EXIT the Game: The Enchanted Forest (A Spoiler-free Review by RJ Garrison)

Designer: Inka & Markus Brand

Publisher:  Thames and Kosmos

Players:  1-4

Playing Time:  60-120 minutes

Ages:  10+

MSRP: $14.95

Level: 2 of 5

https://www.thamesandkosmos.com

While walking in the woods you and your friends suddenly find that you are lost.  While attempting to get back to where you came from you are approached by a wolf, which, yeah…scares you, as a wolf in the wild should.  Then he starts talking to you.  Apparently you’ve stepped into an Enchanted Forest with talking animals, characters from childhood stories and more, and now, for some reason, your immediate thought is to get out of the wood?  Don’t you want to do a little exploring or something?  I mean, TALKING ANIMALS!!!  And the wolf’s not even trying to eat you. 

The Wolf doesn’t exactly know the way out, but luckily he points you in the direction to someone who…might?  And this leads you to be able to explore a bit, meet some interesting and unique characters while you attempt to help them with a variety of tasks.  If you are able to help them, you get closer to being able to Exit the forest.

EXIT: The Enchanted Forest is one of Thames and Kosmos’ Exit games, where 1-4 players attempt to solve a series of puzzles to escape whatever type of world/ situation/ room/ forest/ etc. they are stuck in.  In this case, an Enchanted Forest, filled with characters that one might come across in a variety of fairy tales.  

The puzzles are set up in order with specific directions on when to look at different puzzles and answers to said puzzles.  Each puzzle will eventually lead players to (hopefully) figure out a three digit code, and the game has a built in mechanism in the cards where you are able to see if you actually did figure out the code or not, and if not, keeps you from spoiling the other puzzles players will eventually come across.  

Each step of the way leads players to the next puzzle, with some flavor text and story to go along with the journey.

Each puzzle (this box has 10) has 3 clue cards if players get stuck and are unable to move forward.  The first clue will be an attempt to get players thinking in the right direction of what they might be looking for.  The next clue is a bit more straightforward, giving a more direct clue than the first, but if players are still not able to solve, the third is the solution to the riddle/ puzzle.

As players figure out different clues from the puzzles, they are given (hopefully) numbers that they can line up on their decoder wheel to see if they’ve solved the puzzle.   While working together, if players are able to solve all the puzzles, players are able to EXIT the game.  

COMPONENTS:  The components are decent quality, especially for a game that you play once and then discard.  There is a nicely done 4 page rulebook which clearly lays out how to set up the game and where to get started.  A second story book is included that leads you on your journey and provides the story for the game.

MECHANICS:  EXIT Games come with a number of clever mechanics.  The puzzles can be challenging and are not always straightforward, so it helps to play with someone that is good to think outside the box. As players solve puzzles, the game is set up that if you think you’ve solved a puzzle, there’s a way to make sure you actually did solve the puzzle and don’t just by some fluke move on to the next.  

TIME, AGES & PLAYER COUNT:  The time of 1-2 hours is appropriate for this game.  I would not give the game to a bunch of 10 year olds (though they may do much better than us old people!) but having them work with an older group, 10+ seems appropriate.  Actually, come to think of it, I’d love to give this to a group of 10 year olds, who’s brains may be a bit more flexible than ours and see how they handle the puzzles.  It’d be an interesting experiment.  I played this one with 2 players, but 1-4 would work fine.  

ARTWORK:  The artwork is cute.  Nothing particularly outstanding but does help move the theme along and the illustrations are fun.  

Pros:  This is a fairly inexpensive way for a group of friends or family to spend a couple hours bonding and having fun.  

The game is fun.  

Having the hints to each puzzle is a nice touch if you get stuck at any point.

Most of the materials are recyclable. 

The theme is cute, and the flavor text and story line are quirky and entertaining as you journey through the Enchanted Forest.  You get to talk to a variety of not-so-helpful animals and creatures that players help get a task done and they in turn attempt to get you to someone that can assist you.

Cons:  The waste that these games create as a one-time use game creates a fairly large eco-footprint.  That being said, most of the materials ARE recyclable,

Some of the clues can be frustrating if you get stuck and, even with what you’re given, are unable to figure out where to begin.  We did fine for the most part in this particular game, but I worry about some of the harder EXIT games. 

A lot of times when doing the puzzles, players will start in the right direction with the clue and have it mostly figured out, but have something slightly off which is not getting them the right code.  The hint cards are nice, but more often than not, I found that we already figured out hint 1 and 2 and could have used a slight nudge instead of going directly to the solution.  

The destruction of the game (cutting and such) makes it so you are SUPPOSED to toss it, but it is repackageable to where you can reset the game for someone else to play.  (For the most part.)

FINAL THOUGHTS:  This was my first EXIT game that I’ve played, but I enjoyed it enough that it is definitely not my last.  Check back in a week where I interview 2 Escape Room junkies that played through EXIT: The Cemetery of the Knight.

THOUGHTS FROM OTHER OPINIONATED GAMERS:

Dale Y: (played with review copy provided by Thames&Kosmos) I think have played all of the EXIT games to date, and I must say that I prefer the easier ones.  Not because my ego wants to be able to solve all the puzzles, but it turns out to be a better experience.  For me and my family, we have been more frustrated at the construction of the more difficult puzzles.  The lower rated games still have some interesting/challenging puzzles, but at least we feel like they were all fair in the construction.  It never feels good to play through the game, need to use the final hint card for a couple of the puzzles and then think to yourself “man, i seriously never considered that as an option”.  Here, we had a great time playing through the puzzles and took our minds away from the cold winter day for about an hour.  This remains one of my favorite “escape room” series, and I will pretty much always look forward to trying the next one in the series.

RATINGS:
I Love it!

I Like It.  RJ Garrison, Dale Y

Neutral.

Not for me.

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