SNAP Review – The Kringle Caper: A Christmas Mystery

The Kringle Caper game
The Kringle Caper

Ho, ho, ho! Santa has a mystery. What is The Kringle Caper, and how can we solve it for him?

We’ll tell you in less than five minutes! Listen in, or read on below.

The Kringle Caper is an escape room / mystery game with just 18 cards. This perfect stocking stuffer was designed by Jonathan Chaffer with art from Joshua Cappel and takes about an hour to play. It is published by Grand Gamers Guild.

Art

As with most tabletop escape games, art plays a major role. The art here is serviceable, with a mix of hand-drawn illustrations and artificially straight lines.

None of the illustrations ever get in the way of understanding the puzzles, but most of them don’t really add anything, either. You won’t be looking at any of these cards and saying “Whoa!”

Santa's Workshop, ornaments, a fragment of text
Card art is very clear, but not a unified style.

Mechanics

The Kringle Caper packs 11 different puzzles into its 18 cards. Every time you solve one, you’ll put the answer into the corresponding mobile app for confirmation. As you’d expect, the app can also offer up hints – this will be particularly useful if you find your knowledge of Christmas-related trivia to be lacking.

None of the puzzles required anything more than a pencil, paper, and our wits. You could write on the cards if you wanted, but we didn’t.

Cards underneath a cell phone, which says: "Final Rating 4.5 trees. Game History: This is a cooperative puzzle-solving game. Keep the 18-card deck face down for now..."

Expectations

We’ve played many escape room and mystery puzzles as a family. Since the game requires a smartphone app, we expected that at least one adult would need to play. But we hoped that The Kringle Caper would be fun for everyone, and not require knowledge and skills that our kids don’t have.

We were hopeful this would be a game for the whole family. With Christmas traditions old and new, the puzzles in The Kringle Caper draw from several different time periods.

Warning! Do not look at the fronts of any of the cards until you are instructed to.
We break this rule in the review. Sorry!

Surprises

The types of puzzles and knowledge required really worked well for our family. Everyone got involved, even our six-year-old on a few puzzles.

It was nice to have the answer to every puzzle be a word or phrase. Too many adult-oriented escape rooms let you blunder around because your puzzle answers don’t need to make sense (turn a dial, etc). The app handled phrases and misspellings pretty well. Since most answers were Christmas-themed, we could sometimes figure out what the answer should be when we were only partway through a puzzle.

Some of the puzzles were even more clever than we expected! We can’t say too much because that would give it away.

There are pop culture references sprinkled liberally throughout this Christmas pudding – and not all of them are seasonal.

Sylvanas: "Santa was feeling nervous about some dumb kid shooting his own eye out, so he checked the BB guns twice."
Two pop-culture references in one!

Rating

The Kringle Caper seems like an excellent stocking stuffer for escape-room lovers. We’d recommend it for families to play together after Christmas dinner – all the generations around the table will really help. It’s a light, fun experience best played with at least one adult in the mix.

My favorite thing about The Kringle Caper was how they incorporated all the different elf names.

Claire

I really liked how if you looked very closely at the mystery pieces, they’d give you part of the answer.

Asher

My favorite part was the variety of puzzles represented. There was enough information to occasionally lead you off track…

Anitra

I loved that the puzzles were all completely different. Once we figured out the key to unlocking a puzzle, the kids got involved right away and were able to come up with the answers by applying those keys faster than the adults could. There were also unexpected puzzles with very subtle hints…

Andrew

It’s not too early to think about adding The Kringle Caper to your holiday plans! Pre-order it for $12 from Grand Gamers Guild today and get it in time for Christmas – or buy the print-and-play edition for $9 and have it ready any time.


The Family Gamers received a pre-production copy of The Kringle Caper from Grand Gamers Guild for this review.

SNAP review music is Avalanche, provided courtesy of You Bred Raptors?

The Kringle Caper
  • Candy Canes
3.5

Summary

Number of Players: 1+

Age Range: 13+ (younger kids can play, but we’d recommend at least one adult in the group.)

Playtime: 1 hour

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