Difficult to acquire. Difficult to win.
Location: at home
Date played: October 8, 2016
Team size: 2-4; we recommend 2-4
Price: $45 (only available for pickup at SCRAP’s San Francisco facility)
Story & setting
Welcome to the PuzzKingdom. We were intrepid puzzlers undergoing a test from the PuzzKing in an attempt to earn the prestigious rank of PuzzKnight. No PuzzJoke.
The PuzzBox was an at-home escape game in the same vein as The Werewolf Experiment or the ThinkFun Games. However, this was a SCRAP game and it stuck to the SCRAP script.
The game was paper-based and the materials, printing, and paper quality were solid.
The game, however, was limited to a run of 100 (although they may do another), and it was distributed exclusively through SCRAP’s San Francisco facility. Dan Egnor of the Escape Room Directory was kind enough to acquire one and ship it to us.
This was a SCRAP game. If you’ve played one, you’ll know exactly what that entails:
It was a challenging paper-based game in a rigid and predictable structure with a brutal final puzzle.
The PuzzBox, like every other SCRAP game I’ve played, was puzzles upon puzzles. They were detail-oriented and at times felt a little trite. However, SCRAP did manage to create some brilliant puzzles, which is also their modus operandi.
As far as paper-based puzzles go, this was a solid batch; they were generally satisfying to solve.
The story was incredibly cute and delivered with a light touch. This was an improvement over all of the other stories we’ve seen from SCRAP because it didn’t try to be epic while delivering a paper-based puzzling experience.
The PuzzBox felt like one of SCRAP’s better mass events. However, playing at home was vastly superior to playing in a giant room with a ton of other people and a 60-minute countdown clock. We could take our time and enjoy ourselves without having to scavenge a huge space for additional paper-based clues.
If you absolutely hate SCRAP mass events, then you’re not going to love the PuzzBox.
Playing the PuzzBox destroys the materials in the PuzzBox. It came with a single refill kit, but after two playthroughs, it’s dead. This thwarted my desire to share the game with a handful of East Coast puzzle lovers who couldn’t get their hands on a PuzzBox.
The lockbox was basically irrelevant. It didn’t have to be there at all, but I think it was included because that’s been their signature object in their mass events. Opening it revealed nothing special.
It was challenging to acquire the PuzzBox and it was expensive to have it shipped. This was frustrating in retrospect because if SCRAP had dropped the lockbox, the game would have been entirely paper-based and thereby far easier to produce and ship. The kicker is that the game would not have suffered from lack of that anti-climactic lockbox.
We solved the final puzzle through a clever (not my idea, but I wish I came up with it) reverse engineering of the components.
Should I play SCRAP’s PuzzBox?
We spent a little under an hour twenty solving the PuzzBox and we had a lot of fun throughout. There were interesting puzzles and boring puzzles. We felt let down when we opened the lockbox, but overall, we truly enjoyed ourselves.
If you love more challenging escape room puzzles and can get your hands on a PuzzBox, it’s worth playing. If you prefer the experiential side of escape rooms, run the other direction.
The PuzzBox has convinced me that SCRAP’s games are best played at a lower price-point and in the comfort of my own home.
Order your copy of SCRAP’s PuzzBox, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.