PostCurious – Emerald Flame [Review]

πŸ’šπŸ”₯

Location:  at home

Date Played: Spring 2020

Team size: 1-4; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 2-3 hours per chapter with 3 chapters

Price: back on Kickstarter at $69 or more to receive a copy of the game

REA Reaction

Emerald Flame is in a class of its own, from its art direction to its gameplay. Its three chapters had tight, creative puzzles. They varied in complexity, while feeling fair and innovative.

Emerald Flame felt like a successor to Post Curious’ first product Tale of Ord… but tighter and more refined in virtually every way.

An assortment of puzzle content and components with beautiful art.

Emerald Flame’s story was less ambitious than its predecessor’s but was still well structured and conveyed quite a bit of nuance. There was less content, and there were fewer tangible props than in Tale of Ord, but the overall level of quality was much higher… and at a far lower price point.

In short: Emerald Flame smoked Tale of Ord. It wasn’t even close.

The gorgeous gold and green stained glass box art of The Emerald Flame.

The art was beautiful, like, “I feel kind of bad writing on this” beautiful… and “I want a poster-sized version of the box art to frame on my wall,” beautiful.

Emerald Flame just went up on Kickstarter, so if you want to play this, head over there and back it. We played a nearly final prototype. There will be differences in the production version, so I cannot speak to the exact quality of what will be shipped. That said, I can assure you that the game exists, it’s incredibly refined, and it’s comfortably Lisa and my favorite tabletop puzzle game to date. For what I look for in a play-at-home puzzle game, it has no peers.

Who is this for?

  • Art lovers
  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • Approachable yet deep and beautifully designed puzzles
  • The best hint system in the business
  • The art, the art, the art

Story

Our assistance had been enlisted in the study of alchemy. We needed to retrace the work of a medieval alchemist from Prague in order to solve the mysteries of his work and how they related to an unusual celestial event.

All Emerald Flame packages laid out. They seem to have been mailed from Prague.
Continue reading “PostCurious – Emerald Flame [Review]”

Discussing The Future on NoPro Episode #250

We’re honored to be a part of No Proscenium’s podcast episode #250.

No Proscenium's purple "NP" logo.

In the second part of this 3-part episode, we talked Kathryn Yu, Kevin Gossett, and host Noah Nelson about what happens in the wake of COVID-19, as escape rooms and immersive entertainment of all varieties navigate reopening and commencing operations.

Our conversation runs for about 50 minutes from 1:23:23 to 2:15:51.

Our friends are No Proscenium publish the guide to Everything Immersive. Escape rooms are one part of this larger entertainment field. Together with No Proscenium, we host a quarterly meetup in New York City, which we look forward to hosting again when it’s safe to do so. We hope to see you there!

Quarantine Conversations: REA May 2020 Livestream this Wednesday

Please join us this Wednesday evening for a livestreamed conversation.

Details

  • Wednesday, May 27
  • 9pm Eastern
  • Livestream Link:

Topics

We’ll be chatting about:

Stylized image of an old steel microphone.

You’ll be able to type your questions (and comments) in the chat to direct the Q&A part of the livestream. Feel free to send us a message in advance if there is anything you’d especially like us to cover.

We hope to “see” you on Wednesday!

Paradox Project – The Bookstore [Review]

Stacks

Location:  Athens, Greece

Date Played: March 3, 2020

Team size: 4-7; we recommend 4

Duration: 200 minutes

Price: from €30 per player for teams of 4 to €27 per player for teams of 7

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating:  We’re unsure what fire escape measures there were, if any. More Info.

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

From the actual storefront, through the finale 3.5 hours later, The Bookstore was massive and mighty.

In-game: The exterior of the bookshop, from the street. It appears as a real bookshop.

Each individual scene within The Bookstore could have been an entire 60-minute escape game at the vast majority of escape room companies that we’ve visited around the world. I’m not kidding; I could easily imagine this game being sold as 5 or 6 different games. Moreover, each scene change shifted the play style, which prevented the length from becoming monotonous.

Paradox Project’s opus was truly incredible, but it wasn’t perfect. Not all of the scenes or puzzles were created equally. There were a few puzzles that were begging for iteration. While the finale had some fantastic moments, it also had some shockingly dated and sketchy elements that throttled the momentum.

Overall, The Bookstore was a standout game in a wonderful escape room scene. If you go to Athens and you don’t play it, you did Athens wrong.

Who is this for?

  • Escape room lovers
  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • Walking into a bookshop off of the street especially cool
  • It was epic
  • The set was beautiful
  • There were many satisfying and diverse puzzles

Story

With the consequences of our experiences in The Mansion behind us, we had attempted to go on with our lives… until we received a mysterious invitation to a bookshop. Someone seemed to know of our Bitter Truth.

In-game: Walls filled with books and African art.
Continue reading “Paradox Project – The Bookstore [Review]”

Paradox Project – The Mansion [Review]

Crazy Uncle

Location:  Athens, Greece

Date Played: March 2, 2020

Team size: 3-7; we recommend 4

Duration: 180 minutes

Price: from €25 per player for teams of 3 to €19 per player for teams of 7

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating:  We’re unsure what fire escape measures there were, if any. More Info.

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

The Mansion was designed in 2014. At 3 hours in length, it played like the most epic escape room imaginable at that time. If you asked us to dream up the ultimate escape room back then, it would have looked a whole lot like Paradox Project’s The Mansion.

The Mansion was a massive, classic escape room. It was search-heavy and filled with puzzle content. The set was overwhelmingly realistic, especially given its age.

In-game: the bar in the mansion, illuminated by stained glass.

If we had played The Mansion when it was new, it would have completely redefined how we thought about escape rooms in quite a few ways… but context is profound and we played it in 2020.

Escape rooms have evolved a lot since The Mansion opened. Playing it with today’s perspective, the first half dragged and squandered a few opportunities for magical moments. It picked up in the latter portion. The entire game also suffered from wear… the result of 6 years of players loving this game.

As it stands, The Mansion is among the strongest games of its era; few 5+ year-old games pulled off as much in scale, detailing, and ambition. If you’re in Athens, Paradox Project’s The Bookstore is an absolute must-play. The Mansion was a lovely narrative addition, but not essential. If we were to do it all again, we’d still play The Mansion, but we’d go in with less hype.

Who is this for?

  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • If you’ve ever wanted to play an “escape house,” this is it
  • It honestly looked like a home
  • Tons of puzzle content

Story

Our long-lost uncle had emerged after years of us wondering whether he was even alive. He had invited us to his mansion to tell us of his travels through Africa and reveal “the Bitter Truth.”

In-game: The livingroom of an old mansion.
Continue reading “Paradox Project – The Mansion [Review]”