Setting sail for dangerous waters, you embark on a treacherous quest for the legendary treasure of the Santa Maria. While investigating a mysterious shipwreck, something goes terribly wrong and you are trapped deep underwater! Can you solve the riddles of the wreck and recover the treasure before your time is up? In this The Sunken Treasure Review we take a deep dive into the game.
Completion Time: 35 minutes
Date Played: 7th July 2021
Party Size: 2
Recommended For: A beginner escape room in a box with a fun theme!
When I look at my board game shelf it’s at least 60% EXIT the Game boxes… But hey, at least my shelves look colourful and mysterious, eh?
For our weekly board game night, my player 2 picks a game the first week, then I get to pick the second week, which is how we come to be making our way through the brilliant EXIT the Game series. Starting with: The Sunken Treasure. It’s a little box covered in brilliant illustrations of the ocean and rated a respectable 2 out of 5 stars in difficulty. In short, this makes it a perfect starter ‘escape room in a box’ for someone who may not be familiar with their gameplay yet.
A Board Game Where you Dive for Lost Treasure
Playing The Sunken Treasure is about as close as you can get to taking a real trip out on a boat, strapping into a scuba kit and diving for treasure. That is of course assuming that underwater shipwrecks are usually covered in puzzles, and you have a handy cipher wheel to help you. I mean, I’ve never been scuba diving. I have no idea.
But jokes aside, I really enjoyed the theme, and the story, of The Sunken Treasure. It’s fairly simple: Whilst on a holiday in the Caribbean you pay a street vendor a few dollars and receive a cool old nautical chart. But what you thought was just a fun trinket from your holidays turns out to me a long lost treasure map. So out you venture onto a boat and arrive where ‘X marks the spot’.
You and your crew of puzzlers descend into the water in search of the old wreckage and luck have it, you discover it. But after so many years of being under the depths there’s a few challenges before you can retrieve your riches. What’s more, you’ve only got an hour’s worth of oxygen left so you’d better make it quick!
The Sunken Treasure: An Escape Room in a Box for Beginners
Personally, I did find The Sunken Treasure to be on the easy side, although our little team of two did use one hint and an answer for one of the puzzles I’m still not totally sure I understand how to solve (but I largely blame the bottle of wine we’d opened by that point).
One stand-out feature of The Sunken Treasure is how linear the gameplay is. Guiding you along your journey is a book that paces the story out with approximately one puzzle per double page spread. As each page clearly indicates a new card to be drawn and the previous to be discarded, it makes for a very clean play area.
For The Sunken Treasure it makes sense as you progress from your ship to diving down to finding the wreckage and so on. Never once are you presented with a room where there are several doors you can choose from, it’s instead a regular story with a beginning, middle and end.
In terms of puzzles, there’s a good mix in this game and nothing too challenging. My only advice would be to go in with an open mind and expect to have to destroy things and use the box in very creative ways. If you’ve played any of the other EXIT The Game games, you’ll probably know the drill by now – but it’ll be a delightful surprise to those who haven’t.
On the subject of it’s destructibility, I own a second-hand copy of The Sunken Treasure, kindly gifted by Escaping the Closet. Whilst EXIT The Game are known for being impossible to re-gift as a result of needing to destroy elements of the game, I think taking a little bit of care with The Sunken Treasure will make it replayable to an extent. There are a few puzzles where you have to cut things up, but on the bright side seeing that my co-writers had already done this I viewed it more as a “yay one less step” rather than being game breaking. So take that with a pinch of salt!
How to Play EXIT The Game
In all EXIT the Game board games we’ve played so far, there’s a fairly similar setup, which we’ll describe below:
- Riddle Cards – These are given a letter and generally speaking are worked through in ABC order
- Answer Cards – These have a corresponding letter to the riddle cards and, you guessed it, they give the answer if needed
- Help Cards – Each help card is denoted by a symbol which you can find on the puzzle you’re working on somewhere (often it’s quite hidden – so look closely)
- A Book – This sets the scene and guides you through the story
- A Cipher Wheel – To check your answers, a cipher wheel is used. In The Sunken Treasure this cipher wheel is covered in cute sea critters – very sweet!
- A bunch of cool looking misc. items – in The Sunken Treasure, you get a whole host of cool things including some very shiny looking gems!
To play, you get up your game with your Help Cards stacked according to symbol, and your Riddle / Answer cards in their own stack. The book guides you through the story to solve each puzzle, find the correct symbols, run it through the cipher wheel and progress.
Really good fun! The Sunken Treasure is a great beginners game and introduction to the EXIT The Game series that will challenge and delight in equal measures. It’s a high quality game with great components – especially those gems *ooh shiny*. I’d recommend this game for a smaller group, with 2 or 3 players being the sweet spot!
The Sunken Treasure can be purchased from most major online retailers..
Mairi is the editor-in-chief of The Escape Roomer and writes about news, and reviews covering London and UK south.