We thank PTR and VR from this donation to EVELINA Children’s Hospital .

Code breaking is something that everyone does, knowingly or unknowingly. From the code breaking used to decipher texts, passwords, log ins and pins. It is such a natural part of human life that we forget about its very existence until it is highlighted to us in direct ways. In CRACKED, an originally Kickstarted game from Australian PTR, we have a card game where the direct thrust is to solve the code, with the breaking being fixed on playing the right cards, sequencing a series to complete the cord first and win the game. Simple.


Right, its a lot of cards. 123 in total. Pink, Blue, Orange, Green coloured number cards. Swap, reverse, lock and star cards. A reset card if things go crazy and some pick up two cards for the mean sided. These all have CRACKED on their back. Then a set of code cards. They have CODE on their back. Lastly, a one pager rules set and that is it.


Take a CODE card randomly. This is essential otherwise, well the game is pointless. Shuffle all the CRACKED cards and deal 7 to each player. The cards left are shuffled again, split in two pile and left on the table. Draw the first card on top of the first pile. This is your starting card. Play starts with the person to the left. You must now look at your CODE card. You need to be left with four cards with these numbers on. Then you win! On a turn the player must, play an action card, a matching colour card, a matching number card or two cards that add up to this top card. Any card on top is the next card. If you cant do any of these, then pick up a card. Action cards are played to another pile next to the starter pile and include, Swap, allowing you to take the top card, Star card, which you can then swap for a card you need at the end, Lock card, Next player loses a turn, Reverse, plays direction is changed and reset! A named player must drop all cards and redraw….


The frantic pace, energy, skill and luck of the card placement, drafting are both gloriously chaotic and frenetic. This makes games zip by and keeps families enthralled. So the 10 minutes each game take are swift and encourage players to play, sometimes 10 or 15 rounds to score. It also works well for 8 players, given them a momentum that is paced just right to keep and hold attention for the 8 people playing the game.


To few code cards. This means that after a few plays, some can guess what others are looking for and draw them into dangerous ground. Strategic types are always clever and cunning and CRACKED flips this switch firmly on. However it stings and the little in the way of variety becomes redundant because of this.


CRACKED reimagines the card game in an interesting way. It might not be the reinvention of the wheel but it is certainly the recreation event for cards for a few years indeed. I heartily recommend it for groups.




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