Winchendon Escape Room – Secret Society [Review]

Be sure to ask about the tea party.

Location: Winchendon, MA

Date played: October 2, 2017

Team size: 2-6; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 90 minutes

Price: $25 per ticket

Story & setting

As hopeful members of the mysterious The Moonlight Club secret society, we were up to our final test. We had to solve the Club’s test to learn the names of its members and leader in order to prove our worth.

In-game: A beautifully set breakfast table beside a massive window and a grandfather clock.

Winchendon Escape Room is part of Winchendon Historical Society and stages escape rooms within their beautiful grounds. Secret Society was set in the lounge of a beautiful mansion. (The rest of the building is preserved as a museum that we were free to wander after the game.) It had real stained glass windows and was largely composed of antiques. It didn’t look authentic… It was authentic.

Puzzles

Winchendon Escape Room captured textbook escape room puzzling in Secret Society. It included a mix of well-designed beginner-friendly puzzles with plenty to explore and discover.

Standouts

Winchendon Escape Room was an amazing value: $25 per ticket for 2 to 6 players to explore a game for 90 minutes… plus we could explore a beautiful estate staged as a museum.

In-game: A loung in an old mansion. There's a beautiful fireplace, and a cabinet filled with locked boxes.

Winchendon Escape Room staged Secret Society in a beautiful room full of interesting props.

Secret Society was well-designed and beginner-friendly, but still offered a challenge. As experienced players, we didn’t need the 90-minute game clock (we escaped in about 40 minutes moving at a comfortable pace), but that extra time allows beginners to work through puzzles rather than get dragged via hints.

The final puzzle was really smart.

All of the proceeds from Winchendon Escape Room go back to the Winchendon Historical Society.

Shortcomings

There was a lot to search for and look at early on in Secret Society. It was a little cumbersome to find a good starting place. Over the course of the game, puzzle flow became linear with a crystal clear progression. I think that if Winchendon Escape Room were to instead start with a funnel that opened into the rest of the room, the game would flow beautifully. It would ramp up the challenge later in the game, after players had become more comfortable with the escape room.

Having no concept of local history, I left a little confused whether the story and characters were entirely made up or based on something real. It would be amazing if the game conveyed a little local history through play.

While the final puzzle was great, there wasn’t much of a climax. Secret Society didn’t built any tension.

Should I play Winchendon Escape Room’s Secret Society?

Winchendon Escape Room was really surprising. If I’m being honest, I wasn’t expecting a great experience from a $25 per person, 90-minute escape room, set up on the grounds of a local historical society. I worried that we would find a well-intentioned, low quality, amateur-designed game. I was dead wrong.

The price and game clock were deliberate. Winchendon Escape Room wants to offer a lot of value to their local audience while giving them the time to really work through the puzzles and learn how an escape room works.

Secret Society played well. It was a solid escape room.

Furthermore, Secret Society was lovingly staged in a gorgeous manor. We play a lot of games that attempt to capture that manor aesthetic, but I can tell you: there’s nothing like the real thing.

Winchendon Escape Room is among the best deals in escape rooms that I know of and one the finest places to start playing escape rooms. If you’re a beginner who’s on the fence about this “locked-in-a-puzzle-room” thing, know that Winchendon Escape Room won’t lock you in, and playing their games will help you build the core skills necessary to enjoy puzzling adventures all over. Massachusetts has a ton of fantastic escape rooms and this is a phenomenal place to get started.

Book your hour with Winchendon Escape Room’s Secret Society, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Winchendon Escape Room comped our tickets for this game.

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