Warsaw, Mar 2017
As with the other game at this venue, the design is very true to the theme but less to the story – purists who object to finding an array of modern padlocks, a hint TV screen and other anachronisms inside the inner chamber of an ancient Egyptian pyramid may be put off.
Again, there’s a very good quantity of puzzles here, and plenty of variety. Despite several anachronisms, the puzzles have clearly been carefully designed to fit the theme, and between deciphering hieroglyphs and triggering mechanisms built from bricks and ropes, it successfully achieves an Indiana Jones feel.
One puzzle in particular is surprisingly maths-heavy. Central and Eastern Europe games seem to assume a slightly higher baseline for the level of basic arithmetic that can be expected of teams. It should only be a negative point for the seriously number-phobic, though.
For me the high point was a pair of large skill-based tasks, both implemented purely with mechanical components, both involving co-operation between two players. Games like this are difficult to create successfully, with much more scope for malfunctions and problems than with padlocks and simpler components, but these worked with perfect smoothness. The low-tech wood and rope construction fitted the game’s theme exactly, and the length of the tasks was excellently judged, long enough to be satisfying without any danger of them outstaying their welcome.
There are plenty of games with an Egyptian theme, or Mayan ruins or jungle temple. There are obvious challenges in turning some basement or spare office space into an ancient ruined tomb, and so these rooms often have a rather artificial ‘Disneyland’ feel with lots of obvious MDF, polystyrene and other cheap construction materials. That’s the case here too, but it’s done with more skill than usual, and made us very willing to suspend disbelief.