– Sherlock Holmes, The Crooked Man
Location: New York, NY
Date played: July 21, 2016
Team size: up to 10; we recommend 3-5
Price: $28 per ticket
Story & setting
In Hound of the Baskervilles, we assumed the role of a collective Watson to solve one of Sherlock’s famous cases.
We entered a large, sparsely furnished room. It was appropriately themed and didn’t look bad, but it also wasn’t particularly interesting.
Hound of the Baskervilles was a collection of puzzles. These ranged in difficulty and required different skill sets. However, the puzzles were primarily paper-based, meaning we engaged with them without engaging with the physical space.
While discovering the puzzle components, we also uncovered written hints / instructions as to how to approach them. This clueing technique added to the paper-puzzle structure.
We enjoyed the majority of the puzzles.
Our gamemaster was friendly and alert. He had a good read on our team dynamic and engaged with us appropriately.
This game fell flat because it was presented as a room escape. In this genre of entertainment, games derive intrigue when physical space and puzzles intertwine to create an enhanced, immersive experience. The game lacked half the equation.
Hound of the Baskervilles didn’t rely on its physical space – which was expansive considering its location in the premium real estate market of Midtown Manhattan. These puzzles could have been printed and solved at home around our dining room table.
Given the setup as detectives, we expected to uncover a story and solve a mystery. However, the puzzles only hinted the theme of the famous Sherlock Holmes case, rather than help us unravel the case around us. This nod to theme had the unfortunate side effect of making many of the combination locks readily hackable, at least to our experienced team.
Should I play 59:59 Room Escape NYC’s Escape from the Hound of the Baskervilles?
Hound of the Baskervilles was a collection of paper-based puzzles with a nod to a theme. On the strength of the puzzles, it was still entertaining. In fact, it could probably be recreated without a room to escape and not lose anything. It might even be better because it wouldn’t let down our expectations for “room escape.”
This game didn’t capture the feel of Sherlock Holmes, or the drama of this case.
Full disclosure: 59:59 Room Escape NYC comped our tickets for this game.