Base price: $28.
1 – 4 players.
Play time: 2 – 3 hours.
BGG | Board Game Atlas (make sure to add link before posting)
Buy on Amazon (via What’s Eric Playing?)
Logged plays: 1! Still kind of the functional limit.
Full disclosure: A review copy of EXIT: Nightfall Manor was provided by KOSMOS.
It’s the spookiest of seasons, and we’re back with a whole haunted host of spooky games! I keep meaning to get to Shaky Manor, and maybe this is the year for that? It’s hard to say, but I will do my best to find out if it is. In the meantime, another EXIT game has shown up at the house, so I’m excited to tell you more about that! I’ve got some particularly exciting EXIT games as we head towards the end of the year, so look forward to those. This one deals with the spooky and terrifying (well, not explicitly terrifying) Nightfall Manor! Let’s find out more about it.
In EXIT: Nightfall Manor, something has happened to your friend! Gaston used to tell you all the time about the various horrors and hauntings going on around town, but he’s suddenly disappeared. He said something about cracking the secrets of Nightfall Manor? Well, the only logical thing to do is to go looking for him. That said, things around the castle aren’t always as they appear. You’ll need to keep your wits about you and solve various riddles if you want to decrypt Gaston’s clues and make your way in after your friend. Do you have what you need to make your way into Nightfall Manor, and more importantly, do you have what you need to survive?
Player Count Differences
We played with three players, this time! We usually play with two people, but we managed to wrangle my second housemate in for a game, which is always a treat. Lots of mysteries to solve. We found that having more players is kind of optimal for the EXIT puzzles, particularly because you’re on a timer and trying to fully assemble jigsaw puzzles without having a reference image can be pretty tricky. More players means a faster assembly apparatus for the puzzles (usually), which helped us get to actually solving riddles. This may not apply to everyone, but, in theory, it’s a good idea. Is there a logical maximum to players? Probably. I think we would have found four players less helpful; there are, after all, only 88 pieces per puzzle. As for solving the puzzles, having a player to read, a player to solve, and a player to work the dial was pretty helpful; from there, we just changed it up every now and then. I think two or three players is about my sweet spot for the puzzle games. I just don’t trust myself enough at one, I suppose.
- With this one, you should probably think a bit about what you’ll need as you head into the castle. As far as the plot of the game goes, you’re going on a rescue mission! Who knows what you’ll find? And how will it be useful? Think carefully, and get creative! What you think might be useful might not end up being what you need. But maybe it won’t matter!
- The physical jigsaw puzzle usually contains a few distinct riddles; it’s worth thinking about what you need to solve any particular one. You might not actually need something that’s jumping out at you because it’s relevant to a different riddle than the one you’re trying to solve! That said, if you’ve noticed something in particular, make a note of it! It might come in handy at a later point.
- EXIT games can be a bit tricky; the Brands try to waste nothing. Just don’t take anything for granted, I suppose. You never know what will help you solve something!
- In general, I recommend against disassembling the puzzles until the game has ended. In particular, since the jigsaw puzzles are relevant to the game, you may want to hold off on breaking them apart until you’ve finished everything. I just kind of give this advice for every Puzzle EXIT, now, since it messed with us one time.
- If you’re stuck, use a hint! That’s what they’re for! The lower-level hints just tell you what components you have to have, the middle one gives you a bit of a nudge, and the third hint is just the solution. Take the level of advice you need and get yourself unstuck so you can keep moving! I find a lot of the EXIT games need some momentum, so you don’t want to get stumped by a puzzle and lose that.
Pros, Mehs, and Cons
- A spooky EXIT game, just in time for Halloween! What a blessing. I really do like the spooky-themed EXIT games. It was exactly what we needed for early October, and it sets a nice backdrop for this Halloween series of games. I still think the spookiest was The Catacombs of Horror, but this is more “classic horror” than a modern horror kind of vibe.
