Spencer is Puzzling: Lost in the Shuffle | Review

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Lost in the Shuffle Review | Boost your brain powers on your quest to become officially, legally, a genius!* Submit all 52 correct answers to access the final challenge, “Puzzle 53” (dun dun duhhhhhn!).

Completion Time: 4 hours
Date Played: 5th October 2022
Party Size: 3
Difficulty: Moderate

I often wonder how you officially become a genius. Is it when you’re accepted into Mensa? Or perhaps when you win an international Scrabble Tournament? No! It turns out the status of genius can be achieved only by solving puzzle 53 in Spencer Beebe’s latest game, Lost in the Shuffle.

“Give me puzzle 53!” I hear you cry.

Not so fast. First, you have to work your way through a deck of playing cards packed with 52 puzzles you must solve to reach your final test.

 

 

Ok I’m ready. Where do I start?

Good question. One of the things I absolutely loved about this game is that there are no outright instructions. You have to search for the puzzles before you even think about solving them. Some cards contain multiple puzzles and some puzzles need multiple cards, so finding the puzzles to solve is a puzzle in itself! Phew!

You’re not completely on your own though, when you first begin the game, you’re directed to a website where an introductory video with a surprisingly expressive new friend awaits, reassuring you that you’re about to have a lot of fun (which we did!) You’ll unlock more videos as you progress, which will slowly unravel the story behind Lost in the Shuffle. As well as the videos, the website also hosts the rules of the game, a code sheet and a brilliant hint system that I’ll touch on later. The website is also where you input all your solutions, and you can watch your brain matter increase as the puzzles become increasingly more difficult. Eventually your brain will reach the long awaited point where it’s ready to tackle the biggest puzzle of all.

 

 

Sounds like a big deal!

Deal?! Cards?! Get it?! (Sorry) But yes, these puzzles range from relatively simple to really quite difficult so solving them feels like a big achievement. I wish I’d been a fly on the wall watching our celebrations for some of the trickier ones.

There are puzzles to suit (!!) everybody, and because they can be done in any order, you can squirrel away with one puzzle while others work through another. Remember though, some cards are needed more than once! Some puzzles required logic, some observational skills, and some even a quick internet search. There’s also some hidden surprises which I won’t spoil, but they’re really impressive once the penny drops. One things for sure, so much heart has gone into this project and it shows. Every inch of the design of the play of this game has been thoroughly thought through and it’s a joy to experience.

Speaking of joy, seeing the answer sheet gradually fill up with correct answers is a very satisfying way to track your progress. What’s even better is that your answers are saved, so you can take a break whenever you need a log back in to where you left off. We were only forced to take a break because I realised it was past my bedtime on a work night…

 

 

Need a clue?

The online clue system is nice and easy. Simply click on the card you’re stuck on, and links to any of the puzzles that card is part of will be revealed. You can then gradually reveal hints, as little or as many as you like, and finally you have the option to reveal the answer if you wish.

 

The Verdict

I really enjoyed Lost in the Shuffle. It’s a wonderfully unique game which turns this common item we know and love into an innovative experience that provides hours of puzzle solving fun. You can take it with you anywhere, play solo or with others and go for as long or as little as you like at a time. The flexibility of the game and the puzzles within the box are a win, and I look forward to seeing more of Spencer Beebe’s imagination turning into a reality.

Lost in the Shuffle is now available on Kickstarter! Back it here, or head directly to Spencer’s page here.

Arcadium Adventures: A Most Mysterious Convention | Review

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Arcadium Adventures: A Most Mysterious Convention Review | Chapter One in Arcadium’s Most Mysterious Cases, now you can enjoy more of the intrigue, the mysteries and the stories from wherever you are! This experience is a most enjoyable way to spend an afternoon or evening at home and can even be used as greeting card or gift.

