DECKSCAPE: The FATE of LONDON
DECKSCAPE: The FATE of LONDON is the second game in what looks like becoming an ongoing series of puzzle games from Italian giants dvGiochi, the publishers of the world famous BANG!
Like the first Deckscape game, Test Time, Fate of London is written by Martina Chiacchiera & Silvana Sorrentino, and is for One to Six players and costs around £13.50.
The DECKSCAPE games are somewhat similar to the TIME STORIES games in as much as it is only playable to completion once; after you have solved the puzzles and saved London there is no point in playing it again. Instead of being in a large box with a board and pieces, the Deckscape games arrive in regular 60-card pocket boxes, with each single card being nearly two times the size of a regular playing card.
The Deckscape games are based on the real-life ESCAPE ROOM idea where a number of people are locked into a room and have to locate the clues required to find their way out. When you open the box for the first time you are confronted by the "Caution" card and from then on you follow the instructions on each card in order, at least for the first few cards because the single deck is very soon turned into four, separate decks with different coloured borders, each face up in a row in front of the player or players. Make sure that you don't see or especially do not read, anything on the cards underneath the four top cards.
Reviewing a puzzle game is puzzling in itself for I have to make sure I don't give too much away. I am not writing a walkthrough but trying to give an impression of how the game plays. I will say that playing solo is very difficult unless you really have a super analytical brain. The problems are easiest to solve when several players are tossing ideas and suggestions into the ring and you can bounce ideas off each other. I will give a shallow hint, in a 2-player game either sit directly opposite your fellow player or make sure that you look at the puzzle presented from all angles.
Somewhere in London there are four bombs set to go off unless you can discover the way to prevent them exploding and killing thousands and damaging millions of pounds worth of buildings. You have been selected for this Top Secret mission by an "M" like character who believes you are the best person/people for the job. I have played solo at least half-a-dozen times and so far London has been blown up each time, however I am getting closer, it's just a case of remembering not to make the same mistake twice (or three times). Every time you make a mistake you cross an X onto your score sheet, three Xs and you fail.Like TIME STORIES if you fail you begin again at the start but of course you should be able to work your way through to where you failed (your third strike) and then begin from there with a fresh clean slate (unless you make an error on your way.
The top cards on each of the four decks show a puzzle. To solve the puzzle on one top card you may have to solve a few puzzles in another deck or decks to obtain the item required - it may be a key or a combination or something entirely different. When you find a clue you are allowed to hold it to one side for use at a later date, perhaps being useful more than once, like a set of keys for example. In the game you have until midnight to find the devices, in actual real time you have 60 minutes. Have a clock or timer to hand and make sure you play to it, no cheating. (If you do cheat it is only yourself you are cheating).
The great thing about the Deckscape games is that anyone aged ten or upwards can play them (it says 12-99 on the box but I have played it with a 10 year old with no problem (except that we lost); I wonder why the designers are set aginst anyone over 99 playing it?) The puzzles are all types, Logic, Maths, Visual etc. some are immediately easy to solve, others take some thought or/and discussion. Each time you get a puzzle wrong you mark an X on your score pad (we use a scrap of paper rather than use the one provided score card) and when you reach three Xs you have failed and you must stop playing immediately; you also have to stop when the timer reaches 60 minutes
We did solve the first Deckscape, TEST TIME, but this one is proving a mite harder, which is good because it means there is more playability than you would maybe think. I can thoroughly recommend that these games are well worth the £13.50 cost. Great games.