The story so far... David has the three Trapped escape room games from publishers Golden Bear and Fantastic Factory. Having tested out Trapped: The Bank Job, and used Trapped: The Carnival as the main entertainment for son James' 10th birthday party, that just leaves Trapped: The Art Heist...
B plus 3 days - I know what I like
It's a testament to the chaotic fun the kids had with The Carnival that my wife, son, and the diligent girl want to play through The Art Heist together. I can't wait that long, as the Supremo wants a new Picasso, so it's time to synchronise watches and steal a painting...
The Art Heist is probably the most thematic of the three and has an EXIT-esque book which refers to multiple puzzles. Paintings are placed on the walls and you are tasked with identifying which one should be stolen and who, of the four employees, is your accomplice. The puzzles are a good step up from Trapped: The Carnival and more accessible than Trapped: The Bank Job: this, for me, would be the place to start in the series as you really do have to piece clues together and make some logical deductions... including working out just what it is that you're working out! Of the three, though, it suffers the worst from a limp ending, no 'Tada!' moment, so to speak. When you think you've done what you need to do, you open an envelope and solve a puzzle inside, but there's just no satisfying 'click' when you do. I checked the rule book to find I should reference a clue to see if I'd solved the whole thing (I had) but it felt anti-climactic, which was a shame because I had very much enjoyed what came before.
Trapped: a Board's Eye Overview
Well, based on my experience, we don't have the next EXIT (Kosmos) or Unlock! (Space Cowboys) series on our hands, or even Deckscape (dV Giochi) which (apart from #2) reaches a consistently high standard. What Trapped does do, tho', is literally bring an extra dimension to the Escape-Room-in-a-Box genre with placing items around the room; it's a bit of a gimmick, but helps bring out the theme, certainly of the harder two. The series' downsides would include the directionlessness a group might feel when starting out and the lack of a final break-out moment in the easier two. At a similar price point to other Escape-Room-in-a-Box games, Trapped's USP is the physicality of moving about a room in your house or office: it would feel somewhat 'flat' just putting all the pieces on a table at a games group. While The Carnival is definitely aimed at kids who can concentrate, both The Art Heist and The Bank Job provide solid challenges for teens and adults; the former edging it for me on pacing, although the latter had a better conclusion. Given the isolated nature of most of the puzzles, Trapped would suit 5 or 6 players better than most of the crowd-round-a-table ERiaB alternatives. So, all in all, the Trapped games are a set of very worthwhile additions to the genre.
(Review by David Fox)