Date Played: August 2022
Time Taken: ~1 hr
Number of Players: 2
Difficulty: Comfortable

After taking a long break – mostly spent moving house from London to Edinburgh – I was excited to return back to the world of puzzle games! They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, right? Well this saying is definitely true for all things escape room, board game and a combination of the two (like this one).

Having settled down, I couldn’t wait to invite fellow puzzler Rebecca round for an afternoon of puzzling. The very first game in our list came all the way over from Arcadium Adventures in Australia. Arcadium Adventures is a brick-and-mortar escape room based in Brisbane who specialise in all things magic and mystery. For book lovers and adventure afficionados, they also have a series of “play at home escape rooms” whose names all begin with “A Most Mysterious…”

Over the course of two hours, broken in the middle by lunch, we played through both Chapter One and Chapter Two of Arcadium Adventures’ series. Here’s how we got on:

 

 

A Mysterious Box Arrives

The first thing to note about Arcadium Adventures is the boxes they arrive in… So small, yet so much fun! Chapter One was about the size of a small paperback, so it fit perfectly through my letterbox. It’s a good quality box, very sturdy and lightweight. However, if you wanted to play the game but didn’t want to pay postage, the company also offers the games as digital downloads. I’m assuming these would be a PDF version of all the printed materials we received. A few items may need to be printed out, but mostly there’s no reason it couldn’t be played online.

Inside, we opened it up to discover a wealth of different pieces of paper and clippings all that related to our mystery at hand. A black envelope sealed with a wax stamp titled “Begin Here” points to where (and how) to get started. Inside this envelope was an introductory, expositional piece. Our mission, should we choose to accept it, was simple:

 

ARCANACON – The Annual Mystery Convention

ARCANACON is the fictional (awww!) annual mystery convention and sadly we were not able to attend this year. However, the organisers of ARCANACON have sent us a letter with a secret message. Across the materials about the convention is a puzzle to be solved. If we manage to solve everything, we’ll uncover the secret message.

The ARCANACON Radio was also available to us which, we were pleasantly surprised to discover wasn’t just music but also a true radio-style broadcast that occasionally interrupted our play with fun messages. We also had access to a webpage which provided recipes, a chatbot, additional hints, and a place to input our answers.

The creators of Arcadium Adventures really outdid themselves with all the little extra details, and we appreciated those a lot! They added an extra level of immersion to the whole experience. I only hope that one day ARCANACON will be a real life thing we can actually attend. Now that would be fun!

 

 

Puzzles & Papercraft

In terms of the puzzles, the structure of the game was quite simple. Every puzzle was tackled in isolation and every puzzle gave a digit output that at the end of the game would be strung together to reveal the secret message. Whilst this is a fairly common ‘secret message delivery system’ regular players will recognise from other games out there, Arcadium Adventures required a 23 digit code. The more digits, the more room for error… And there was a little bit of error on our part. Such as accidentally mixing up the order of two puzzles, or making small typos when relaying the 23 digits. But nothing we couldn’t overcome after a few attempts.

In terms of those individual puzzles, there was a range of different puzzle types. There were some folding puzzles, plenty of cipher puzzles, puzzles where you had to overlay one material onto another, logic puzzles, and so on and so on.

Overall we’d probably say that both the game’s puzzles and it’s overall input wasn’t particularly innovative. For starters, we both agreed that every puzzle in the game we’d seen somewhere else before – but that does come with the territory when you play hundreds and hundreds, so I can’t fault them there. But more than this there was an overall sense of the objects being quite random, and their solutions feeling a little forced. There’s a lot of discourse in the industry I won’t get into here about mimetic and diegetic puzzles, so I’ll just distil that down into “the vibes” were a little off.

But that’s not to say we didn’t have fun, and this would be an excellent introductory game to somebody who has never played a “play at home escape room”. The creators should be very proud for building a well balanced and enjoyable puzzle game.

