It didn’t seem that long ago that my intrepid team of investigators were dispatched to UCL Museums to solve a fiendish murder mystery. Now our help was needed again.
This time a young curator had disappeared.
The next few hours were spent combing the UCL museums, searching for clues. The team visited the Grant Museum of Zoology and discovered the suspect Doris Mackinnon. They moved on to the Petrie Museum where Violette LaFleur came under suspicion. On to the UCL Art Museum where Winifred Knights was implicated. Dr Elizabeth Garrett Anderson was the final name in the frame, found in the pop-up pathology museum.
This event was more of a treasure hunt than a murder mystery. At each location the team answered clues and found letters that feed into a larger puzzle.
Yes, my team found the answers to all the clues and the names of all the suspects, as well as the room codes, but we failed to win the final prize.
A fun night out that ended with burgers, wraps and ice creams outside UCL.
There are many ways to make big money.
Sure, you could study hard and get a well paid job. Or you could start your own multi-million pound business.
But both of those sound like hard work.
How about becoming a high paid footballer (looking at you Lionel Messi) or an actor such as Mark Wahlberg?
Or how about just winning the lottery?……
Dreaming of Big Money
It had been a gruelling drive to Manchester for a Business Mastermind retreat. We’d been under pressure to make it in time. However, roadworks, traffic jams and imposed speed restrictions meant the journey, which started as a 4 hour drive, ended up taking nearly 6 hours.
We finally arrived, exhausted, and in need of a toilet, but luckily in time for the first event. The weekend proceedings kicked off with a team building escape room at Lucardo.
With the number of business owners taking part, the group needed to split across two rooms. This meant not everyone would get to play the same game. The girls elected to play Lucardo’s The Dream room, which was ranked their hardest room. Meanwhile the boys got to play Lucardo’s Espionage.
Lucardo: The Dream
Appropriately enough, given this was a business event, The Dream involved us finding the key to riches. Although, in this case it was not by implementing business strategy, but by finding the winning numbers to the lottery.
Plot: Your dreams are always happy and delightful, but tonight something is going wrong. Your wildest dreams of finding the magic numbers are slowly slipping away, through a whirlwind of riddles, puzzles and illusions. Can you solve your way out of this dream before your chances get lost in the subconscious forever? Be aware, things may not be as they appear…
To enter the room we were put to sleep. Wearing eye masks, we were lead into the room and left to explore the world of dreams. Our aim was to find the winning combination for the lottery.
Removing the masks we found ourselves in a strange room that looked a little like a child’s playroom. A playroom, but the kind that would appear in a dream. Yes it was full of games, but there were things that were out of place. Chairs stuck to the walls. Things hanging from the ceiling……
The game is non-linear, so we were able to explore and find things in what felt like a random order. The room was very lock heavy. I assumed this was in keeping with the theme – find the combination of balls to win the lottery. However, having spoken to the boys, it appears that Lucardo rooms are lock heavy.
I’d asked about the lighting levels before we went in. Sometimes a room is dusky and trying to see to input combinations is difficult in low lighting. The Games Master, Mathew, had said there was a bit of darkness but not everyone needed to experience this. Finding the room in dusk (again in keeping with sleep) was not a surprise, but we were all experiencing it, so………….and then I found the light switch!
We set about searching the room and found a number of codes. With so many locks, most codes needed to be tried in multiple places to find the right lock. There was also a clever mechanical puzzle that tied into the lottery theme really well. That kept the team busy for quite a while.
And yes we found the dark place. By then we all wanted to experience it.
The two end puzzles looked easy and turned out to be anything but. One we had tried to solve in a variety of ways throughout the game. Our unique attempts probably had the GM laughing, as it could not be solved until we had unlocked props available later in the game.
We escaped with 1.06 minutes on the clock.
Plot: The year is 1938, just prior to the outbreak of WWII. You and your team are part of the newly founded British Secret Intelligence Service. The War Office has had a number of classified documents stolen, which are thought to be held in a secret enemy bunker. Intelligence tells us the guards change every hour. Your Mission: crack the bunker security codes and recover the documents before the guards change.
Espionage has been described by other bloggers as the easiest game. The boys team escaped the room with 8.45 minutes to spare.
