Thursday, February 18, 2021

Boardgame - Escape Puzzle - Ravensburger

Picking up the pieces


  
  

Publisher:
Ravensburger
Designer:
Johannes Schiller
Artists:
Alexander Jung, Jonas Jödicke
Languages:
German, French, English, Italian, Spanish, Dutch
# of Players:
? (I recommend 2-5)
Age:
12+ (I'd say 9+)
Duration:
30-90 min for the puzzle-solving part (in my opinion)

Game Design & Mechanics

Sample game components

  • The box contains the expected 759 pieces... plus a few dozen more. For some "technical reasons", the "outer frame" of the puzzle is also cut into pieces and dumped in the box. So as the rulebook explains, you need to sort these straight rectangular pieces, and dispose of them.
  • Speaking of the rulebook, it's not so much a "book" as a collection of single-page rules, in several languages. The instructions are relatively vague, giving you a bit of backstory and inviting you to complete the jigsaw puzzle before "looking for the mysteries and hidden clues" on it. The rules will also tell you the exact number of things you need to solve (typically 6 or 7).
  • Now, I understand that you might be unsatisfied with the vague description those rules provide, especially if you're reading this post with the hope of figuring whether or not you should purchase one of those boxes. So here's a basic explanation if you want:
  • In case you were wondering: no, the image shown on the box is not the exact same you'll be putting back together. However, it's not a completely-different-but-with-the-same-theme image either (as was often the case with "whodunnit" jigsaw puzzles). The box picture is similar enough that you'll often be able to rely on it.
  • The box contains a sealed envelope with a "solution sheet". Don't expect much, though - the sheet only show the "final result" of the game, along with a one-line congratulatory message.
  • To get "proper" hints about each puzzle, you should check out this website, which provides extensive hints in every supported language.
Pros
  • The whole "jigsaw" gimmick is clever and well-rendered. If you're a jigsaw puzzle fan in the first place, you should definitely look into it.
  • If some members of your household are more into jigsaw puzzles than Escape Rooms, this can be a great project to collaborate on.
Cons
  • These puzzles might make you painfully aware that you're not into puzzles as much as you thought. 🙄 Honestly, I don't think I had ever tried a 750-piece puzzle before. Now, well, I'll know better.
    Another thing you might not expect is how hard jigsaw puzzles can be. 😛 A number of pieces have the exact same shape as others, and we ended up placing a wrong piece a number of times.
  • The fact that you need to pick out the "outer border" pieces seems to me like a lame cost-cutting measure from Ravensburger - they didn't want to pay someone to take out those extra bits, so they have us do it. 🤨
  • Likewise, having to go to a website to get proper hints also seems like a way to save on production costs. Meh.

Suggestions

Here are a couple suggestions that might help you get started:
  • When you see numbers on border pieces, those numbers should always be aligned in the same way, for any of the four sides. So if you have a couple numbers oriented differently, they likely go on a different border.
  • In general, you can expect the larger fixtures (big furniture, rocks, trees, etc) from the box cover to be in the exact same place, while smaller details might end up being moved, changed, or gone altogether.

Currently Out (underline bold titles are those I've read personally)
  • Greenhouse
  • Toy Factory
  • Unicorn
  • Forbidding Basement
  • Wolf Pack
  • Witch's Kitchen
  • Temple
  • Space Observatory
  • Vampire
  • Dragon Laboratory
  • Submarine
  • Laboratory
  • Artist's Workshop

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