Crux Club – Oddfellow’s Secret [Review]

A set that money can’t buy.

Location: Greenwich Village, New York, NY

Date Played: September 16, 2018

Team size: 2-3; we recommend 2-3

Duration: about 2.5 hours

Price: $65 per team of 2, $78 per team of 3

Ticketing: Private

Distance: about 1.5 miles walking

REA Reaction

Oddfellow’s Secret toured us through Greenwich village on a mission to search, solve, and save the world. Although we never felt connected to the grand narrative of world destruction, we enjoyed the gameplay that combined scavenger hunt with puzzle solving.

If you’re looking for an outside puzzle activity in a beautiful Manhattan neighborhood, choose a nice day to explore Oddfellow’s Secret.

In-game: Lisa and our teammate Kellian getting started on Crux Club. An assortment of locked boxes lay on a table between them.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scavenger hunters
  • Players who enjoy walking
  • Folks who want to enjoy New York City’s Greenwich Village
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • To stroll through Greenwich Village with an objective
  • The combination of scavenger hunt and puzzle play

Story

When the grandmaster of our secret society was taken hostage, it was up to us to open the 5 boxes he’d left behind. His fate, and the fate of New York City, were in our hands.

In-game: Oddfellow's Secret backpack.

Setting

Oddfellow’s Secret was set on the streets on Greenwich Village, one of Manhattan’s most picturesque neighborhoods.

We carried a collection of small locked boxes and assorted supplies in a backpack provided by Crux Club.

Over the course of Oddfellow’s Secret we walked about 1.5 miles, winding our way through this iconic Manhattan neighborhood.

In-game: 5 locked boxes.

Gameplay

Crux Club’s Oddfellow’s Secret was a scavenger hunt with puzzles. It had a lower level of difficulty.

Similar to escape rooms, it worked puzzles into settings, tangible props, and paper props.

Core gameplay revolved around observing, searching, puzzling, following directions, and navigating the streets of Greenwich Village. (This is one of New York’s more confusing neighborhoods.)

Analysis

+ As we played Oddfellow’s Secret, we observed Greenwich Village. We enjoying looking closely at architectural details as we wound through the neighborhood. Crux Club brought us to interesting landmarks including one of my favorite Manhattan oddities.

– Although we enjoyed strolling through Greenwich Village on a beautiful summer day, the neighborhood felt underused. Greenwich Village landmarks have so many stories to tell, but instead Oddfellow’s Secret told a different, grandiose tale of world domination. The gameplay didn’t reflect the intensity of the story, and we felt dissonance leisurely puzzling and strolling through a mission that was supposed to have life and death stakes.

+ The puzzles worked well. We enjoyed how the scavenger hunt components fed into more layered puzzles with a solution extraction.

– One segment asked us to repeat an identical mechanic at many different locations. Since there was no opportunity to build mastery, this devolved into a long process puzzle. Given that it wasn’t necessary to visit all of these places to solve the extraction at the end of this sequence, whittling this portion down to only the most interesting locales would improve it.

Oddfellow’s Secret was entirely self-contained. We carried our own puzzle materials, supplied by Crux Club. (We needed only our own phone.) The materials added a few more tangible solves without becoming burdensome as we walked.

+ There was a structured, self-service hint system available via mobile phone.

+ Crux Club provided a few business cards to hand out to anyone who stopped us on the street to enquire about what we were doing. We were happy to advertise for them as this simple mechanic kept us from having to seriously explain ourselves to strangers.

Tips for Playing

  • Crux Club operates a seasonal and weather-dependent business. They aren’t always operating and bad weather could result in your game being canceled.
  • You need a charged smartphone with a web browser and data capabilities. An extra battery might not be the worst thing to carry.

  • You will carry a backpack containing puzzle components, provided by Crux Club.

  • Dress appropriately for the weather. Carry your own water, umbrellas, sunscreen, etc.

  • Wear comfortable walking shoes. You will walk about 1.5 miles.
  • We recommend il laboratorio del gelato or Amorino for gelato at the end of your adventure.
  • At the completion of your mission, Crux Club hands out a card that recommends a number of other neighborhood eating/drinking establishments.

Book your slot with Crux Club’s Oddfellow’s Secret, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Crux Club comped our tickets for this game.

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