Wanna Play?

***Spoiler Free!***

My husband and I did not have a traditional wedding. We wanted it to be fun and inclusive of our passions. We had comic book elements for him, horror movie elements for me, but most of all, we wanted to highlight our shared love of board games.

We kicked off our honeymoon with some much needed R&R at a fancy spa. We knew we would have lots of off time, and I was wonderfully surprised when he presented me with a gift: EXIT: The Catacombs of Horror. I am convinced that we are the first couple in history to open a board game on our honeymoon in a crystal infused hotel room with a bathtub overlooking a gorgeous lake; I am so in love with this man at the thought that I could cry.

For those of you unfamiliar with the EXIT game series, they are basically an escape room in a box. The game play is similar to games like Pandemic: Legacy; they are generally single play games, as clues may lead you to fold, cut and otherwise destroy clue cards. You solve a series of puzzles that lead to codes, and once you have solved them all, you win!

Seems pretty straightforward, but there are a few things that make The Catacombs of Horror stand out from all of the rest.

The difficulty level listed on the box is a 4.5/5. You may want to start with a smaller, easier set if it’s your first go, but if you love challenging puzzles, go for it! What I also loved about this set is that it is a double game – the puzzles are broken into two parts for twice the length of a standard box (so one hour time limit per round).

The premise is that you are hunting for Ben, an explorer who went into the Catacombs in Paris and never came out. He has left you a series of clues that will help you find his whereabouts. However, he warns you that it may be too late – he may already be possessed by the demon that haunts the Catacombs, and if you do find him, you need to perform a ritual in order to save him.

As far as game play goes, the first half was smooth sailing. The puzzles were sufficiently challenging, and we didn’t feel bored or that we were moving through too quickly. The second half was a little clunkier. At one point, we solved a puzzle that led us to the end while we still had two more puzzles to solve. At some point, there isn’t a logical path through the remaining puzzles and it required a bit of guesswork, which led to the order of the clues being out of whack. While we were able to backtrack and figure out what the solving order should have been, it did make the ending a little disappointing because we lost a bit of the excitement of the buildup.

The final puzzle was actually well worth the price of admission. It involves a candle (included with the set). We lit it, and sat in the dark while we worked through the clues. This coupled with the atmospheric music that plays through the app as the timer counts down made for some cool Halloween fun.

All in all, if you’re prepared for a little bit of a clunky second half, this game is a lot of fun if you’re a hardcore puzzler. If you’re like us and have Chucky and Tiffany cake toppers and polyhedral dice in your centerpieces, try it on your honeymoon. If not, it’s still a perfect game any time, and fall makes its horror theme even more fun. Enjoy!

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