The Detective Society – Season 2: The Sudden Silence of Timothy Lee (Episode 1) [Review]

Is it cannon?

Location: at home

Date Played: December 7, 2021

Team size: we recommend 2-3

Duration: about 90 minutes

Price: £30.00 per episode or £168.00 from the 6-episode season

REA Reaction

The Detective Society’s The Sudden Silence of Timothy Lee Episode 1 provided solid observation and deduction-based solving, typical of the tabletop mystery genre. This was enhanced by strong and outlandish humor across all the materials, both printed and web-based.

Detective Society season 2, episode one box.

We enjoyed our introduction to The Detective Society’s second 6-episode season, The Sudden Silence of Timothy Lee, but not enough to order the subsequent 5 boxes. It felt like this is a product that plenty of people will love, but it wasn’t made for us. We really liked what they are doing, but wanted more out of the writing.

Nothing about Episode 1 got us invested in any of these characters or their plights. Thus, we found ourselves satisfied by a light puzzle quest, but not craving a resolution to warrant more episodes. In tabletop games that are a longer commitment, I need to feel that connection; otherwise I buy them and they collect dust.

We recommend The Sudden Silence of Timothy Lee to those who enjoy solving mysteries, especially with humor to lighten the inherent sobriety of the genre.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Players who like a bit of humor in their puzzling
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • The humor
  • It’s a light, puzzle-driven serialized detective story

Story

Timothy Lee, a seemingly healthy man, had fallen into a mysterious coma. Suspecting foul play, his doctor had hired us to investigate. We had to retrace his footsteps to learn what had caused his illness.

An assortment of letters and hospital records from The Detective Society.

Setup

The Detective Society followed a straightforward game structure. After opening the package, we had to log into a website and begin exploring the paper materials and associated websites. All items were available for investigation immediately.

When we believed that we had made progress, we had to email our solutions to Lee’s doctor, who would confirm or reject our work.

Gameplay

The Detective Society’s The Sudden Silence of Timothy Lee (Episode 1) was a standard paper-based play-at-home escape game with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, observing, and deductive reasoning.

Analysis

➕ The shipped materials were entirely paper based, with one exception. They were well designed and printed on good and varied stock. There wasn’t a lot of extraneous material.

➕ The websites were generally quite funny in over-the-top ways that had nothing to do with the mystery at hand. We enjoyed laughing at the silliness embedded within the game – for example, the Scottish fusion restaurant menu. This stuff was by far our favorite content.

➖ As much as we enjoyed the humor of the game materials, the main plot seemed pretty serious. This created some cognitive dissonance while playing.

➖ Over the course of Episode 1, we never became invested in any of the characters – not the victim, his loved ones, the villains, or even the people we were helping out. We were more interested in potential side quests (which never resolved) rather than anything nefarious connected to the central plot. We wanted the writing to draw us in.

➕ Although we needed to access the internet to solve The Sudden Silence of Timothy Lee (Episode 1), the game wasn’t bogged down with internet searching. The Detective Society’s approach to internet-based cluing was to provide a url within the materials. Anything on a provided website was fair game to explore, but nothing else.

➖ We found it cumbersome to create a login to read the rules and view the hints. It was never made clear why we needed to do this.

➖ The one-dimensional autoresponders kept the game on rails well enough, but took a lot of the fun out of communicating with in-game characters. There wasn’t any depth to the responses.

➕ We enjoyed a thematically appropriate and relatively realistic dive into app data to solve a key piece of the mystery at hand. This was a truly clever puzzle.

❓ The puzzle style was centered on observation, deduction, and logic. Your mileage will vary.

Tips For Players

  • Space Requirements: a small table
  • Required Gear: internet-connected device, pen and paper

Buy your copy of The Detective Society’s The Sudden Silence of Timothy Lee, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: The Detective Society provided a sample for review.

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