EXIT The Game: The Pharaoh’s Tomb

Inka and Marcus Brand

Publisher: Kosmos

Why does the poor mummy always get the blame for trapping explorers? (photo credits: Eric Martin@BGG)

SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU WANT TO PLAY THE GAME.

There are plenty of reviews of this game out there that are spoiler free. This is not it. I am going to directly discuss about the game and the puzzles. You have been warned!!

The Pharaoh’s Tomb is our 4th EXIT game and likely one of the most highly rated and anticipated. Based on the comments out there, I think this is probably the best received. I waited until we had a complement of 4 players before cracking this one open. The game is rated 4/5 pips for difficulty and probably recommended for those who are more familiar with this type of game. This time around, we decided to skip the app and just not time ourselves. We wanted to just play the game in a leisurely pace. Indeed, we finished the evening with time to spare. At least enough time to play Bridges of Shangri-La. I think the game took about 90 minutes.

The hook of the game was quite simple: You are trapped in a mummy’s tomb and must solve the puzzle to escape. Easy peasy. There wasn’t any particularly cheesy intro. Just that you are trapped in an Escape Room. So, off we go. By now, after 3 EXIT games, we kinda knew what to expect for the puzzles and also how any component of the game box could come into play.

Puzzle highlights:

  • The L shape puzzle was pretty standard with holding the card up to reflect against the mirror to complete the code 308. The clue in the book was pretty clear about reflecting the numbers off the mirror. No surprise there
  • The diamond clue was probably the hardest to solve and not intuitive. The idea that the diamond symbol was found on an ice cream cone supposedly makes you think of the word “ICE” so that you can find the corresponding thread for Cleopatra’s riddle is not intuitive. We had to use a 2nd clue to solve this puzzle. Not sure I liked this one.
  • The Moon puzzle was neat. We slowly pieced together that we needed to draw lines to connect the numbers together in a grid puzzle so that we could come up with the corresponding symbols that linked the for “2” puzzle. Pretty cool that we systematically solved it.
  • Nothing special about the star symbol where we just added all the objects together. The breakthrough was that we needed to hunt for the objects using the entire booklet. Then, it’s just simple arithmetic.
  • The “Y” puzzle was cute. We quickly spotted the weird errors on the hieroglyphs. A pistol, jacket that shouldn’t be there. We also quickly figured out that the clues wanted us to poke holes across the page and look at the numbers in the next page. Clever but not too hard.
  • The hexagon puzzle was just laborious. We had to blot out all the symbols that wasn’t required and then decipher the pattern left behind: 3 numbers for the decoder wheel.
  • The “+” puzzle was also cute. You need to remember to follow the instructions for the logic puzzle, but the puzzle must be read from bottom to top. If you do top to bottom, the answers will be wrong. The key is to read all the clues carefully and follow them. Not hard, but also satisfying.
  • The circle puzzle is really the star of the entire puzzle for us. Despite the fact we knew that most puzzles require the game box or uses parts of the game box, we did not expect to use the INSERT! The shape of the insert was required to block out specific sections of the map to isolate the hieroglyphs needed to find the 3 letter code. VERY clever. The clues kept on saying “original blue plan”. We really should have figured this one out, but used the 1st clue to solve this. Lame. A really innovative clue.
  • I guess the triangle puzzle, which was the very last puzzle was suppose to be the highlight. But honestly, the previous puzzle was better. Here, again, the box top came into play. We could clearly see all the faint letters that surround the insides of the box edge. It didn’t take long us to guess that you had to put the two strips of cardboard to link the letters together in order to map the icons to the box. Clever, but wasn’t too much of a stumbling block for us.

Overall, the Pharaoh’s Tomb is an excellent EXIT game in the series. Quite possibly the best one so far, better than the Abandoned Cabin. We liked it quite a bit and thought the puzzles were fair, generally intuitive and somewhat challenging. This time around, the decoder wheel wasn’t really utilized in a clever way. That’s good. I think you can honestly innovate so much from these puzzles before you start running out of ideas. Thus far, after the 4th game, we are having a much easier time with each game, though I must say, the thrill of solving a puzzle is still present.

Pharaoh’s Tomb is a thumbs up for us, and one I would recommend over the other three we have played.

Initial impressions: Great!

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