• Shelli

Dead Bolt Mystery Society Box Review

I found out about the Dead Bolt Mystery Society from the podcast Lore (which I highly recommend) and decided to try it out. The Dead Bolt Mystery Society is a subscription box geared toward those who love mysteries and suspense and always wanted to be Sherlock Holmes. Each subscription box is a standalone mystery that includes puzzles, evidence and interviews that does not require additional boxes to complete. The Dead Bolt Mystery Society was the perfect distraction during lockdown when I got tired of our board games and didn’t feel like watching television.

How it Works

The Dead Bolt Mystery Society offers four subscription options: monthly ($24.99 + $4.99 shipping); 3-month prepaid subscription ($69.99 plus shipping); 6-month prepaid subscription ($134.99 plus shipping) and 12-month prepaid subscription ($259.99 plus shipping). If you choose the 3, 6 or 12-month prepaid plans, you are charged the shipping for the entire subscription in the checkout process. Also, the 3, 6 and 12-month prepaid plans renew once fulfilled unless you cancel the subscription before its renewal date, the auto-renew option is turned off or the gift option is selected. You can subscribe to the Dead Bolt Mystery Society anytime during the month, but your box will be shipped the first week of the following month. Subscriptions automatically renew on the 11th of each month.

Dead Bolt Mystery Society estimates that boxes take 2-3 hours to complete, are ideal for 1-4 players and are as family friendly as a mystery box about murder can be. In other words, the mystery boxes do not focus on the gruesome aspects of a crime and do not contain profanity or sexual situations.

But if you don’t want to commit to a subscription, the Dead Bolt Mystery Society offers one-time purchase boxes. The one-time purchase boxes are not the same boxes that subscribers get as part of their subscription plans and are not released as a monthly box. You can also buy bundles of multiple mystery boxes and all one-time purchase boxes are shipped in 2-3 days.

Getting Deadbolt Mystery Society

I subscribed to Deadbolt Mystery Society on July 28th and it was shipped on August 2nd and I received it on August 6th. The box that I received was Framed, where players had to solve the murder of an ancient history curator and clear the name of a friend, who was arrested for the murder but who swears he is innocent. The Framed mystery was shipped inside a plain cardboard box that opened to reveal another box that had great graphics with the name of the mystery, “Framed” printed on the top of the box. As soon as you open the box, there is a “start here” guide, which gives advice on how to solve the box and is particularly helpful if you are new to the Dead Bolt Mystery Society.

The box also included an opening brief that helps set up the mystery, for example, telling you who was murdered, who is accused of their murderer and the murder’s relationship to you and what role you will play in the mystery. Other items in the box were police interview notes with potential suspects, postcards with QR Codes that you have to unlock in order to get more clues, puzzles and ciphers and other clues needed to help solve the case for example, a candy wrapper and a museum brochure. The box also included a brown envelope that you are not to open until you are instructed to do so during the course of playing the game. This brown envelope included additional clues to help solve the mystery and find the real murderer.

What I Liked and Didn’t Like

I enjoyed the Framed mystery and it really made me feel like a detective. Many of the puzzles were fun, especially those that involved deciphering some secret code. I thought the setup and mystery were interesting and I liked that there were no dead ends or misleading clues in the box. In other words, all the clues in the box either lead you to possible motives, helped clear suspects or prove/disprove alibies, eventually leaving you to the killer. Also, I liked that even after uncovering all the clues and solving all the puzzles, you still had to use deductive logic to solve all parts of the mystery. And, I liked that the Deadbolt Mystery Society boxes are standalone boxes and so you don’t have to do a multi-month subscription in order to solve a single mystery.

During the course of play, my hubby and I got stuck a few times and we had to use hints available on the Deadbolt Mystery Society website and they helped a lot. I didn’t mind that because if the mystery was too easy then it wouldn’t be quite as fun. Another thing I liked about the box was how interactive it was, for example, we had to use clues to unlock audio files, view receipts, get camera footage, etc., which really added to the entertainment factor of the box. Also, one of the times that my hubby and I got stuck, we thought there was something wrong with the QR Code because the webpage it unlocked looked very different from the other web pages that we had been directed to other times in the game. So, we contacted the Dead Bolt Mystery Society about the QR code and they got back to us in a couple hours, which I found very impressive because I expected a response in 1-2 business days or the following morning at the very earliest and it turns out there was nothing wrong with the website, we just didn’t have to correct passcode L

I joined the Dead Bolt Mystery Society’s Facebook group and discovered that they have a very active online community. I found out from the Facebook group that one of the names of the characters in the Framed Box is named after an active member of their Facebook group. So, I really liked that Deadbolt Mystery Society engaged with their fans because it shows that they really appreciated their customers.

Nevertheless, there were a few things that I didn’t like about the Framed box. First, I wish the box included a notepad or something to write on so that you could keep track of suspects and alibies etc. Instead, we had to use a Word document to keep track of everything, especially when we had to decipher very long messages. Also, the final story wrap-up was a rather long read and I think it would have been better as a recorded message, similar to a recorded message used earlier in the mystery. Finally, my husband and I took at around 5-6 hours to complete Framed, almost double the amount of time that the Deadbolt Mystery Society estimates to take to complete a box. However, I think that it would take us a lot less time in the future if we had a multi-month subscription or had played similar games before.

The Verdict

I liked the Deadbolt Mystery Society Framed box. It was entertaining and engaging but I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more if we played it with a couple more people or if my hubby had liked it as well. So, as an aside, make sure you play with someone who enjoys mystery/puzzle games. I would recommend Deadbolt Mystery Society to anyone who enjoys escape rooms, mystery novels or murder mystery parties/games.

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