Presents of mind
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Date Played: November 28, 2021
Team Size: 3-10; we recommend 3-5
Duration: 60 minutes
Price: $45 per player for 2 players to $35 per player for 10 players
Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock
Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints
How The Puzzlemaster Stole Christmas provided a bit of holiday cheer, delivered through a healthy dose of puzzling.
This game was a seasonal version of Trapped’s The Lair of The Puzzlemaster. It used the same set, dressed up with some Christmas decorations. A few puzzles were slightly modified from the original, though the two versions of the game were similar enough that you probably wouldn’t go back to play the both.
In How The Puzzlemaster Stole Christmas, our objective was to retrieve the pilfered presents from The Puzzlemaster, who’d stolen them from Santa. The transformation from the original story — a sort of art heist — to this Christmas present recovery mission was clever. With the addition of just a few low-budget Christmas decorations, the set felt reminiscent of a festive office holiday party (if everything at the office holiday party were blatantly a puzzle.)
If you’re visiting Vegas in November or December, How The Puzzlemaster Stole Christmas was a sweet Christmas-y puzzle party. During the rest of the year, The Lair of The Puzzlemaster seems like an equally fun low-tech, puzzle-forward experience.
Who is this for?
- Puzzle lovers
- Christmas fans
- Any experience level
- Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle
The Puzzlemaster, an infamous art thief, had stolen the presents from Santa’s workshop. Our team was tasked with infiltrating The Puzzlemaster’s hideout and finding a way to recover the presents.
How The Puzzlemaster Stole Christmas took place in The Puzzlemaster’s lair. This wood-paneled office was filled with a whole bunch of Christmas decorations. Tiny Santa hats adorned the ornate (and presumably stolen) paintings and statues, there was a brightly lit tree and presents, and even an elf on a shelf.
Trapped! Escape Room Las Vegas’ How The Puzzlemaster Stole Christmas was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.
Core gameplay centered around solving puzzles, searching, and making connections.
➕ How The Puzzlemaster Stole Christmas was a puzzle-centric game, and the puzzles were well designed. The creators at Trapped! Escape Room clearly love puzzles, and each interaction was thoughtful, logical, and free of red herrings.
➕ Trapped! Escape Room designed How The Puzzlemaster Stole Christmas as a family-friendly holiday game, and they knew their audience and adapted the game’s difficulty accordingly. Compared to the original The Lair of The Puzzlemaster, a rather involved puzzle was cut out and a few other puzzles were simplified. Even with these modifications, there was still plenty to do in parallel, making this game best suited for medium-sized teams, or larger teams with kids.
🎅 So many tiny Santa hats! Store-bought Christmas decorations clashed with the more serious office aesthetic in a most endearing way. This wasn’t a game designed around Christmas, but it was a game that was well dressed up to feel Christmas-y.
➖/➕ The layout and density of the set felt reminiscent of the office-themed escape room, popular in 2016. It was not always the most immersive… but it was effective. Dark wood tones and solid build quality — from floor to furniture to walls — yielded a much nicer ambience than that of the salvaged IKEA furniture commonly seen in office escape rooms.
➖ An input sequence felt a few items longer and more tedious than it needed to be.
➕ The puzzles didn’t always directly relate to the narrative, but the catch-all justification that we were in the lair of The Puzzlemaster loosely tied everything together in a sufficiently satisfying way. And the game concluded with a solid metapuzzle that wrapped things up puzzle-wise.
Tips For Visiting
- There was a parking lot.
- How The Puzzlemaster Stole Christmas is basically the same room as The Lair of The Puzzlemaster, puzzle content-wise. You probably won’t want to play both, and it is not possible to play the non-seasonal The Lair of The Puzzlemaster when How The Puzzlemaster Stole Christmas is running.
- The Upland, CA location of Trapped! Escape Room also offers The Lair of The Puzzlemaster (and How The Puzzlemaster Stole Christmas at Christmas time.) The puzzles are around 75% identical to the version in Las Vegas.
Book your hour with Trapped! Escape Room’s How The Puzzlemaster Stole Christmas, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.
Disclosure: Trapped! Escape Room Las Vegas comped our tickets for this game.