Mystery at the Stargazer’s Manor – ThinkFun (Review)

ThinkFun’s Mystery at the Stargazer’s Manor is the first of their “Escape the Room” series of take-home escape room games. The puzzles won’t stump escape room enthusiasts, but the materials are still high-quality and should still be fun.

EDIT: As of January 4th, 2017, Mystery at the Stargazer’s Manor is on sale for $9.99 on both Amazon and Target. Check out our post at Stargazer’s Manor is on Sale.

 

The box for ThinkFun's Escape the Room: Mystery of Stargazer's ManorWilliam | Escape Room Tips

Mystery of Stargazer’s Manor is the first installment of ThinkFun’s Escape the Room series.

Quick Facts:

  • Price$21.97 on Amazon
  • Team size: Officially 3-8, but we recommend 1-3
  • Duration: Officially 90 minutes, but puzzle enthusiasts will finish this faster. We took 37 minutes.
  • Age Range: ThinkFun recommends 10+

Story and Theme

When you open up your copy, you'll immediately see a copy of the instruction booklet.EscapeRoomTips.com

When you open up your copy, you’ll immediately see a copy of the instruction booklet.

The “host” of the game plays as the caretaker of Stargazer’s Manor, and is leading a search party to discover what happened to the astronomer that has secluded himself into the depths of his manor.

We felt a mild steampunk vibe while playing the game, which was fun, The story develops through a sequence of cards that you will uncover as you solve more and more puzzles. The story was fun and somewhat whimsical, and will be great for kids. There’s a lot of reading to do in this game, but families with children should be able to get themselves into the story.

ThinkFun also suggests costume and music ideas while playing to set the mood, which are probably fun for kids but seemed a bit unnecessary for adults.

Materials

All of the included materials inside the box of Mystery at the Stargazer's Manor.William

All of the included materials inside the box of Mystery at the Stargazer’s Manor.

Expect the following in your copy of Mystery at the Stargazer’s Manor:

  • (1) (not pictured) Box to hold all of your goodies
  • (1) (top left) Instruction booklet with guide on how to start the game
  • (1) (top center) Solution wheel where you can check your answers for the puzzles
  • (1) (top right) Story card with part 1 of the story
  • (5) (bottom) Square envelopes that contain puzzles

The puzzles that you will be solving are contained in each of the square envelopes. The printing and the materials are all fairly high quality (most of the puzzles are on nice cardstock or cardboard instead of paper), and what you get is fairly good value for ~$22.

Puzzles

To check your answers (and open up new puzzles), you have to input your answers into the Solution Wheel.William

To check your answers (and open up new puzzles), you have to input your answers into the Solution Wheel.

The puzzles are scattered throughout the five envelopes provided. The puzzles aren’t just printed on rectangular sheets of paper. Instead, they come in all sorts of shapes on good-quality cardboard, and rely on some sort of visual mechanic.

Mystery at the Stargazer’s Manor comes with a neat Solution Wheel that lets you input your answers by rotating the various colored discs. If your answer is correct, then you’ll see symbols peeking out of the holes in the center of the disk.

Our main complaint was that the puzzles were too easy for us, and we think that other puzzle enthusiasts will have a similar experience. This was still a lot of fun for us however.

The game is marketed as playable with 3-8 people, but just 1 puzzle enthusiast should be able to breeze through the puzzles below the recommended time. We think 2 people is around ideal, 3 people is reasonable, and 4 people are probably too many.

ThinkFun provides hints for the puzzles on their website.

Replay Value

There are some neat cardboard puzzles inside these envelopes. Too bad you can only play this once (though you can give it to a friend!)William

There are some neat cardboard puzzles inside these envelopes. Too bad you can only play this once (though you can give it to a friend!)

Mystery at the Stargazer’s Manor has no replay value, which is to be expected from any escape room in a box product. By the time you finish the game, you’ll have read the complete story and know the answers to all of the puzzles, making it pointless to play through the whole thing again.

However, Mystery at the Stargazer’s Manor can still be re-gifted to friends and replayed by other groups, since nothing in the game set will be destroyed or rendered un-reusable in a typical play-through. There’s no point where you’ll have to (or even think about) draw, cut, or fold any of the puzzles.

ThinkFun includes instructions on how to reset the game so it can be played again (this just involves putting things back in the envelopes that they came from).

Overall Recommendation

Escape the Room: Mystery at the Stargazer’s Manor by ThinkFun is a well-made product with a fun story. For any group though, the recommended team size of 3-8 will likely be much too large. We recommend 2-3 (1 even works).

While the game might be a little bit too easy for escape room enthusiasts, it’s still a bunch of fun and great value for the price. We’d recommend the game for an hour of fun puzzles, especially to families looking for something to do with young children.

If you’re interested in the product, you can purchase it on Amazon for $21.97 (the price may vary depending on if Amazon discounts it).

Full Disclosure: ThinkFun provided us with a free sample of the product in exchange for a review. All Amazon links in this post are affiliate links. This means that we may get a small commission from any purchases made from the links.

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