 

Image (C) Arcadium Adventures

 

The Verdict

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by the first of the Arcadium Adventures games. It was good for at least an hour’s worth of puzzling fun, set within a quirky story about a mystery convention, and really pushed us to think outside of the box on some of the puzzles. It’s a great quality box with a wealth of fun details inside. As mentioned, we’d recommend this game for beginners who want to try their hand at a ‘play at home escape room’. It’s a good level of difficulty to be challenging in parts and satisfying in others.

There is room for improvement for sure, but as the company continues to make more adventures like these I’ve no doubt they’ll get better!

 

A Most Mysterious Convention can be purchased from Arcadium Adventures’ shop here.

Cryptocards | Review

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Cryptocards Review | CryptoCard is a unique postcard that hides 5 challenging puzzles. In fact, part of the challenge is figuring out what the riddle is, what parts of it are hidden, and how it should be solved. But why break your head? You send the postcard to someone else! What’s the catch? They do not know who sent them the postcard.

Date Played: December 2021
Time Taken: 30 Minutes
Difficulty: Hard

Cryptocards is a fun little ‘puzzles on a postcard‘ concept by an Israeli creator that I was very excited to receive through my letterbox one day, out of the blue, from a mysterious friend. As such, it’s definitely ‘lesser known’ over here in the UK and as far as I’m aware doesn’t ship to the UK as standard. But if you happen to receive one and you’re not concerned about the fact that the writing on the postcard is in Hebrew (Google Translate’s camera function is my best friend here), then it’s a uniquely fun little game that is well worth checking out!

 

 

About Cryptocards

For such a lightweight puzzle experience, Cryptocards is challengingly good fun! At present, there is just one design available and it’s printed on a single double sided postcard. At first glance, you’d be forgiven for assuming it’s just a regular postcard… Albeit one with a very fun design. It’s mostly black and white with a ‘hand printed’, grunge look and feel to it. But on second look you start to notice some very interesting shapes and patterns stick out. Aha! It’s a puzzle to be solved.

The method of ‘solving’ this puzzle, and revealing who actually sent you the card is quite simple. It’s a method we’ve seen before but no less effective:

  • Each of the five mini puzzles hidden on the postcard has an icon and the solution is a string of two or three numbers
  • Once you’ve found all of the numbers, you can write them out in order
  • This will then take your player to a web page where they can read a secret message you’ve left for them

Over here in the UK we have slightly similar game concepts, such as Puzzle Post and Enigmagram, but nothing quite so small as a postcard.

In terms of difficulty – I won’t beat around the bush, I found Cryptocards comfortably quite difficult! There was a good mix of different puzzles, but one good thing was that no puzzle relied on the use of words. This means that beside your intro message from the creators in the centre of the card, I was still able to play being unable to understand a word of Hebrew. Seriously, my Hebrew was so bad I played most of the game upside down, not knowing which way round the alphabet looked.

There are 5 puzzles in total and each of these is in theory short and sweet. One of them took me mere seconds to figure out how to solve it, but the others required a little more mental gymnastics. None of them was objectively difficult, but it took longer than usual for a satisfying click. So, in short about the right level!

 

 

The Verdict

I’ve kept this review short and sweet because the game itself is a short and sweet one. At around £13 for a postcard, it is a little on the expensive side – they don’t currently ship to the UK but I imagine that’d be an extra cost too. However if you have friends in Israel or the surrounding region, I’d highly recommend checking Cryptocards out.

There’s something really, really fun about receiving a mysterious letter from an unknown correspondent, and Cryptocards nails that mysteriousness. I’m quietly hoping they produce more puzzle games on postcards, and hoping even more that they roll out English and other language versions in the future and are able to reach a global audience one day!

For now, I’m just happy that I received my own little postcard on a snowy December’s day and got to spend half an hour over lunch puzzling my way through 5 tricky puzzles. Good fun!

 

All photos (c) Cryptocards. 
Cryptocards can be purchased from their website here. Note, the website is entirely in Hebrew.

Royal Museums Greenwich: The Cursed Collector | Review

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The Cursed Collector Review | Someone is trying to break into The Prince Philip Maritime Collections Centre. Is it a thief, and if so, what are they trying to steal? As an undercover investigator you will help the curators find out what is going on and take action … and fast!

