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Cross Clues

Can you come up with a one-word clue for joy and snail? How about for horse and earth? In this cooperative word game, that’s exactly what you may have to do.

Cross Clues, published by Blue Orange Games, has players working to fill a grid by giving clues connected to the two words that point to a coordinate in the grid.

Gameplay

First, players decide on a difficulty by selecting a grid size between three-by-three and five-by-five. You then place a word card next to each space along one horizontal and one vertical edge of the grid. You next place number cards along one of these sides and letter cards along the other, with one each attached to a word and so that a number and letter combination would give you the coordinates of a meeting point on the grid.

Next the clue deck is shuffled. If playing with a timer, the timer is now started and each player draws a clue card. Each clue card shows a coordinate on the grid, such as B2 or C3.

Players do not take turns giving clues. When you think of a clue, you simply give it. Your clue may only be one word, cannot be a clue already given in the game, and cannot match one of the words along the grid. The goal is to give a clue that points to the two words associated with the number and letter of the coordinates on your clue card. The other players then discuss the clue and try to determine where in the grid your clue card goes.

Once players have decided on their guess, the clue giver places it in the grid at the correct spot if their guess was right, or discards it without revealing the correct answer if the guess was wrong. The clue giver then draws a new clue card.

The game continues until there are no clue cards left or the timer runs out, and players score how well they did based on the number of cards placed correctly in the grid.

A two-player game plays much the same, only both players have two clue cards in hand at any time, and when playing with a five-by-five grid players use a ten minute timer instead of five.

Cross Clues Components

Review

Cross Clues might fit into a genre where there have been quite a few games of late, but it still has its own place at the table. It’s simple, intuitive to teach, and fast to play. It’s a game that’s easy to set up and play several rounds of.

There’s a nice flow and speed to the game, as you’re not waiting on one person to come up with a clue — rather, everyone is thinking at the same time and then working together on guessing. This essentially removes any downtime from the game and keeps the game fast.

The ability to choose the difficulty by adjusting the size of the grid is a nice feature, and there’s plenty of variety among the words for the grid, as well as a large number of them. The artwork has an unusual retro theme that is different and fun, and generally the components, while simple, are nicely made.

We preferred playing with the timer, as the game does have a tendency to get significantly easier near the end as more and more cards fill the grid and there are fewer options about where cards can go. This can make the last few clues not particularly satisfying. However, if you’re racing against a clock, there can still be that element of suspense even as the options of where clue cards belong become fewer.

If you enjoy word games, Cross Clues is a fun one. Fairly compact, it’s good for travel and doesn’t take up too much space on the table. It's family friendly and scales well across its player counts.

Pros: No downtime, speed of gameplay, ability to adjust difficulty

Cons: The ending is a little lackluster unless playing with the timer

Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.