Bristol, Apr 2018
The Brunel room is an eclectic room, filled with steampunk paraphanelia and puzzles embedded in the walls and furniture.
It was a busy game with an interesting and well themed hint system, which we had mixed feelings about. It’s not a spoiler to say that there is a single hint for each puzzle, and the system is self-serve. This helps to structure the room, as you can derive a little metadata about the order (or at least the nature) of the puzzles from the hint lookup. We found ourselves in a bit of a bind, having overlooked something small that we’d previously found, and were unable to progress. This is a situation where a games master who could communicate with us might choose to remind us to check our inventory. Unfortunately, the hint system wasn’t capable of that and so we pinwheeled for some time. (Mental note: Just say “what do we have?” to yourself every once in a while!)
There’s a real risk that a team that can’t use the hint for a particular puzzle may find themselves unable to progress entirely – and with no other way for a GM to reach them, they may end up sitting out the clock.
The alternate view is that the game is advertised as tough (although yes, many games advertise themselves like that these days), so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that you should have to put in some effort to win! The game relies on teams that persevere and rewards those who keep trying new approaches when the first few things they try aren’t right.
That blip in our progress as we searched and re-searched the room until we found what we already had held us up a bit – and we found ourselves working frantically in the last few minutes to get out. That, in turn, made the victory all the more sweet!
The objects and devices we found in the room were all in keeping with the theme, and Brunel’s legacy left lots of opportunity for secrets, puzzles and gadgets which were well employed.
The game was fun and busy and stretched us, which felt good.
It’s tough – but recommended.