Escape The Room: Secret of Dr.Gravely’s Retreat - Board Game Box Shot

Escape The Room: Secret of Dr.Gravely’s Retreat

| Published: 2016
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What are “Escape the Room” games? Escape the Room games began as digital adventures and quickly turned into real-life events all around the world where players are locked in a room and must uncover clues and hidden objects to escape. ThinkFun’s version of Escape the Room allows you to bring all the excitement of these experiences into your very own home!

The Mystery: The year is 1913 and you are the lucky winner of a free stay at Foxcrest Retreat, where the famed Dr. Gravely has improved upon the latest in spa treatments and relaxation for those of high social standing. You take a long all-expense-paid train ride to the retreat. Upon your arrival, however, you and your fellow guests may find the "health retreat" is not what it seems... The Objective: Work with your guests to discover the dark secret of Dr. Gravely's retreat by finding clues and solving puzzles. But be careful…in the story, the doors have shut and locked behind you. Will you and your guests discover the secret and escape the room before time runs out?

User Reviews (1)

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5
North Star Games fan
 
7 of 7 gamers found this helpful
“more of a Party Game Room Experience”

This is a fun puzzle solving game that emulates an escape room experience and is modeled after the “how to host a murder” style party games. The Thinkfun web site even has text you can use for your invites, and costume and period music suggestions.

The game starts as you arrive at Dr Gravely’s spa retreat. You have won a free trip there, but all is not as it seems. You and your fellow guests start to unravel the mystery so that you can escape the spa.

There are objects to explore in the game, and several items in envelopes that you can open when you are instructed to do so in the game. As you solve some puzzles, it leads to other puzzles and more to solve.

When I selected this game from a game library, at a local convention, I did not realize it was meant to be played at a party. We just had two players, which worked out fine. The game says it is for 3-8 players. I think the game elements are a bit small for up to 8 people to share. I also don’t remember a lot of elements that could be solved in parallel, so I think this game might work best with 3-5 people, but it will depend on your group and how active all the solvers want to be. Even playing with one other person, there were some puzzles, I really wanted to grab and have a try, (although I waited my turn). Most of the puzzles have a visual component, and people will need to look at the elements. There are a few puzzles where you have to manipulate some elements, and only one person can effectively work on the puzzle at a time.

The web site also has game hints that you can use if you get stuck. The hints are tiered, where you can get one hint, or a 2nd hint or the solution, if you need it. I think a good hint system is important with these types of games. In a real escape room you would have someone to watch your progress and give you hints.

The story in this game is well imagined and you feel like you are really in the story as you solve the puzzles. I found the story engaging, but the puzzles were not very challenging. They took time to resove, but mostly because some physical manipulation was involved with the game pieces. A seasoned puzzle solver might not find them challenging enough, and some playersmight be looking for more of a puzzle challenge. Although I only played the game with one other player, I believe that with the strong story element, people looking for more of a party game experience, might enjoy this more than some of the other escape type games.

This is the first game I have played from Thinkfun’s Escape the Room series and I would be interested in playing another one of the games (I think the only one available now is Mystery at the Stargazer’s Manor) for the fun experience but not for a big puzzle challenge. However, these would not be my first choice for a game room game, because it’s not exactly what I am looking for. Also, I am not much of a horror lover, and I found the story of Dr Gravely a little sinister and creepy for my tastes, but that could be a plus for some gamers.

The web site also tells you how to reassemble all the pieces so that you can get the game ready for the next group of players.

 

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