An anonymous tip has revealed that a person already known to the Museum is the potential perpetrator. We need to convince Security that the threat is real!

Completion Time: 21:49
Date Played: 17th February 2022
Party Size: 4
Difficulty: Easy

Personally, I love it when museums enter the ‘escape room’ space. Museums are packed with history, fascinating stories and curious collections ripe for converting into an immersive mystery just like this one. I actually hope that more museums will do it in the future – it’s just such a fantastic way to get the general public to engage in a meaningful way with the past and I love that!

The Cursed Collector is the latest in museum-escape room collaboration. It’s also a funny story, because my partner (occasional player 2 in my reviews and UK museums professional) heard about this game’s launch long before I did. We bounce around ideas for museum themed escape rooms from time to time, but one day he turned to me and asked “Hey, have you played the Royal Museums Greenwich one yet?”

Wait what? A brand new digital escape room experience that I’d never heard of?! Well, that had to be fixed at once! And so, pulling together a fantastic team of Al, Ash and Georgie, we booked ourselves in right away.

About The Cursed Collector Escape Room

The Cursed Collector is a timed digital escape room experience. You’re given a specific time slot and a Zoom link to join 5 minutes before. At your allocated time, you all hop onto the call and are greeted by your host, then in no time at all the adventure begins.

The whole game then takes place over a series of websites which one member of the team is encouraged to share their screen so that all players can play along. The narrative weaves seamlessly between fictional websites, for shady security firms and secret societies and real websites including the Royal Museums Greenwich actual collections! Various pages have audio files, and password protected sections which must be unlocked to progress.

The game centres around a fictional story inspired by those collections, but it does a great job of forcing you to interact with the real exhibits which you can then go and see in person. What a fun blurring of story and truth together! We worked together and dug through layers of maritime history in search of lost treasure. Why? To break a curse, of course!

The whole thing should take an average team around 60 minutes to complete. We were on particularly good form and took just 20 minutes, but equally I’m not sure enthusiasts are the target audience of the game so we may be outliers there.

Introducing, Our Museum Guide!

In our case, the host (in our case named Victoria) was one of my favourite things about the whole experience. Bearing in mind it’s just a museum (and not say, an escape room company with games masters who have trained for years), our host was full of enthusiasm from the first moment to the last. Due to the nature of the gameplay, we interacted with her only during the intro briefing and the outro, as for most of the game she took a very hands off role. A good thing, I suppose, as we didn’t require any hints! But even at the last moment it felt like she cared a lot about our experience, asking all the right questions about what worked and what didn’t work and what feedback we had. A lovely touch to feel listened to!

I do feel that for an experience like this it is unusual to have a host. Since the whole thing was digital and fairly self-contained, we easily could have played without an intro or outro video (say, just a pre-recorded video and a web-page with hints if we needed them). I mainly mention it because there are only 2 slots offered per evening, but the whole game could easily be a “play anytime” game if players were allowed to start and finish at their own pace without needing to book into a slot. The more players who get to experience this game, the better, right? But hey, that’s just my two pence on the matter! I appreciated getting to meet our lovely host, but the presence of any host was not necessary for the gameplay.

Cracking Codes and Hacking into the System

In terms of puzzles, whilst they may have been on the easier side, it certainly was fun to whiz through the internet hacking into various login pages and security systems to access information. For the best experience, whilst one person will be sharing their screen – other players should open up the same URLs and have a dig around at their own pace. You never know what you may find.

Some of my favourite moments included ‘hacking’ into a real email address’s inbox, and finding many cool pages on the internet that you’re never quite sure are real or fictional.

There’s a lot of ‘guessing the password for this page’ with a few clues pointing on various web pages. Though these people seriously need to up their security! Haha!

If you enjoy more deductive, mimetic puzzles like that, then it’ll be right up your street.

