Claustrophobia – Global Dominance [Hivemind Review]

Global Dominance is an online social deduction game for remote play, created by Claustrophobia in Moscow, Russia.

Kim Jung Un cuddling a nuclear bomb and holding up a piece sign.

Format

Style of Play: social deduction game

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 30 players (6 teams of 5 players each)

Play Time: 2 hours

Price: sliding scale between $5-$10 for 4-50 players

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

Our large group of 30 players was split up into 6 teams (USA, Germany, Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea). The game took place over 6 rounds, each round representing a year in gameplay. During a round we were sent by the host into our own national group chats, where we analyzed the situation and assigned resources to develop our cities, improve the environment, develop nuclear weapons, build nuclear shields, spy on other countries, sanction other countries, or launch our missiles at a city.

We were also permitted to have the host send one of our people as an ambassador to a different country’s private Zoom breakout room where we could discuss and negotiate.

To conclude a round, each team filled out a Google Form that committed our resources and decisions. At the end of each round we were brought back into the main room all together to see how things played out.

The game round order. News, debate, separate negotiations, and decision-making.

Hivemind Review Scale

Escape Rooms of New England – Everyday Superheroes Always Saving Our Butts [Reaction]

The New England escape room community is special. There is a camaraderie among the businesses and the players that doesn’t exist in any other escape room market we’ve visited. It’s inspiring.

This spring, the Escape Rooms of New England teamed up to create Everyday Superheroes Always Saving Our Butts. This collaborative puzzle hunt embodies what we love about these escape rooms. They are welcoming, ingenious, and fun!

Everyday Superheroes logo, presented by the Escape Rooms of New England.

Everyday Superheroes Always Saving Our Butts

What a title!

While playing this in June, it was strange to reflect on how this puzzle hunt was carbon dated to a specific month of 2020… but then, it’s been a strange year.

A toilet paper roll icon.

This amusing theme really makes the entire thing. Each of the participating companies embedded toilet paper icons on their homepages as beachheads for the hunt. Amazing.

The Collaborators

22 escape room companies and We the Enthusiasts Passports collaborated to pull this off.

That coordination is impressive and inspiring.

The prize is extremely generous. You’ll be entered into a drawing to win 2 free tickets to every participating escape room company.

This community is working together to build awareness for one another at a time when all their businesses are struggling.

The Puzzles

We enjoyed the variety of the puzzles. They differed immensely in style, difficulty, and execution.

We loved that we really had no idea what we’d be up against when we found each toilet paper icon.

We especially enjoyed “United We Stand” by Escape New Haven. If you only solve one puzzle from this hunt, let it be that one.

Not all of the puzzles were created equal. Some of these would have benefited greatly from answer verification, or a hint system. We also wished that the solution website had saved our solutions, but luckily, we’d logged them in a Google Sheet, so we didn’t lose all our work when we submitted one answer with a typo.

That said, these flaws weren’t game-breaking. The set up worked well, especially when you think about how many creators were involved, and the simple fact that no one makes any money from this.

Escape Rooms of New England

It’s no coincidence that we’re bringing RECON, the Reality Escape Convention, to the birthplace of Everyday Superheroes Always Saving Our Butts. We chose to host the inaugural in-person RECON in Boston precisely because we knew this New England community – the businesses and the players – have the kind of mindset that we want to shine a spotlight on.

RECON eye & penrose triangle logo.

Given the events of 2020, however, we’re waiting another year to host RECON as an in-person event.

But we are still excited to bring you RECON this August. This summer’s RECON will be global. Please join us digitally August 23-24 for inspiring, actionable talks and community conversation.

And we look forward to bringing RECON to New England in August of 2021!

This is the community where we hosted one of our most packed meetups to date in December 2018… and the owners made it a potluck. With homemade French toast!

It’s also the community we picked to highlight with our 2018 April Fool’s Day post.

We love the welcoming, supportive, caring vibe of the New England escape rooms.

Play Now

The contest ends at the end of the month. Solve now to be entered to win. All those free escape room tickets will come in handy when you attend RECON 2021!

Audivio Studios – Pentargo Quarantine [Hivemind Review]

Pentargo Quarantine is a digital game created by Audivio Studios in Catalunya, Spain.

A computer owned by a character in the game.

Format

Style of Play: light puzzle hunt

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Although the game instructions say you need a Whatsapp account, we did not need one to play.

Recommended Team Size: 2-4

Play Time: about 2.5 – 3 hours

Price: $2.50 per person

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure either solo or by collaborating with remote teammates through Skype, Facetime, Zoom, etc. (by screensharing the game or playing with separate instances of the game and discussing)

Description

You receive a stream of simulated text messages to advance the story and provide puzzle information, sometimes with audio and video clips. Some puzzles require external websites and online tools.

An old tape recorder with a sticker on it that reads, "Listen"

Hivemind Review Scale

REA's hivemind review scale - 3 is recommended anytime, 2 recommended in quarantine, 1 is not recommended.

Read more about our new Hivemind Review format.

DarkPark – Conspiracy-19 [Review]

Playfully Grim

Location:  at home

Date Played: May 10, 2020

Team size: 1-4; we recommend 2-3

Duration: 2.5-3 hours

Price: about $53.13

REA Reaction

The appeal of Conspiracy-19 was its unusual structure, well-designed components, and engaging interactions, but it wasn’t an entirely refined package.

DarkPark’s first foray into the play-at-home escape room market can be summed up with 3 words: interesting, bumpy, and fixable.

A collection of blood samples and an open bottle of pills.
Image via DarkPark

From its subject matter and name, to the bumps in on-boarding and hinting, it was clear that Conspiracy-19 was finished during quarantine… and produced remarkably well, given the added constraints.

In its current state, Conspiracy-19 was a fun, yet flawed game. However, it could be dramatically improved with 2 easily remedied changes:

  • Adjusting the introductory letter to point the player towards a starting place that resolves more quickly
  • Swapping the Facebook-based hinting for a structured, self-service website

At its price point, I’ll happily recommend Conspiracy-19 to diehard tabletop escape room players with disposable income. It’s a cool game. If the price point is a stretch for you at the moment, I’d sit this one out in its current form. It isn’t bad at all; it just needs a few tweaks.

DarkPark is one of our favorite escape room companies in the world, and one of the things we can tell from their work is how much they care about their products. We’re betting that DarkPark iterates on this one.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Prop fiddlers
  • Players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • A few standout interactions
  • An unusual structure

Story

We were in a race against time to save the world from a deadly virus.

Pomotional image displaying the contents of the game box.
Image via DarkPark
Continue reading “DarkPark – Conspiracy-19 [Review]”