Outside the room
After playing the MacGuffin Project‘s first room, we took a short break to celebrate our teammates’ 500th game. It’s clear that MacGuffin have got one eye on the corporate market, because there’s a great little meeting space downstairs kitted out perfectly for post-game drinks. There’s enough room to comfortably fit a couple of teams in and probably sufficient to squeeze in the four teams that will eventually be able to play simultaneously.
That also gave us a chance to chat to the owners – it was great to hear about their plans but also to see the enthusiasm they have for the industry and the attention to detail they’re showing to improving their games. I have no doubt that these will continue to evolve as the designers become more experienced with how the players react to them.
You find yourself in the dark and beautiful lair of Rosa, The Fortune Teller, but all is not well. 150 years ago The MacGuffin Machine saw Rosa as a great threat and banished her to purgatory where she has remained ever since. The only thing that has the power to stop The MacGuffin Machine and allow Rosa to finally pass to the other side, is her crystal ball and it’s in your hands.
Inside the room
Given our experience in the MacGuffin, it was no surprise to find that this was another beautifully created room. Where the previous game had conveyed an open, outdoors vibe, this one went for a more intimate feel as befits the fortune teller’s tent. Flowing fabric, relatively low lighting (although not in a way that hurt the gameplay), plenty of trinkets and, of course, occult symbols helped to carry the theme. You really could imagine that the fortune teller would walk in at any moment.
She doesn’t, of course, although I was surprised to find that, when we asked for a clue, the GM entered the room. Although in many games that would totally break the immersion, with an in-character intrusion it worked okay. It still grated on me slightly, though, and I really felt that they’d missed a trick in an occult room by not having the clues delivered in a suitably creepy manner (note, having checked with the owner, that this is actually an option and it’s down to the individual GM whether you get clues this way or not).
If you’re looking for puzzles, then I think you’ll find this game lacking. Instead, the primary difficulty is the searching, with a significant number of items to find hidden across the whole experience – some in plain sight and some a little more trickily hidden. To my mind, they’re a little too well hidden, with players having to really play around with the decoration and fittings of the room in a way that I think teaches bad habits. Less careful players will likely do better in this game, which always makes me a little sad – players who treat the set with respect shouldn’t be penalised for that care.
That’s not to say there aren’t any puzzles – there are some along the way – but this is more a theatrical than a pure puzzle-solving experience, and there was never much doubt about how to solve them.
In spite of that theatrical background, there’s not a huge amount of story in the room beyond the initial description. Indeed, while there was a clear set of steps we had to take in order to escape, which gave us a good sense of progress in the room, it wasn’t always obvious why we were doing what we were doing. When you do finally reach the end of the game, there’s a fitting finale that lets you see Rosa set free.
We escaped in 34 minutes having taken a single clue on a search fail. Clues can be given either over the sound system in the ethereal Fortune Teller’s voice or via your GM entering the game in character.
This was another beautiful game which was a joy to spend time in. If you love searching, then this is a great game to play but, if you are looking for something more to challenge you in the room, you’ll probably leave a little disappointed.
We took along four people and that worked well. It’s not as expansive a space as the MacGuffin, so I’d stick to around that number and just make sure you choose a team with an eye for detail to help with the searching.
Detailed Room Ratings
Full disclosure: We weren’t charged for these tickets. That doesn’t influence the review – you can read more on the About page. They also went above and beyond the call of duty and helped us arrange a more than special celebration for two of our teammates.