SCRAP – Escape from the Two Base Stations [Review]

2 Locations, 1 Tabletop Escape Game

Location:  at home

Date Played: April 27, 2021

Team size: exactly 2; we recommend 2 or 4

Duration: 1-2 hours

Price: about $37.13

REA Reaction

SCRAP’s English language team has been killing it this past year. They have released some of our favorite online escape games, and now they put out a unique and compelling tabletop escape: one designed to be played by people in different locations.

Two mission files a blue one labeled "North Pole" and a red one labeled "South Pole."

Upon receiving the North Pole & South Pole envelopes from Escape from the Two Base Stations, we promptly mailed one to a friend. A few days later we hopped onto our video chat service of choice, and got to puzzling.

Each segment within Escape from the Two Base Stations consisted of two parts:

  • Shared dialog, where both sides had half of a script to read (The banter was funny!)
  • A puzzle that required some form of clever communication

The main conceit of the game was that our communication systems were malfunctioning. Thus on any given puzzle we might have to mute and mime, turn off video, text chat… or communicate with only a single keystroke. The puzzles were tailor-made for these challenges and they were great.

And for those who are wondering, yes, this was a SCRAP game… and yes the final puzzle sequence was challenging. I can tell you that it was also satisfying.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Players who embrace some silliness
  • Best for remote teammates separated by distance
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • A tabletop escape game designed for remote play
  • Enjoyable puzzles

Story

We had each infiltrated an enemy base station – one at the North Pole and one at the South Pole – where we needed to stop development of a weapon. When an alarm started going off in both stations, we had to work together to decrypt the security manual and escape.

Setup

The game came with two envelopes: North Pole and South Pole. We each relied on our envelope alone. Each envelope contained different, complementary paper puzzle material.

We communicated through the video call app of our choice.

There was also a web interface for entering some solutions and accessing hints.

South Pole file contents includes story, instructions, and 4 confidential envelopes.

Gameplay

SCRAP’s Escape from the Two Base Stations was a play-at-home escape game designed for remote play. It had a higher level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around observing, making connections, puzzling, and above all else, communicating.

Analysis

➕ We laughed a surprising amount playing Escape from the Two Base Stations. We enjoyed reading the dialogue aloud in between scenes and other amusing interactions.

➕ The game concept and narrative conceits worked well for remote play. We embraced the absurdity of our communication woes and had a good time solving our way through them.

➕ The difficulty curve worked well. The puzzles started out approachable, and difficulty leveled up over the course of the experience.

➖ The puzzles were divorced from the story. They were fun, but completely random. They could have been a part of any puzzle experience.

➕ The puzzles were well designed for the medium. They forced us to communicate in different ways. We especially enjoyed how after solving one late-game, challenging puzzle, it was easy to interpret the other person’s solution. We appreciated this ingenuity in puzzle craft.

➖ The hint system would have benefitted from additional granularity, especially in the later puzzles.

➕/➖ The online interface was primarily accessed through a chatbot. The quality of the interactions varied broadly. Its best moments truly justified its existence. Its worst moments felt like they could have been more refined.

➕ As we’ve come to expect from SCRAP, we had to work for the final puzzle sequence. There was a leap to be made, but SCRAP landed the leap.

❓ With communication at the core of this experience, players can feel a lot of pressure to solve, especially if they know their friend at the other base station has already figured something out. While the Escape from the Two Base Stations is collaborative, if you play by the book, each player solves most of the ahas on their own, and then works through any process solves with their partner. Because of this, we strongly recommend that you play the game as 2 players (one at each base station), or 4 players (2 at each base station, if you don’t want to be on your own) and not with uneven groups.

Tips For Players

  • Space Requirements: a small table
  • Required Gear: a video communication app, a mobile device, and a pen

Buy your copy of Escape from the Two Base Stations, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: SCRAP provided a sample for review.

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2 thoughts on “SCRAP – Escape from the Two Base Stations [Review]

  1. We enjoyed this puzzle game more than all of the SCRAP in-person games, except Popstar. And we failed miserably on the last puzzle :(…

    I guess the only Con is the price… but we did share it with several friends so average price/game is alright.

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