Trapped Puzzle Rooms – The Spielburger Box Set [Hivemind Review]

The Spielburger Box Set is a tabletop escape game created by Trapped Puzzle Rooms in St. Paul, MN.

An assortment of parody DVD boxes beside a bowl of popcorn including, "The Boonies" "Indiana Bones," and "Mandibles."

Format

Style of Play:

  • tabletop escape game
  • play on demand
  • includes video elements
  • light puzzle hunt

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection (or mobile device), pen and paper, scissors, tape

Recommended Team Size: 1-4

Play Time: 3-6 hours

Price: $45.95

Booking: purchase, wait for the game to ship to you, and play at your leisure

Description

This game is a set of puzzles based on punny knock-offs of Steven Spielberg movies. Each of the 5 chapters (movies) has two paper puzzles whose answers you validate via a website. You will go back and forth between the puzzles in the box and the website. You can play the 5 game chapters in any order. There is a short series of meta-puzzles at the end.

Hivemind Review Scale

Exit: The Game – The Enchanted Forest [Hivemind Review]

The Enchanted Forest is a tabletop escape game created by Exit: The Game.

Exit The Game - The Enchanted Forest box art depicts a living tree reaching out for a frog prince.

Format

Style of Play: tabletop escape game

Required Equipment: scissors, pen & paper

No digital components needed! Unplug and play.

Recommended Team Size: 2-3

Play Time: 1-2 hours

Price: about $15

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

This game used the standard format for novice Exit: The Game installments. You have access to a puzzle book, clue cards, various “strange items,” and a decoder wheel for entering the solutions to puzzles. In the novice games like this one, the puzzle book walks you through one puzzle at a time. As in all Exit: The Game installments, you must embrace destroying various parts of the game to solve some of the puzzles.

Assorted box elements include a deck of cards, an image that looks like it's from a fairy tale, a decoder wheel, a glowing red maple leaf, and a card with the box art labeled, "Once upon a time..."
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PlayMonster – Break In Alcatraz [Review]

The Puzzle Rock

Location:  at home

Date Played: October 13, 2020

Team size: 1-6; we recommend 2-3

Duration: 2 hours

Price: about $20

REA Reaction

Break In Alcatraz was the first game in the series that we played, and the level of novelty felt through the roof.

It was incredible how the box opened up, revealing layers of new sets to explore.

From design, to game structure, to story, this felt like a special entry into the tabletop escape game world.

As a first in a new series and new style of play, I expected more from this game when it came to onboarding. It was more challenging to figure out how to get rolling than I would have liked. Once we figured things out, they flowed fairly well… with one exception…

There was a late-game puzzle that we couldn’t understand; even after studying the hints. This either revealed a flaw in the puzzle, the limitations of a restrictive hint system, or both. It didn’t break the game, but it was a notable low point for us.

Of the first two installments in this series, Break In Alcatraz was a fun, novel game, but it felt a little weaker than Break In Area 51. I strongly recommend starting with Area 51, and if you enjoy it, pick up a copy of Alcatraz.

I’m looking forward to more from this series.

Series Overview

This review only covers details specific to this individual game from Break In.

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

Story

Our dear friend had been wrongfully convicted of a crime and sent to the most notorious prison in the world, Alcatraz. It was time to hatch an elaborate plan to break in and liberate our companion from the island fortress.

Continue reading “PlayMonster – Break In Alcatraz [Review]”

PlayMonster – Break In Area 51 [Review]

Welcome To Earth

Location:  at home

Date Played: March 1, 2021

Team size: 1-6; we recommend 2-3

Duration: 2 hours

Price: about $20

REA Reaction

Break In Area 51 comfortably sits among the standout mass-produced tabletop escape games. This game was a gem.

Area 51 humorously told the tale of an alien who’d crashed to Earth and needed to retrieve their spacecraft to escape this primitive rock. We enjoyed experiencing that story.

Break In Area 51 box art shows alien hands opening a chainlink fence.

The puzzles we solved along the way were fun, challenging, and fair. My only major issue with them was an imbalanced difficulty curve.

Beyond that, it felt like the series is still figuring out how to onboard new players, and the hint system continued to feel incomplete.

Overall, Area 51 was a strong product that came together a bit better than the original game in the series, Break In Alcatraz. Both games were worth playing, but if you’re buying only one game from this series, make it Area 51.

Series Overview

This review only covers details specific to this individual game from Break In.

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

Story

We had crash landed on Earth and our ship had been taken by the humans. The on-board AI had transmitted its location to us, a research lab for things that the humans didn’t understand. We had to retrieve our ship, repair it, and get off of this rock.

A strange laser sword with a transparent red filter. A cow with a television screen for a head.
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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.

Continue reading “SCRAP – Escape from the Two Base Stations [Review]”