Peddlers & Parchments – Bridge of Embers: Rashi’s Triumph [Review]

Relics

Location:  Brooklyn, NY

Date Played: October 20, 2021

Team size: 2-12; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

I always want to love a company that does something different… but Peddlers & Parchments was struggling with trying to do both too much and too little.

The story that Bridge of Embers: Rashi’s Triumph tried to tell seemed genuinely interesting… but the narrative didn’t shine through in the gameplay. Escape rooms are an experiential medium with a time limit. This makes it incredibly hard for players to learn lots of facts, backstory, and generally take in prose. If an escape rooms wants to explore a story that isn’t ingrained in popular culture, then they have to do a lot of extra work to convey that background (and even then, it might not be enough) because pre-existing cultural knowledge does a lot of the work in helping the players experience a story.

Closeup of a metal balance beside some Hebrew books.

Peddlers & Parchments put too little into the build of Bridge of Embers: Rashi’s Triumph. It felt like there was a lack of care in the game’s construction. This was especially apparent in the the final interactions.

We respect the aspiration to convey story and culture through an escape room. Unfortunately, there were too many hurdles in the escape room design itself for the story to take center stage.

Still, we’d like to see more diverse storytelling in escape rooms and we respect Peddlers & Parchments for their effort. Undertaking something this unique requires a lot of work, and in this case, there was more work needed.

Who is this for?

  • Players looking for something unique
  • Best for players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • It told an unusual story
  • Early in the game there was an interesting challenge sequence

Story

We were on a quest to save Rabbi Pinchas Koritz’s manuscripts from destruction. This quest combined multiple stories from a single lineage: a journey back in time to visit an ancestor and his Sukkot story, and a journey to an ancestor of the great biblical commentator Rashi and his rare diamond. It was complicated.

Setting

Bridge of Embers: Rashi’s Triumph was set in an old rundown home environment.

The set looked sparse and the build quality was spotty, with exposed hardware, and weak structures.

An old dresser and two bookcases in a worn-looking, empty room.

Gameplay

Peddlers & Parchments’ Bridge of Embers: Rashi’s Triumph was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, observing, making connections, and solving puzzles.

A worn wooden door in a room with worn walls.

Analysis

➕ Bridge of Embers: Rashi’s Triumph was clearly designed with love – a love of the source material and a love of learning through play. We could feel the energy and passion behind the design.

➖ That said, the puzzles and the narratives felt mostly separate. The puzzles were standard escape room puzzles.

➖ Much of what we think was intentional imagery was lost as we played. We didn’t intuit until later that a puzzle with Hebrew letters as iconography represented the story arc of piecing a manuscript together. Or maybe the overlay interaction was supposed to convey this part of the story.

➖ The gameplay felt outdated with multiple puzzles requiring tedious searching, and reading that competed with rather than augmented the gameplay.

➖ The build quality was severely lacking. Many props showed exposing wiring, or wiring secured with packing tape. There were exposed nails and screws. This escape room was also quite beat up. Peddlers & Parchments needs to invest in the build, otherwise a game isn’t solid, safe, or visually appealing.

➕ We were briefly fooled by a camouflaged hiding place. It was simple, yet we tried every trick in the book before noticing it. This was a fun aha.

➖ We were unsure why certain ritual items belonged in this space… they seemed disconnected from the story of the game… and similar to the wiring, they felt haphazardly secured.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is street parking in the neighborhood.
  • Take the Q to Avenue M.
  • You do not need to be Jewish to play this escape room.

Book your hour with Peddlers & Parchments’ Bridge of Embers: Rashi’s Triumph, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Peddlers & Parchments comped our tickets for this game.

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