Newbury, Jan 2018
The Swindler is loosely based around the idea of Lady Humbug, a 1950s con artist. The story talks a little about time-travelling to unravel her mystery. It’s probably better to think of it as an investigation that uncovers a room untouched since the 50s…
The game has some nice ideas, and some nice puzzles. It’s a fairly traditional game – there’s a little search, and a lot of locks. The room wasn’t huge, but it was big enough for a team of 3 or 4 (we were 2).
Throughout the game, there are artefacts in evidence bags to collect – these gave us a sense of progress. I’m glad Janos took the time to tell us there aren’t any clues in there. They sure looked cluey!
The game suffers a little from a lack of sign-posting (“oh now we have a code I guess we should try it on every lock in the room”). When playing a game, working out an answer feels great, but having to try it everywhere just feels like a punishment. That’s not true for every part of it, but in places a little extra indicator could have boosted the theming and reduced the friction of hunting for the right lock (or where to poke that damned mirror on a stick!)
Speaking to Janos afterwards, he was able to walk us through the story and tell us a little more about the touches in the game that tied neatly into Lady Humbug’s story.
Overall, this game was fine to play. Although it wasn’t our favourite from the venue, it’s a decent introduction to escape games for a new player. You should have an experienced team to support them (and to work the locks whenever a code emerges!)