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Exit: The Game – The Secret Lab» Forums » General

Subject: Abandoned Cabin vs. Secret Lab rss

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Dr. Saari
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I have only played these two scenarios so far. I found the Abandoned Cabin to be excellent -- It took my brother, daughter, and myself over an hour to complete it, but we were able to do so without using any clue cards. To me, that made it great. It was challenging, taking that much time to solve, but we found all of the puzzles reasonable to figure out if you didn't give up right away. I also liked that we had the ability to work on several puzzles at a time through much of it. If you got stuck on one puzzle, you could work on another.

Today I played The Secret Lab with my wife and we found it much less satisfying. First, all of the puzzles were linear, so if you got stuck you either had to lose a lot of time or bite the bullet and take a clue card.
I didn't find the puzzles to be as clever and thought some of the difficulty was for the wrong reasons. I'm not sure I would have made multiple connections without clue cards. Nor did I find it as intuitive to figure out which puzzles went with which pages in the book.

Ultimately one's enjoyment will often connect to how much he/she could solve without getting stuck/needing clues I suppose. My question for people who have played multiple scenarios is whether you find more of the remaining games to be like Abandoned Cabin or Secret Lab, or if I'm alone in how to distinguish between these games.
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Charlie Mote
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Thanks for the comparison, thematically I would have thought I would have liked the lab instead of the cabin, but it sounds like the cabin is the way to go.
 
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Steph Pearce
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After playing Abandoned Cabin and Secret Lab our comments were identical to oaklandsberg's.

We also played Pharaoh's Tomb and really liked that one.

All EXIT games (or escape rooms) will be different. You'll like some better than others. Even though Secret Lab wasn't a favorite, I think the series overall is well designed.
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Dr. Saari
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Good to hear we weren't alone on this. I heard the Pharoah one was the hardest of the original three, so your comments give me hope. I don't mind difficult as long as it is for the right reasons.
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Dr. Saari
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I just posted this on the Abandoned Cabin page. I think it really gets at what I'm trying to figure out:


I'm curious how others are scoring on the different modules to find if my experience is representative of the norm or not, and to determine with whom I should play the remaining games in the series.

My brother, daughter, and I scored 9/10 stars on the Abandoned Cabin over Thanksgiving. We took a good amount of time instead of giving in to temptation on the hint cards and we were eventually able to solve everything. It was a ton of fun, very satisfying. To this date it is my favorite escape room "in a box" experience, having played a good number of the options on the market.

Last weekend, my wife, daughter, and I scored 5/10 stars on the Secret Lab. We got off to a very slow start after the first puzzle, and after eating up way too much time on the second puzzle (We tried to avoid this since we didn't need any on the Cabin), our score suffered tremendously as a result. We ended up using 5 hints in total I believe. We did much better with the puzzles in the second half of the game than the first. We had trouble seeing which pages of the book to use for certain puzzles. Obviously we didn't have as much fun because we, like most people I'm sure, find these more satisfying when we can solve them without the benefit of help.

I'm wondering if other players who track their "scores" saw similar drop offs between these two modules, as most people seem to believe they are the easiest within the series of six. Given the drop-off, I'm nervous in terms of how much I'm going to enjoy the others.

To that same end, how are you scoring on the other four (which I have not played yet) in comparison to how you scored on Cabin and Lab?

I think I have concluded that I'll play the others with larger groups -- at least three adults total -- in hopes of avoiding the frustration we hit at one point with the Secret Lab. I really loved the Abandoned Cabin. I'm now nervous that it set me up to be disappointed with the rest of the games though. Would love to hear from others on this to see if how your experiences are comparing. Thanks!
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Trevor Gunter
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The problem with judging puzzles like these are that everyone is going to have different experiences with them. What stumps one person will be solved pretty much instantly by someone else. It's not even necessarily about whether you're good at puzzles or not. Everyone gets stumped sometimes, and if everyone you're playing with has problems with the same puzzle, it'll be a game blocker.

Case in point, my group just barely missed getting a perfect score on The Secret Lab, and we probably would have gotten it had we not had a miscommunication regarding one of the codes and wasted several minutes on a puzzle we'd already figured out. Meanwhile, we'd previously done The Polar Station and had a slightly more difficult time of it (~80 minutes, 2 clues), despite Kosmos claiming it is the easier of the two.

Overall I thought The Secret Lab was enjoyable and fairly well-designed, but there is one part that I feel is an objectively bad design decision: the very first puzzle requires a significant amount of busywork to solve, and that can only be done by one person. This wouldn't be a problem had it arrived later in the sequence, but because it's the very first thing out of the gate there's a bit of wasted time at the beginning where all the other player(s) can do is flip through the booklet and become more familiar with its contents.
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