Location: at home
Date Played: September 4, 2023
Team size: 1-4; we recommend 2-3
Duration: 2 hours
Price: about $35 on Kickstarter
PostCurious has become synonymous with excellence in the tabletop puzzling world. This is a company with all hits and no misses. The Morrison Game Factory continues that tradition of greatness, but with an entirely new approach and style.
On its surface, The Morrison Game Factory looks and sounds like a traditional tabletop game, but that is an aesthetically pleasing facade that quickly melts away as the game presents a touching and personal narrative.
Unlike previous PostCurious games, The Morrison Game Factory was written and designed by TV writer Lauren Bello, best known for her work on The Sandman and Foundation. (It is also worth noting that we re-published a one-off post by Bello back in 2021 after seeing it in a Facebook Group.) Bello’s vibrant, colorful, and character-focused writing in The Morrison Game Factory brought a mixture of joy and intimacy that we haven’t seen in the tabletop puzzle space. It has the same level of quality, tight cluing, and hint system that PostCurious is known for, but the voice, tone, and gameplay are unique and wonderful.
My biggest knock against The Morrison Game Factory is the name. Looking back on the experience it wasn’t an inaccurate or bad name, but it didn’t quite capture the heart and excitement of this experience. I call this out less as a criticism, but more to underscore that if that name isn’t singing to you, buy it anyway. There’s a ton of mystique packed inside of this box that isn’t fully captured by the title.
You should pick up a copy of The Morrison Game Factory for the deeply engaging narrative and the lighter-touch puzzles that flowed well, with fun ahas, and strong cluing. It’s a quicker game, and I think that it is better for the pacing.
Many PostCurious games show the puzzling world new and innovative ways to play with the medium, and The Morrison Game Factory does just that. While this game might have a new writer/ designer, tone, and vibe, at its core it is as entertaining as it is innovative and to me, that’s the very definition of a PostCurious production.
Who is this for?
- Story seekers
- Puzzle lovers
- Scenery snobs
- Any experience level
- The endearing story
- The lovable characters
- Satisfying ahas
An urban explorer had found a box of old game pieces and maintenance logs for a specific factory machine and had sent it to us to figure out what was going on.
Functionally, The Morrison Game Factory was easy to start and straightforward to play. There was no real setup beyond opening up a specific webpage and exploring the contents of the box. An introductory letter gave us our trailhead into the game.
PostCurious’ The Morrison Game Factory was a narratively driven play-at-home escape game with a moderate level of difficulty.
Core gameplay revolved around exploring materials, observing, solving puzzles, and reading the story.
➕ The midcentury art looked great. From the box art through to all the printed materials, the aesthetic worked.
➕ The story pulled us in immediately. We met a lovable character with a lot of personality. We truly cared about their plight.
➖ Occasionally, phrasings in the story felt like puzzles. It took us a little while to get our bearings and stop searching for clue structure in the story… without fully discounting the story. Sometimes story is just story.
➕ The puzzles had fun ahas. We appreciated multi-step puzzles that we could work on collaboratively. Different teammates saw different connections. This led to really satisfying solves.
➖ While the puzzles generally solved cleanly, in one instance, we couldn’t get properly orientated, even though we’d made all the right connections and had the right ahas.
➕ PostCurious used common boxed game tropes, but in more interesting ways. We enjoyed how puzzles and messages were hidden. A jigsaw component had intrigue of its own.
🔒 Our preview copy had a defective lock. We took it apart, figured out what was wrong and made PostCurious aware of the issue. They have raised it with their manufacturer.
➕ Although there was a lot of reading, the online interface obscured it such that it wasn’t ever overwhelming. We clicked to reveal the next thought. This worked remarkably well. Lisa read the entire game aloud to the group and she was impressed.
➖ There was a lot of reading. A voiceover version would be a welcome addition… and might even add to the experience.
➕ The web interface was clear. It was easy to input solutions. The hint system worked well.
Tips For Players
- Space Requirements: a small table
- Required Gear: pen, paper, and an internet-connected device (a laptop will likely work best).
Buy your copy of PostCurious’ The Morrison Game Factory, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.
Disclosure: PostCurious provided a sample for review.