Captive – Dracula’s Library [Review]

Draining.

Location: Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

Date played: January 22, 2017

Team size: 2-7; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 45 minutes

Price: 25 CAD per ticket

Story & setting

Set in 1862, we were a team of investigators on the hunt for the most famous of vampires in New Orleans. Could we find the proof we needed to expose Dracula before he learned of our intrusion and ended our story?

The set looked like the vague idea of New Orleans had collided with an Ikea catalogue.

Captive's stylized "C" logo.

Puzzles

The main thrust of Dracula’s Library was hunting and searching. Both times we called for hints, it was because of an obscure search failure. We spent the bulk of our 45-minute time in the room escape hunting for minute details. I think we escaped with 15 seconds to spare.

There wasn’t a lot to find, but it was hard to find everything.

Standouts

Our gamemaster had a wonderful delivery of the rules and story. She was engaging and excellent at her job.

Shortcomings

We had to fully interact with some large pieces of furniture. None of the furniture that required heavy interaction was sturdy, on wheels, or properly secured.

With no in-game monitoring, in order to give us a hint, our lovely gamemaster had to climb a set of stairs and have a conversation with us about our progress.

There weren’t enough handheld lights to go around for the moments that needed them. We found ourselves working harder to choreograph the passing of lights than we did working through puzzles.

The puzzling wasn’t compelling or fun.

Should I play Captive’s Dracula’s Library?

Dracula’s Library seemed great before we entered:

An energetic and engaged gamemaster: ✔

A historical setting in America’s true Sin City: ✔

A mythic mystery to unravel: ✔

High stakes: ✔

Unfortunately Dracula’s Library collapsed within the first few minutes. There was a stunning lack of depth and some bizarre design choices that bordered on safety concerns. Dracula’s Library wasn’t an easy game, but it was hard in all the wrong ways.

The next Room Escape Conference is taking place in Niagara Falls, NY from May 1-3, 2017. The conference organizers sponsored our trip to Buffalo, New York, Niagara Falls, New York, and Niagara Falls, Ontario, to play this game and others in the region. We strive to help conference attendees visit the room escapes that are best for them.

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