Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Wednesday 10 April 2019

The Game Shelf Reviews:- Deckscape: Behind the Curtain

Game: Deckscape: Behind the Curtain

Publisher: dV Giochi

Designer: Martino Chiacchiera, Silvano Sorrentino

Year: 2019

Deckscape has been one of our favourite 'Escape Room' board games. There's a few reasons that we like their model. The games are very portable and replayable. They're not ridiculously difficult and so they don't make you feel stupid. Plus, they are far more suited to a larger group of player than a game like Exit, because the deck reliably splits into 3 branches.

Deckscape: Behind the Curtain is the fourth game we've played from this line, with Heist in Venice being our favourite so far. As is apparent from the name and the cover, in this game you are part of a magic show and you will need to escape.


Deckscape: Behind the Curtain is a cooperative escape room game for 1-6 players, that takes around an hour to play. Gameplay is simple. Almost every card has a puzzle on it. Once you, as a group, have come to agreement on how to solve a puzzle you flip the card over. Should you be incorrect you'll mark a failure down. But success or failure you will immediately move on to the next card, no fuss, no getting stuck. Some particularly egregious mistakes may cost you multiple failures, while outstanding successes may allow you to cross off an old mistake.

Of course things will get more complex with some cards acting as clues to others and a mystery envelope that you can't open until you can. But to say any more would be spoiling some of the fun of playing. The game will teach you how to play using the first few cards and then a easy puzzle to start you off before telling you to start a timer. At the end of the game you will take a time penalty for every mistake you made along the way before being rated on how well you solved the mystery.

Amy’s Final Thoughts

One of the key ways I rate escape room games is how many puzzles make me curse in frustration at how illogical the answer is. In Behind the Curtain there was only one which even approached that level, and to be honest I was more frustrated with us than the game. So straight off the bat that's a pretty good rating. A second way to look at it is how the game gets into it's theme, and here I have to take my hat off to Behind the Curtain. Though if I did present the game with a hat it'd immediately pull a bouquet of white roses out of it before turning them into doves to rapturous applause. Behind the Curtain fully immerses itself into the magic theme, and while there was only one occasion where you were simply working out a magic trick, almost all of the puzzles involved magical apparatus at least in theme.

That brings us to the envelope, such mysteries it could have contained. Well I'm obviously not going to spoil what it did contain, but damn did it contain something/s and that/those something/s was/were used to great effect! I loved the addition of this little surprise that got teased at the very start simply by the inclusion of a mystery package in the box. The way that the envelope was used kept to Deckscape principles of being easy to play escape room experiences and indeed enhanced the game in many ways.

Overall I was really impressed with Behind the Curtain, it probably wasn't as tricky as some of the earlier Deckscape games, but it made up with that with raw charm and a commitment to the magical theme. Though the theme itself is a little low-key compared to some of the previous games in the series. As always I'm happy to see the Deckscape series innovating with every game and I'm always excited to see what the next release will bring!

Fi’s Final Thoughts

The experience of playing Deckscape: Behind the Curtain flew by. We completed the game in just under 1 hour, which is quite fast for us and indicates that it might be one of the easier games in the series. I was totally engrossed in the game and very rarely frustrated. We didn't really encounter too many problems, although once the deck split into three, it wasn't always obvious whether you had found everything you needed to complete a puzzle and on one occasion we were frustrated to find that the game assumed we could make a not very logical leap.

Deckscape: Behind the Curtain is the first game in the series that has brought in a new component, besides the typical deck of cards. The new components are used very cleverly in the game, across multiple puzzles, which opens up the puzzle space of the game and makes you wonder about different possible ways to solve some of the puzzles. These new elements made the game a more tactile experience and I hope it's something that Deckscape continues to expand upon as a series.

For me personally, magic is not a favourite theme of mine, and at least two puzzles in the game are very much routed in you figuring out the secrets behind a magic trick. Since I find being knowingly deceived by someone, pretty annoying in real magic, I wasn't too fond of this element of the game's puzzles. However, what Deckscape does really well is to pack a huge number of puzzles into the card deck, so there were plenty more puzzles that I did really enjoy. In particular one of the larger final puzzles made another brilliant use of the card components and although it was a little fiddly, it was a really impressive end to the game.

Overall Deckscape: Behind the Curtain is a great introductory escape room game, with a level of difficulty that makes it more accessible than most. If you're a veteran, then maybe it won't give you all of the hard puzzles you want, but if you want to feel smart, like me, then it provides some really satisfying moments.

You Might Like...
  • We'd rate this as one of the easier Deckscape games and one of the easier escape room games we've played, making it a great starting point.
  • A lot of new innovations for this series are packed into this small box.
  • Great value for money in terms of the number of puzzles in the box.
You Might Not Like...
  • If figuring out magic tricks isn't your thing, then some of the puzzles might frustrate you.
  • "Which one is next?" is asked more often than in some other Deckscape games.

The Verdict

7.5/10 The Deckscape series continues to prove to be one of our favourite escape room style games. They are a little simpler than others, but really pack a huge number of puzzles into a very small package an a reliably 60 minute timeframe. Behind the Curtain uses a great hook with the magic theme that should appeal to broad range of people and brings new components to the table for the Deckscape series, keeping us excited for the future.

Deckscape: Behind the Curtain was a review copy provided by Asmodee UK. It is available at your friendly local game store for an RRP of £14.99 or can be picked up at http://www.365games.co.uk

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