The Detective Society – Trouble in Folklore Falls: Episode 1 [Review]

Just right

Location: at home

Date Played: July 2, 2022

Team size: 1-4; we recommend 1-2

Duration: 1-2 hours

Price: £35 plus shipping

REA Reaction

The Detective Society’s Trouble in Folklore Falls: Part 1 told a charmingly punny mystery in a land filled with fairytale characters. To paraphrase Goldilocks: it wasn’t too easy, it wasn’t too hard, it was just right.

As narrative tabletop games go, Trouble in Folklore Falls did almost everything right and succeeded in delivering a polished, cohesive experience. More interactive story than puzzle game, the gameplay mostly centered around reviewing documents and making connections. Though this involved a fair amount of reading, the writing was engaging and well edited, sleekly displayed in a range of formats. The design thoughtfully balanced world-building with restraint: the web of characters and evidence had a satisfying level of detail and depth without ever feeling too overwhelming. Certain puzzles felt a bit too simplistic for my taste, but in context, I was fine with being left wanting more.

This level of design polish also carried over to the game’s non-print materials. The illustration, web design, tech, and voice acting were all top notch. I would readily listen to an audio book or podcast narrated by the voice of the game’s protagonist.

Detective Society box with assorted pieces of evidence, and a map of Folklore Falls.

Above all, Trouble in Folklore Falls excelled at storytelling. The pacing was near perfect, and a tantalizing cliffhanger at the end of Part 1 left me wanting to immediately procure a copy of the next installment.

There were opportunities to tighten up some of the game’s framing logistics. The onboarding spanned more documents than needed, and a solution to phone calls for an international audience left SMS unaddressed. But my frustration with these elements was relatively minor, and the Trouble in Folklore Falls played smoothly overall.

If you are looking for substantive puzzles, Trouble in Folklore Falls may not be for you. But for players who enjoy a lighthearted, humorous story, I highly recommend Trouble in Folklore Falls.

Continue reading “The Detective Society – Trouble in Folklore Falls: Episode 1 [Review]”

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.
Continue reading “The Detective Society – Season 2: The Sudden Silence of Timothy Lee (Episode 1) [Review]”

The Detective Society – The Professor’s Missing Potion [Review]

Kids on the Case

Location:  at home

Date Played: November 18, 2021

Team size: We recommend 1-3 kids plus an adult

Duration: 45-60 minutes

Price: £8.99

REA Reaction

Within the genre of puzzling games for kids, The Professor’s Missing Potion stands out as a well designed, satisfying experience that did many things well for its audience. It offered an introduction to some common puzzle types within a cartoonishly immersive plot and environment. It used smart design choices to make the gameplay manageable for kids while still engaging them in delightful and authentic ways. Its fantastical plot, variety of interactions, and subtle humor connected well with my kids’ imaginations, effectively convincing them that they might actually be doing something real.

A man in a white lab coat with goggles, and a green background.

My main critique regards some minor quality control issues that detracted from the experience. First, no orientation materials were included in the downloaded files. This undermined my ability to set expectations and to make sure we were referring to the print materials as intended. This unease dissipated as the game progressed, but the scarcity of information between purchasing and beginning the game was a gap in the customer journey that could easily be bridged to give players (or their adult sidekick) more confidence. Also, the final puzzle seemed to have an error that forced us to guess rather than solve, resulting in anticlimactic feelings about the conclusion.

Ultimately, though, The Professor’s Missing Potion was a solidly entertaining kids’ activity that literally evoked childlike wonder. We’re glad we played and hope The Detective Society makes more games for this audience.

Continue reading “The Detective Society – The Professor’s Missing Potion [Review]”