Escape Room Board Games

2022.03.03.

Here at ExitTheRoom, escape rooms games are our lifeblood. Not only do we have a huge number of games available, but also our Games Masters are all experts and have played all types of games across both Europe and the United States. Being fans of  the genre, they are also constantly monitoring new escape room board games as they appear on the marketplace. Though many of the social distancing restrictions caused by Covid-19 have been relaxed, it’s still a great idea to play escape room games at home. Now that winter is closing in, escape room board games make an excellent alternative to having to wrap up warmly and make your way to a real brick and mortar escape room game location. So without further ado, let's have a look at some of the latest and greatest escape room board games.

Escape the Room (The Cursed Dollhouse) From ThinkFun

ThinkFun released their first “The Cursed Doll House”  escape room game in 2020. This latest version of the series, comes in a bigger box and contains many more ideas. Having said that, the first two games, The Secret of Dr Gravely Street and The Mystery of the Stargazer's Manor, were both brilliant games available at an impressive price. In this newer game, there are four rooms to explore, plus an attic. The idea is that you actually build a paper doll's house which you then will explore. Each room has a number of puzzles and riddles associated with it.

We should point out that this game does cost more than their first two efforts. The gameplay will last around 2 to 3 hours and you'll find all the materials that will allow you to reset the game and replace anything that might have been destroyed during its first playing. The game set-up is easy and the ideal team size is going to be around two players. This will allow each player to fully explore the rooms properly.

Materials Used: Cardboard and paper. The overall quality of materials is good.
Replayability: Not really. ThinkFun does give you the means to “reset” and replace any items that may have been destroyed. Also repacking instructions are included.
Difficulty Level: Very difficult
Number of Players: 1-4 players. We suggest no more than 2 players as this makes it easier to share the dollhouse.
Gameplay Duration: Officially 2.5 hours.
Recommended Age: 13+ 
Price: $42.99

EXIT: The Game (Abandoned Cabin, Secret Lab, & Pharaoh’s Tomb)

The games company Thames and Kosmos have a multi game series called Exit: The Game.  Within this there are several titles, including The Abandoned Cabin, The Secret Lab and The Pharaoh’s Tomb. These all offer different and immersive escape scenarios. Essentially, you'll find yourself in dangerous situations with the need to escape. Each one of these games cost around $15 and they all represent great quality and value for money. You'll find a decoder disc, a puzzle booklet, an instruction booklet, cardboard pieces, and 3 sets of cards. The latter cards are Riddle Cards, Answer Cards, and Hint Cards. One thing we particularly liked was the illustrations and the puzzles themselves, which are super cool.

The design of the Hint Card mechanism is well thought out, offering a flexible and well-made series of cards that you are able to take hints from at any time. The puzzle booklet and the Riddle cards contain the puzzles. You can use the decoder to tell you which answer cards to pick up. With any luck, you’ll pick up the one that will tell you the right answer. And then you’ll be able to proceed through the game.

We should point out that this is not an easy game. Virtually all the puzzles are very challenging and also very cleverly designed. There's plenty of material to work your way through and, on the whole, you'll need at least one hour to finish each game. 

Materials Used: Cardboard and paper. The quality of materials is very high.
Replayability: No replay value. The game gets destroyed as you play it.
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Number of Players: 1-4 officially. We recommend 2-3.
Game Duration: Officially 1-2 hours.
Recommended Age: 12+ 
List Price: $14.95

Mystery at the Stargazer’s Manor

So if you're a die-hard escape room fanatic or a veteran of playing many escape room games, then you'll find the Mystery at the Stargazer's Manor will probably be far too easy for you. The level of puzzles and clues make this game a perfect fit for families playing with children. Nevertheless, it’s still a very high quality offering from THames and Kosmos. The game includes well made materials, along with a variety of puzzles and clues, and an intriguing narrative to spur the action onwards. We would suggest that if you're completely new to the whole escape room genre, or have children, then this is going to be a great way to start. Just don’t expect it to be too taxing.

Materials used: Cardboard and paper. The quality of materials is top notch.
Replayability: None. Although it is possible to repack. Repacking instructions are provided.
Difficulty Level: Very easy
Number of Players: They recommend 3-8. But we think no more than 1-3.
Game Duration: 90 minutes.
Recommended Age: 10+ 
List Price: $21.99

Journal 29

As opposed to being a board game like all the escape room games on this list, Journal 29 is book-based. It consists of a puzzle book which contains 63 puzzles within its 148 black and white pages. There are no components to tinker with here, as everything you need is contained within the book itself. We love the charming and slightly creepy hand drawn aesthetic.

The book works in conjunction with a website. The idea being that once you have solved a puzzle on each page of the book, then you simply input your answer into the required place on the website. First off, we should admit that these puzzles are far from easy. In fact you're going to find yourself completely stumped on many frustrating occasions. You can find a hints forum online, where players have left tips and tricks to help those who are just beginning their Journal 29 book journey. It goes without saying that an internet connection is essential if you're going to play this game.

In truth there's not much of a narrative. But the puzzles will certainly have you concentrate all your efforts on solving them. A neat touch that's offered by the publisher is that you can collect codes from previous puzzles to use them in future ones. We feel that if you're going to be taking a train journey or flight, then having a game based within a book certainly makes sense. We will admit that we did find some of the hand-drawn aspects of the book made it difficult to read in some parts. Nevertheless, this is a great product and we certainly recommend it to anyone who would like to play escape room games by themselves.

Materials Used: 148-page black and white paperback book.
Replayability: None. The book gets written in as you proceed through the game. 
Difficulty Level: Very difficult and extremely challenging
Number of Players: We recommend no more than 1-3. Though probably best played alone.
Game Duration: Not specified. But, take it from us, you should allow hours, if not days!
Recommended Age: We suggest at minimum 13+.
List Price: $17.99
 

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