Dispatch by Breakout – On the Run, Box 3 [Review]

Commit Sudoku.

Location: at home

Date Played: March 5, 2018

Team size: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯; we recommend  2-4

Duration: as long as it takes to solve the puzzles

Price: $24.99 per month for a monthly subscription

REA Reaction

On the Run, Box 3 followed in the style of On the Run, Box 2. It was a narrative-driven, puzzle-focused game. Compared to the previous boxes, we liked a few of the puzzles a lot less, and we enjoyed other puzzles a whole lot more. The box was a mixed bag.

Who is this for?

  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Armchair detectives
  • Best for players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • The puzzles are tied to the narrative.
  • You can play at home.

Story

Box 3 continued Dispatch’s On the Run Box narrative, taking us to Japan to continue our investigation into the murder of our best friend’s wife. While this chapter provided some additional clues to our main narrative, we found ourselves focusing most of our energy on a fire in a local hotel.

An assortment of documents and items from Dispatch Box 3.

Setup

Box 3 looked similar to Box 2.

We were given an assortment of largely paper-based items that were printed on various types of paper stock and in a wide variety of styles. These paper components were augmented by a couple of more tangible props.

Gameplay

In addition to looking similar to the Box 2, Box 3 also played similarly. The gameplay was derived from exploring documents, websites, and props, identifying the thematically relevant puzzles, and working through them.

Box 3 concluded with a video that both indicated the end of the box’s puzzles and recapped everything that we were supposed to have uncovered.

Standouts

Box 3 contained the rarely seen thematically- and narratively-appropriate Sudoku puzzle, and Dispatch put a fun twist on this.

Box 3 continued the trajectory established by Box 2 and provided an even more interesting series of puzzles that fit the story and setting of the game.

This was a good team game, as there were ample opportunities to parallel puzzle.

Shortcomings

There was another lengthy and tedious process puzzle that dramatically overstayed its welcome. It was complicated by ambiguous cluing and functionality. We were counting the minutes until we could end this task. Plus, we’re pretty sure that there was a typo that confused the conclusion of this puzzle.

We struggled to fully connect the events of this box back to the overall narrative.

Between the typo and struggling to get started with the aforementioned process puzzle, we found ourselves wishing that Dispatch had a better self-service hint system. They have Slack channels where players can discuss the puzzles, but it was a clumsy tool and once there, it was filled with spoilers that we couldn’t avoid or unsee.

Tips for Playing

Subscribe to Dispatch by Breakout’s On the Run, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Dispatch by Breakout provided a complementary subscription.

(If you purchase via our link, you will help support Room Escape Artist as we will receive a very small percentage of the sale.)

8 thoughts on “Dispatch by Breakout – On the Run, Box 3 [Review]

  1. I worked hard on box three and after asking for help from bda to no avail I gave up and stRtedbox four. Still have not seen the conclusion to box three and know I am missing part of the puzzle. Very frustrated.

  2. Do you know if these can enjoyably be accomplished with different groups of friends based on availability? or do you need to remember stuff from each box to solve another box?

      1. Thank you for the quick reply. Since it should ideally have the same group of friends work on each box, two other questions if that’s ok:

        1. do you think they need to be solved soon one after the other? if they take 45 minutes each (possibly longer with us LOL), sounds like we need a huge chunk of time to do them in a day or two.

        2. do you think these can be done with 3 to 5 friends if we are all wearing masks sitting around a large area or do we need to be shoulder to shoulder thus not able to social distance. we were thinking of an outdoor area or possibly after everyone gets the vaccine.

        Thanks a ton!

      2. So, we solved On the Run with a friend as a group of 3 over the course of a few months. At the time the boxes were shipping monthly, so we had some larger gaps between some of our solving sessions.

        3-5 people is fine. 5 will just require everyone to be a bit more patient with one another and share the components. (Or you can get two sets of the boxes.)

        As for the elongated solving timeline, the trick here is that you’re going to want to keep good notes about things to make your life easier. We used Google Sheets and had a different sheet for each box.

        As far as the masked solving is concerned… honestly it’s difficult for me to advise on that. It’s going to come down to local ordinances, as well as your own risk tolerances. Solving outside is certainly possible, but windy days might be a pain. The bottom line for me here is that while I enjoyed these, they are not worth getting COVID to solve.

  3. Thank you. for the reply. I agree and am more looking at them for a future activity during a sale, not to do in the next couple months. Thanks for the tip about Google Sheets. Good to know it will be helpful to use previous box data for future boxes in the set. that’s the part I was wondering the most.

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