Guildford, Apr 2018
The second game we played at Containment was their original and oldest game. As with the previous one, the game is inside a large shipping container. Where the bomb defusal game we’d just played had a theme that obviously fit well with that, The Vault has the trickier job of convincing you you’re inside a bank. Nonetheless, it manages to do a surprisingly effective job of making the shipping container look like a normal room. Above a certain height the decor stops and gives way to wiring and the container roof, but since there’s little need to look up I found that didn’t interfere with suspension of disbelief at all.
In fact, the decor could be described as ‘office’. That’s a look that other games normally end up with through minimal modification of an existing space, but here it’s fully constructed. As with the other game of theirs we played, there is a highlight of the decor that gives a clear goal and which acts as a centrepiece for the room – though here that may not be so immediately obvious.
Here again there’s a mixture of what I’d describe as puzzles for their own sake, and some more themed steps that fit with the premise that you’re breaking into a bank. Our progress was slowed by two sticking points, one where we didn’t realise a certain prop could do more than was immediately apparent, and a password we struggled to find due to not making a retrospectively obvious connection. Your mileage will likely vary, though my impression of the earlier part of the game was that there are a few points that could leave teams flailing or chasing dead-end ideas. However, the gamemaster was attentive and showed good judgement about when to step in with a hint and when to hold back, so any pain points should be short-lived.
Despite some weaker puzzles, Containment’s design style again shows plenty of invention as well as good use of the game theme. I found the game broadly improved as it went on. The very final step was something of a step down in both decor and creativity, and gave the finish less sparkle than it deserved; though the ill gotten gains that are your prize have a nicely authentic quality that helped there.