Diorama: The Vandermist Dossier

By | September 14, 2021

by Diorama (website)

1-5 players

Languages: EN

📦play at home
120-180 mins

My name is Helena Vandermist. My sister Abigail went missing in August of 1979. Everyone around me drew the obvious conclusion years ago, but I was never able to.

With this letter you will have received a dossier. Shortly before her disappearance, Abigail made certain it would come into my possession. In it, she speaks in cryptic terms, but I get the impression she left willingly, and I believe it was related to another missing persons case she was investigating.

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Overall rating

Rated between 4.5 and 5 out of 5

based on ratings from 4 users
combined with 5 pro reviews

Your review

Player reviews

🌵Juliette B expert rated this:Rated between 40 and 40 out of 5
stairs expert rated this:Rated between 45 and 45 out of 5
Played: 17 Nov 2022 Team size: 2 Time taken: 1:30:00 Outcome: Successful escape!
A good mix of puzzles and codes, high-quality graphic design and a variety of (paper-based) components, enough narrative to provide an engaging story (but not so much as to make for boring reading) and, at about 90mins, it was just the right length to comfortably fit in a single evening's playthrough without overstaying its welcome. Recommended.
Anonymous rated this:Rated between 50 and 50 out of 5
Played: 8 May 2022 Team size: 2 Time taken: 2:37
Anonymous rated this:Rated between 50 and 50 out of 5

Reviews by escape room review sites

I don’t normally review games that are pending a crowd funding campaign, but I’m making an exception here for two reasons. Firstly, this game has already been available for some time in Dutch - the Kickstarter is for the new version, upgraded and translated. And secondly, it’s such an impressive game it deserves all the publicity it can get.

It opens with a familiar premise: an old case of a girl gone missing, with a collection of documents that may just hold the secret of what happened. Even b...

It’s been a while since we’ve played a boxed escape game that truly wowed us, but The Vandermist Dossier did just that! Everything from the materials, to the story, and of course, the puzzles, had us thoroughly delighted as we followed Abigail’s clues to track down her whereabouts.
Although everything in this game is fictional, the creator really made the game feel realistic. In the interview below, I had to ask the creator how much of it was real because the TV ads, yellow page listings, and even the town itself felt like they could have all existed during that time period. As a fan of detective games, I loved the suspense and mystery this game was able to offer to us. It felt more like a movie that we're creating with our minds rather than a tabletop game . I can't wait to see how this will continue to develop as a I'm definitely seeing a sequel is in the planning for the near future!

No detail is spared and everything in the box felt genuine and handmade. What follows is a deep dive into the 1970s tracking down the movements of the young girl as she uncovered secrets of her own family intertwined with the fate of the town. It’s hard not to give anything away, but this game will take you into the heart of the Cold War with some surprising twists of fate.

We both thoroughly enjoyed The Vandermist Dossier. From the moment we opened up the box to submitting our final answer (and damn, the reveal of that final answer is so satisfying!), we had a blast. The game is well put-together with innovative components and a gripping narrative.

I’d recommend this to puzzle solvers who like a good balance of story and puzzles, and who like to get involved with physical components. Fans of The Hincks series should get a kick out of the puzzles too (though the tone is more serious).

The marriage of narrative writing and puzzle design here are exceptional, leading to a fantastic, holistically-realized at-home experience.

See also

Other versions of this game:(Different copies of the same game sometimes have significant differences.)