The Verdict

I’ll be honest, it’s really hard to grade this escape game as we traditionally do for each review. Subjectively, not my favourite escape room experience. But would I recommend it? Sure!

I think it comes down to the technology. Playing The Cursed Collector reminded me a lot of playing the very earliest games in the Isklander series – that is before they revamped them all into a trilogy. What I mean by that is that it reminded me of the kinds of games that game out in early 2020. Isklander won a lot of awards when it first came out because nobody had seen anything quite like it. If they launched now… Meh.

So what I’m trying to saying a roundabout way is that the style and ambition of The Cursed Collector already feels dated, which is a slight shame given the wealth of resource material a museum like The Prince Philip Maritime Collections Centre has. They could have done a lot more with it.

But here’s the thing, why on Earth would I expect a museum who has never made an escape room before to compete with the established escape rooms that have spent the last 2-3 years fine tuning and honing the digital escape room craft? I wouldn’t. Museums do not have a lot of money, made even worse by the drastic cuts faced in the UK as a result of the pandemic. People aren’t visiting museums as much anymore, and museums need to do whatever they can to secure more income and bring more excited people through their doors – especially young people!

So am I thrilled that RMG created this escape room? Heck yeah!

Should you play it and support them? Absolutely.

I hope that this is just the first of many immersive experiences the team go on to create and I hope they inspire other museums across the UK to follow suite and create their own games.

The TLDR; Verdict

The Cursed Collector is fairly engaging and has a great host who guides you through the RMG Collections in search of missing items in order to break a curse. Sure, it’s not the most impressive escape room, feels a little dated compared to other digital escape rooms you can play today, and it definitely won’t challenge enthusiasts, but it’s important to support museums if you can. We’d recommend this for families and kids** who cannot visit the collections in person but want a fun and educational way to engage with the RMG. For the best experience, why not play first, then go visit those very same objects you were working with in the game!

** please note, the website recommends it for ages 14+. We think this game would be fine for players much younger, but do get in touch with them directly to discuss!

The Cursed Collector can be booked by heading to Royal Museums Greenwich’s page here.

Sara Lee Trust: The Detectives That Saved Christmas! | Review

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The Detectives That Saved Christmas Review | The elves radio beacon is in the shape of a star and when the time has come, they climb the tallest Christmas tree they can find, place the star at the top and await the reindeer. The elves stored the star in the community centre but when, after the twelfth week in Great Snoring they went to pick it up it was gone. Only a dozen people have a key to the community center and as there were no signs of a break in it must have been taken by one of them.

After comparing the naughty list with the list of key holders the elves have made a list of the 6 suspects. Can you help the elves find their star? Pull yourselves together and walk a mile in their pointy shoes!

Completion Time: 20 minutes
Date Played: 28th November 2021
Party Size: 1
Difficulty: Easy

This time last year Play Helps in partnership with the Sara Lee Trust released a charity escape game for Christmas: The Detectives that Saved Christmas! I was slightly gutted to have missed it- I mean, I’m a little bit obsessed with Christmas. It’s totally normal to be updating The Escape Roomer in a Santa hat in November, right? Anyway…

I was very excited to hear that this game is making a comeback this year – bigger and better than ever, 100% of the proceeds for the game go directly to charity. Wahey! Take my money!

There’s something a little magical about doing what I love – playing escape rooms – and knowing you’re doing it for good and the money you spent is going to a really, really good cause. The Sara Lee Trust are a local charity in Hastings that look after those affected by cancer. The charity was chosen after the game’s designer (Shaun Shrubsall) was helped by them, and it’s his way of giving back!

For this reason, we are generally very favourable about the game because we believe as many people as possible should go out and purchase it. For sure, your average enthusiast will not be challenged by it – as it’s not a difficult game at all – but look at it this way: Since it’s got such a family focus and a wide market appeal, this could be just the game to introduce to your puggle (puzzle muggle) friends to get them hooked on whodunnits.

