#44: Red House Mysteries (Exeter) – The Shadow Darkens

While there was nothing wrong with The Shadow Darkens, there wasn’t a lot about it that stood out either. Compared to Red House Mysteries’ current other game The Heist (#26), it felt a bit of a let-down.

Rating:★★☆☆☆ (Not recommended)
Location:Exeter
Team:Rhubarb Rhubarb
Date:9 April 2019
Hints taken:0
Time:44 minutes
URL:Red House Mysteries

Front & Briefing

We had a different GM than our last visit, who was enjoying some music on a record player I hadn’t noticed the first time around. The briefing was the usual; the mission to find various bits of “evidence” in protagonist detective Jack Armstrong’s office in order to prove him innocent after a wrongful arrest.

Theme

The room is set in the 1940s and Red House Mysteries have sourced materials and props that looked right to my untrained eye. Some of the items in the room were starting to look a little worn, though given that this was supposed to be a working office, this didn’t detract too much. I’m not sure if this is a problem or not, but the choice of background music in the room was extremely relaxing and it took some willpower to ramp up and start searching the room!

Puzzles

A nice set of mostly mechanical puzzles with a couple of slightly higher tech things thrown in later. Not too many padlocks but also nothing particularly astounding here. One interesting aspect was the “evidence” which had to be collected in a certain way; this didn’t particularly work for me but the other two players on my team seemed to understand it. Given how it was presented, I didn’t feel like it logically proved Armstrong innocent and required a bit too large a logic leap for me.

Hint system

Integrated nicely into the room. The only time it was used for us was, unfortunately, for the final puzzle, where the GM had to double-check we’d done the correct thing and then notify us of an equipment failure.

Finale

The finale was an interesting concept in that you could do it as you go along, or leave it all to the end if you wanted to. As I’ve mentioned above, I didn’t personally find it particularly exciting, and we had a technical problem with it.

Debriefing

A nice chat with the GM afterwards, who took our photo for Facebook and Instagram with the same props as for the Heist. We also found out that they have another room in the works, though unfortunately they’re replacing The Heist rather than this one, which was a surprise since I felt The Heist was a much better room.

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