(Spoiler Free) Game Preview
Author: Cameron Art
Scooby Doo: Escape from the Haunted Mansion
Player Count: 1+ Players
Playing Time: 60 - 120 Minutes
Designers: Jay Cormier, Sen-Foong Lim, Kami Mandell
Publisher: The Op (formerly USAopoly)
Year Published: 2020
"In Scooby-Doo: Escape from the Haunted Mansion, players take on the roles of the teen sleuths and their courageous canine pal to solve a mystery! Work together to decode clues and find your way out of the haunted mansion in this co-operative "Coded Chronicles" game. Can you solve the mystery of Lady Fairmont's ghost with the help of Mystery, Inc.?"
- Description from the Publisher
In Scooby-Doo: Escape from the Haunted Mansion, 1 or more players will take on the roles of the Mystery, Inc. crew and work together to escape from the Haunted Mansion and attempt to solve the mystery of the ghost that haunts the grounds. You'll have to work together by using each character's special ability to solve puzzles, explore the mansion and uncover clues. Will you solve the mystery and escape with all of your Scooby Snacks?
Escape from the Haunted Mansion is a story-driven game, primarily consisting of an ever-expanding mansion board, a deck of item cards, player pieces and character books. Setup for your first game (the game is split into 2 chapters) is super simple, you simply set out the first room of the mansion and flip to the first entry in Fred's character book and read it aloud. Together, you will use the Mystery Inc. characters to solve puzzles that unlock more rooms and help you solve the mystery of the ghost of Lady Fairmont.
To interact with the various items, doors, and other characters in the mansion, players will simply select a character that they want to interact with a numbered item on the board. They will then line up that character with the number and read the corresponding entry in that character's story book. Each character will interact with items in different ways, so it's up to you choose the right person for the job: Velma researches, Fred investigates, Shaggy eats, Scooby smells, and Daphne uses.
For example, if we want Velma to research the armoire, we would simply line up her character number, 1, with the armoire number, 401. This instructs us to read entry 1401.
Different entries will tell you to do different things like reveal new cards, open envelopes, and bring new room tiles into play. Not all entries are good, however. You can't simply line every character up with every single item in the mansion. At the end of the story, part of your score is based on the amount of Scooby Snacks that you have left over, and you have to discard a Scooby Snack any time you try to look up an entry that doesn't exist or read an entry that instructs you to discard one.
This storybook mechanism is the driving force behind the game. You'll have to pour over the details of the entries you read to solve the mystery, and the items your receive will provide you with a wide variety of different logic and spatial puzzles that you'll have to solve to move on. Don't worry though, if you ever get stuck, you can spend some of your Scooby Snacks on hints.
There are a LOT of envelopes, tiles and cards that you will discover over the course of the game's two chapters. In the beginning, you'll have access to one room and you won't have opened any envelopes or gotten any item cards. Over the course of the game, you'll get open and see practically everything, and trust me when I say there a lots of fun surprises in store inside those envelopes!
There are a lot of IP games out there and if I'm being completely honest I tend to avoid IP games. I have this preconception that they typically have very tacked on themes and gameplay that hasn't been very well-developed. However, I can assure you that this isn't the case for games coming from The Op (USAopoly). Scooby Doo: Escape from the Haunted Mansion is chock full of interesting and thematic mechanisms alongside a genuinely interesting and engaging storyline.
I think you'll enjoy this game if...
- You grew up watching or love Scooby Doo & the Mystery Inc. gang
- You like games with an immersive storyline and thematic gameplay
- You enjoy games with lots of opportunity for discovery
- You enjoy puzzle-solving, logical thinking, and mystery-solving
- You enjoy cooperative games that are challenging but still family-friendly
Scooby Doo: Escape from the Haunted Mansion is a fun . Much of the mechanisms and puzzles in the game are particularly unique and thematic, but it is the simple storybook-style gameplay that really makes this game shine. You must be careful to best utilize each character's unique abilities in order to escape from the mansion while simultaneously keeping a careful eye out for clues to try to solve the mystery of Lady Fairmont's ghost. It's a game that rewards careful, logical thinking and I thoroughly enjoyed the massive amount of discovery provided in the envelopes, cards, storybooks and more. I would highly recommend this game to anyone who asked me about it.
If you are interested in learning more about Scooby Doo: Escape from the Haunted Mansion, you can check it out by clicking here.
Disclaimer: A free copy of Scooby Doo: Escape from the Haunted Mansion was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest preview. Any opinions written above are entirely my own.