#31: Mystery Games (Budapest) – Alchemist’s Gold

Essentially a basic escape room with some set dressing, Alchemist’s Gold didn’t feel like it brought anything new to us and while it might appeal to first-timers, it relied on many mechanisms that would feel old and tired to any experienced player.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Location:Budapest
Team:Rhubarb Rhubarb
Date:24 March 2019
Hints taken:3
Time:Between 50 and 60m
URL:Mystery Games

Front & Briefing

The foyer at Mystery Games was well decorated in a theme that suited both the games we played (Alchemist’s Gold and, mostly, Secret of the Depth (#32)).

We followed the GM into the room, the corner of which had a suitable place to stow bags, and were given the rough story: find several artefacts and get out of the (very physically) locked room.

Theme

The puzzles often strayed from the theme, unless the eponymous alchemist happened to have a penchant for classic escape room games, and aside from some decoration the puzzles could have been found in any unthemed room. One commonly-encountered battery-powered device totally broke immersion – it would be so easy to turn it into a magician’s prop that it irked me that this hadn’t been done, and the battery was running low enough to turn using it into a chore. What would have been the nicest reveal was spoiled by the fact that we had to take a hint in order to activate it; arguably a search fail but I would wonder how many teams actually manage to stumble upon it without a clue. Quite a lot of padlocks.

Puzzles

The puzzles often strayed from the theme, unless the eponymous alchemist happened to have a penchant for classic escape room games, and aside from the set theming the puzzles could have been pulled from any unthemed room. One commonly-found battery-powered device totally broke immersion – it would be so easy to turn it into a magician’s prop that it irked me that this hadn’t been done, and the battery was running low enough to turn using it into a chore. What would have been the nicest reveal was spoiled by the fact that we had to take a hint in order to activate it; arguably a search fail but I would wonder how many teams stumbled upon it without a clue. Quite a lot of padlocks.

Hint system

Walkie-talkies, with hints on request. Our hints were all search fails of sorts, and the GM directed us straight to the item, which seemed reasonable given that we’d scoured the place pretty thoroughly each time before asking.

The countdown clock wasn’t something I’d seen before and was one of the things that had been fit into the theme of the room. It was quite a vague indication of the time, meaning that we didn’t know exactly how much time was left by the end of the game, and our GM wasn’t forthcoming afterwards (see below).

Debriefing

Surprisingly we weren’t actually greeted by the GM upon exiting the game. I hadn’t realised before now how much this adds to the ending of a game – the GM is supposed to be ostensibly on your side against the room, and it rather felt like we’d been abandoned. I think this is because the GM was still advising the team playing another room. We sat in the foyer and waited for our next game to be ready.

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