PuzzBox – SCRAP (Review)

SCRAP’s PuzzBox is its first puzzle-in-a-box product available in North America. It’s a satisfying, polished, and cute way to solve Real Escape Game puzzles at home.

SCRAP released a first print edition on August 25th (limited release of 100 PuzzBoxes) for San Francisco-based puzzlers, which sold out within 30 minutes. We were able to buy one and are reviewing it here!

This review is as usual spoiler-free!

SCRAP's first take-home puzzle adventure in North America comes in a cardboard cube.EscapeRoomTips.com

SCRAP’s first take-home puzzle adventure in North America comes in a cardboard cube.

Quick Facts:

  • Price: $45
  • Cardboard box size: 7″ x 7″ x 7″ (17.78 cm x 17.78 cm x 17.78 cm)
  • Red metal box size: 3⅞″ x 3½″ x 5″ (9.84 cm x 8.89 cm x 12.7 cm)
  • Official recommended team size: 2-4 people (we did it with 2 and it was great)
  • Approximate duration: 60 minutes (but you can take as long as you want)
  • Order link: First edition sold out. Currently not available for sale. We will update this page when it’s available for sale.

Materials

All of the included materials in the Puzzbox.EscapeRoomTips.com

All of the included materials in the Puzzbox.

Expect the following in your PuzzBox:

  • (1) (Top) Cardboard cube box that holds everything
  • (1) (Center Left) Red rectangular box with a 4-digit combination lock, containing puzzles and a writing utensil you’ll need for a puzzle.
  • (1) (Center Right) Second copies of all of the paper materials so that you can give the PuzzBox to a friend to replay.
  • (1) (Bottom Left) Introduction sheet, with a narrative introduction. The back of the introduction sheet has a list of materials, links to hints and solution, ideas for hiding various parts of the box to invoke a search element, and some credits.
  • (3) (Bottom RIght) Envelopes, containing either puzzles or the final congratulations sheet, along with a small trinket for winning.

The quality of the paper is good, the red box is reusable, and the materials are all pre-assembled so that its ready to play out-of-the-box.

Story and Theme

An unboxing of the Puzzbox. You are immediately greeted with the story / welcome sheet!EscapeRoomTips.com

An unboxing of the Puzzbox. You are immediately greeted with the story / welcome sheet!

The story is extremely light in SCRAP’s PuzzBox. You play as a puzzle-loving adventurer who stumbles into the Puzzle Kingdom and receives a challenge from the “PuzzKing” to solve a series of puzzles.

The story is set up so that the puzzles don’t really need any sort of theme. You’ll encounter a few encouraging messages from the narrator as you progress, and receive a cute congratulations note and a little prize when you finish.

Puzzles

The locked red box that contains puzzles. The only way to get the code is to solve the preceding puzzles!EscapeRoomTips.com

The locked red box that contains puzzles. The only way to get the code is to solve the preceding puzzles!

Expect your standard polished SCRAP puzzles that are more of the “brain-teaser” variety. They rely on neat “tricks” in order to solve them, which can either be really cool or somewhat gimmicky depending on your take on SCRAP puzzles.

You’ll be getting multiple sets of mini-puzzles that each come with their own “metapuzzle”. You’ll get access to each of these sets of mini-puzzles sequentially, and once you’re done with those you’ll be able to work on the final set of puzzles.

All of the puzzles are on rectangular sheets of papers, but expect your usual tricks where SCRAP uses these rectangular sheets of papers in their usual creative ways.

The expected solve time of the puzzles is 60 minutes. We did it as a team of 2 in exactly 61 minutes, and spent approximately half of that time on the final sequence after solving all of the metapuzzles. None of the puzzles are really the “devilishly difficult” puzzles that creates SCRAP’s extremely low escape rates, which can be either a relief or a disappointment depending on what kind of puzzle experience you’re hoping for.

A unique feature of take-home SCRAP puzzles is that you can take as long as you want, and even look up hints if you get too stuck. SCRAP provides hints and solutions for their PuzzBox via a link that’s found on the back of the introduction sheet.

Replay Value

Very thoughtfully, SCRAP included a duplicate copy of all of the paper materials.EscapeRoomTips.com

Very thoughtfully, SCRAP included a duplicate copy of all of the paper materials.

SCRAP’s PuzzBox has no replay value. By the end you’ll have seen all of the puzzles and tricks so it makes basically no sense to play it again.

Don’t bother keeping the puzzles pristine by not writing on them. If you try to keep the puzzles pristine, you’ll make the PuzzBox a lot harder for yourself, since there’s a part where you’re supposed to manipulate the puzzles in a way that renders them non-reusable. Please write, fold, and cut freely.

Thoughtfully though, they have included a second copy of all of the puzzle materials. After you’re done you can carefully put together the set again and give it to another friend to solve!

Overall Recommendation

The red box that comes with the game is branded with SCRAP's logo!EscapeRoomTips.com

The red box that comes with the game is branded with SCRAP’s logo!

This is the only and best way you can really buy an at-home experience in SCRAP’s unique style. The price makes this more appropriate for a gift, date, or small party, instead of just a casual puzzle experience at home. If you just want a casual puzzle experience at home, there are plenty of free alternatives (e.g. see Puzzled Pint archives).

We still liked the polish, attention to detail, and creative uses of paper that is SCRAP’s signature Japanese style. This delivers a true SCRAP experience at home (just the puzzle part, not the cinematic part) that should delight any SCRAP fan.

We’d recommend this as a gift to any SCRAP fan, or a souvenir if you really enjoyed doing a SCRAP event or room and want something to take home. This is in particular great for couples since one of the few opportunities for an intimate SCRAP experience. SCRAP also recommends this for parties, but it would have to be a fairly small party (this game is good for 2-4).

Keep in mind though that you can only play this once, which limits the long-term value of this gift, but you can always it to a friend to play afterwards or keep around the box and trinket.

Buy a PuzzBox

The PuzzBox is not currently available for sale unfortunately, but when it is it would be available at http://realescapegame.com/shop/.

You can follow SCRAP / Real Escape Game on Facebook, Twitter, or their mailing list if you want to be notified as soon as a release date is announced.

In the meantime, check out our reviews of other escape room at home experiences / escape room board games at:

 

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