There’s only so much Exit-ing that can be done. Jobby and Sarah have reached a limit. Jobby explains in a totally spoiler free way…
A Sad Realisation
I hope I’m not over-dramatising here but I just can’t do it any more. I simply couldn’t do it again and it would take a lot to convince me otherwise. Which is a pity because I really enjoyed it the first few times but it’s not as fun as it used to be.
What am I talking about? It’s those Exit games. In August last year I tried my first ‘escape-room-in-a-box’ and really enjoyed it (see Escaping from the Cabin). It was clever and somehow achieved a real escape room feel. It achieved an awful lot with a small box containing a couple of decks of cards, a cipher disc, a booklet and a couple of “strange objects”. It got me doing things with cards and scissors I never thought I would (oo-er!). It amazed whilst taxing the brain. It was great.
Fast forward to the present. Last weekend I played my fourth Exit game, The Forgotten Island. We did the usual read the manual, set up and then get cracking puzzles. It was ok. There were some great puzzles which did clever things and got the players to handle paper and card in interesting ways. However, there really was a problem.
That problem was the players. Specifically Sarah and myself. We had now played three of these games previously and you can’t help but bring into the game knowledge that you have from outside the game. The problematic information in this instance was what we had done in the other Exit games.
As smart and interesting as the Exit games are there are definitely some things that happen in each of them. As a player, you begin to spot patterns. I’m not saying this helped us to solve the riddles. Rather the opposite, in fact. More than once while we were trying to unlock all the mysterious padlocks on the island we went off on a wild goose chase because of something that had happened in the other Exit games.
Worse, it wasn’t that we were wrong, but that we were trying something at the wrong time. That particular solution wasn’t supposed to happen yet. We would discover later that our hunch would be correct on another riddle but we would waste a lot of time looking at a problem in a particular way because that’s what the other games had done. The previous experiences had given us tunnel vision and blinkered us to certain possibilites.
So that’s it. We’re not going to play any more Exit games. Certainly not for a long time yet. I feel sad because I enjoyed them but I can’t deny that the magic has gone. That initial spark has gone and we can’t get it back. It’s back to my faithful worker placement games for me!