top of page

Good Luck Press - "Curios: Albrecht Manor"


Photo above is property of Good Luck Press


Company: Good Luck Press

Game: Curios: Albrecht Manor

Country: Canada 🇨🇦

Language: English

Type of Game: Tabletop Games 📬

Genre: Mystery, Horror

Date Played: October 10, 2023

Difficulty (based on 4 players): 6.5/10

Size of Team: 2 Players

Time: Approximately 3+ Hrs.

Price: $27.00 USD


🆃🅷🅴 🆂🆃🅾🆁🆈

[in their own words, because i couldnt have done it any better.]


"Curios: Albrecht Manor" is an epistolary horror mystery experience. A haunting story told over a series of letters and ephemera.


Reality contains fractures, a series of anomalous events that defy explanation, with only remnants of their occurrences left behind. Letters, recordings, photos and reports are all that remains of these phenomena, housed within the Archive, a catalogue of the extraordinary and peculiar. Our first collection is calamitous events connected through the centuries: The Case of Albrecht Manor.


How old is your house? A question not so simply answered for Alex Dunn when unsettling sounds and shadows begin creeping through the house at night. A new house, far away from home, the only thing keeping Alex tethered to reality is the research into this home with mysterious providence and the letters sent to their lifelong friend Anne. Letters that for weeks have gone unanswered. Alex’s research never concluded, the last letters arriving on May 17th, 1993. Alex disappeared, presumed dead after a house fire that same day.


Alex's writing reveals just as much as the floorplans and photos included in their letters. As a researcher for the Archive, read through Alex Dunn's letters and notes. Uncover the missing pieces of the mystery behind their rural Ontario home in 1993. Explore the connection between this house and the original, destroyed in a fire a hundred years before. Can you connect the clues and find the hidden patterns of this house's history?


Curios: Albrecht House contains 13 letters and postcards mailed from March 3rd to May 17th 1993 from Alex Dunn to Anne Wilson. Each letter details the events in Alex’s life in their new home as their house has them feeling increasingly untethered from reality. Letters will include documents, floorplans, newspaper clippings, and photos of the house through the centuries.


What happened to Alex Dunn? Read the letters to try to solve the circumstances of Alex’s disappearance and those in the home before them.


🆃🅷🅴 ❞🅻🅾🅾🅺🆂❞

Right off the bat the manilla envelope packaging looks authentic and intriguing, like you've been handed some long X-Files esque case file, promising mind bending mysteries, so strange the whole affair had to be shelved. You are given a professional set of instructions and an introduction - from the bureau - setting the ominous narrative. And then you have in your hand a stack of letters, unopened, missives lost in time and space, beckoning you to make first contact and let the ghost of the one who wrote it out. The aesthetic of the story is great, I think its one of the games strongest suits. It has the feel of one trying to document unexplainable occurrences in mundane words and settings, through simple photographs, postcards, personal drawings, and diaries.


Photos above are property of Good Luck Press


🆃🅷🅴 🅶🅰🅼🅴 🅿🅻🅰🆈

Full disclosure: it is a narrative mystery game. It doesn't include puzzles per se. Or to say it best, it doesn't include what is conventionally considered puzzles. This does not make it not a puzzle game, it's just that the puzzle is more abstract, more connected with explaining the occurrences in the narrative, as opposed to who killed Alex Dunn, with the what, in what room. It's more about immersing yourself in the experience, more of a story, with elements of a mystery, and questions that naturally pose paradoxical and paranormal happenings which you must slowly deduce into actual realities. At times you are simply reading a story, and at others you are searching for the message within the message, the hidden figure in the carpet, trying to make sense of it all. It may not have a definitive conclusion, although it does give you a definite motivation and direction, but that may not even be the point. And I applaud mysteries of this nature, though I can see how the average gamer might be disappointed. Narrative mysteries are more ambitious, and have potentially more depth, and they're not restrained by the conventional paradigms of the murder mystery genre. Of course this can also be there undoing. In your standard puzzle game, the cleverness of the puzzle is the attraction, and the story is largely secondary, the inessential kernel of the logic puzzle. In the narrative adventure the drama takes center stage, as it should, because the human heart is the greatest mystery of all. It's just that it's a lot harder to make a puzzle out of a story, the human heart also being again, a hard mystery to render. So the question is, did it achieve this great feat, did it make a genuine mystery out of Alex' strange disappearance. It was novel, uneven, but ultimately intriguing, and at least narratively ambitious. I think players will get a sense of disappointment with the game if they come in looking for classic style puzzles. The puzzle really is the comprehension and rationalization of Alex's experience, as you peel back the layers of the strange occurrence, and the strange feeling that takes over you as you approach an impossible and yet necessary conclusion.


Photo above is property of ESCAPETHEROOMers


🆃🅷🅴 🅿🆄🆉🆉🅻🅴🆂

I'm going to take this section to talk a little more about what I think the game got right, and ways that it can be improved upon - without spoiling anything. I think the story is ambitious, but its telling is a bit slow, a bit unrealistic, a bit surreal, but only because it's comical at times what degree of paranormal activity the main character is willing to entertain. It does have this feeling of watching someone lose their mind, lose their reality, which it does a relatively good job of portraying, although again I wouldn't even call it deeply psychological, although it will leave you thinking about the main character. The big twist, as you might call it, does set it in a category all its own, as a grand metanarrative adventure. The creator really tried to go for something deep, clever, though not in a mysteries of the human heart way, but more of some big mind blowing notion, like a denouement in a Christopher Nolan movie. I don't think it fully worked, and this may be because it's the ambition of its idea outstripped the powers of its execution. In terms of puzzles, I mean I'm an open minded guy, but it could have benefited from the structure of classical type puzzles. It needed to be gated more, or it needed the reveals to be slightly more layered and laborious, as opposed to simply given. Although the final conclusion is a matter of your own deduction, the path there was not gated and compartmentalized enough. There's a lot of details, more of them simply story, a lot of diary entries, there was some deduction, some connection making, and some study of hidden details, deciphering of cryptic images. The clues and puzzles do contribute to an understanding of the big idea, but it's more about allowing yourself to believe what has basically been laid before your eyes, then it is about proving. You know what happened, but do you know what really happened? If that makes sense.


Photos above are property of ESCAPETHEROOMers


🅲🅻🅾🆂🅸🅽🅶 🆃🅷🅾🆄🅶🅷🆃🆂

In the future I feel like the story and the mystery should be intertwined more closely, and it should be more compartmentalized, which looking at Curios next mystery, investigating a series of connected murder/disappearances, already sounds like the creators have thought about the issue. Let me say this about the game: I love that the creators took the story side seriously, that they came up with something original and interesting. I think too many games take story for granted, as an afterthought, albeit a necessary one. It's a good trend that creators become more invested in the story, because it also makes for better mysteries and puzzles at the end of the day. Overall, the surface of the game is as intriguing as its substance, and I think it's a bold and entrancing leap, and that future installments of the Curios series will carry forth the good while also consciously refining the delivery of the narrative and puzzles.

 

(If you do decide to try this game, give us a shoutout or tag us on social media so we know you heard it from "ESCAPETHEROOMers"!)


Disclosure: We thank Good Luck Press for providing us with samples of the game. Although a complimentary experience was generously provided, it does not impact our opinion on the review whatsoever.


bottom of page