Escape the Crate Review: Murders in the Speakeasy

Escape the Crate is a subscription box for those looking for the fun puzzle solving experience of an escape room right in their own home. Every other month, this box delivers a new adventure to your doorstep, and you will solve the puzzles in challenging scenarios such as escaping from a pirate ship, solving a murder mystery, defusing a bomb, and more.

This box was kindly sent to us for review.

Subscription Details

Escape the Crate ships every other month for $29.99 plus shipping. Each box contains letters, ciphers, puzzles, tools, and other objects that may help you in your adventure.

As players, you take on the role of an agent working for E.M.I.T. or Emergency Mediation In Time, a time-traveling organization that goes back in time to fix issues. Each mission is a self-contained adventure with a beginning, middle, and end. Older “retired” boxes are available for a one-time purchase at $39.99 plus shipping.

Escape the Crate provides the option to download and print the papers again if you want to replay the game. If you are a player who likes to scribble on the clues, this allows you to do so!

Murders in the Speakeasy

“TWO murder mysteries await in this massive adventure! The year is 1928 and Prohibition is the law of the land. Behind the hidden door to the Blind Hog Saloon, however, drinks are pouring, gambling is rampant, and men and women dance the night away to the Charleston. The owner of the speakeasy, Arthur “Goldie” Nickels, rules the shadows and has made thousands by smuggling and selling alcohol…until he was found murdered. There were only a few suspects around him at the time of his death and it is up to you to find the entrance to the speakeasy, interview the suspects, and to solve the crime. Unfortunately for you, however, there are multiple weapons, motives, and killers to choose from. Even more than that… Goldie is not the only person who will be murdered in the speakeasy tonight. Another murder sets the scene for the second mystery in the box… one where you appear to be the leading suspect. Solve both murders before you find yourself framed for the crime of the century!”

The adventure this time around takes place in a prohibition-era speakeasy. The game is split into two separate chapters that have to be played in the order presented in order to fully experience the story. The chapters also have progressing difficulty.

Box Contents

The box includes an information sheet with instructions. It has a link to the Escape the Crate website that will guide your team on your mission. You will need an internet connection to enjoy the game, so be sure to have your computer or smartphone ready.

There will be papers, cards, and physical props containing puzzles and clues in the box that will be used throughout the game.

As you progress through the story, the game will give you instructions on which clue pieces are needed.

There are even physical props that contain clues to solving the mystery! These props are also functional, this month the props included are a bottle opener and shot glass to fit in with the speakeasy theme.

Be sure to study all the included pieces carefully, there are clues everywhere, including on and inside the mailing box.

How to Play

We played both chapters this past weekend over a Zoom session with a couple of friends, taking advantage of the website download function so that they could also have their own set of clues in front of them. This is such a fun group activity even though we can’t meet up in person!

Before settling in to play, we prepared the clues according the the website’s instructions. The instructions are really clear with pictures showing what to do and the pieces to lay out. You have the option to set a timer for yourself if you want. We opted to skip the timer and have a relaxed experience.

There are a couple of envelopes that you should not open until the website tells you to.

Each section of the adventure has information laying out the problem. You can choose to either read or listen to an audio recording of each section. I love the effort to cater to different preferences. We played by first listening to the audio recording, and then reading through the written version to look for additional clues we may have missed.

Solving the puzzles provides you with a code that you can key in to move on in the story. This will either be a number or word. If needed, you have the option of using a series of hints. There is no penalty for using hints and completely up to the players how much they want to depend on them. Each hint will reveal a little more of the solution. We tried our best to not use hints, but there were a couple of puzzles that really stumped us and we did end up using a few hints.

Escape the Crate – Final Thoughts

We loved this as a fun group activity, it was as much fun playing via a distance as it would be if we were able to meet up in person. The puzzles were a good mix of difficulty levels. All the work and creativity that went into creating each adventure really shows. I love a good murder mystery, so this box’s theme is totally up my alley. The setting in a prohibition-era speakeasy is fascinating and really adds to the experience. Escape the Crate did not disappoint again, and remains one of my favorite subscriptions to receive. If you are looking for a fun date-night or game-night activity, I highly recommend giving this box a try.

Toby & Rocket – http://www.tobyandrocket.com

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