people large enough with the same desire to play this game as I have. That’s a shame, too, because this game is actually pretty fun.

In Bargain Hunter, the players take on the roles of savvy shoppers looking for the perfect bargains. The game is comprised of numbered cards in several bargain types (suites) such as toasters, electric razors, washing machines, and hair dryers. First each player is dealt 8 cards and then each chooses a bargain that they’re searching for and places one of the chosen cards to create their bargain pile. Then the game begins.

One player leads the round with a certain color. If the other players possess any cards of that color, then they must play one of those cards. If they don’t, they can play any color and number combination from their hand and then declare that the card they just played is “trump”. This means that unless someone else plays a higher number card in that trump color, that payer will win the trick. Any cards collected from this trick that match their chosen bargain are placed into their bargain pile. The remainder are placed into their junk pile. After the round is finished, players will have an opportunity to pull a card type from their junk pile and place that on top of their bargain pile where it will become the new bargain that they’re hunting for. At the end of the game, you’ll score one point for each card in your bargain pile and lose one point for every card in your junk pile.

This creates a lot of interesting moments where you’re not only concerned with winning tricks to fill up your bargain pile, but you’re also trying to load up your junk pile with unwanted items with the intent of pulling those out of your junk pile at a later time. For such a simple concept, there’s plenty of room in Bargain Hunter for you to be sly, cunning, and deceiving. Uwe Rosenberg has a talent for creating interesting and engaging card games and Bargain Hunter is no exception. I really enjoyed my time with it and can’t wait to get it to the table again.

★★★★★★ Ease of Entry
★★★★★★ Excitement Pre-Game
★★★★★★ Excitement for Rematch

Read more from David McMillan.

Architects of the West Kingdom – Leslie Ewing

Architects of the West Kingdom

While I was at BGG Con I was able to play Architects of the West Kingdom. I had not played any of the previous titles like Raiders of the North Sea or Shipwrights of the North Sea but I enjoy worker placement games so this intrigued me. After the poor guy at our table taught us three times (we had people come join the game right after he finished teaching it – this happened twice after he taught me the first time) I was ready to go.

I love that even though it is a worker placement game it has different mechanics that make it stand out amongst the hundreds of other worker placement games. On your turn you can retrieve either your own workers or workers of another player which you can then turn into the jail on a subsequent turn for coins. There are multiple different paths you can take as well. You can advance on the cathedral track or you can shop in the black market which will punish you but gives you some pretty sweet rewards as well. This was my favorite game of the convention and I played around 17 different games during it. If you like worker placement and want a game with a little bit of a twist to that classic I highly suggest this one!!

★★★★☆☆ Ease of Entry
★★★★★☆ Excitement Pre-Game
★★★★★★ Excitement for Rematch

Read more from Leslie Ewing.

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About the author

Andy Matthews

Founder of Meeple Mountain, editor in chief of, and software engineer. Father of 4, husband to 1, lover of games, books, and movies, and all around nice guy. I run Nashville Game Night, and Nashville Tabletop Day.

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