Escape From St. Louis – Murder at Denbrough Mansion [Review]

Clue did it?

Location:  St. Louis, MO

Date Played: March 22, 2019

Team size: 2-8; we recommend 3v3 or 4v4 (They have 2 copies are you can play competitively.)

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: from $34 per player for team of 2 to $24 per player for team of 8

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A] Push To Exit

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Murder at Denbrough Mansion was an Agatha Christie-esque murder mystery. We had a dead man, a series of suspects, and a lot of personal effects from those suspects. We had to analyze the information and conclude who had committed the murder, why, and with what weapon.

The stakes were raised by the fact that Escape From St. Louis had two copies of this escape game and we were racing against the other team. (My team beat David’s in this game; our competitive record is once again even.)

In-game: Denbrough dining room table, and breakfront.

While the story and mystery were loaded with details, the set wasn’t inspiring and the input mechanism for solving the crime was as out of place as it was clunky to operate.

We enjoyed Murder at Denbrough Mansion for its unusual take on the murder mystery deduction genre of escape games. It was different and had some good gameplay moments. If that’s something that appeals to you and you’re in St. Louis, then you should take a stab at solving this crime.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Detectives
  • Any experience level
  • Competitive groups

Why play?

  • You can play competitively against your friends
  • Challenging but fair deduction puzzle

Story

Philip K. Denbrough had been brutally murdered in his mansion after hosting a dinner party with all of his friends and family. We had to gather evidence, analyze it, and solve his murder.

In-game: Denbrough's dining room.

Setting

Murder at Denbrough Mansion was staged within a dining room-like environment. It wasn’t fancy or particularly exciting, but it conveyed the setting.

The set was fine, but it wasn’t the reason to visit Escape From St. Louis.

In-game: the breakfront in Denbrough's dining room.

Gameplay

Escape From St. Louis’ Murder at Denbrough Mansion was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Escape From St. Louis has two identical copies of this escape room. They offer the option to book both copies and play competitively.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, observing, making connections, and puzzling.

In-game: a system for organizing suspects, weapons, and motives.

Analysis

Murder at Denbrough Mansion culminated in a giant deduction puzzle. The deduction elements made sense and the puzzles generally flowed well.

➕ Escape From St. Louis provided the tools (different types of charts) to solve the murder. We had our choice of different ways to keep track of the information and reason out a solution.

➕ As we solved the puzzles, we learned about the characters and their relationships and motives. While these were surface level revelations, it gave the playthrough added depth.

➕/ ➖ Escape From St. Louis built a solution input mechanism into the game. They designed it such that we couldn’t brute force our way to the solution of this murder. It was, however, an odd contraption to have on the wall in the dining room.

Murder at Denbrough Mansion took place in a dining room… with a murder-solving input mechanism. It was a serviceable, but uninspired set. The set was simply a container for the deduction gameplay.

➕ Escape From St. Louis had put a lot of thought in the nuances of the items within the game. We “brought” some of the evidence into the room with us because in the narrative it had been gathered at the homes of some of the other suspects. This was a level of nuance often forgotten by game designers.

In-game: A pile of evidence found elsewhere and brought to the crime scene for analysis.

➖ Some of the later puzzles could have used a bit tighter cluing. A few of the logical connections we needed to make seemed a step off.

➖ The triumphal moment of solving the murder fell flat. It wasn’t entirely clear how to register that solution. As the winning team, we were confused whether we’d won, as we could still hear the audio of the other team playing.

➕/➖ We enjoyed playing this room competitively against our friends. For those keeping track at home, we are now tied again at 3 wins each in competitive escape games against each other. That said, it would have been more interesting if there had been opportunities for the two groups to impact one another or even be aware of each other’s progress.

Tips For Visiting

  • Parking is available on the street in front of the location, as well as in a private lot behind the building.
  • Stay organized while playing this escape room.

Book your hour with Escape From St. Louis’ Murder at Denbrough Mansion, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Escape From St. Louis provided media discounted tickets for this game.

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