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The Deadbolt Mystery Society - "The Inheritance"

Updated: Oct 20, 2021

Above photo is property of The Deadbolt Mystery Society

Company: The Deadbolt Mystery Society

Game: The Inheritance

Country: USA 🇺🇸

Language: English

Type of Game: Puzzles By Mail 📬

Genre: Mystery

Date Played: August 12, 2021

Difficulty (based on 1 player): 4/10

Size of Team: 1-4 Players (Ages 13+)

Time: 2-3 Hours (Suggested 1-3 Hours)

Price: $24.99+ for one offs or save with monthly subscription


The McClains are the quintessential “old money” family, and legend has it that part of the success of the heads of the family stems from an old family heirloom - the McClain medallion. The current patriarch, Edison McClain, has gathered the family for a test to see who is worthy as his heir to the medallion and his fortune. However, the medallion has gone missing, and you have been called in to investigate and find the culprit!


The box contains a variety of high-quality, color, paper-based items, as well as one red-filter magnifying lens. Despite being all paper-based, there is quite a variety of items, including a family tree, a map, postcards, puzzle booklets, forensic evidence, and much more. The overall look is quite slick and well-produced. In addition to what you find in the box, there are a number of digital components, ranging from pdfs to audio files and interactive 360-degree images. My laptop initially had some issues with the interactive images, but they worked fine on my phone.

Above photo is property of ESCAPETHEROOMers


As Dave was out of town, I tackled The Inheritance solo, and it took me about 90 minutes. The top of the box has a nice “Start Here” card that walks you through what to do (e.g., starting by double checking that you have everything on the online “Contents List”) and gives you a number of helpful hints. While there is nothing particularly surprising on here, I think it’s a really nice touch to establish expectations, whether for beginners or even enthusiasts, as some of these things can vary between companies. Next, there is a “Beginning Brief” that introduces you to the backstory, as well as some case notes on what you know so far. Now it’s time to start investigating! There are then a variety of items you have initial access to, as well as two sealed envelopes that you do not open until instructed. You begin walking through a series of puzzles, which largely tell you specific suspects to eliminate or occasionally sites around the mansion to investigate. Most of the flow is quite linear (guided by numbered puzzles in the puzzle booklets), but there are a few that can be solved at any time once you have the materials. You also do a bit of deduction as you discover some other clues along the way! You must have a QR scanner and internet access to view the online components, which are essential to solving the game.

Above photo is property of The Deadbolt Mystery Society


The Inheritance contains quite a few decryption puzzles, along with others like visual searching and comparison, logic, and math puzzles. I appreciate that, while there are a number of decryptions, they are never longer than a sentence so as not to become too tedious. I also love the setup for the first logic puzzle, which really helps you organize and visualize your answer. There are also classic crime game aspects of deduction and cross-referencing. Most of the puzzles are fairly straight-forward from an enthusiast standpoint, but that may well be part of their mass market appeal and success! There are two puzzles that I ultimately needed to consult the hints on; in both cases the issue was an inability to adequately see details in a picture, though I knew exactly what I was looking for. I do wish in those cases that perhaps the images could be provided online (and, in one case, with a better angle or lighting), so that players could more easily magnify the images. Alternatively, the thing you are looking for could be more distinct. Next time, I may need to come prepared with a magnifying glass!

Both a “Hints” file and a “Puzzle Solutions” file are available on their website if needed. Each puzzle has its own page in the hints document, so that you do not inadvertently read hints for another puzzle. Some puzzles have only one hint, but the majority are tiered, though these are given one after another on that same page. A webpage rather than a pdf might allow more flexibility to just see the hints you desire in a tiered system. The solutions are just the answers to each puzzle without explanation, presumably since the hints should guide players towards the process, though a fuller explanation there might be appreciated by some. There is also a page towards the end of the Solutions document that explains how each suspect should have been eliminated. I definitely appreciated that they had these documents available, but they did feel a bit lower production quality than the other game materials.

Above photo is property of ESCAPETHEROOMers


Deadbolt Mystery Society (DMS) is a monthly subscription box service, but you can buy many of their previous boxes individually, including The Inheritance (at the time of writing). This is only the second DMS box that I have played, the first being The Secret of Easthaven Forest. We really enjoyed that one, so I looked forward to tackling another. In comparison, I did not find the flow or all of the puzzles quite as satisfying this time around, and the story felt a bit less creative. Nonetheless, I still enjoyed the high-quality and variety of materials, the online components (particularly the interactive one), and the interactions with the physical components themselves! I also really liked that most of the deduction was based on puzzle answers but some was based on more traditional “mystery game” style clues you discovered along the way. While it was approachable to play solo, there are quite a variety of items in the box, and I can see that you could keep up to 4 players occupied. There are no murders or violence here, and I would say it is family-friendly for older children who enjoy these kinds of games. There is nothing to be concerned about around younger children, but the tone, theme, and puzzle level are less likely to appeal to them (relative to something like Escape Room in a Box). If you are looking for an approachable, classic (murderless!) Whodunnit box with a mixture of puzzles and deduction, with high-quality paper-based materials and integrated online components, The Inheritance might be for you! I certainly look forward to checking out some more DMS boxes in the future.

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

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