PAX East: ‘Legend Of The Cipher’ Brings Hip-Hop To The Tabletop

Senior Contributor
03.24.13 3 Comments

Every year, PAX East features not just an extensive collection of video games and console freeplay, but an extensive tabletop gaming collection as well. There are many, many unique games, but this year’s most interesting is Legend of The Cipher.

Essentially, it’s an attempt to bring the journey of a rapper as he or she rises from poetry slams and tiny clubs to massive venues to the tabletop, and, needless to say, you have bitter rivals you have to overcome.

If you’ve played a tabletop card-based game before, the basic gameplay will be familiar, although the cards have the nice touch of using real underground hip-hop artists and real venues. What makes the game stand out is the fact that the role-playing aspect leaps off the cards because, in order to win battles and move forward, you will have to rap.

This is really where the game gets creative and almost ridiculously fun. If you’re not a wordsmith, the cards provide lyrics for you, all written by actual hip-hop artists, and they’re fairly intuitive even for somebody who has all the flow of a clogged drainpipe, like yours truly. Genuine thought was put into making sure that you can pick up and play this game.

But the game offers bonuses to people willing to be creative and make an effort to be original, and honestly, it makes it engaging in ways you wouldn’t expect. Being forced to think of rhymes about current events that flow is the kind of on-the-spot mental challenge tabletop gaming is all about.

If I’ve got a criticism, it’s that the game itself has a very basic and somewhat bland print design. This isn’t unique among indie games, however, and it doesn’t detract from the gameplay. You can pick up Legend of the Cipher at The Game Crafter, and if you’re a tabletop fan, a hip-hop fan, or both, it’s worth looking into.

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