The Armchair Detective Company – The Kidnapped Crossworder (Review)

Location: Your Home!

Players:  We recommend 2-4

Price: $75

Game design is a highly dangerous profession.

Theme:

From The Armchair Detective Company’s website:

Mr. Alfred B. has invented a new game. Eager to show it off, he brings it to his local crossword puzzle enthusiasts’ club. However, the prototype is stolen soon afterwards, and he begins to suspect his fellow club members of foul play. He sets about gathering evidence…only to disappear himself.

This Mysterious Case contains lots of code breaking puzzles (don’t we all have a never-ending secret desire to play with decoder wheels?) and a winding plot with a cadre of secretive characters. It’s up to you to find out who stole the prototype, and the location of its inventor!

First Impressions:

When the box arrived from The Armchair Detective Company, I could already tell this was going to be a special experience! The box itself had an aged look and feel, and even gave off a not unpleasant woody smell, adding to the mystique. I could not wait to crack this one open and give it a go, and once we did, there was just so much to explore!

Mysterious boxes within mysterious boxes!

High Points:

This experience is definitely priced at a premium, but is absolutely worth every penny of the $75 asking price! The beautiful boxes and locks included lend an immersive quality to the game that cannot be beat, and the handcrafted nature of the props included is just amazing. The game is just a joy to interact with on all levels. So many puzzles and clues are included, as well as a plethora of engaging story items that really draw you into the mystery. The game is set up perfectly for multiple players, as it is completely non linear from the start, allowing you go begin puzzling wherever you like! This also allows each player to solve puzzles that play to their strengths and preferences, making this an excellent and highly unique date or board game night activity. So much of this adventure is incredible and tactile, bringing the experience of an escape room into your home in one of the most convincing ways I’ve ever seen.

Most puzzles are some form of code breaking, but the myriad ways that this is done keeps the game flow feeling fresh from start to finish. The threads of each puzzle’s path are intuitive and challenging, eliminating any ambiguity. There really aren’t any hiccups to the flow either; we were constantly working on something new or making narrative connections throughout our time with the game. Overall, the amazing attention to detail, immersive storytelling, and tight puzzling make this just one of the most mind blowing at home experiences currently available on the market!

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Pro tip: Use a big table. This is what the game looked like when we were finished. We are a highly organized people. (Some items shown aren’t part of the game. The PlayStation Vita, for instance.)

Low Points:

We noticed that we did not solve everything once we had reached the ending, so when we did finish, it was a bit of a surprise. We weren’t 100% sure where the conclusion would be, and we used some deductive reasoning since we were under the impression some of the unsolved puzzles would require further locked away items. Luckily, we didn’t have to guess at any point to come to our conclusions, and the puzzles were just as fun to solve later. In total, there were only two of the many puzzles that were left unfinished at the end, so it still absolutely felt like a full experience.

Verdict:

The Kidnapped Crossworder is easily one of the greatest home puzzling adventures money can buy. If you’re looking for a game that combines a thrilling mystery with mind bending enigmas that lead to a great meta-puzzle, you absolutely cannot go wrong with The Armchair Detective Company. I cannot wait to see what comes next from them, as the upcoming larger boxes, (The Druid’s Catacomb and The Star Crossed Scientists,) look like an amazing time! You can order your copy of The Kidnapped Crossworder here!

9.5/10 (Excellent)

Full Disclosure: The Armchair Detective Company provided a complementary reviewer’s copy.

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