Nomis Piy – Missing [Hivemind Review]

Missing is a puzzle book created by Nomis Piy in Singapore.

Nomis Piy Missing Escape puzzle book cover and demo interior pages printed in a colorful, cartoonish style.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Puzzle book

Who is it For?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Best for players with at least some experience

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, pen and paper

You need an internet connection to check your answers. A pen is necessary to record your answers on the answer sheet. Paper is helpful for notes, but not necessary.

Recommended Team Size: 1-2

Play Time: There’s no clock. Expect 4-6 hours of play, perhaps more.

Price: S$25 (roughly 18.41 USD) plus shipping from Singapore

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

This is a puzzle book with a light story and lots of puzzles. As you solve each puzzle, you input the answer online. If correct, you get instructions to fill in the answer sheet in the front of the book. Sometimes you get information you will need for a subsequent puzzle. If incorrect, nothing happens. You need to use different parts of the book in unique ways to solve the puzzles. One section is sealed and only available when you’ve reached that section.

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The Puzzler by A.J. Jacobs [Book Review]

If you enjoy The Puzzler, we hope you’ll check out our interview with author A.J. Jacobs on The Reality Escape Pod.

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Author:  A.J. Jacobs

Year:  2022

Page count:  240 pages of written material; about 80 pages of puzzles and solutions

Price:  $28.00

Publisher:  Crown

REA Reaction

It’s easy to understand why author A.J. Jacobs has been on the New York Times bestseller list 4 times. His writing throughout The Puzzler is engaging and very easy to binge. I needed to make myself put the book down multiple times in order to reflect on what he had written rather than just turning to the next chapter.

Packed full of humor, anecdotes, and insight, The Puzzler was a delight to read. Jacobs does a wonderful job of making this book feel personal. He shares his triumphs and secret (well, not so secret anymore) puzzle shames, we meet his family, and we follow him around the world. We also meet some of his political leanings through some offhand commentary, which I didn’t feel was necessary in a book about puzzling.

He immersed himself in puzzles for years to write this book and provides meaningful conversation on a broad spectrum of puzzles. With nearly 20 puzzle types covered, readers will read about one they really love but likely also one that they don’t care for. My litmus test was chess puzzles; I’ve just never been interested in them. And while I still don’t feel compelled to delve into them the way Jacobs did (sitting down with Garry Kasparov himself), I still enjoyed the chapter and left with a greater appreciation of the style.

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Escape Passages: Volume 1 [Review]

DIY Escape This Podcast

Location:  at home

Date Played: June 2021

Team size: 2-8; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 1-2 hours per scenario

Price: about $12

Author: Walter Miska

REA Reaction

Escape Passages was written by an escape room player for escape room players. This came through in the humorous writing, fun scenarios, and familiar gameplay.

This book was at its best when it leaned into its lack of physical game space, with solutions that could never have been executed within the walls of a real-life escape room. In these moments, it combined creativity and deduction wonderfully.

Although we didn’t enjoy every puzzle, and didn’t think they were all optimal choices for the medium, the gameplay generally worked well and was fun.

We played with a gamemaster who is experienced as a Dungeon Master, and she was skilled at turning our ideas into hilarity. Rest assured, however, that you don’t need any prior experience to be the gamemaster. The book tells you everything you need to know.

Escape Passages Vol 1 book cover.

Escape Passages would be perfect for a group of 3-5 friends who have played at least a handful of escape rooms, and want to bring that style of solving home with them.

This book is a vehicle to make your own fun. We recommend you try outlandish ideas and don’t take anything too seriously. You’ll enjoy some wonderful ahas and just as many laughs.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Best for players with at some experience with escape rooms

Why play?

  • You can play these escape rooms practically anywhere, even remotely.
  • The writing has personality.
  • You create your own adventure.

Story

There are 3 scenarios in Escape Passages: Volume 1:

A Lizard in the Locker Room

We were in a high school locker room, looking to recover a stolen high school mascot.

Viking Invasion

We’d been captured by Vikings and needed to escape the confines of their longhouse.

Antidote

We were trapped in a genetics laboratory looking for an antidote to an experiment gone wrong.

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Crux Club – Mob Treasure [Hivemind Review]

Mob Treasure is a puzzle book treasure hunt created by Crux Club.

Mob Treasure book cover and open book displaying a puzzle.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Book
  • Light puzzle hunt
  • Play on demand

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, mobile device, pen and paper, scissors

Expect to use an internet-connected device (phone or PC) to do research for some of the puzzles.

Recommended Team Size: 1-3

Play Time: No game clock. Chapters took anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour or so of active puzzling.

Price: $15.99

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

In this book, you are on a quest to find the rumored treasure of mobster Dutch Schultz. This treasure hunt is divided into fifteen chapters full of illustrations and a bit of text, and each chapter contains about five puzzles. To solve each puzzle, you must analyze the information within the chapter and sometimes consult outside sources. You verify your answer by comparing it to the solution list in the back of the book. Once you have completed all of the puzzles within a chapter, you may proceed to the next chapter.

Cantaloop Book 1: Breaking into Prison [Review]

Point-and-click Adventure Game Book (Seriously)

Location:  at home

Date Played: May 8, 2021

Team size: 1; we recommend 1-4

Duration: 5-8 hours

Price: about $30

REA Reaction

Cantaloop Book 1: Breaking into Prison was described to me as “a really good point-and-click adventure game in book form… that actually feels like a point-and-click adventure game.”

After taking this product into the lab and studying it, I can confirm that description as entirely accurate.

Cantaloop book cover depicts the main character in a mugshot with a lot of swagger.

The art, writing, characters, and puzzle design all worked together to feel like a great point-and-click adventure game. The difference is that you can play it in a small group, with physical (albeit mostly paper) props, and enjoy it communally… like an escape room.

Our group of 4 loved playing Cantaloop. It was smart, funny, and craftily designed, with all of the tropes that make people love (or hate) point-and-click adventure games. If that sounds appealing to you, then this is a must-buy. If you despise point-and-click adventure games on computer, I doubt that Cantaloop will suddenly convert you.

When we finished playing, we mused about how this game could easily be translated into a mobile app, and go full point-and-click adventure game… but concluded that it shouldn’t, because it would be less fun.

Paper might be the future of the point-and-click adventure genre. No joke.

Who is this for?

  • Point-and-click adventure lovers
  • Story seekers
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Strong writing and characters
  • Tons of humor
  • It felt like a proper point-and-click adventure

Story

Charismatic crook “Hook” Carpenter is back on Cantaloop Island and assembling a new team for one last job. The catch: the hacker he needs for this job is locked up in prison.

An in-game environmental image of a light house.
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