*Note* A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for this article.
**Note* all photos in article used are from Cranio Creations website.
Mystery House: Adventures in a Box is an escape room style party game with a three dimensional representation of the house you’re trying to escape. I had a prototype copy of the game to play with to write this article. Because of that, I’m not able to give a full review of this game. I’m not sure of the art, components, or the end game.
Let me start by telling you the story of a fantastic journey. The copy of the game I was given started as a demo copy used at the Origins Game Faire. From there it passed to other hands before coming to rest in the hands of my editor and then passing to me. Somewhere between an Origins demo table and my hands the game got crushed. Which will explain something that happens a little later in this article.
The board/box has a grid setup that you slot several cards into. You can see these cards through different windows in the side of the box. You can lift the box to look through the windows and view the different cards. You’ll examine the cards for different pieces of furniture, wall designs, pictures, papers, and various items.
The game itself is app driven. When you see something on a card you want a closer look at you’ll need to enter the coordinates of the wall card into the app and it will give you a list of things. You find the thing you want to get a closer look at on the list, press it, and will get more information. This will either give you a clue to the mystery of the house or an item for your inventory. These are drawn from a deck of cards that give you’ll add to a group supply.
There’s a nice story that goes with the adventure. We got a small description that led to us being trapped outside a house and needing to get inside. Once we started solving our way into the house we found several more pieces of the story that began to unfold the story before us.
Over the course of the mystery we needed to find keys for locked doors, find newspaper articles, documents, and various items that could help us on our mission. There was also a riddle to solve.
We had a little trouble with the riddle. This was due to two things. The first was when we figured out we were missing one of the wall cards which was undoubtedly lost during transit. The second problem came when we tried to lift the box to get a closer look at what was inside and it fell apart.
I want to repeat that I had a preproduction copy that got mangled before it came to me and this is absolutely not a reflection of the final game.
As result of this we weren’t able to finish the mystery.
All of that said, we were having a ton of fun. Even with a janky box, crumpled tiles, and misaligned cards; we had fun. I’m looking forward to getting a completed copy of this to see how the mystery unfolds. I want to see what the end result is when it’s done. I want to know what happened in this house and how to get out.
I enjoy the unlock series and used to take part in a charity treasure hunt in my area. I love these types of game. I can’t wait to see what the final version looks like. If you’re headed to GenCon I suggest you head over to their booth 2742 and check them out.
Finally, I like you to take a moment to remind you that it’s easy to get trapped in a cycle. We all have a lot things pulling at our time and attention. It’s sometimes easy to let ourselves get overwhelmed by all the things shouting to get us to pay attention to them and forget to take some time for ourselves. So this is me reminding you to take a couple of minutes every day and just pay a little attention to yourself.