Oxford, Mar 2017
Ex(c)iting Games’ second room is refreshingly well-lit, a relief after Warehouse. It also has a novel twist: in the briefing we were warned that a security guard might sometimes look into the room, so when we heard footsteps we had ten seconds to hide. Getting caught by the guard incurs a five minute penalty.
Like their Warehouse game, this uses a fairly small room. The decor is a little better here – it had to be, since this time we could see it clearly! – though still at the level of mock-brick wallpaper, and closer to a middle-class living room than somewhere that a priceless diamond might conceivably be hidden.
It’s still a mostly low-tech game, but one that’s packed with unusual props and inventive, varied puzzle ideas. Many are incongruous with the setting, and there weren’t any stand-out ‘wow’ moments, but each puzzle was distinct and different, and in total used an impressively wide variety of mechanisms and ideas.
I really liked the idea of having to hide from a guard’s security inspections. (Fortunately the guard paid no heed to the chaos we’d made working on the room…) I wish they’d gone further with this, in fact: a costume for the guard at a minimum, and maybe a requirement to turn the lights out when the guard is about to arrive, so that he can peer around with a flashlight. Nonetheless, it still made everything that much more tense, with our team startling at unexpected noises, and waiting heart in mouth in our hiding places during an inspection. They could do more with the idea, but it’s a memorable and effective twist, and I’d love to see more rooms experimenting with ideas like this one.