Kryss: The Competitive Scandinavian-Style Crossword Game

Kryss word game with symbols

Adapted from Getty Images

Kryss is one of the more recent apps to introduce a whole new experience to crossword puzzles. By mixing the trivia-based gameplay of crossword puzzles with the competitive nature of Scrabble, Kryss gives players the chance to test their puzzle-solving skills and trivia knowledge against each other. This is the game to play for anyone who loves crosswords but doesn’t always love playing them alone.

Get to Know Kryss

Released in 2018, Kryss quickly established itself as a premier option for multiplayer crossword puzzle action. There are other multiplayer-focused games, such as the reliable Crosswords With Friends, but Kryss takes things a step further. The game is a hybrid between crossword puzzles and classic Scrabble. Scrabble GO and Words With Friends are two clear sources of inspiration. 

You play on a crossword puzzle board. There are clues for the words you need to deduce and spell. Two big differences of note are that you take turns with your opponent, and you can only use the letters that the game provides.

Kryss is available for download on Google Android or Apple iOS devices.

How to Play Kryss

Kryss is a fun game, but you can’t exactly dive into it and start playing immediately. You’ll need to take some time to learn how it works. We highly recommend you pay attention to the tutorial the first time you download and open the app.

Kryss word game mobile app screenshotsKryss word game mobile app screenshots

Once you do know the rules for playing Kryss, however, everything becomes straightforward.

  1. You and your opponent go head-to-head in a one-round game. This can be someone you know, a random person or a computer opponent.

  2. Players use the same game board. The board is made of squares in an 8 x 12 grid. The top and leftmost squares all have clues on them. The remaining squares are a mixture of blank spaces and additional clues.

  3. When the match starts, the game gives each player five random letter squares and eight power-ups.

  4. During each turn, you have 60 seconds to read the clues and use your available letters to spell the words that the clues represent. If you play all of your letters or run out of time, the turn passes to your opponent.

  5. This process repeats until the board is filled.

Making Sense of the Letter Limit

The limited number of letters that Kryss provides makes it difficult to complete the answers to the clues, especially at the start of a game. Sometimes, all you can do is play a few of the letters in the squares they are meant for. If you place a letter in the correct spot, it stays there for the rest of the game. The idea is to add letters slowly and build toward complete words.

Scoring and Winning

To win in Kryss, you need to have a higher score than your opponent when the board is complete. There are several ways to score points. This is how the relevance of placing letters on the correct squares comes into play.

  • Each letter you play on its proper square is worth one point.

  • You earn points for completing words. The amount is equal to the number of letters in the word.

  • You earn five bonus points if you use all five of your letters in a single turn.

  • There are a small number of blue bonus squares on the board. If you place a correct letter on one of them, your total score for that turn will double.

Game Mode Options

The basic format of its puzzles generally don’t change. Even so, Kryss is still a comprehensive game with plenty of options for how to play.  

  • Practice Kryss: This mode lets you play against a computer opponent. It is a relaxed mode, perfect for learning the ins and outs of the game.

  • Random Opponent: Choose this mode to pair up with a random opponent.

  • Kryss Friend: Add people to a friends list in Kryss. With this option, you can select someone from that list and challenge them to a game.

  • Find Player: If someone isn’t on your friends list, but you know who they are, you can search by their email address and challenge them to a game.

  • Quick Play: This is the most unique game option, as the games are much faster. There is no waiting between turns, the board is smaller, you use four letters rather than five, and each turn is only 45 seconds long.

It costs one Game Board token to start a game with someone. You earn these tokens while you play. But, if you run out, you can buy more tokens with coins, the in-game currency, or with real money. You earn coins while you play too.

Kryss Power-Ups

As is the norm for most word games, Kryss provides some incredibly useful power-ups. You can use these whenever you wish, but remember the game only gives you a few when you start the game. Once you’ve used the provided supply, you will need to get more by spending coins or real money.

  • Reveal: This reveals any letter on the game board. Only you will be able to see it.

  • Overtime: This adds 40 seconds to your turn’s timer, giving almost two turns in one.

  • Replace: This allows you to select and replace one to five of your letters.

Play All Types of Crossword Puzzles

Kryss takes some time to learn at first. But, once you have the basics down, it’s a great option for competitive play. The changes to the standard crossword puzzle design are refreshing and engaging. Of course, playing normal crossword puzzles is still equally as fun. Download the NY Times Crossword app if you want a more traditional experience. Its daily crosswords and almost endless puzzle packs will keep you entertained for a long time.

Zac Pricener has been a content creator for the past eight years. He’s a bit of an all-around nerd, and he has a bad habit of working movie and TV show references into conversations whenever possible.


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