Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Book - "Escape This Book!" series

Drawing the line


   
 


Publisher:
Author:
Bill Doyle
Illustrator:
Sarah Sax
# of Players:
1

Game Design & Mechanics
  • The books in this series are very similar in their format: hardcover, filled to the brim with illustrations, and following the classical "Choose Your Own Adventure" pattern of navigating through pages out of order.
  • The author invites children to embark on an interactive adventure through something he calls "the 3 Ds": Doodle, Decide & Demolish.
  • "Decide" is fairly obvious to anyone who played CYOA books: the reader will have to make a decision, and go to the correponding page to follow the story.
  • Source: ETB - Titanic
  • "Doodle" means that the reader will be regularly asked to draw things onto the page they're looking at. Sometimes it'll be just for fun, but there will also be cases where the decisions you made while drawing ("How many legs does your monster have?") will have an impact on your progress. Finally, there are also traditional puzzles & mazes that are meant to solve by doodling directly in the book.
  • Source: ETB - Tombs of Egypt
  • "Demolish" is all about ripping pages. You'll be asked to poke holes through a few pages, choose a piece to tear off and read what's behind it, that sort of stuff.
  • Source: ETB - Tombs of Egypt
  • Every book is really divided into 3. Early on, the reader is invited to select a main path to follow early on, see it to conclusion, then try another.
  • At the end of each book is an appendix ("Escapologist Files") containing all sorts of interesting (and sometimes useful) trivia. There are also answers for every puzzle and game found in the book.
Pros
  • The books look good (well, as long as you like the art style - I do) and feel very nice (being hardcover and all).
  • Although I'm definitely not the target audience, I'm sure youngsters would have a good time with these.
Cons
  • There is no stretch by which this could really be considered an "escape book". It' got the name, and the theme, but that's about it.
  • In fact, it hardly is an CYOA book either. Aside from the 3 main paths, most of the alternative choices turn out to be "making a bad choice and having to start again" and "making a bad choice but not having to start again". The page navigation system is mostly used to valide answers to a short puzzle.
  • As my regular readers know, I'm not keen at permanently destroying components. The idea that such gorgeous hardcover books are meant to be treated as single-read (disposable, even?) activity books is... distressing. ūü•ļ

Currently Out (underline bold titles are those I've read personally)
  • Titanic
  • Tombs of Egypt

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