Decrypto Rules and Gameplay Instructions

In this challenging party game, you must give clues to your teammates to help them break secret codes, but you’ve got to be sneaky, or your opponents will crack the code first! 

Best Social Game award winner for 2019, Decrypto the board game is a highly rated party game designed for two teams to compete as spies acting as decrypters for their team.

This complete overview explains the Decrypto rules, gameplay, and more!

This Decrypto rules guide will cover the following:

  • What is Decrypto?
  • A brief history of Decrypto
  • What you’ll need to play Decrypto
  • Decrypto Rules
  • How to play Decrypto (Video Tutorial)
  • FAQs

Read on to learn how to play Decrypto: 

What is Decrypto?

Decrypto Board Game Info Image

In the game, Decrypto, players act as spies and try to solve secret messages throughout the game. 

Number of Players: 3-8 players

Ages: 12+

Difficulty: Easy

Length of Play: 30 minutes

Category: Science Fiction, Party game

Similar to: Codenames, Mysterium, Spy Alley

Main Objective:  Your team’s mission is to decipher secret codes without letting your opponent intercept your clues! 

Why We Love It: Floppy disks and red screened secret windows- need we say more? This game’s theme and design provide a sense of nostalgia that all gamers can appreciate time and again. 

A Brief History of Decrypto

Founded in 2006, the publisher of Decrypto, the Masked Scorpian, Scorpian Masque, is located in Quebec, Canada. The organization creates party games, card games, and strategy games.

Decrypto is one of several games published by Masked Scorpian and Iello and was created by French game designer Thomas Dagenais-Lesperance. 

Decrypto Laser Drive is an expansion that takes Decrypto up a notch by adding 53 drive cards, interception tokens, and new Laser Tokens!

What You’ll Need to Play Decrypto

Everything you need to play is included in this boxed set. 

Our Pick
IELLO Decrypto Board Game, 30 Min Play Time, Age 12 & Up, 3-8 Players
$43.50 $25.00
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07/26/2023 12:37 am GMT

The complete game box contains: 

  • 1 sand timer
  • 2 screens
  • 110 keyword cards
  • 8 tokens
  • Scoresheets
  • Code cards
Decrypto box contents image

Area of Play

First, set up the two screens facing away from each other and divide players into white and black teams. 

Team place keyword cards in each of the four sections on their screens, keeping them hidden from opposing players. The screens are numbered 1, 2, 3, and 4. 

Each team needs a note sheet and pen to begin, then decide which player from each team will be the Encrypter first. 

Decrypto Rules

To start the first round, the Encrypter from each team draws a Code card from their team’s deck- either black or white. 

There are numbers listed on each card that specify the order of your keyword cards, 1-4. You must come up with clues to help your team guess the order of the secret keywords while your opponents try to identify the keywords and the specific code order. 

Keep your clues as vague as possible to challenge your opponents while being specific enough to help your teammates. 


The Encrypter comes up with clues and writes them on the lines of the scorecard in the order specified on the Code Card. The clues can be sentences, phrases, or words. 

However, the clues must relate to the meaning of the secret word, not the spelling or position of the word. Also, you cannot use inside jokes or use the keywords as clues for any of the words in the game. Clues must be different for the entire game. You cannot reuse clues. 

Encrypters use sand timers to limit the amount of time spent thinking and writing clues on the note sheet. 


For instance, the keywords might be “Feather, Metal, Thumb, Snow” in that order listed 1-4 on your team’s screen. However, the numbers on your Code Card might be “4.2.1.” 

If this is the case, players will try to guess the correct order of Keywords by writing a number 4 beside the word Snow, a number “2” beside the word Metal, and a number “1” beside the word Feather on the note sheet. 


After both Encrypters have written down their clues, the white team’s Encrypter reads their three clues loud and clear for both teams’ players to hear. Clues must be read in order and, if asked, spelled out. 

The note sheets are white on one side and black on the other. Both teams will use the corresponding color page in each of their notebooks to guess the keywords and order. 

Next, the white team reads their guesses in order out loud, and the Encrypter shows the Code card to the other players so they can write down the actual numbers in the space provided on the scoresheet.

If the team guesses incorrectly, they receive a Miscommunication Token. If there were no errors, nothing happens, and the game moves on. 

It is important to note that once teams have identified specific keywords and their order, it is helpful to mark them on the bottom of the scoresheet for future reference. 

Gameplay continues with the black team following the same series of actions, and the white team was also keeping track using their scoresheet on the reverse side. 

Shuffle used code cards back into the decks and selected a new Encrypter from each team for subsequent rounds. 

Decrypto gameplay image


After the first round, before the Encrypter’s team reveals their guesses out loud, the opposing team reads aloud their guesses. If the team has guessed the code correctly, they receive an Interception Token

If the opposing team did not guess correctly, nothing happens. 

Interception Tokens have no merit against the active team, and it is possible for the active team to still receive Miscommunication Tokens if they guessed the wrong keywords. 

Overall, both teams are keeping track of the keywords, clues, and specific word order throughout each round. The active team has the advantage of knowing the keywords but not the particular order. 

How to Keep Score in Decrypto

Teams will have more information from both sides after each round, which will be helpful moving forward. 

A team with two Interception Tokens at the end of a round automatically wins the round. 

If either team has two Miscommunication Tokens at the end of a round, they lose the round. 

If there is a tie, consider Interception Tokens to count as +1-point and Miscommunication Tokens deducting -1 point from either team. Then, calculate token point values to determine a winner for the round. 

How to Play Decrypto – Video Tutorial

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can you play Decrypto with three players? 

Yes, while designed for 2 or 4 players, there will be an even number of players on both teams; the Decrypto instruction manual does provide guidelines for playing Decrypto with three players. 

Basically, the third player serves as an “Interceptor” between the other two players or teams. You can play Decrypto with only three participants. 

How many rounds are in Decrypto? 

The game consists of 8 rounds played and recorded using the note sheet each time. Different Encrypters, or players from both teams, take turns to be the host for each round throughout the game. 

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