Exit: The Game - The Pharaoh's Tomb Review
You decide you need a vacation so head off to Egypt to take in the sights. The highlight is a visit to the stone pyramids. You are part of a tour and start to wander around the pyramid going through the winding corridors and through various rooms. Before you know it you are lost and have left the group behind. You are eager to find your way back enter a mysterious grave chamber. Just as you are thinking you have made a wrong turn the stone door behind you suddenly closes. You are trapped! On the floor you spot a sand covered notebook and a spinning dial with some sort of code on it. You are now in a fight for your life as you race against the clock to figure out how to escape.
Exit: The Game series is gaining popularity in the board gaming hobby. With their innovate use of puzzles, components and codes it is not surprising. The Pharaoh's Tomb is one in the series of many Exit games and this one has a complexity rating of 4 out of 5.
Outside the Box
The Pharaoh's Tomb is the first Exit game that I have played. Straight out of the box this game has you intrigued. You have a notebook, a spinning dial contraption covered with hieroglyphs and some decks of cards. The notebook contains various images and puzzles. There is a short rules manual that will explain the basic concept of the game and after reading this all you need is a pencil and some paper and you are ready to go.
As with reviews of this nature I will try and avoid spoilers and talk about the game in general rather than specific mechanisms. I don't want to spoil the experience that you will get when playing this for the first time.
Exit utilises a set of clue cards, riddle cards and answer cards which are laid out before the game begins. When you think you have solved certain puzzles you will be directed to the answer deck which will confirm if you are correct. If you are correct you will be prompted to draw certain riddle cards from the riddle deck. These riddle cards will give you further puzzles to solve or clues/hints/things you may need to solve other puzzles. The clue cards can be used if you get stuck and come in three levels. The time it takes for you to escape and the number of clue cards you use will determine your score. So there is a real balance between not spending too much time on a riddle and taking the clue to help you progress.
The system works very well. It is easy to follow and understand and is very cleaver in its implementation.
So what did I think of the game? I had an absolute blast with it. I was not sure what to expect going in but was more than presently surprised. The feeling of satisfaction when you solve the puzzle and the rush of endorphins is amazing. The puzzles were all very different and, without giving too much away, utilised the game components in very innovative ways. During the game we had some "Oh wow. Look at this" moments when we figured something out.
The clues cards are very useful. We used a few of them during the game and as soon as we did, we had what we need to solve the puzzle. Every puzzle felt different and although the end goal lead you to the answer deck the journey of solving the puzzle was fun, interesting and at times, difficult.
Entombing My Thoughts
I had a very good experience with the game. I played it with just one other person and I think the lower player counts are probably best for this style of game. Too many cooks and all that. Although this was on the higher end of the difficulty it didn't feel impossible and logic was more often than not the best way forward.
We did eventually escape just after the 90 minute mark and got a score of 3 stars. But I was not bothered about how many stars we got or if we could have done better. I just had a blast playing it and solving the puzzles. As with some games in this genre The Pharaoh's Tomb is a one shot game.
You cannot reset this and pass it on. This is something that is worth pointing out but, in my opinion, for the price point at the experience that you get out of it it its totally worth it. I will not be hesitant to pick up another game in this series. If you have played the Exit games in the past and want something with a higher difficulty this is a good pick.