Exit The Game: Kidnapped in Fortune City

Designer: Inka Brand and Markus Brand

Artist: N/A

Publisher: KOSMOS

I just realized that all the box covers for EXIT games feature a bright streak of light of some sort. Why? Twilight Zone? (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!!

This is our 6th EXIT game and every time I think the game has outworn its welcome, we end up having a blast. I have really enjoyed each and every game in the series, some more than others. I am equally impressed that the Brands continue to churn out good puzzles, even though once you play enough of the EXIT series, they tend to become easier. I mean, that is not surprising. But I cannot deny that after each game, I still feel a sense of satisfaction and joy of reaching the end of the puzzle. It comes close to that “epic” feeling one gets when the Ring is pitched into Mt. Doom after a long game of War of the Ring, or maybe claiming victory in Twilight Imperium. The feeling is close to that of an epic victory, except of course, this can be accomplished within 2 hours.

A few important observations after half a dozen games: thus far, I think there are two types of EXIT games we have played. There are ones where we go about solving puzzles in a generic way to escape a maze, museum, polar station, etc. The escape theme is relatively straightforward and the puzzles are organized not necessarily in a coherent manner. Then, there are the murder mysteries. Our previous game, Murder in the Orient Express, and this one falls into this category, and I love it more so than the generic game. In whodunit murder mysteries, players must solve the mystery by identifying the killer and rule out all other suspects with solid alibis. Then, one must also save the protagonist of the story which is usually the investigator who is captured or kidnapped. I find the puzzles and clues more coherent, intuitive and mesh well with the narrative. Basically, the story and puzzles feel cohesive, which makes advancing the story line very enjoyable. This is different from some of the other EXIT games we have played. Plus, I love the logic puzzle of piecing together the alibis, but I don’t think this will be for everyone. Folks who don’t like logic type games may find this more a chore, but honestly, the game itself is not hard nor tedious. You do need to put in some effort, but the authors of the game scatter clues everywhere throughout the text to help players. I love both Orient Express and Fortune City but find the latter to be slightly easier.

In Fortune City, players must save the Sheriff who is kidnapped and solve a robbery. As before, you must figure out the perpetrator before time runs out. This time though, players are given a map of the town and must figure out who lives where and the distance for commuting between locations using the clue cards accumulated by visiting different buildings. Once you visit all buildings and gather clues from the interviews, you will have enough information to deduce the kidnapper and the location of the Sheriff’s whereabouts.

Among some highlights of the puzzles:

“Circle”: Pretty easy. You just need to be observant about the type of bullet holes on the wall. A veteran of this game should have no problem at all.

“triangle”: Cute. We hunted around for the symbols and as always, the Brands utilize every scrap and bits of material that makes up the box and rules. This time, they used the “certificate” at the back of the rule book.

“hexagon”. My partner was more impressed but frankly, I didn’t see any innovation here. No doubt the weighing scale was nicely constructed, but I felt this wasn’t a puzzle as much as a series of instructions to get to the 3 digit number.

“Moon”: This is the where if you have played enough EXIT games, you will get it immediately. A newbie will be wowed by the puzzle. You basically poke holes in the paper and figure out which cards on the illustrations are marked. The clues given for this puzzle on the text are numerous, perhaps too numerous. The divots on the paper are pretty good giveaways already and shouldn’t be too hard to figure out.

“square”: This one got to us and we had to look at the solution. The bullet loading into the chamber is cute, but honestly, we didn’t expect we had to unfold the bullet from the chamber. It didn’t make much intuitive sense to us.

“diamond”: This one uses the box insert. I love the refolding part where you form a canyon where the river flows. But the clues to reposition the bridge is vague. We struggled briefly but eventually figured it out. We also ended up cutting the thing into several pieces. Meh.

“plus”: This train thing was cool! The 3D model of the train plus having to align it with the station is clever and we managed to solve this in a logical, stepwise manner. Really awesome.

“star”: Final puzzle was also pretty neat. By then, we had already figured out the kidnapper and the location, but couldn’t figure out the grid system until we spotted the colors and matching numbers. After that, it was just a matter of using the decoder wheel to figure out the location of the Sheriff. Nice.

Overall, most of the puzzles were great. This is also the first game where the decoder wheel played no role whatsoever in any puzzle. Sneaky! Plus, they even marked the wheels to make it look like aligning the tracks led you to a functional combination. It was basically a red herring.

Final word: Good

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