Thoughtful & Elegant
Location: at home
Date Played: March 2, 2021
Team size: we recommend 2-3
Duration: 45-90 minutes (less for experienced solvers, more for in-depth conversation)
Price: $15 to print at home, $30 to receive by mail, discounts available for large groups
In Escape the Plagues, we escaped thematically, although this print-and-play puzzle game was not an escape room. Co-created by REA Hivemind reviewer Matthew Stein, Escape the Plagues was a light puzzle hunt designed to spark conversation, and connected to the Jewish holiday of Passover.
I was impressed with Escape the Plagues. It made puzzle hunt-style play approachable for newer audiences, but no less fun for those more versed in the genre. It had smooth puzzle design. Also, it linked the puzzles back to a theme and a message.
While this message and conversation won’t be for everyone, Escape the Plagues doesn’t pretend it will be. It was crafted for a particular audience, and upfront about that. If that’s you, well, this is the game you seek.
Who is this for?
You don’t need to be Jewish to enjoy Escape the Plagues. The game was thematically tied to the Jewish Passover Seder, a holiday celebrating perhaps the most famous escape: the biblical Exodus. It was designed to spark conversation about freedom, and issues plaguing today’s world. In this regard, it would be a good fit for those interested in engaging with modern social issues.
As a puzzle experience, Escape the Plagues was accessible. The main characters were teenagers, and the themes, narrative, and gameplay would be approachable for tweens, teens, and families. While the puzzle style is that of a puzzle hunt (typically more challenging than an escape room), it was entry level. You do not need to be familiar with puzzle hunt mechanics to be successful.
This was an approachable puzzle hunt. It used classic puzzle hunt mechanics, but it clearly explained these techniques (if not by name), to guide newer puzzlers.
It was a smooth puzzle game from start to finish, with a gentle on-ramp, followed by a more complex, layered solve. The puzzle styles varied significantly, which gave us lots of opportunities for little aha moments that built momentum.
While these weren’t the types of revolutionary or meaty puzzles that I’ll remember for weeks or months to come, they were fun in the moment.
We especially enjoyed how the metapuzzle tied everything together and included a bit of humor.
Additionally, the flavor text was direct, clear, and emphasized. The hint system worked well.
The theme, story, and artwork were just as important to this experience as the puzzles.
We enjoyed the illustration style. The characters had personalities, which showed in the storytelling. For those interested in diving deeper, the puzzle pages contained little tidbits of bonus information, and at the end of the puzzles, you find thematic discussion questions.
Escape the Plagues had a message and a worldview, and that’s a large part of what makes it interesting, considering the vast amount of free puzzle content available on the internet. While you could ignore this aspect and simply solve the puzzles, if you don’t want to engage with the story and theming or you disagree with its message, you should probably pass over this one.
If you’re looking for a puzzle game to add to your Passover, we recommend Escape the Plagues.
Tips For Visiting
- Space Requirements: A small table
- Required Gear: pencil, scissors
Buy your copy of Escape the Plagues, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.
Disclosure: Escape the Plagues provided a sample for review.