Ravensburger – The Laboratory Escape Puzzle [Review]

Puzzle Hunt Jigsaw

Location:  at home

Date Played: July 9, 2021

Team size: we recommend 1-4

Duration: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Price: about $44 (jigsaw puzzle prices are running high during the pandemic)

REA Reaction

The Laboratory may be the most interesting Ravensburger Escape Puzzle we’ve played to date.

The picture was fairly unremarkable, but reasonably fun to assemble. We greatly appreciated the improvements that Ravensburger has made to the edge design in the new batch of Escape Puzzles.

The Laboratory box sitting on top of the solved puzzle.

The interesting part of The Laboratory was the puzzles hidden within the image, which ranged from common to challenges that only a puzzle hunter would find reasonably solvable without lots of hints.

This product is easier than others in the line in terms of jigsaw puzzle assembly, and far more challenging in terms of puzzling. This isn’t necessarily a bad decision. I think it might increase the appeal for some in the puzzling community, but it will be jarring to anyone who isn’t experienced.

I enjoyed this one, but I cautiously recommend it… as some of those puzzles are doozies.

Series Overview

This review only covers details specific to this individual Ravensburger Escape Puzzle.

For a detailed explanation of the concept and mechanics, and a general analysis of the entire product line, check out our Ravensburger Escape Puzzle Overview.

Of note, The Laboratory had only 368 pieces. The previous escape puzzles we’ve reviewed had 759 pieces.

Continue reading “Ravensburger – The Laboratory Escape Puzzle [Review]”

And now… The RECON 21 Day 2 Featured Talks on YouTube

All of the featured talks from RECON ’21 are now available to view on the Room Escape Artist YouTube channel. The newly available day 2 talks first aired August 23, 2021.

Available RECON ’21 Featured Talks

Title: Playing with Game Structure: the Macro of Mechanics
Speakers: Aaron Hooper & Leanne Yong of Next Level Games

Title: Marketing: Building a Stronger Web Presence
Speaker: Maxime Filion of Immersia Escape Games

Title: Advanced Tech: Using Light & Sound to Build World-Class Experiences
Speakers: Chris Lattner & Malte Eiben of The Room

Title: Crafting an Experience for Your Players Through Gamemastering
Speakers: Jayson Mamaclay of Fuzzy Logic Escape Room, Saskia Arzheimer & Sarah Dillenberger of 66 Minuten Theater Adventures 

Title: Panel Discussion: Tabletop Escape Games
Hosts: Jared Dauenhauer & Zach Baughman of the Puzzling Company Podcast
Panelists: 

  • Nicholas Cravotta & Rebecca Bleau of BlueMatter Games
  • Angela Lawson-Scott of Crack-a-Nut Mysteries
  • Silvano Sorrentino of dV Giochi
  • Anna Lysova & Lisa Levina of Scarlet Envelope
  • Michelle Rundbaken & Yacine Merzouk of Society of Curiosities

Title: Fun Insurance: What Makes a Good Hint System
Speakers: Summer Herrick of Locurio & Rita Orlov of PostCurious

Title: Escape Rooms Taught Me How to Build a Booth That Got Me Kicked Out of Comic-Con
Speaker: Elan Lee of Exploding Kittens

You can also watch all the day 1 talks, plus the RECON ’21 Introduction by Neil Patrick Harris and the after-hours events with Escape this Podcast and The Two Bears.

Subscribe

Please subscribe to the Room Escape Artist YouTube channel to see new videos as soon as they are posted. We’re planning on more video content in the coming months.

Announcing the RECON 21 Day 1 Featured Talks on YouTube

The talks from the first day on RECON ’21 are now available to view on the Room Escape Artist YouTube channel. These talks first aired August 22, 2021.

Available RECON ’21 Featured Talks

Title: The Promise & Possibilities of Escape Rooms
Speakers: Lisa & David Spira of Room Escape Artist

Title: Avatar Games: Innovating with Structure and Maximizing Fun
Speaker:Tasha Tarkhanova of Hypnodive with Project Avatar

Title: How To Build & Refine Your First Escape Room Tech Project – A Step-By-Step Guide
Speaker:Karmisha Jawell

Title: Growing our Community: Lessons in How to Best Bring New Players In
Speakers: Jackie Catterall  of EXIT Games, Ken Ferguson of The Logic Escapes Me, and Magritte Snow of Serial Escapers

Title: The Chinese Escape Room Scene: Stats and Stories from an Isolated Yet Booming Community
Speaker: Yan Xie of Archimedes Inspiration

Title: Five Things New Designers Should Know about Escape Room Puzzle Creation
Speaker: Errol Elumir of Room Escape Divas

Title: Getting Started in Building Immersive Environments
Speakers: Marise Watson & David Vella of The Cipher Room

You can also watch the RECON ’21 Introduction by Neil Patrick Harris and the after-hours events with Escape this Podcast and The Two Bears.

