Escape from the Asylum: the cooperative board game where you are the heroes

This week, we discovered the board game Escape from the Asylum. Escape if you can!

You understand, by gently opening your eyes, that you are locked in a cold, dark cell of a psychiatric clinic. Who put you there? And why is that? It doesn’t matter, the important thing is to get out of there, quickly. Play in turn each of the five characters with linked destinies, through ten episodes, divided into two seasons, like a TV series.

Escape from the Asylum is a cooperative escape game, in the same vein as Unlock or Exit. In the first scenario, you’re in the shoes of a man who doesn’t know why he’s in this hospital. Map No. 0001 explains the context and, like the books in which you are the hero, refers you to another numbered map to continue your adventure.

The story continues like this, card by card, until you come across one of them which, instead of providing the number of the next one, asks you to take one of the envelopes in the box.

Source: Lifestyle Boardgames

These are the heart of the game. Each one represents a piece of the hospital. They contain different materials, forming a puzzle, the answer to which, if correct, corresponds to the number of the next map to continue the scenario. Sometimes, you will have to pass a riddle to open the door of the room in question, and therefore have the right to open the envelope.

Une des enveloppes-portes et son contenu mystère // Source : Lifestyle Boardgames

One of the door envelopes and its mystery content // Source : Lifestyle Boardgames

We will not reveal the content of the puzzles, but they are of different types: manipulation, logic, general knowledge, mathematics, etc..

One thing leading to another, the patient embodied by the group of players wanders through the wards and corridors of the psychiatric institute. Sometimes even choices will have to be made that may have consequences for what happens next. Until we hit the last map of the scenario, after about an hour of play. The character’s story is paused, and then we move on to another scenario, centered on another person, by reading card no. 0002.

The game consists of two boxes, each containing five scenarios. The first allows five different characters to play in turn, and the second continues and ends their respective stories. It’s like a TV show, really.

Why is it good

Like Unlock or Exit, Escape from the Asylum is a cooperative escape game. But unlike the first, it does not require an application to play, and unlike the second, no hardware needs to be destroyed. Just put everything away properly and you can lend the game to another group of players.

The other strong point of Escape from the Asylum lies in its scriptwriting and narrative aspect. These two elements are often missing in other games of the genre, which are usually set on a postage stamp. On this particular aspect, we tend more towards an investigative game, such as Detective or Chronicles of Crime. Without reaching the depths of it, since we remain all the same in a series of enigmas.

Source : Lifestyle Boardgames

Source: Lifestyle Boardgames

As far as these are concerned, you’ll get your money’s worth. In the content to begin with, the game offers no less than ten scenarios, each requiring about an hour to complete. Which will not be easy, since the puzzles are complex. Really very complex. Escape from the Asylum is the most complicated escape game we’ve ever played. Luckily, you will never be stuck: three small booklets are provided, proposing respectively a first and a second clue, then the solution of each puzzle if needed. Depending on players’ abilities, some puzzles will be more or less problematic than others.

Source : Lifestyle Boardgames

Source: Lifestyle Boardgames

The only thing that is missing is a few big grammatical or spelling mistakes, but above all a few rare errors in the puzzles. Fortunately, the editor was responsive and put a document online to correct the bugs.

An escape game for experienced players

Even if you buy an escape game to mess with your neurons, the damage caused by the five characters and their respective stories makes this game more addictive than others. Although, let’s face it, the story is a little hatched from having to change the map regularly.

In short, Escape from the Asylum is an escape game for experienced players, given the difficulty of its puzzles. You will still be able to play it in a lighter way, by not hesitating to consult the clues, or even the solution if you really get stuck. But then you will lose some of the interest in the game. Beyond these puzzles, the game proposes to follow the characters, like a TV series. Without reaching the scenaristic quality of an investigative game, the effort is notable, and allows the different puzzles to unfold through a common thread, adding a little extra interest to the games.

  • Escape from the Asylum is a game by Alexander Peshkov, Ekaterina Pluzhnikova and Martin Nedergaard Andersen.
  • Illustrated by Anastasia Durova, Anastasia Stupak, Dmitry Krasnov, Maxim Suleimanov, Nadezhda Mikhailova, Pavel Korobkov, Victoria Kochkina, and Victoria Volina-Lukian.
  • Published by Lifestyle Boardgames
  • For 1 to 6 players from 12 years old
  • For games of about 60 minutes
  • At the price of 35.90 € at Philibert

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