Thames & Kosmos - "Exit The Game: Dead Man on the Orient Express"
Updated: Dec 10, 2020
Videos/ Photos provided by Thames & Kosmos
Company: Thames & Kosmos
Game: Dead Man on the Orient Express
Country: USA 🇺🇸
Type of Game: Escape Board Game 📬
Genre: Detective, Murder Mystery
Date Played: 7/4/2020
Difficulty (based on 2 players): 6/10
Size of Team: 1-4 Players
We've played a few "Exit the Game" already and this one was probably our favorite so far. Being that the game has a murder mystery theme, naturally I gravitated towards it.
We were playing the role of famous private detective Achilles Pussot. A murder happened on the Orient Express and there were 8 suspects. We had to find the killer before the train reached Constantinople!
The game came in a small cardboard box that's quite easy to carry around. We've bought them on cruise ships before and with its vibrant colors and intriguing graphics, it easily attracted a crowd of spectators. The game came with: 1 Decoder disk, 86 Cards, 2 Strange items, 3 Sealed Sheets, 1 Book and 1 Rule book. These were the usual items you'll see in Exit the Game (although the amount of items may vary). There's a free app (German/English) that you can download which contains soundtrack, digital timer and information about the game. You'll need pencil, paper, watch (if you want to time it yourself or you can use the app), and scissor for the game.
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If you don't want to read the rule book, download the app for an audio instruction on how to set up and play the game. I really enjoyed this alternative as I discovered that there was also a narration of the story on the app as well. It definitely set the mood for me. If you don't want to do neither, I'll try to give a quick summary here. Since there's no game board, you'll just need to set up the riddle, help and answer cards into three separate piles. Do not open or take anything apart (like the strange item and the 3 sealed sheets) until instructed to do so. Start with the decoder and the booklet. The booklet should give you a clear starting point. Treat the booklet as if you were in an actual escape room. Anything you discover in the photo should be examined (so if you found a riddle card, you can pick it up in the pile). Think of the decoder disc as locks in an escape room. There are symbols on the edge of it. These symbols should coordinate to items in the booklet and on the riddle cards. Once you put everything together, you'll know when you have enough information to open a "lock". Once you unlocked a "lock", you'll be awarded by a number on the decoder wheel. Take this number to the same numbered card on the answer sheet and receive further instructions from there. If you get a red X on the answer card, that means you gave the wrong code to the "lock" and you'll have to go back to solve it again. The game play should be quite smooth from there on. If you get stuck on a certain puzzle, just look at the help cards with the symbol you need assistance with. We like how the help cards had a tiered system on giving the hints out. The 1st card revels minimum amount of information and if you need a bit more, you can look at the 2nd card. If you really can't figure it out, the final card gives you the solution.
The puzzles tries to mimic certain actions you'll have to take in a real escape room. Searching seems to be what was required quite often in this game. There were definitely moments when we got stuck on a puzzle because a certain object was "hidden" quite well in the graphics. The puzzles were mostly logic puzzles with a few deductive reasoning types. It was interesting for us to have a different hypothesis on who the killer was right from the start. Throughout the game we were able to find clues and hint as we solved different puzzles. Since we each had our eye on who the killer was, the game actually became semi competitive. We started to gather information on how to make our suspect the killer. It was pretty fun to turn a collaborative game into a race for the truth. In this game, we had a few "realization moments". Exit the Game are usually great at hiding these. The "crafty" puzzles that they embed in the graphics are normally undetectable until you actually piece them together. We love those "oh" and "wow" moments.
Exit The Game really want the players to feel like they were playing the game in a real escape room. From the detailed drawings of the train cars to the portraits of the suspects, it all helped to build the story and images in our heads. We really enjoyed the different tales behind each character. The soundtrack made it feel like we were traveling on a moving train throughout the game. Since we love to keep games after playing, it's always a sad moment when we have to "destroy" a game piece. This game is not replayable so once you escape, there's really no point in keeping it but we still like to keep it as a memorabilia. We never play these games with a timer as we like to enjoy them for the full experience rather than rush through them. But if you are feeling competitive, the scoring card at the back of the rule book (or the app) will be able to help you determine how many stars you earned for escaping!
(If you do decide to try this game, give us a shoutout or tag us on social media so we know you heard it from "ESCAPETHEROOMers"!)
Disclosure: We thank Thames & Kosmos for providing us with samples of the game. Although a complimentary experience was generously provided, it does not impact our opinion on the review whatsoever.