Escape The Room: Mystery at the Stargazer’s Manor

Escape the Room Mystery at the Stargazer's Manor board game

We’re ready to escape!

A few weeks ago, our kids had a blast at a youth activity at Getout Games in Provo, Utah.

They were each assigned to a different group and themed room within the facility in which they had 60 minutes to escape.

(If you’re unfamiliar with this new trend of “live escape room” entertainment, we’d suggest you check to see if there are some near you.)

Our kids came home very excited with many stories to tell about the types of challenges they had to solve in order to escape. And they were also begging for us to go as a family.

So when we made our family summer bucket list of activities at the end of school, of course we added Getout Games to the list.

But we also didn’t have to wait long to do another escape room activity.

Because that very week, we received a new game from Thinkfun called, Escape The Room: Mystery at the Stargazer’s Manor.

Having just participated in the live escape room activities at Getout Games, they were more than willing to jump in and play Escape The Room: Mystery at the Stargazer’s Manor.

 

How to Play Escape The Room: Mystery at the Stargazer’s Manor

There really isn’t much to say about how to play the Escape The Room because it’s really all about the experience.

Escape the Room Mystery at the Stargazer's Manor board game

What you see when you open the box.

Simply open the box and read the first page of the included book.

It will basically tell you to gather your friends or family for an evening of fun. It’s also pretty clear in telling you not to open any packets or read the first scene card yet. Just set them out to get ready to play.

Once everyone is ready to play, read Scene Card 1 and begin solving the mystery.

From there you’re on your own.

But if you’d like a little taste of the flavor, here’s an excerpt:

“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!”

In addition, the Thinkfun website has other ideas to spice up your experience while playing the game such as suggestions for background music. The site also has hints to the game if you get completely stuck.

Escape the Room Mystery at the Stargazer's Manor board game

The 5 main packets are hiding many secrets.

 

Can the whole family enjoy Escape The Room: Mystery at the Stargazer’s Manor?

Since it’s a cooperative experience, Escape The Room can definitely be enjoyed by everyone in the family.

The game box says ages 10+ and the challenges will take some thinking. But that shouldn’t stop you from having younger kids join in the fun.

In our case, my wife and I made sure not to take charge in solving the puzzles, but rather let our kids read the clues, try to solve the challenges, and open all the packets.

But what we liked the most is that even though we let them lead out, we weren’t sitting idly by. It truly felt like a joint deductive effort.

Escape the Room Mystery at the Stargazer's Manor board game

Just a few samples of some of the pieces that will help unravel the mystery.

 

Escape the Room Mystery at the Stargazer's Manor board game

Caleb is anxious to dive into the experience.

What we like about Escape The Room: Mystery at the Stargazer’s Manor

As we just mentioned, the thing we liked the very most was the cooperative nature of the game.

We’re all in it together trying to solve the puzzles.

And even though that would lead to some disagreements, each of us had plenty of chances to try our own way of finding the solutions.

If one way didn’t get the right result, there were plenty of eager hands asking for their turn to give it a go.

Another element we really like in the game is the Solution Wheel.

Escape the Room Mystery at the Stargazer's Manor board game

The Solution Wheel rocks!

The Solution Wheel is a very cool contraption that let’s you know if you solved a puzzle correctly. Each time there’s a puzzle to solve; you turn the dial of the Solution Wheel to the settings you think are correct. If you’re correct, certain symbols will match up. If not, you won’t see any matching symbols appear.

And last, but not least, we enjoyed solving the puzzles.

The challenges seemed to be the right level of difficulty for a family board game.

Not all of the challenges were the same level of complexity. Yet all of them involved thinking through what we’d been presented. And most of them required a bit of trial and error. Sometimes pieces included in an early packet come into play later on.

The rules suggest a time restraint of 2 hours for 3-5 players or 1.5 hours for 6-8 players. But we were determined from the start that we’d get through it in 1 hour.

Escape the Room Mystery at the Stargazer's Manor board game

What’s going on here?

And we came through pretty close. We finished the game in 70 minutes and patted ourselves on the back for piecing together the final challenge. (The last puzzle definitely took us the longest with a fair amount of head-scratching.)

We don’t want to spoil the fun and give you any hints to solving the challenges in the game, but you can catch a glimpse of some of the types of challenges by seeing the photos we’ve included with this review.

 

How does Escape The Room: Mystery at the Stargazer’s Manor score on our “Let’s Play Again” game meter?

You may expect that an experience game such as Escape The Room can only be played once. But that’s not entirely true.

Yes, once you’ve solved all the puzzles, going through it again immediately won’t be a challenge at all. But we also figure that over time our memories of the solutions will fade. After all, there are a bunch of games in our game closet that go years between plays.

Escape the Room Mystery at the Stargazer's Manor board gameWe can also imagine playing Escape The Room with a different group of people where we act as a moderator rather than a participant.

That’s why were glad Thinkfun has packaged the game in such a way as to make it replayable.

The Thinkfun website has instructions on how to repack the game – which pieces go in which packets and which smaller packets going into larger packets, etc. – so that it can be played again. It’s a very helpful resource.

Yet even if you just play it once, at under $25 Escape the Room: Mystery at the Stargazer’s Manor is a great experience game to enjoy with your family for an evening of fun.

Thanks Thinkfun for a creative deduction game that engages families!




 

Comments: 2

 
 
 

Thanks for the review. I’ve added it to my Amazon wishlist. 🙂

My wife and I went to a Sherlock themed Escape Room here in SLC last summer and my son and his group did an Escape Room for an activity before Prom. They’re tons of fun.

I did a kickstarter for an ‘Escape Room in a Box’ but I haven’t received it yet and I’m curious how these in-home escape rooms might work. It sounds like they can be fun. I’m also glad to know that this one can be repackaged for reuse. I might pick it up for use as a family and then again at a ward/neighborhood event. 🙂

 

     

    Chris – A Sherlock themed Escape Room sounds pretty cool. I think they would be fun to go through as a family too.

     

 

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