Subscribe

Please subscribe to the Room Escape Artist YouTube channel to see new videos immediately… like the RECON ’21 day 2 talks, which are coming soon.

There Are a Few Tickets Left For Our Escape Room Tour in November ⏳

Before the pandemic, this tour was sold out, but the plans had to change (a few times), and as a result… now’s your chance to join in the fun.

One of the things we missed the most in 2020 was Escape Immerse Explore.

These escape room tours gather a group of us with a common love of these games together to appreciate some of the best in the business. Each tour is 1-3 days to play, discuss, and experience together.

Escape Immerse Explore 2021 The Hayden Farm features a creepy black, white, and grey aesthetic.

The Hayden Farm

The Hayden Farm is the setting of some of the most delightful games in our home region.

13th Hour Escape Rooms is northern New Jersey’s most consistently high-quality escape room company. They are a two-time Golden Lock Award winner (2017 & 2018).

They have a whimsical style all their own. It’s a little bit creepy, but not scary. Their games are playful.

With a background in haunts, 13th Hour Escape Rooms builds outstanding sets that utilize space so well for puzzles, surprises, and memorable scenes.

They also have a unique approach to actors… these folks roam the farm on occasion, and they’ll be around for this event, for those who are interested in this unusual twist (totally optional!).

Wharton, NJ

Located in Wharton, NJ, The Hayden Farm is rather inaccessible for a New Yorker or a casual escape room tourist.

It’s an hour by car from Manhattan and 40 minutes by car from Newark airport. Unfortunately, it’s not near public transit.

However, we’ve solved your transportation puzzle with Escape Immerse Explore: The Hayden Farm. We’re running a bus from Manhattan out to Wharton for a full day of 4 games at 13th Hour Escape Rooms.

Escape Immerse Explore

Join us Sunday, November 14, 2021 for Escape Immerse Explore: The Hayden Farm.

Read all the details and the full FAQ here.

There are just a few tickets left. One of them should be yours!

What About Montreal?

Yes, Escape Immerse Explore Montreal is finally happening this October!

It is sold out and there is a waitlist. It will be our largest tour yet, and our first international tour. We’re excited to make this event a reality.

Many of the folks joining us in Montreal will be coming to The Hayden Farm as well. So if you missed out on Montreal tickets, you can get the inside scoop from them, and start planning a future trip to our northern neighbor.

Level99 (July 2021) [Review]

This one goes up to 99

Location:  Natick, MA

Date Played: July 10, 2021

Team size: 2-6; we recommend 3-4

Duration: as long as you want

Price: $29.99 per player for 2 hours, $39.99 per player for 4 hours, or $49.99 per player for all day

Ticketing: Public

Accessibility Consideration: not everything will be accessible to everyone, mostly due to physical elements

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

If Level99 had existed in the Natick Mall when I was a teenager, I would have asked my parents to take me there every week. If it had existed when I was home on college break, I would have taken myself there far too often. I grew up outside of Boston. I embodied that (not so rare, it seems) combination of athlete and nerd. Level99 would have been my paradise.

Level99

That said, Level99 wasn’t perfect. My initial reaction was one of confusion and disorientation. I didn’t understand the currencies, or most of what was going on on the room check-in panels. Without a mental map of the space or a clear way to reference the rooms, I would point vaguely in a direction (that might be a bit off) and say something like “the one where we pushed buttons” to explain where I thought our group should go next. We’d been exploring for more than 2 hours before we could start making intentional decisions. Level99 had a steep learning curve.

However, even as we pieced together what felt a bit like a mystery box, we were having a ton of fun.

My take on much of our confusion is that Level99 is still figuring out exactly what Level99 is, and how to communicate that to their players. I expect them to improve as they get a better handle on what the beast that they have built even is. This is natural when innovating new structures and ways to play.

3 players hanging from monkey bars in a radiation themed game.
Reactor Sludge

We spent a full day at Level99. We tried every room that was open, competed on every arena stage, completed almost every scavenger hunt, and enjoyed the food and beer. We loved the discovery, and so many of the challenges. I learned that my body isn’t as talented with monkey bars as it was 15 years ago, but also, that that’s totally ok, because Level99 had a lot to offer even after we’d reached our physical limits. In this way, it was more inclusive than I’d ever expected.

If you enjoy puzzles, physical challenges, art, food, beer, or discovery, give Level99 at least half a day (4-hour ticket) and surrender to this weird world where time disappears and fun remains.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Athletes (for some challenges)
  • Any experience level (but experience certainly helps)

Why play?

  • Impressive volume and variety of play, with intellectual and physical challenges
  • A beautiful and fun environment
  • Replayability
  • The food and drink were fantastic
Continue reading “Level99 (July 2021) [Review]”