Playing "Escape the Room" games at home

Over the past two years I have attended a few “Escape the room” venues. Now if your unfamiliar with these attractions, you may be more familiar with online escape games and apps. The ones where you’re locked in a room and need to find clues to escape etc. Well you can actually do this for real at various locations and believe me they are pretty intense. 
If you can’t or don’t want to do the actual locked in a room escape game then you can always bring the escape the room game to your home. Paul Lamond company have bought out two games based on the real escape room games. These can be played with family or bought out at a dinner party.

Now obviously I can’t physically lock anyone in a room in my home, but you can use your imaginations to make it as real as possible. Such as telling guests the door of the room they are in is inaccessible until the game is solved (apart from toilet trips).
I have both of the games which are titled – Secret of Gravely retreat & Mystery at Stargazer manor. I had no idea what to expect with these, as obviously I have done the real thing more than once and also play a lot of them online but as it’s my sort of thing (yes getting locked in eerie places!) I just had to give them a go. 
So this is what’s inside the boxes. Contents are similar in both. 

There is no board, no dice nor playing pieces. Instead several envelopes which the instructions clearly state “Not to Open”, a first scene card, and a solution wheel. This wheel has many strange images on it and is used in the puzzle solving. 
It is recommended to have between 3-8 players over the age of 10 years. Any younger children can watch but won’t really grasp the concept well. 
One person, the one who owns the game, is the host. Once the game starts, the first scene card can be read by the host (me). The first card gives the story of how and why you are all trapped and also the first clues. 

I cannot tell you the clues, solutions nor show you the contents of the envelopes because this will spoil the games for anyone else who wishes to play them. They can be complicated at times and the puzzle wheel thing takes a bit of getting used to. There will probably be arguments when solving clues but each clue solved leads to a new envelope being opened and eventually escaping the room.
I think these would go down well at dinner parties and even Christmas or new year home parties (before the drunkenness that is) the only let down being is that once they have been played, that’s pretty much it. It’s a good idea to take care when opening the envelopes and when finished place the contents back in so the game can be passed on and played by others.
Obviously it’s nothing like being in an actual live escape room but it’s fun and can last 2 hours or more. If I had to compare them to anything then I would say those murder mystery games that can be played at home. 
The games cost Β£20 each and can be played with different guests or passed on once played.

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