No Spoilers, A worry free reading
Designer; Jinka and Markus Brand
Pubished by; Thames and Kosmos
Art by; lots of people
I have found this review will be the easiest one I have done but also the hardest to write.
“How can that be?” I hear you ask.
Well, Exit The Game: The Pharaoh’s Tomb is one of three titles from Thames & Kosmos and is part of this new trend of “escape” games that seem to be releasing every week now. These games are simulating real life escape rooms that seem to have a growing trend and are popping up in the city or town you live in. These are designed to highlight who has the highest IQ out of you and your friends. Letting you willingly pay money to be locked in a room to solve a load of puzzles with a set time to be able to leave and have a group picture taken and uploaded to social media, while you hold a white board boasting about how long it took you all to complete. But you know full well if it wasn’t for that highly intellectual guy you brought along at the last minute, you would have been locked in for eternity and slowly go mad, until the supervising attendant lets you and your friends out offering you a sad face of condolence and maybe a cup of tea.
I have not done a real life escape room as of yet but I am chomping at the bit to mark it off my Bucket list, but I have played Escape the Room: Mystery at the Stargazer’s Manor, and I would like to put Time Stories in this category as I do feel you get the same experience and tension as an escape room. There are others too; Unlock is another in the line which uses an app feature and the escape room game is also out there.
So why is this so hard to write but easy, because I really can’t tell you anything about the game because it gives away too much and spoil your experience.
So that’s my review of Exit The Game: The Pharaoh’s Tomb…
Ok, so I might be able to tell you a bit more.
Compared to the other games I have played, it is a small box which mainly consists of a deck of cards and a couple of other components (don’t worry, I haven’t given you any more than what is on the back of the box). And like the others it is “an open and play” sort of game. Rip that shrink wrap off, someone reads the rules and you begin playing. Now, if I were to give you any advice, I would fully read the rules out loud and follow them to the T. This is a mistake we did and we got stuck at a point.
Half of the cards in the deck are help hint cards which are a nice touch. Through the game, you are solving riddles and revealing symbols to add to a dial that is a decoder. For each symbol there are three cards, a top card is clue 1, the second is clue 2 and the last is an outrageous, in your face, solution to the puzzle. But this can also be seen as a waste of components because if they are part of Mensa you won’t use them and they will just sit there taking up table space and is a wasted portion of a tree.
Time wise, you aren’t set against a countdown clock like others, Exit just says to start a stopwatch and work your way through the riddles. But you still feel that pressure because the longer you sit there, rubbing your chin, trying not to use the clue cards the longer that stopwatch is running and the worse your star score will be at the end.
The negative impact Exit could have on someone playing this game or even buying it, is the fact you will be required to modify some of the components in a way that you cannot play this again. Of course, you wouldn’t personally be able to, because like with all escape rooms you will know the clues and puzzles and would speed through without any real thought to what you are doing. Now, this is a problem because some people I know hate doing actual grievous harm to their precious board games. Me! I take pride in following rules and if a rule says, “destroy this card” it will be disintegrated to dust. (But I do draw the line at doing harm to myself and others before you try and pull that one on me.) Now, OCD gamers might take it upon themselves to preserve their copy of this and do what is needed to keep it from harm and I can see a way of doing that, but why bother, it costs £13 on an online store with a big smile. Just buy it, play it, and buy more to give to friends and family. On the other hand, this is where the other escape rooms come into their own because you can reset them and they can be reused again and again.
But this destruction did bring me much satisfaction in many ways because it added an element to the puzzles, adding layers to the game. Some could say, it broke the fourth wall. But it was fun assaulting this game.
Another negative is, the components I would say are a bit small, when there are a few of you huddled around the table trying to see the clues or when one person is hogging the booklet it can be a little irritating to some. However, to counter it the size of box would be great for a trip away and after you played it, it could be tossed in the bin because, well, you should have massacred it enough not to recognise it again.
This experience brought me so much joy I just want to shout it out and tell you all about it, where we got it wrong and where we triumphed on each puzzle. I have given you as much as I can before coming too close to the edge of spoiler territory,that to carry on it will be a crime.
This was a great experience, similar to the others I have played and if I was to compare, I would say this is tougher than them all. Which is a good thing in many ways, because it really taxed the 3 of us that tried to find the Exit (that being two highly intelligent university graduates and me). We were only sent one of the 3, out of the series and I am now looking at getting the other 2, just so we can play through them all, I had that much fun.
In the end, it took us the good part of an evening to play and we had to look at 2 clue cards in total to get through it, but we talked, discussed and argued about our experience for the rest of the evening. Discussing our mistakes and achievements, who got what and how. If the rest of the night is dominated by the night’s banter and chat of the experience just had, then it’s a sign of a great game.