The Disappearance of Mr. George is a print-and-play escape game created by My Escape Room Party, based in Minnesota.
Style of Play: print-and-play escape game
Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, color printer, pen and paper, scissors
The computer is for purchasing the file, printing it, and viewing the intro video and hints.
Many of the pages had a dark background. Not only did it take a lot of ink to print, but you couldn’t easily write on some of the pages due to the black background.
Recommended Team Size: 1-4
Play Time: 60 minutes, but our reviewers all finished in significantly less time
Booking: purchase and play at your leisure
Mr. George is missing, and you’re provided with a set of printed clues for 10 puzzles. Print out the 12-page kit and gather pen, paper and scissors. The puzzles can be done in parallel, and each contributes to a final meta-puzzle. The intro video and hint system are online.
Note that this game can also be used to host an escape room party. To use the game in this way, you hide the clues throughout a room, possibly taking inspiration from the artwork to add props and/ or integrate the puzzles more tightly with the environment
Hivemind Review Scale
Andrew Reynolds’ Reaction
The Disappearance of Mr. George is a printable escape game that rides the line between “easy” and “too easy.” Almost every puzzle is telegraphed in such a way that strips away most of the complexity. In fact, the puzzles that took the longest wound up being some of the simplest ones, because my team of 2 was making them more difficult by adding our own layers of complexity that simply didn’t exist in the actual puzzle. It was all a bit disappointing because this has the base of a more enjoyable game: there are a lot of puzzles for the size of the packet, each puzzle is different, and the packet itself looks pleasing to the eye.
While I won’t be recommending this game to someone established in the puzzling community, this could be a good experience for someone just starting out. But it might be more appropriate for a group of middle schoolers, perhaps even in an educational setting. I also do not think that the price point matches the experience that you get out of the game; there are other experiences for the same or a lower price that give you more puzzle bang for your buck.
Cindi S’ Reaction
Although this space-themed print-at-home kit was more appropriate for kids, I still enjoyed solving the puzzles to find out what happened to Mr. George. The theming was fun and the artwork creative; there was even a Spotify playlist you could use for space-agey background music! The puzzles were pretty easy to solve, and some involved cutting and folding (scissors are required!) There was also a simple-to-use hint system available online in case you got stuck. I would recommend this game for kids ages 8-12.
I did have an issue printing from a Mac that affected gameplay and I had to use the onscreen copy at times. The game prints fine from a PC.
Kate Wastl’s Reaction
This is a print-and-play game that would probably be best suited for an elementary school class activity. It is very straight forward; there are puzzles that you can divvy up for different people to work on, and it is set up to allow players to confirm with reasonable certainty that puzzle answers are correct. Edits may be required to puzzle content (particularly the ending) to work with this younger age group. Other audiences may find The Disappearance of Mr. George to be too simplistic in nature, with most puzzles solvable at a glance and oriented at following instructions rather than independent thought. Essentially a grade school workbook activity with attractive artwork, my favorite part was the accompanying Spotify playlist.
Sarah Mendez’s Reaction
This is a strange game to review amidst a pandemic because part of its value proposition is as an escape room party kit, but quarantine life constrains its current use to print-and-play. As a print-and-play game, it feels overshadowed by other more substantial options that sell for half its price. However, speaking as someone who’s always scheming about how to enhance her next dinner party, this is the first party kit I’ve played that I’d actually consider hosting someday when I can.
This kit provides solid source material for an escape room party that still allows you to make the experience your own. The puzzles are unique yet approachable, and the theme can easily leverage common objects from your home. As I played, my mind immediately started churning on how to turn some of the artwork into simple real-life vignettes, and I saw several ways to infuse the puzzles with connection opportunities that only work in a physical setting. Unlike other kits I’ve played, this one felt designed with these extrapolations in mind.
All that said, the game could solidify its value by including a more comprehensive setup guide. Much of my enthusiasm for hosting this game is because there’s still room for me to infuse a bit of my own puzzle-crafting and world-building sensibilities into it (and it explicitly encourages customization!). However, I wouldn’t expect that level of commitment from a general audience, so a party kit should give enough instructions to successfully stage the experience. I found the brief “your possibilities are endless” setup message to undermine the potential of the game. Thus, I’d limit my recommendation to people who are motivated to invest a bit of their own creative energy in producing a fun, puzzle-centric experience for their friends.
Disclosure: My Escape Room Party provided the Hivemind reviewers with a complimentary play.
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