If you haven’t had a chance to play, Don’t Panic! There are NO SPOILERS in this article.
Escape Rooms have got to be one of my favorite activities of all time. The pressure to solve a bunch of interconnected puzzles in a set time limit with friends, family, and sometimes complete strangers is money well spent in my book. That’s why I was so excited to bring the EXIT: THE GAME series to my family game nights!
If you aren’t familiar with the series, the games have a common (probably obvious) theme: you and up to three other people are trapped somewhere and need to escape. To do that, you’ll need to use a notebook, cards representing riddles and the answer cards to go along with them, a decoder disk for solving puzzles, and strange items that vary depending on the game you choose. Also, if you ever get stuck, there are hint cards you can use for each puzzle. Be careful though as every hint card you use will reduce your final score at the end!
The first time I played it was just me and my wife while our 10-week-old son hung out in his little swing. We chose “The Pharaoh’s Tomb” because we really loved the Egyptian theme and didn’t think it would entice other members of our family as much as “The Secret Lab” or “The Abandoned Cabin“. Set up was a breeze. There’s no board, so we just pulled out the book and decoder disk and set all the cards into their respective piles, leaving the strange items in the box until later told to grab them. We only needed to grab a couple pencils, some scrap paper, and a pair of scissors and we were off.
The whole experience was so much fun. We poured over the booklet, alternating between “Eureka!” and “I’m stuck!” moments. The nice thing about it just being the two of us was one could watch the baby while the other puzzled things out, then we could switch duties without skipping a beat. I’m not afraid to admit that we were stumped by one puzzle in particular and had to use up all the clue cards to solve it. Normally this would have been frustrating, but that revelation made us both go “Wow! Awesome!” That one puzzle gave us such an appreciation for the EXIT series that if you only ever play one of these, I highly recommend it. In the end, we passed the 2hr time limit and took hints so we ended with 4/10 stars. Honestly, not as bad as I thought it would be for a first time while watching a newborn!
We went on to play “The Secret Lab” with family shortly after and had just as good of a time as the first go around. Everyone had a blast and adding two more people didn’t adversely affect the game. If anything, we did way better because of the extra sets of eyes, coming in under 1 hr and only needing to take two hints. It had just as many cool puzzles and seeing everyone’s interactions and different interpretations to riddles was amazing. During that game was when I fully appreciated why the EXIT: THE GAME series won the Kennerspiel des Jahres 2017.
I highly recommend everyone check these games out! They are fun, they are engaging and are an affordable way to experience an escape room from the comfort of home. More are constantly coming out so be on the look out at your local game store!