Tabletop Review: At Home Escape Room Fun With ‘EXIT: The Enchanted Forest’

Games GeekMom

Escape rooms have been all the rage, but COVID has shut down a lot of places that host such events just as our oldest kid, A, was getting to the right age where this might be an activity he would like to try. Since then I’ve discovered some interesting at home versions of escape rooms like the EXIT game line from Kosmos Games. I recently received a copy of EXIT: The Enchanted Forest from Kosmos Games to review.

What is EXIT: The Enchanted Forest

EXIT: The Enchanted Forest is an Escape Room-in-a-box style game. It’s rated at a 2/5 difficulty level and is intended to be played with 1-4 players ages 10+ and takes about 1-2 hours to complete. It has a MSRP of $14.95.

EXIT: The Enchanted Forest Components

 

Components for ‘EXIT: The Enchanted Forest.’ Photo by Elizabeth MacAndrew.

 

EXIT: The Enchanted Forest contains the following:

  • 1 Instruction Booklet
  • 30 Help Cards
  • 30 Answer Cards
  • 19 Riddle Cards
  • 9 Stranger Cards
  • 1 Book
  • 1 Decoder Disk
  • 10 Strange Items (1 Cindy/Lentils, 1 Ice Crystal, 1 Falling Star, 1 Red Leaf, 6 Furniture Pieces)

Overall, I feel like things hit that nice balance between quality and price range, especially considering this game can only ever be played one time. Some of the components will be altered or destroyed during game play so it’s not like it can be passed off to a friend so they can solve the escape room too.

The cards are a little thinner than playing cards which makes them decent for a one time game and easier to cut up or alter as the game sometimes requires. They are color coded by type and clearly marked on the back for which job they do. Because the card order is important, the deck has warning cards on the top and bottom to ensure you don’t mix them up.

The decoder disk is pretty cool and colorful with lovely art and clear markings for the symbols, colors, and numbers. My kids may steal it to play adventure games with since we’ve completed playing the game, I probably would have done the same at their age.  

Most of the other pieces are either paper or tagboard based depending on their job. The art is lovely, and everything has the durability it needs to have for the game. The little leaf token is actually made of clear red plastic and I imagine my kids will once again steal it for a pretend game prop of some kind. 

I’m pleased with the pieces of the game, the artwork is really nice, and I found thing easy to differentiate and keep track of. 

How to Play EXIT: The Enchanted Forest

Setup

A game all set up and ready to play. Photo by Elizabeth MacAndrew.

Setup for the game is not too hard, but I will emphasize that you should read the little instruction booklet first before cracking too much into the game. Part of the reason is the Game Cards must be set out in a very particular way and you want to avoid seeing spoilers (the deck is actually marked for this). There are also additional materials needed. 

Do the following to prepare for your game:

  1. Read the Instruction Booklet
  2. Gather additional materials (a pencil, a pen, scissors, a ruler, a sheet of paper, and a stopwatch
  3. Get the Book and Decoder Disk out and set them on the table.
  4. Remove the 6 Furniture Pieces and the Falling Star and place them to the side with the other Strange Items and Cards.
  5. Sort the remaining Cards into Stacks. The Riddle Cards and Answer Cards should be in ascending order. 
  6. The Answer Cards should be arranged by symbol with the Solution on the bottom, then the 2nd Clue, and finally the 1st Clue on the Top

You are now ready to play. I didn’t find setup to be too tricky for us, but I did read the booklet first and kept things organized. Eager kids may need to be kept from just tearing into things excitedly so if you need to, set things up and then call in your kids. You probably want at least a coffee table’s worth of space to work with while playing.

Gameplay

Normally I would give a very detailed explanation of the gameplay, but this time I will give an overview of what solving a puzzle is like to avoid giving spoilers for the game itself. The game gave us a pretty decent challenge. There were about two puzzles we got with zero help, 1 where we needed a little help, and the others where we were most of the way there but didn’t quite make the final leap. I feel like once you know the kind of ways you can pull answers it might make it easier to try another one, and I’m kind of eager to see if doing another EXIT game of the same skill level might find us catching onto the puzzles a little quicker.

A Riddle Card and the Help Cards for the First Challenge. Photo by Elizabeth MacAndrew.

The Challenges

The Game is made up of ten little challenges. Each challenge will give you an indication by text or by clues which symbol goes with the puzzle you are working on. Once you know the symbol, you know which stack of Help Cards to refer to.

The challenges can ask you to use one or more Riddle Cards (some may need to be cut up for use), you may also be asked to use a Strange Item to solve things. When you think you have solved the challenge, you should have a three digit number to use with the Decoder Disk. If you get stuck, there’s two Clue Cards and a Solution Card for each challenge.

The Decoder Disk

With the Decoder Disk, line things up under the symbol that matches the Challenge you are on. The first number goes on the top wheel and so on until a final number appears in the little window. Take this number and find the Answer Card that matches. If the Answer Card asks you to pick another Answer Card based on your Challenge’s symbol, you might be correct. Select that second Answer Card and if you correct you will get the next part of the story. If not, you will be directed to try again. Make certain the cards are returned to the deck in order.

The first image is placed on the Map once the Challenge is solved. Photo by Elizabeth MacAndrew.

The Map

When you have Completed a Challenge, you will be directed to draw an image on the Enchanted Forest Map. Once you have all of the images you will be able to solve the final Challenge. 

Game End

The game ends when you have solved the final puzzle. Record your time to see how you did.

Why You Should Play EXIT: The Enchanted Forest

Escape and puzzle rooms can be a lot of fun. This one had a decent challenge level for us as I described before. Some puzzles we needed more help with, but others we caught right onto. I still suspect getting to a play another title in the same series might find us knowing what to expect a bit more the second time around. 

As for the suggested age, our puzzle and logic brained 10 year old was able to participate, but I’m not sure he could have done this on his own or with other kids his same age without a lot of help. As a cooperative family activity though, it was a lot of fun and he loved putting numbers into the Decoder Disk.

It is a one time use game. The components are just right for the job they need to do and not built for durability, and of course, you don’t really get to do a replay. However, for a game that runs at about $15, I feel like it makes a very affordable family activity night in (due to pandemic, living in an area with weather conditions that keeps you inside, or wanting an affordable but new activity to celebrate something like a birthday) or even as an affordable date night in that doesn’t require a babysitter. I would totally recommend this to other families or couples for these situations. Add some take out/curb side for a meal, or grab some fun snacks, and you have a fun evening event with a running time about the length of a typical movie. It’s even at a great price point for gifting to others who may need a fun new activity this holiday season.

You can get your own copy of EXIT: The Enchanted Forest via Amazon here. Don’t forget to check out the other titles in the series either. You can find a wider selection via Amazon here.

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