The main feedback was that there were a lot of padlocks in the room. Also, some of them felt cheated by the ending. Instead of “escaping”, the Games Master walked through the exit door, then led them out of the entrance.
However, they all enjoyed the game and were looking forward to playing more escape rooms in the future.
Treasure Hunts in London
Treasure Hunts in London offers a range of self guided treasure hunts, as well as fully managed experiences, throughout London.
Taking part is easy. Start by downloading the free ClueKeeper app for your mobile device on the App Store or Google Play. Then decide which Treasure Hunts in London self guided hunt you want to experience. There are currently five to choose from
The ClueKeeper app gives you the clues and provide hints along the way. Once you have the answer, submit it on your smartphone or tablet. ClueKeeper will tell you where to go next. You can even use the hunts as walking tours using the skip answer function.
All the treasure hunts have been carefully planned so they offer a wide range of clues. Some clues are harder than others so it appeals to all skill levels.
Discover mysterious alleyways and hidden parks as well as famous landmarks as you explore the city. Find out some of the history of the area.
We recommend teams of 4, but teams can be 2 to 6 players. And you only need one app per team.
I got a call from Escape Roomers (Munich). They were travelling to London and were looking for additional explorers to join their quest for Pharaoh Khufu’s Chamber. Legend had it that the Chamber was cursed. All who remained there longer than 60 minutes were said to be destined to guard the Pharaoh’s tomb and his treasure for all eternity…….
No pressure then!
Were we up for the challenge?
You bet we were.
And so my team of Invitation To Events explorers arrived at the ante chambers, or foyer at Escape Rooms London Bridge just off Tooley Street, to begin our mission.
Pharaoh’s Chamber – A Cursed Tomb
We introduced ourselves to our fellow explorers and swapped stories of escape rooms we’d played throughout Europe. The Games master was surprised we had not met before embarking on this adventure.
He told us we were the 100th raiders to enter Pharaoh Khufu’s tomb. It seems the first 99 explorers had perished in the chamber, although no bodies had been found. We were given an hour to find the Pharaoh’s treasure, and light all the flames of the gods, to escape.
We were shown into a large room with Egyptian statues all around the room. As the door shut, we started searching for clues. There was a good selection of puzzles arranged in a nonlinear game play. We were able to split up, search and solve, joining together and parting as puzzles were solved. One puzzle that stumped us for a long time. It turned out to be something that was formerly a puzzle but had now been retired and was just a prop!
It was good to see we were making progress throughout the game, as we kept lighting the flames of the gods around the room.
It was down to the final light and we huddled together a little stumped. Finally we solved it and managed to escape within the time limit and without needing clues! Amazing.
So happy to have our celebration photo taken and given pride of place on the Escape Rooms wall.
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“It will be fun,” she said reeling off the list of where and when to meet.
“Are you sure you know where we are going?” we asked as we followed her down the winding streets of London. It was beginning to get dark and the market stalls were packing up for the night as we passed. Almost at the end of the road we came to a stop outside an unremarkable grey door.
She gave the password and we entered into a loading bay.
“Are you sure this is right?” we asked.
By now, she was beginning to wonder herself……..
Suddenly a shout came from an open door. The man beckoned us in and lead us to an old film studio that appeared to be lost in time. We had entered the headquarters of ‘Secret Studio’.
We’d signed up to take part in an escape room set in a fictional down-at-heel schlock movie production office. It wasn’t until the Games Master started telling us the plot of the game that we realised this was no ordinary adventure.
This was a scary adventure.
The story goes that after screening the latest film, one of the film crew noticed something was wrong. They’d stayed in the cutting room overnight to try and figure things out but now they had disappeared.
Could our team solve the mystery and bring back the missing crew member?
Or, worst-case scenario, could the room be haunted?
“You’ve signed us up for what?”
I’m not a great fan of horror and hearing the introduction made me a little concerned. I needn’t have been. There are surprises, and bits that are creepy, but nothing extreme.
Oh, and there are dolls.
Just saying because one of our team hates dolls. (Another team member collections national dolls so each to their own, I guess)
Locked in a schlock movie production office
As a team of experienced escape-gamers, we chose ‘Impossibly Difficult’. We were warned this was not an easy option and that less than 50% of people escape in time on their first attempt.
