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Decrypto studio’s next board game has you cracking codes using a real analogue computer

Prepare for your brain to hurt.

Image credit: Scorpion Masque

The makers of Decrypto have revealed their next board game, a brain-teasing puzzler that features a working analogue computer.

Turing Machine tasks players with discovering a secret code by combining sets of three perforated cards together and using a working mechanical punchboard computer - which operates without electricity or programming - to determine the accuracy of their guesses based on a number of set ‘verifiers’. According to its creators, the game’s cards can generate over seven million possible solutions.

If this all sounds like a lot, you’d be right - the first images of Turing Machine bring to mind that Math Lady meme, with cards that say things such as “This Verifier verifies the [yellow square] number compared to the [purple circle] number” and “The [blue triangle] number compared to 3”.

Image credit: Scorpion Masque

Still, if publisher Scorpion Masque’s brilliant-yet-utterly-confounding-at-first party game Decrypto, intense trivia game Stay Cool and word deduction puzzler Master Word are anything to go by, the upfront investment to wrap your head around the rules will be worth it. According to the game’s box, the game will play in around 20 minutes with up to four people, with a solo player able to take on the computer alone if they prefer.

“Rarely does a game require us to work so hard to make it accessible, but I couldn’t be prouder of the final product,” studio founder Christian Lemay acknowledged in the game’s announcement.

Yoann Levet and Fabien Gridel apparently used their love of logic games to design Turing Machine’s brain-busting gameplay, with this marking Levet’s first major release in almost a decade following 2013’s As d’Or-winning ant colony simulation game Myrmes.

The Dicebreaker team attempt to Stay Cool in the fast-paced party gameWatch on YouTube

Despite its name, Turing Machine does not directly draw from the work of British computer science legend Alan Turing or his titular abstract machine designed to test the limitations of mechanical computation - something acknowledged by Scorpion Masque, which revised the game’s description to avoid ‘misrepresenting’ the work of its namesake.

“This game does NOT represent a Turing Machine. The title was chosen (after much deliberation) for this reason: Alan Turing was not only famous for his work as a code-cracker, but is also widely considered the father of computer science... which fits our game perfectly: a game about using a punch-card proto-computer to crack a code,” the publisher’s Matt Legault explained in a BoardGameGeek thread. “The name Turing therefore represents the 'code' element of the game, while the 'machine' element refers to both (physical) computers, and the concept of computing as a whole.

“We hope that people will be intrigued enough by Turing's quote we included to look into the story behind the man, which is both inspiring and horrifically tragic.”

Turing Machine will be released in Q4 2022 for $39.99, following a pre-release at US convention Gen Con next month.

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