Deckscape: The Fate of London

6.9 Overall
Component Quality
Puzzle Design
Game Experience
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Deckscape: The Fate of London

  • Played May 2019

  • 60 minutes
  • 1-6 players
  • $12.99 USD
  • Yes

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When dvGiochi (the designers of the Deckscape series) contacted us, we were excited because none of us on the ERA team, had played any of the games from their series. Sure it’s another card based, in-home, escape room, style game but is it the same as the Unlock! series or the Exit series? And if it is the same, are there enough distinguishing features that would make a person pick a game from this series over the others we’ve reviewed? We pondered these questions as we tackled our first game… Deckscape: The Fate of London.

As top notch secret agents, we were recruited to diffuse 4 bombs placed somewhere within London. Failure to disarm the bombs within one hour will surely result in not only our deaths, and the deaths of thousands…but may even result in a demotion (oh no!). It was time to save the world and make it back home in time for a spot of tea. Tallyho!!!

The game components and quality were pretty much as we expected… a simple deck of cards. The artwork is fairly nice, and the size is suitable for allowing several cards to be placed on the table in full view (you’ll need a decent sized table by the way). At the same time, we were hoping for something a bit more than a standard deck of cards (nicely designed as they were). When all was said and done, the components were straight forward and simple.

The immersion component is also similar to most other in-home escape room games… you get out of it, what you put into it. There’s no bells, whistles, or frills here and you’ll need to create your own environment (you could try adding some spy music, or background street noise from London. You may even want to get everyone using their best British accents for some added fun like we did). There were certain aspects of the game that did require us to take on our roles which was nice, but again the game itself was pretty straight forward with more emphasis on the puzzles than on the development of the story or the characters within the story.

This lead us to reflect on the puzzles which were the obvious focus of the game designers. There were a number of different types of puzzles with varying difficulty. Most of the puzzles seemed to be ideally designed for 2-3 players. Fear not if you’re a lone wolf however because the game can also be played on your own (we just think it would be a bit less fun because who would laugh at each other’s Mr.Bean impressions then?) Our advice is avoid playing this game with more than 3 sets of eyes (and grabby hands) because you’ll easily get frustrated when everyone wants to pull the cards away from you for a closer inspection. Having played through most of the ‘’card based escape game’’ titles out there, we can safely say it’s an inherent weakness of the genre and not specific to the Deckscape series however. Whenever something as small as a card is used as the main source of information for a puzzle, you’re bound to get teams of 4 or more people frustrated because they can’t all interact and engage with it at the same time. This doesn’t necessarily make it a ‘bad design’ feature, but it is does limit the target audience. The hint system for The Fate of London was fun because it writes clues into the immersive-story component of the game, even if it’s only a simple card you flip over for a hint. The weakness in this approach is that if one hint isn’t enough, then you’re really stuck and you’ll need to check online forums and cheat sites to get more help (for the most part we didn’t have that issue). Ideally we would’ve liked to have seen a bit more cooperative and teambuilding integrated into the game also. We DID however enjoy the puzzle flow of the game which was quick paced, non-linear at times, and even prompted different skills to be used by our team.

The main question of course is ‘Did the ERA team have fun, and would we recommend the game?’ ….Yes, and yes. Overall our first introduction to the Deckscape series was a positive one, and we’re looking forward to trying out the other games sent to us. There are a few caveats that need to be added for those who are escape room enthusiasts however. If you’re looking for something close to an escape room experience, this game won’t scratch every itch you have for an escape room experience. The Fate of London is a great game for people who are new to escape rooms, people who enjoy the puzzles of escape rooms, and people who want a low-cost entry point into a basic understanding of what an escape room is like. As mentioned before, it’s a good way to spend some time with a group of 2-3 people who enjoy escape room style puzzles with a pasted on story and theme. For the amount of money you spend, it’s a decent investment, and can be replayed by another group when you’ve finished.

We want to hear your thoughts! Be sure to comment in the section below or send us a message via ERA’s email, Facebook, or Twitter… As always, happy escaping!

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