About The Detectives That Saved Christmas

The Detectives That Saved Christmas is a classic whodunnit game. Rather than being in a physical room, the game is played looking top-down at a table with all the suspects and the evidence spilled out upon it. Since the game was built in Telescape, I’m used to 360 views of rooms, so it was really creative to see the escape game platform used in a different way.

Your goal is simple: find the elf that did the crime. This can be done by eliminating each of the elves’ alibis. Six elves and one crime committed in the sleepy town of Great Snoring. You start the game with just the descriptions of the elves, and as time ticks along more and more evidence appears on your desk. Each time a new piece of evidence appears, a little jingle bell sounds. The first time this happened I had my volume set to maximum and nearly screamed. The second and third time was a lot more gentle and festive! As each piece of evidence appears, you can click and drag them to each relevant elf and mark their portraits with a cross to eliminate them or a tick if you think they’re the culprits.

A Winter Whodunnit

In terms of pure puzzles – there aren’t a lot, as this game’s beauty is in logical deduction. If this, then that, which means that elf could not have done it. However I did particularly enjoy using a lot of maths to calculate the exact timings to figure out whether it was technically possible if an elf could have driven to the crime scene in time. Thankfully you’re provided with Google maps, but I like to whip out the calculator too!

It’s not particularly challenging, but I reckon that in a bigger group there’d be a lot of fun debate. This game is nothing if not fun, and when it’s not packed with hilarious elf puns and light hearted jokes, it causes you to question and chat out loud about what you’re solving. In short: making it a perfect family game to get everyone involved in.

Another of my favourite parts was at the very end of the game. once you’ve made your choice, the time skips forward and the credits roll with a funny “where are they now” montage of all the suspects you didn’t chose as the criminals. In a silly kind of way, I was very emotionally invested in these elves and was glad to see they all lived happily ever after… Well, perhaps not all of them.

The Verdict

The Detectives That Saved Christmas is fun, but don’t expect the world of it. After all, its’s a game designed for mass market appeal, to bring the family together – wherever they are in the world – to solve a Christmas mystery. Any game where the proceeds go towards charity is worth grabbing a ticket for!

Play The Detectives That Saved Christmas here.

Ratings

USB Escape: Season 1 | Review

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USB Escape Season 1 Review | Conventional escape rooms lock you in a room with a ticking clock and an assortment of puzzles. USB Escape brings that complexity and that intensity to your desktop for the ultimate immersive experience. Join us in solving a reality- bending virtual escape room puzzle collection.

Hours of story-driven puzzles explore the psychological horror of a broken family recovering buried truths. These will test your ability to observe the unseen and your commitment to uncover the truth. 

Have you got an inquisitive mind?

Date Played: July/August 2021
Number of Players: 2
Difficulty: Medium
Time Taken: 2 stints of approximately 60-90 mins

Are you ready to plug into an immersive Escape Room experience like no other?

This game starts from the moment you receive your USB in the post, with an accompanying letter, as players are pulled straight into the USB Escape universe. The first thing to mention in this game is the wonderful USB itself. It’s so unique (much nicer looking than any USB we ever used at uni to save our essays on, and more exciting!) and we are huge fans of the logo and branding here. It was exciting plugging this into the laptop, and watching the game develop at our fingertips! 

A wax seal always makes a letter feel very important

We’ve never used the file explorer this way before, to ‘unlock’ files using the correct password, but it worked so well! You are given just enough information to start piecing the story together, but with a lot of cleverly placed ‘plot holes’ that make you desperate to figure out what happened in June of 2017. There are also helpful ‘password reset’ files for each puzzle, in case you need a hint to nudge you in the right direction- just don’t click into these files unless you are hoping for a bit of help! As you travel further into the narrative, you realise that things are definitely not OK, and something spooky is afoot. We both enjoy a creepy theme, and this game played some of the classic horror themes nicely!

A very pretty USB!

Is Alice a wimp? The answer is always… Yes!

