Saturday, May 1, 2021

Boardgame - The Curious Elevator of Mr. Hincks - Bluefish Games

"♫ Livin' it up when I'm goin' down "




Publisher:
Designers:
Ace & Anna Ellet
Artists:
?
Languages:
English
# of Players:
1-4
Age:
? (I'd say 10+)
Duration:
120-240 min (no actual time limit)
Weight (Physical Components):
145 g
Weight (Puzzle Tallies):
10 Locks, 26 Deductions, 20 Tasks

BoardGameGeek Reference:

Game Design & Mechanics

Game components (from the publisher's website)

  • At first glance, this game could fail to grab your attention. It comes in a fairly unassuming box (well, or so I've seen - I bought a used copy and had it put in a manilla envelope to save on shipping ūüėÖ), and the components are mostly paper and cardboard - nothing fancy.
  • But on a closer look, you'll notice that all those components are quite varied nonetheless: business cards, postcards, blueprints, activity books, a sealed document (which you can open right away), and even an old-fashioned printout. Oh, and a pencil, too. (So you see, it's not just paper. ūüėú)
  • To start the game, you need to connect to the official game website. You'll see the eponymous elevator, in which you'll find a clickable "gift", a clue meant to steer you in the right direction. Some are interactive, but most just provide enough info to let you figure out which game component(s) you should now be focusing on.
  • If you manage to succesfully deciper the clues, you should end up with the "password" you need to enter in order to move to your next floor. That's it!
  • There is no enforced time limit, nor any timekeeper on the website.
  • Every floor has its own Hints section, at the bottom of the page. The first hint always tells you which physical components you need, then the following hints lead you to the password, with increasing details.
  • Note that one component is destructible, meaning that you can't easily reset the game again & again. When buying a new copy of the box, you get two replacements in a sealed envelope. I don't want to spoil here, but I will, further down...
Pros
  • The puzzles are quite varied, and they do pack a lot of punch. My friends and I really felt that every "gift" was just that - we never knew what to expect.
  • The visual esthetics, while sober, fit the whole theme nicely.
  • There's a lot to say for the humor in the game. While the storyline is definitely slim, whenever text does show up, it's filled with entertaining jokes and quips I absolutely loved.
Cons
  • Since using the website is mandatory, this isn't a game you can bring on a camping trip.
  • As always, the cost (about 50$Cdn) can seem prohibitive when compared to other "Escape Rooms in a Box" found in boardgame stores. And because of the destructible components, buying a used copy or borrowing one also becomes trickier...
  • That being said, let me be clear on this: if you were to buy one of those slightly-expensive, order-by-mail boxed games, I think it should be this one.

Other considerations
  • The company itself suggests ordering through European site Escape Merch if you don't live in the US. Even from Canada, you end up saving ~15$ by doing that.

House Rules & Suggestions

Like I said earlier, one game component is destructible, and finding about it is actually a nice surprise, so I suggest you just play normally with your copy of the game, then come back here...


Currently Out (underline bold titles are those I've read personally)
  • The Curious Elevator of Mr. Hincks
  • The Curious Stairs of Mr. Hincks

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