Buzzworthiness: The Independence Incident

Thanks to Grand Gamers Guild for providing a review copy of today’s game.

Last Christmas season, Grand Gamers Guild released The Kringle Caper, an 18-card escape room style adventure. It was successful, and GGG has now expanded the series into what they’re calling their Holiday Hijinks line. The next game in the series is called

image by BGG user mrfixsimmons

The Independence Incident is game #2 in the Holiday Hijinks line, designed by Jonathan Chaffer (who also designed Kringle). The game is listed as being for 1-4 players, but I imagine you can probably play with as many as you want. As mentioned, it’s an escape room style mystery in 18 cards based around Independence Day, which in this case means you’re focusing on American historical stuff.

The Holiday Hijinks games are run by a web-based app, where you’ll enter answers and get some of the backstory. The app also has a bunch of extra information in case you don’t have something memorized. It will instruct you to draw cards (these are numbered on the back), and you can enter your answers there to find out if you’re right or wrong. You can also get hints if you can’t figure things out.

I don’t want to get too much further into gameplay for fear of spoiling things. So, let’s move on to my thoughts.

The game comes in a nice little fold out box, as you can see above, with the rules printed on the inside. Each card is labeled with its number on the back, and you’ll be working through these sequentially – this isn’t one of those games where you’ll be hunting for another card that’s hopefully your next location. Sometimes multiple cards will be used for a puzzle, which is a cool feature – packing the most punch you can into that 18-card deck.

Thematically, the game is very much centered around the US holiday of Independence Day, as well as some US History. People from other countries may know the events, but the really nice thing is that most everything you need for the game can be found somewhere in the app. Don’t have the preamble of the Constitution memorized? It’s there, so you don’t have to Google it. Or relearn the Schoolhouse Rock song.

This is an escape room game. I personally have never played an escape room game outside of the games in this series, so I can’t really speak too much to that. But there are puzzles, and you really have to use your brain in different ways. I played with my wife and almost-six-year-old, and I did most of the logical thinking. It was nice to have hints, which cover a lot of ground in their topics, but we never had to give up and let the app tell us the answer. Even got 4/5 stars, which I’m happy with. It’s a tough one – it’s listed as 3/3 difficulty. It’s definitely harder than the Kringle Caper.

The biggest ding I have against the game is not really a ding at all. And that’s an issue of replayability – once you’ve played this once, you’ll never be able to play it again. Well, you can, but it’ll be very easy. But that’s what you get from an escape room game also, isn’t it? And this is only $10, so you’re not out a lot. It’s a good thing to give out as gifts (stocking stuffers, or whatever the Independence Day equivalents are – firework fillers?).

IS IT BUZZWORTHY? I enjoyed the puzzles here quite a bit. It was a nice mental challenge, and a very good small package experience. If you’re interested, you can get both Hijinks game at the Grand Gamers Guild Website.

Thats it for today. Thanks again to Grand Gamers Guild for providing a review copy of The Independence Incident, and thanks to you for reading!

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