The use of video and audio were particularly effective, especially to help pull players into an immersive universe. Watch out if you’re wearing headphones, Al had to take hers off at one point and watch through her fingers (much to Ash’s amusement!). (Side note – Al is a bit of a wimp, you will be perfectly fine playing this game even if you are a bit averse to the horror genre!). The creepiness increases as you progress with the game, so we would recommend playing this in a couple of longer sittings (or one major sesh, if you’re hardcore), to ensure that you get the full experience of being pulled into the tension.

Gmail has never been so scary!

The puzzles were interesting: lots of visual searching was required (good practice for us!) and often you had to combine multiple pieces of information to solve the puzzles.  Players are provided with snippets of information, through the medium of email between two central characters – “Owen” and his sister “Allie”. These emails get gradually more unsettling as you unlock more information. The progression of the narrative was strong, climaxing with an intense ending based on a local urban legend that had us both at the edge of our seats! 

Something strange is going on….

Reaching the end… for now…

We were so impressed by the volume of story and puzzles, all stored away in the tiny USB. There was one point during this game that gave Al quite the shock (and felt SUPER unsettling, it is such a simple but clever idea to do this). USB Escape can even add some ‘personal’ touches to your copy of the game! Ash gifted this game to Al as a birthday present, so of course she just HAD to get some creepy additions in there , and had a slight upper hand in knowing what was coming…

Overall, we really enjoyed this game, and we will definitely be looking forward to continuing the saga with Season 2 when this is released! See our full ratings below.

If you want more USB Escape Content, check out our interview with creator Keith Dozois here.

Players can purchase their very own USB from this website here: https://www.usbescape.com/, suitable for Mac or Windows, for $14.99 CAD.

Ratings

The Enigmagram | Review

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An envelope lands on your doorstep, inside is a letter from someone but you don’t know who…

Rating: Brilliant
Completion Time: 30 minutes
Date Played: 25th of December 2019
Party Size: 2

If the date weren’t a giveaway, why yes this was a Christmas gift! One of many I bought this Christmas. Since I didn’t actually receive one myself (not hinting anything haha!) – I’m reviewing the copy I purchased for my partner as we puzzled through it together on Christmas morning.

The thing is, I LOVE buying gifts for people that are experiences, like tickets or vouchers. Since Enigmagram’s series of puzzles ends with a link for your recipient to view a customised landing page with a message or image, you can use this as a cooler way to give a further gift. The “Inception” of the gift giving world as it were: A gift, within a gift.

I used the Enigmagram to gift my partner tickets for a concert, but I think if you’re reading this and looking for other ideas, this would be a cool way to gift something puzzling:

  • An escape room voucher
  • Another puzzle! Puzzle-ception!
  • The link to play an online game, or code for a videogame

You never know! Go wild and chuck that gift in there.

The Puzzles

The puzzles are really fun and force you to think outside the box (…Or the envelope, see what I did there? 😜) to crack a code. Quite literally though! We made the mistake of putting the envelope to one side thinking “pah, we won’t need this” – but oh yes, you do need it! You need every single thing that comes in this little envelope, and Enigmagram wastes no time in filling every little corner with puzzling delights.

The types of puzzles you may encounter include things like solving sequences, rustling through receipts to find a specific detail that looks innocuous, filling out newspaper puzzles and squinting really hard at photos. The last one mentioned was a real tricky one, but overall it’s really good fun and great quality materials whilst also (at the time of writing) being totally unique to the market.

In terms of story – there isn’t one! Or rather, the story is what you make of it. A mysterious letter arrives at your door and through a series of numbered puzzles you crack a code to find out what the message says. Why not make your own story about it, text that recipient ahead and let them know what to expect!

The last thing to note is that the website says Enigmagram is suitable for players aged 15+ but I also gifted a copy to my 8 year old brother who had almost no trouble with a little help from us grownups. So the puzzles are a good level for all players!

The Enigmagram can be purchased for £14 on Enigmagram’s website.