Striding purposefully into the the cutting room, we were ready to begin our search and rescue mission. The set and props conjured up a down-at-heel movie production from 1979 with lots of retro technology.
We split up and started searching. A few nudges were needed to get us on the right track, but then we hit our stride and were working well as a team.
There are some nice touches and puzzles we hadn’t come across before.
Did we get out?
Yes we did. With a couple of minutes to spare.
And the last puzzle…….
……..will have to remain our little secret. I know the way we solved it gave the Games Master a jolly good laugh though……….
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Enter the 1980’s world of big business, big shoulders and fluffy toys
The plot of “Teddy Bears Picnic”
It was the fifth anniversary of Edwards Toys, the company formed by Chester Toyes, Penny Whistle and the late Theo Edwards. Preparations were in hand for the launch of a new Teddy Bear range called “Teddy Bears Picnic”.
The City Adventurers had been invited to join Chester Toyes at the launch of the new range. We gathered at E-Four Indian Fusion in Chingford that was doubling as Edwards House, former home of the Theo Edwards. The house was still occupied by Theo’s widow, Babette, and her new husband Chester Toyes.
At 5pm, Chester Toyes was found murdered by the side of the lake. The body was discovered by one of the security staff and Ryan Storey, a journalist on the estate. There were multiple stab wounds to the body. No murder weapon was found…….
Who could have done it?
Well, it turns out it was one of us!
But was it Babette Toyes, making herself a merry widow for the second time?
Or did his business partner, the designer Penny Whistle, have designs on taking over the company?
Had Chester become too personal with his personal assistant, Carrie Honor Fair ?
Maybe the accountant, Kash D Spencer, felt it was time to cash in Chester’s chips.
Did Ernest Statements, Chester’s right hand man, have anything to state?
And don’t forget the journalist, Ryan Storey. Did the hack take a knife to Chester?
We all had clue packs with information about ourselves and about the others around the table. We also had a map of the house and grounds to help our investigations.
A fun night, with great food and a great game.
Something was up in the world of aviation and our team were sent to investigate. The venue was a glamorous London hangout, where several suspects would be lurking. We arrived at the dangerous location, filled with spies, jet setters and cocktails, to start our mission.
We were told that a small plane had come down just outside London. It seemed that the lone pilot was killed not in the crash, but by a jump with a sabotaged parachute.
This was murder!
Could it be an act of petty revenge, or something much, much more?
After all, the aircraft was sporting some fearsome new technology that could tip the delicate balance of global power……
This interactive murder mystery game was designed for groups of 3 to 5 players by A Door In A Wall. I’ve wanted to play one of their games for years and so was really looking forward to taking part.
Our mission briefing suggested we blend in by wearing appropriate attire for 1969. Unfortunately our mission also coincided with the Beast from the East hitting London. So putting together a suitable costume meant finding
- something 60’s themed
- something that would fit
- something warm enough
I opted for “hippy” with lots of layers (for warmth) and beads. [Remember the Woodstock Festival took place in 1969, so I deemed it appropriate attire.] However, it turns out that blending in with spies requires more of a “Swinging London” mod look. I appeared to be the only hippy in a room of groovy chicks. Hey ho, not to worry.
We arrived at Wringer + Mangle in Spitalfields ready for the game which took place in the downstairs bar. The game had been especially written for the venue and play took place throughout the main bar and side rooms.
We meet Sam, the owner of the cocktail bar and his staff, plus an array of curious and intriguing characters. We gathered evidence, solved cryptic clues and exchanged coded information. We even deduced the murderer correctly, until, at the last moment, a startling new piece of evidence caused us to change our submission. The mistake cost us dearly, as we’d been right until then.
After the answers are marked, the cast return to act out the big reveal. Cue kicking ourselves for not sticking to our guns.
These live action games combine narrative, puzzles and character interactions. We found and solved most of the clues, although there were points we missed. There was also one solution we could not read – The writing was so small I couldn’t even see it! My husband eventually managed to persuade someone to read it to him.
A great evenings entertainment. And I’m already looking forward to the next one.
All credit for these images goes to: Robert Boulton Photography for A Door In The Wall