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The Secret Door
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Store:  Editor's Pick Kids Games, Kids Games
Edition:  Secret Door
Theme:  Mystery
Genre:  Cooperative
Format:  Board Games
Other:  Games for young gamers

The Secret Door

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Ages Players
5+ 1-8

Designer(s): Jim Deacove

Manufacturer(s): Family Pastimes

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Product Description

A mystery game! Valuables have been stolen & we have to find them before Midnight. Together we search through the Mansion for clues. At Midnight, the Thieves may slip away with all the hidden booty! Children enjoy figuring out the mystery of what is behind the Secret Door. Because of the co-operative principle, everyone is part of a team that discusses ideas & shares strategies. Other important skills of Memory & Logic get a workout, too. Each game is different, exciting & tricky. That's why adults like playing along! Get the magnifying glass, Holmes, & let's get on with the Case. Midnight approaches!

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Jim Deacove

  • Manufacturer(s): Family Pastimes

  • Year: 1991

  • Players: 1 - 8

  • Ages: 5 and up

  • Weight: 331 grams

  • Current Sales Rank: #8

  • Customer Favorites Rank: #1


  • Board 12 x 12 in
  • Clock Cards
  • Set of Valuables
  • The Secret Door

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.7 in 11 reviews

by Ken
Amazingly simple, Amazingly good, but such sad bits.
April 19, 2009

I just picked up this game on discount from here. I went on the reviews and I am not disappointed. My daughter has requested this more than any other lately. She gets incredibly excited and wants to logically step through which expensive items might be under "the secret door."

We talk it out and share what we can all remember. Even I get excited. We have not yet won, but we keep coming back for more.

The game is, in comparison with so many games these days, not very attractive. The art is nice and would even be okay, but I long for nice chunky bits like you find in say, carcassonne. They're so thin, they're just hard to pick up. They're about the weight of paper they make fruit rollup boxes out of. If a child got mad and bent one, the game wouldn't be quite the same.

I wish somebody would buy the rights to this from the company and make it all snazzy. How about z-man or rio grande?

If you have young kids, just get it. Fully worth the money even at regular price.

by Catherine Peoples
Best Game EVER!
January 22, 2009

I loved this game as a child, and I still do. I have 5 children of my own now and the oldest 4 (Ages: 4, 6, and 8) love playing this game. It is exciting for them and full of mystery. It is definitely not a boring board game. The quality of the pieces is so high, and they all love searching for the hidden object. This is great fun for the whole family! We all love it! There should be more games like this.

by Joe Johnson
My favorite cooperative kid game
January 15, 2008

As an elementary school counselor of 10 years, and the father of 3, I have lots of cooperation books and games. But this one is my all-time favorite of all. It is simple, can be played in about 10- 15 minutes, always changes, is imaginative, and understandable for children as young as about 5. 11 year-olds enjoy it, and when I encourage kids to help each other, they are working towards a group goal, not against each other. Admittedly, it is a bit flimsy, but after about 5 years of regular play, I am ordering another one.

Great game for a tough age range
December 05, 2007

Not just simply "Memory" and no complicated movements or rules. Secret Door is the rare game that not only encourages kids and parents to play, it allows them to interact.

It's tough to make a cooperative game that is compelling, but this one succeeds. The game bits are very low-tech and not nearly as appealing as the current European entries, but the game is so simply great and appropriate, it transcends its production values. That's my definition of a great value. Enjoy.

Scala vs Jim
February 24, 2005
I believe Scala's competitive version does work, but Jim just misinterpreted Scala's suggestion. The competitive version works if players do not MAKE pairs (and hence do not reveal them to the other player). Knowing that you COULD make a pair is enough to know that the hidden tiles do not include these. Scala did not mean that players should make pairs but not show those completed pairs to the opponent.
by Scala
Not quite a 5?
August 24, 2004

It is a good game. Reveal 2 items every turn, find pairs, and through elimination, identify 3 items hidden behind the secret door. If item revealed is a clock, then time passes and the game ends after 12 hours. Very nice touch.

However, we realized that by picking out pairs, it soon becomes obvious what's behind the door. Great for cooperative play as the game was designed.

If you like to play competitively, encourage each player not to reveal pairs - knowing a pair exists is valuable information, revealing it advantages your opponents. At any time, or after the 12th hour, players then deduce whats behind the door. Players who deduce wrong are eliminated. Enjoy ...

Memory, suspense, teamwork!
February 20, 2004

My kids really like this game, and so do their friends.

You battle the clock to see if you can get the clues necessary to make a team guess as to what was stolen.

Everyone works together, and it becomes a group effort focused on getting clues before time runs out. Is your memory up to par?

Suspenseful and fun for ages 4 to 34!
January 16, 2004

I really enjoy playing this game with my children. The cooperative nature of the game is great. When we turn over a clock, we all sigh and groan, knowing that we are one step closer to running out of time to find the pairs of valuables. When we turn over a picture that we have seen elsewhere, everyone becomes excited and works together to try to remember where the other one was...' Ooh...I think we saw it in the cellar.' ''s this one...turn over this one!' This is not the kind of game where kids get bored and fiddle their thumbs while waiting for their turn -- every player is engaged every moment of the game, even when it is not officially their turn.

Yes, at its core this is a variation of Concentration. But it is also feels very different from Concentration in so many ways that it carves out its own unique place in the world of games.

Winning the game is not a simple matter and therefore it provides a good challenge for all of us. Often, we turn over all the clocks before we have found all the necessary pairs. Then we have to collaborate to decide which three valuable we want to guess are behind the secret door. Fortunately, we are usually able to correctly guess at least one or two of the valuables and save them from the thieves, so the group can always feel somewhat successful and yet feel challenged to play again and save all the valuables next time.

We've played The Secret Door with kids of a wide age range, from our 4 year old to his 14 year old cousins, and everyone has thoroughly enjoyed it. The Secret Door is quick to learn, quick to play, and at the end of the game the kids usually clamor, 'Let's play again!' Highly recommended!

A game parents won't mind playing over and over...
November 17, 2003

My daughter has had this game since she was 4, she is now almost 7 and she still loves it (and so do I!). Much more fun and interesting than a plain memory game, you have to try and rescue the valuables (by matching pairs) and guess what 3 valuables are hidden under the secret door before you run out of time and the theives get away. The pieces are very small which makes it difficult for 4-year-old hands to maneuver, but the 5 and up crowd (for which this is designed) should have no problem. I appreciate the compact design, less paper is used (which is good for the environment) and the game fits nicely on the shelf without taking up much space. Visually pleasing board design. An excellent gift idea, appeals to all.

My 7 year old loves this game!
January 09, 2003

We just received this game for Christmas and my 7 year old loves it! As a parent I love it too because it encourages cooperation not competition. This game uses memory skills and deductive reasoning. Each game doesn't take too long to play or elaborate set up. This was a great gift idea -- and no batteries required!

this game is great
June 25, 2001

Not only does this game teach kids to work together, it also provides hours of entertainment. When the children are gone, my friends and family play it for money, making it fun for adults and children. This game can be played cooperatively or competitively.

Either way, your whole family will enjoy The Secret Door

by jim deacove
Competitive version? Caution advised
August 25, 2004

The competitive version offered by scala of malaysia has a problem. It doesn't work.

If players conceal information from each other, some will get a few pairs, some no pairs, some more pairs and when time runs out, the no pairs player will be clueless and just guess. The others with a balance of pairs will also not have enough information to make a reasonable guess.

Forget the competitive version. Let memory, logic and good feelings prevail!

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