Curio Casebooks: Anadarko

The Anadarko box concerns a cold case from 1989 Oklahoma. The original detectives were stumped by a string of murders, and the case file has been sent to you to review. Retrace the original detective’s steps and delve into the original case files to find where the trail went cold and solve the murders for yourself.

Rating: Thrilling!
Completion Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Date Played: 19th December 2020
Party Size: 1
Recommended For: Sleuths and True Crime Fans

Content Warning: Murder, Violence

Anadarko is the first case box by sleuth duo behind Curio Casebooks – Jo and Martin and it’s got EVERYTHING you want from a murder mystery experience. For the sheer amount of evidence and goodies you get in a box, to how exciting (and realistic) the actual case was – I’m hooked and I cannot wait for Case 2 to come out!

Okay so I’m a murder mystery super-fan. Since when and why? I’m not sure. Maybe from studying law at university, maybe from a 6 month detective internship with the London MET? I mention this because I’m convinced I can spot an exciting and realistic case file a mile off. Anadarko has it all. From the moment I opened the box it felt genuine! Who were these unusual people from the 1980s in this small town? I must know!

The story goes, over the course of a year back in the 1980s, three women mysteriously turned up dead in the small town of Anadarko. You join the cold case in the present day, having nothing but the old case files to chew over. But you’ll quickly find yourself, as I did, pulled into the world of Andarko, pouring over the transcripts, underlining things, cross-referencing with photographs and detective notes.

Unfortunately I do not have a pin board, but at about the 50% mark I realised I needed to spread out and get a better overview. Keeping track of three murders requires a step back (or two, or three). But where there’s a will (and some cellotape) there’s a way – even if it did cause my regular Player 2 to double back on himself in confusion when he entered the room, walls plastered in photos and transcripts.

All in all, solving the Anadarko case takes around 1 – 2 hours. The idea is quite simple, the “game” follows a non-linear pattern of being presented with all the evidence and part of the fun is sorting it out to figure out the who, what and when. Once that’s all figured out, you’ve got to review the suspects and work your way backwards. Why did the killer do what they did? Is there a hidden clue somewhere in a transcript? (Yes! Yes there’s plenty!)

There’s also a fun little puzzle cipher that fits into the game too – as a regular escape room enthusiast I might have liked to see more, but the one that was in there felt perfectly in place. A curious note mailed in to the newspaper editor in an unfamiliar, Zodiac-esque language? Sign me up.

Talking of fun things in the box – fans of Curio Casebooks can also look forward to a number of extra goodies. These were such an added surprises and really elevated the whole experience for me. For starters, an FBI hat and laminated ID card. A nice touch alongside a branded notebook, keyring, bookmark and – at least in my kit – a couple of festive snacks to keep me going too!

Overall, I’m very impressed with Curio Casebooks and can’t wait to see what they come up with for their next case!

Curio Casebooks: Anadarko can be purchased for £25 via the company’s Etsy page.

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