Puzzling Together


My best friend and I have been experimenting with ways to “spend time together while still being apart”. We play Trivial Pursuit nearly every day. I send her the questions from a card and vice versa and then we see how many each of us got correct from our card. And she has a Zoom account, so a month or so ago we started planning Movie Nights, where she streams a movie and we watch it together with commentary as we always do. The first movie we watched this way was Doctor Sleep. Our to be watched list has grown. Then she bought and sent me a gift… a very cool gift from the Deadbolt Mystery Society.

It’s a “Solve a Mystery” puzzle box she picked The Dark and Stormy Night puzzle because it involves an author. Friday night, I uploaded all the stuff from the box to our shared DropBox folder so she would have the suspect pictures and descriptions, their criminal strengths, and all the puzzles. Then on the Sunday night we opened a Zoom meeting at 6:30 pm and sat down to solve the mystery together.

The box highlighted some of our individual strengths as well as some of our combined strengths. Turns out, I know more types of cryptography games and she’s faster and better at them than me. Working together, we solved it in 3 hours. Now, there are add-on pieces to what’s in the box in the form of QR codes that require passwords gleaned from the puzzle answers, but when we got a password and a new piece of information, I would take a screenshot and text it to her so she would have it as well as all the stuff I had scanned and photographed to our shared folder on DropBox.

The box was great. Not only was it interesting, the puzzles kept our minds engaged (something I needed considering the way the weekend had started). It was a fun mystery to solve and using Zoom we managed to work together, talk, laugh, get frustrated, and since I had made sure she had everything in her possession as well, it was as if we were together.

So, for $31 with shipping and handling we were very entertained for 3 hours and had a great time. We talked way more than we would have at a movie or concert and it was surprisingly cheaper.

In these days, we are all searching for ways to be together but separate from our friends and loved ones. Deadbolt caters to murder mystery lovers, but I’m sure there are some companies that aren’t so intense, although I will say Dark and Stormy Night was teen friendly as well as adult friendly. It was a blast and we really felt like we were together having a game night even though we were two hundred miles apart.

We’ve already started making plans to do it again. We both agreed the “one mystery in one box” format is better for us than the “one mystery spread over several months of boxes”. Deadbolt offers 11 “one box one mystery” puzzlers, but I’m sure there are others that we just haven’t looked at yet.

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