Escape The Room – Mystery at the Stargazer’s Manor

Escape The Room – Mystery at the Stargazer’s Manor. Game Date 21/12/2016

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Now for something a bit different! With both myself and Ian being rather under the weather recently, the thought of braving the cold December night and leaving the house was something we both didn’t want to do… so we were left looking for an escape room “fix” and this came in the form of and Escape Room in a BOX! One click ordering on Amazon and it was delivered the next day (Which was Sunday, but it took us a few days to find some time to play!)
This review will leave out the “game host” factor (as we didn’t have one) but everything else can be reviewed fairly!

There have been a few escape room in a box games springing up recently, as with the rise in popularity of Escape Rooms, it was bound to happen. “Escape the Room” is billed as a game for 3-8 players, and is completely self contained, no outside knowledge is needed to play the game!

Theme:
“It’s 1869 and the town’s well-respected astronomer has not been seen since the untimely passing of his wife. Recently, strange things have been happening at his manor – loud and unfamiliar noises, an unpleasant smell, and smoke billowing from the observatory. It’s up to you and your guests to solve the mystery at the Stargazer’s Manor!”

The theme was continuous throughout the game, and whilst the settings weren’t immersive (my living room doesn’t convey the feeling of a 19th Century Manor house….) the addition of a recommended playlist (through the game’s website, they give links to appropriate music) we created a better atmosphere, and it was nice to listen to some lovely classical music whilst we played!

All the game pieces and envelopes are beautifully made, with a nice finish and attention to detail, this really drew us into the game. The story was woven throughout the game in a clever way, and really helped us on our journey in the Stargazer’s Manor!

A “board game” version will never substitute for actually going and playing a real room, but all the components are there, and it was still a lot of fun, and a good 90 minutes to spend with family or friends! You could go all out and dress up and dress the room if you were going to make a night of it!

Game Play:
The game recommends different timings for different amount of players, we opted for the shorter time of 90 minutes (the alternative being 2 hours which we thought was far too long, if you have experience!) So choose a time, set your timer and get playing!
The game is played by opening a series of envelopes, using the puzzles found within and the solution wheel to escape. The soloution wheel is the key to solving the puzzles… the only criticism I have is that once you have 3 parts (every code is 4 digits) it’s all to easy to happen across the last part of the code. Usually all 4 parts are delivered together, so this isn’t a massive problem, but something to be aware of!
The puzzles, and means of solving them were ingenious, and from the first puzzle it was clear as to how the game worked. There was a good flow to the game, and it really unfolded from the initial 5 envelopes to a fairly complex game, which required some critical thinking and creativity!
All the puzzles were fairly straight forward, and had lovely “ah-ha” moments, there was nothing exceptional, but considering the restrictions of a game in a box, it was a good game!

Clue System:
A comprehensive clue system is available online, we didn’t need any clues. I did have a look on the website after the game, and it is the perfect accompaniment to the game and will help tremendously if you get stuck at any point.

Did we escape?
We did, even after choosing the extra ending! We had 24 minutes left!

Website:
http://www.thinkfun.com/products/stargazer/

Stargazer’s Manor is available to buy on Amazon in the UK

Price: £14.39 on amazon.co.uk

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