Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Escape the Room: Stargazer's Manor Review


Escape the Room, Stargazer's Manor is a collaborative puzzles game from Think Fun. You play as a group with a family or guests. The game is a series of logic puzzles that you need to solve to eventually escape.

There are no spoilers in this review. But there is some information that's useful to know before you play.


Stargazer's Manor been out for a while but we were waiting until our younger son was old enough to play it, it's for age 10+ and he's 8. As it turns out we could have played it sooner, he was our star player!

The game is in the style of an escape the room video game or physical game but it's played sitting around a table with physical props and scene cards that are used to solve puzzles.

It's a collaborative game where everyone works together to solve puzzles. It's linear so everyone gets to see all of the puzzles.

If you're inviting guests there's an online invitation that you can send. There are also costume and music suggestions (via Pandora or Spotify.)

Unboxing and Setup

It's worth reading the instructions ahead of time, especially if you're inviting guests round to play the game. The instructions make it very clear that you must not open the envelopes ahead of time!

Stargazer's Manor is set in 1869 and the instructions suggest that you do some things to get into the Victorian time period. Our boys put on period hats. My 8 year old doesn't need much encouragement to don a hat from his collection!

We also asked Alexa to play some classical music so she took care of that part.

We're currently reading the prequel to the excellent Mysterious Benedict Society book series which features an old manor house with an observatory so we found it easy to get into the mood!

Playing the Game

There's a trailer for the game which includes the scene setting and it worth showing to the group as an introduction. There are also videos providing more of the backstory.


Don't watch videos of people playing the game or showing what's inside the envelopes that will spoil the game for you.

The instructions suggest that the game can be played with 3-8 players. We'd suggest 1-4 though otherwise it would be difficult for everyone to see the pieces and get involved. We played as a family group of 4 which worked well. 

The game is story-based, the story doesn't go into a lot of detail but works well as a backdrop for the puzzles. It has the feel of the classic Myst adventure video game (which we recommend if you want to tackle something a lot harder!) 

It took us about an hour and 15 minutes to play through Stargazer's Manor  and we let the children (aged 8 and 10) do most of the puzzle solving and made sure everyone understood the solution before we moved on. A group with older kids with the right kind of thinking skills might do it much faster. 

The game pieces are nicely made and illustrated and the puzzles were well constructed. There are online hints but we didn't get stuck at any point. 

Value for Money

You'll get the most benefit from this game the first time you play it. It's not a game that you can play over and over. 

You could play the game again. The way it works you won't remember the answers though you'll be able to work them out a little bit more quickly. I can imagine putting the game away for a year (or lending it to friends) and then playing it again. 

There are repacking instructions online so that you can package everything back up. so that another group can play.  

Verdict

We loved Escape the Room - Stargazer's Manor. We would recommend playing the game as a family for children when your youngest child is around 6-8 if they are logical thinkers (just note that the story does mention the death of a person.) 

It's a great way to spend family time and is cheaper that a visit to the cinema. With a bit of preparation you could really make an afternoon or evening or it. 

As soon as we finished the game I ordered Dr Gravely’s Retreat, the next Escape the Room game from Think Fun.

If you like this sort of thing then we'd also recommend:




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