Cryptology Nottingham: Daylight Robbery

By | December 28, 2022

Nottingham, Jul 2021

Rated 4.5 out of 5
Toby says:

Nottingham is full of rooms that are beloved by enthusiasts, and Daylight Robbery has become one of the most frequently and warmly recommended of those. In a way it’s an evolution of what Cryptology did with Dreamscape, in that both are score-based games with plenty of parallel play that suits larger groups; but Daylight Robbery takes those characteristics and turns them up to the max.
That might not be instantly obvious – the game doesn’t plunge you into the mayhem immediately. But although it’s quite a cool start, it’s strictly a warm-up. The larger part of the game is a frantic scramble to solve as much as possible from an eye-popping array of puzzles and locks, where each time you might think you’re starting to get on top of things you find there’s a whole other section, and then another.
Each solve gives you some valuable tagged with a barcode for you to first scan and then chuck in your sack of loot. The objects you may get are as gloriously varied in type and value as the prizes on one of the more demented quiz shows. Broadly speaking the more difficult puzzles yield prizes of greater value, though difficulty is subjective and the results can be unpredictable. Careful planners may be able to work out ways to best focus their time-limited efforts for an optimal payoff; on our attempt we did nothing of the sort and mostly just hurled ourselves at whichever puzzles were closest.
The final complication is that you also need to emerge with the Daylight Diamond, regardless of what else you grab. This isn’t a matter of being lucky enough to find it amidst the other valuables; rather, it forms a kind of stand-alone final section. This works really well, ensuring that all teams have a high-adrenaline finish instead of just petering out of puzzles they can solve, with (hopefully) a nicely substantial prize at the end.
It’s a very effective structure. I’ve played a few other games that also provide players with a huge number of puzzles, with a score based on how many of them they can get through. The main downside is that however well you do, you always leave the room with the knowledge of all the lovely puzzles you didn’t quite get to. There’s still a bit of that here, but Daylight Robbery manages to minimise it by the way it compartmentalises its play area; and it manages to fit it into a story narrative at the same time.
That means it’s a game that seems to work for beginners as well, though it’s undoubtedly best tailored for a good size team of enthusiast players who are happy splitting up and gorging themselves on one puzzle after another. Unlike most games I’d suggest playing with four or even six. On the other hand, I’ve heard of enthusiasts booking two slots back to back so that they can tackle it as a two hour game, playing as a pair, and honestly that seems a pretty reasonable way to try it; even like that you’re probably not going to run out of puzzles.
As a player who likes to see and do everything in a room, or as near as possible to it, Daylight Robbery isn’t entirely aligned to my tastes. That didn’t stop me having a blast playing it. Few games can promise a full sixty minutes of unrelenting adrenaline in quite the way this one does. I do feel for the poor hosts who have to reset it each time, though! 4.5 / 5

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