- I appreciate that it wasn’t scary, though. It was just kind of dumb, which was really fun. Like I said, more classic horror. In this case, it wasn’t a particularly scary game at all; it just dealt with some themes and creatures you’d expect from a classic horror-type movie. It was, all things being equal, a bit silly.
- I was pleasantly surprised by one of the perspective puzzles! Usually I hate those. This one had a perspective-type puzzle that I actually liked quite a bit! I usually find that the perspective puzzles don’t work for me or that I can’t quite get them to be comfortable for me, so usually my housemate does them. This time, however, the one we had was perfectly workable and fun! I was very happy to see that.
- One of the challenges is extremely fun in a way that was genuinely unexpected. It’s towards the end of the game, but I thought one of the concepts for one of the puzzles was extremely entertaining. My housemate didn’t think so, as much, but hey; different strokes.
- I just really like doing puzzles, so these are super up my alley. I just generally like the EXIT series! The puzzles have a nice progression to them, and there’s always a good variety of them as we move through the game. The jigsaw puzzles are a fun twist, though. They’re fun to assemble, and 88 pieces isn’t too much of a burden to try and get through. There’s a hustle to it all, since you’re on a timer, as well.
- As with the previous EXIT Puzzles, I like that you can use the puzzles as a stopping point if you want to take a break. You can kind of just stop or pause or take a break after assembling a puzzle, as long as you keep the puzzles assembled and in working order. It’s nice to have a very clear break point, especially since these EXIT games trend towards the longer side of things.
- It’s a pretty good experience, in terms of cognitive weight! I thought this was a great entry point to the EXIT puzzles. It’s definitely on the easier side of the EXIT series, as far as I can tell, but I’m kind of into that. Sometimes I want a break and just some time to spend puzzling and solving riddles, and this lighter puzzle EXIT was a nice entry point to it all. If you’re interested in jigsaw puzzling and want to add a bit more challenge and riddle-solving to it all, this might be a good one to check out.
- Yeah, I still don’t love how the hint guide is laid out, since it tends to let you see two puzzles’ solutions at once. It almost seems better to use the type of hint guide that they use for the Advent Calendars, where you fold the page backwards (and then can tear it out once you’re done with that puzzle). I understand that this works better for the iterative order of the rulebook, but that would prevent players seeing more than they should nicely.
- One thing that I am starting to notice is that the puzzles are a bit difficult to use in certain lighting situations, as they tend to have a lot of glare. It might just be a combination of our overhead light and our table. I’ve been meaning to get a better Board Gaming Table of some kind for a few years, so we’ll see if that actually happens after I move.
Overall: 8.5 / 10
Overall, I think EXIT: Nightfall Manor is another great time! I particularly enjoyed the silliness of it all. To some degree, it’s played pretty straight, but, there are definitely some silly choices that you can make and find to lean into it. I think it’s probably a bit classic horror, to some degree? I would not call this game scary, to any degree, though. Instead, it’s a fun romp through four different jigsaw puzzles, with additional puzzles and riddles to go with them. I love the jigsaw puzzles, even if they were a bit hard to see in this particular game. I’m not sure if that was just a consequence of the paint or the manufacturing or our weird light fixture, but on the third puzzle in particular we were just struggling to make heads or tails of some of the pieces. It was an odd thing that hadn’t really happened before. But, during this spooky season, trying out spooky games is always a joy, and I think Nightfall Manor checks off a lot of appropriately spooky boxes without being scary or overwhelming. In fact, I think the general weight of the game is low enough that this is a particularly good entry point to the EXIT jigsaw puzzle games, if you’re looking for a way to get into those. Though if you’re reading this now, it might be a bit late for this Halloween (unless you’re one of those folks who continues to observe it through November; if so, respect). If you’re into jigsaw puzzles or standard puzzles, you’re looking for a fun and silly romp through an appropriately gothic castle, or you’re just a huge EXIT fan like me, I’d recommend trying out EXIT: Nightfall Manor! I had a lot of fun with it.
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