New breed of Mystery game for my 20yo niece?

One of those one and done things would be fine as well. But something that would be a lot of fun for a bunch of us to play together, and she can take to college and play hint guide while her mates do it for the first time.

There’s a lot of new things out there including subscriptions. I couldn’t do a year, but maybe something with a couple months would be good.

How old is she and what does she like to play?

She’s 20 and likes everything :)

So I thought a board game based mystery game, or something like these mentioned on Ars Technica. I’d just hoped someone here had tried something like this:

I played Mysterium with some friends a couple of years ago and thought it was pretty neat. Love the Polygon Overboard video for it:

Deception Murder in Hong Kong Game is a fun one that works pretty well with large groups, and very well with mid-sized groups… and it can be played over and over again too.

I also second Armando’s Mysterium.

Ooo, yes, that one is great, as well!

And, handily, those charming Polygon kids did a video on that one, too!

I like that table. It looks so roomy!

I know, it’s beautiful.

Has she tried Chronicles of Crime? @Vesper sold me a copy and my family has enjoyed it a lot!

This is a big departure from the games we normally play which is why I’m looking for help. The more “immersive” and fun the better. Maybe the less boardgame-like for a change of pace.

I am a big proponent of Exit and Unlock series games. Exit especially is true one shot, though clever use of a scanner/ printer can bypass this.

Both series are structured as Escape Room type games. There are some really solid entries in both series, and especially lately have really upped their game.

Exit tends to have more tactile elements, Unlock is strictly cards and uses an app for some clever mechanics.

If escape room type games sound like potentially interesting, let me know and I can provide specific recommends from both series.


What do you mean by more tactile elements? I’d love to find something that has cool stuff like this:

@tomchick hadn’t you done one of these with some fellow QT3’ers?

Well… there are games like that which go higher, but Exit isn’t nearly so intensive.


I can’t give too much detail without delving into spoilers. Now I am very far along the do not care about spoilers side personally, but in this case there is clever mechanical integrations I don’t want to spoil. Aside from the obvious code wheels will be others where physical placement of multiple elements to reveal hidden patterns, poking holes, cutting and coloring workbook pages, etc all come into play.

The Orient Express Exit game did some real clever stuff with a dossier on passengers, and ‘locked’ cabins. Everything is printed, so no fancy cloth or magnifying glass items, but the most recent series really do a lot.

Every part of the contents of the box is used. Every. Part.

One particularly memorable one was putting a pencil inside a compass type item, and using coordinate read offs gathered from through the game getting a ‘map’ to the final objective.

Then there is the Blue Original puzzle from the pharaoh tomb one, anyone whose played that one will know exactly what I mean. It was one of the first ones released, and was a real eye opener for people, so it became an infamous puzzle for how tough it was.

Another one which I haven’t tried yet, which does go into the more tactile feelings, is Hunt Aa Killer

Might be worth checking out

Whoa cool!

So is that like one of the best ones, or was it just a bit too hard?

Ah yes, I’d seen that a while ago and thought to myself you’d need a solid group of friends to be able to afford it as it is VERY expensive. Looks awesome though.

Early, and that was rough and somewhat unintuitive.

Later games are generallly better. Still well worth playing, but I’d put the Orient one as the best, with other games from that same series being the same ballpark.

Now to give credit to Unlock, I think their design has evolved and grown the most over their life compared to Exit. Both debuted around the same time, but exit came out of the gate more polished and diverse. Unlock was strictly a deck of cards, still is, so the design was less versatile.

However over their life both series have grown. If Exit started at a solid 7.5, and has grown to be more of an 8.5-9. Unlock started an average of maybe 6-6.5. Still fun, but definitely the lower quality. However they have grown to be on par, and at times surpassing, Exit. Their Sherezade and Wizard of Oz were damned genius , and the use of the app has gone from a hint dispensing tool, to an integral and interesting part of the experience (including sounds, music, and spoken clues). To give an example, in the Sherezade at one point you find a lamp. If you input the card number in the app, as the green machine icon would indicate, it puts a lamp on the screen. If you rotate and move it you can discover things.

However if you rub the lamp on your screen?

It is a spoiler, but a light one on a fairly intuitive puzzle. I loved how they used the app to enhance the game. In fact that particular one is probably my favorite of both series, though the Orient Express is damn close too.

Did someone mention Mysterious Package?

Their stuff is very pricey, but it seems a notch above what the other compagnies are doing. I dunno…

I’ve tried a bunch of Unlock! boxes, I like it a lot. In all the boxes I’ve tried, they always come up with something new to do with either the cards or the app.

Never tried Exit, though, I can’t condone ripping up cards and writing on stuff.

If you’re cheap frugal, there are free Unlock adventures you can print yourself. They’re small full adventures different from the paid ones. The RA one is pretty good, but quite hard.

You can 100% avoid all of this if you have a scanner/ printer handy. I have never permanently destroyed any of the originals.

Pull the staples out of the book, separate the spreads, and do a double sided scan and print of each. 10 minutes and you’re set.