Canterbury, Jun 2021
I’d been meaning to return to Escape Kent and play their pirate game for something like four years, during which time it’s gone from their exciting new game to one of the more venerable ones at the venue. There was a certain amount of buzz about it at the time, and I was pleased to find that it was still very much worth a visit.
You are (arrrr?) sneaking onto a ship in search of one Black Diamond, as explained by your pirate captain via video intro. Pirate games are often well decorated, and that’s true of this one too: wooden boards and cannon set the scene nicely. In both of the games we played at Escape Kent on this visit, I was impressed at how ingeniously they’d used the space, making a relatively modest-sized floor area feel like a more expansive and engaging environment. It’s also a little more physically demanding than most rooms, which is great for generating a good level of energy, though might be off-putting for anyone who struggles with stairs.
The game style here is to provide a sequence of puzzles, well themed but not disguised as anything other than puzzles for the sake of puzzles – which is entirely fine and works well. The highlight for me was a cooperative physical task; the low point was one where we struggled to get the fussy technology too respond correctly. The latter puzzle was also not terribly well suited to these pandemic days, though the host assured me afterwards that they took particular care in disinfecting that part is the game between sessions.
The two of us took a bit under forty minutes to finish, and I’d class this as an easier beginner-friendly room – again, nothing wrong with that, and we had a great time. With a satisfying finish, it’s a cheerful up-tempo game that won’t make enthusiasts break a sweat but should leave them smiling anyhow.