I’ll be the first to admit that while I am not religious, I do love a good Advent calendar.
24 days of candy? Yes please. 24 days of miniature boozy gifts? Absolutely. 24 days of Harry Potter LEGO toys? The kids say thank you.
We have 3-4 Advent calendars on the mantle every year, so when our partners at KOSMOS offered to send a copy of Exit: The Game—Advent Calendar: The Hunt for the Golden Book, I jumped at the chance. If you are familiar with the Exit games, you know you are getting top-notch puzzles from the brains of Inka & Markus Brand. The Brands are designers of classics such as Rajas of the Ganges and Village, and they have essentially focused on Exit and other family games over the last five years or so.
With the Exit: The Game—Advent Calendar entries (there is one other Advent Calendar game, The Mystery of the Ice Cave), you are getting something that just fits well with a family on the go: 24 bite-sized puzzles that take 15-30 minutes to wrap up.
My Favorite Way to Exit
I can only tell you so much about The Golden Book without giving it all away; while there is technically a plot to the story here, your main focus is on solving each day’s riddle by doing the things that the Exit series does best. You’ll take some notes, you use a decoder to figure out which door to open next, you’ll rip some things here and cut some other things there.
All the while, you’ve got a story book that provides guidance for each day’s mini-adventure, as well as a hint book that provides a slick way to ensure you stay on track, just in case you are worried about opening the wrong door of the calendar.
But it’s the satisfaction that comes with wrapping up each day’s puzzle that just crushes it for me and my family. Each time we figured out the hook for a puzzle, there was this common sense of “oh, that’s so goooooooood!”. Like some Exit games we have reviewed, such as Exit: The Game–The Lord of the Rings: Shadows Over Middle-Earth, this is strong work for a family new to the ways of Exit without being overwhelming.
We took on half of the box while preparing this review (so, 12 of the 24 puzzles), and we always got at least part of the way to a solution without any help. Many of the puzzles are quite creative, but in ways that allowed for my 6-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter to have a hand in finding solutions.
I’ve played a couple of Exit games where I pulled out what little hair I have left and attempted to chuck the game into the trash before my wife lowered the temperature of the room. Not surprisingly, a family game set around Christmas is not that stressful, so The Golden Book can safely be recommended as a future holiday family experience.
Some of these puzzles are instant classics, while the rest can be categorized as immensely satisfying. Like other Exit games, you won’t be able to play this again, but we’ve already had some fun moments recounting the experiences and talking about the moments when someone had that “a-ha” thought that triggered a win. This was my favorite way to experience an Exit game!