Adventure

Fossil hunting at Kimmeridge Bay.

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The Jurassic Coast

The Jurassic Coast is a World Heritage Site on the English coast that stretches from Exmouth in East Devon to Studland Bay in Dorset.

Kimmeridge Bay on the Jurassic Coast by Juliamaud
Kimmeridge Bay on the Jurassic Coast by Juliamaud

 

Group on Kimmeridge Bay by Juliamaud
Group on Kimmeridge Bay by Juliamaud

You may not have heard of Kimmeridge in Dorset. I know I hadn’t until  a group of us went there in search of fossils.

Kimmeridge is a small coastal village that enjoys international recognition due to the fossils that commonly occur throughout the Kimmeridge Clay. In particular there are shells of ammonites and bivalves, as well as the skeletal remains of marine reptiles and (occassionally) the bones of dinosaurs and pterosaurs.

The Etches Collection

After a wall along the bay, looking for fossils, our group visited the nearby Etches Collection. This state of the art museum was created by famous fossil hunter and expert Steve Etches MBE.

Steve Etches with Catherine Skeggs
Steve Etches with Catherine Skeggs

Steve spent years combing the coast for ammonites and dinosaur bones. He collected so many that a £5m, world-class museum had to be built to house them all.

The Etches Collection: Museum of Jurassic Marine Life opened in 2016. It is a new purpose built museum  about a mile from the beach. It contains a magnificent collection of around 2,500 specimens. The permanent home for the collection is managed by a  trust, that was created to hold the finds for the nation. Local landowner, the Smedmore Estate, donated the site for the museum and the Lottery Heritage Fund gave £2.5m to the project, which was matched by private donations.

Visiting Kimmeridge Bay and The Etches Collection

The bay is reached by way of a narrow toll road a short distance from the village. Plenty of parking is available at the cliff-top. Fossil hunting is permitted at Kimmeridge Bay, but the use of hammers is not.

The Etches Collection is in the village of Kimmeridge, eight miles south of Wareham in Dorset. Kimmeridge is sign posted from the A351 at Wareham.  As you turn into the village, the museum building is on the right hand side.

The Etches Collection by Juliamaud

The Etches Collection

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Tips for solving puzzles in Escape Rooms

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So you are in an escape room with your team.

What things can trip you up? How do you over come them?

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Not seeing what is in front of you.

Sometimes one of the hardest things in an escape room is seeing what is in plain sight. You are so used to having to open locks and search cupboards that you can miss something that is staring you in the face.

Check your answer.

So you’ve worked out the puzzle and are sure you’ve got the right answer, but the lock isn’t opening?

Time to start double-checking your work. It may be that you have the right answer, but the wrong lock.

Next, ask your team. Maybe you’ve made a simple error in your calculations. Or maybe you’ve gone about solving it the wrong way. It could be as simple as on those game shows where they read who “has” been in rather than who “hasn’t” and loose the jackpot.

I give up!

Unfortunately, you can’t.

Or if you do give up, someone else on your team has to solve the puzzle.

No-one is getting out unless all the puzzles are solved…….unless of course you hack the puzzle. And that’s not why you paid good money and gave up a couple of hours of your time.

So stop complaining, stop procrastinating and ask for help.

Initially ask your team. But ultimately ask your Games Master. They are there to help you get out. Use them.

 

person about to catch four dices
Photo by fotografierende on Pexels.com

Want to know more about clue solving adventures?

Check out What Are We Going To Do Next?

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Escape Games 

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So what is an Escape Game?

It is a physical adventure game. Usually an escape game is an escape room, although there are outdoor escape adventures available.

For an escape room, a group of people are locked in a room and have to solve clues and puzzle to escape. They look for codes and clues, solve puzzles and riddles, and combine information.

It’s intensive playing for an hour, but also a form of team building. To win (escape) the team need to collaborate and co-operate with each other. It brings out qualities such as leadership, communication, trust, flexibility and responsibility. And throws in a dollop of stress, time pressure and competition.

 

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Love playing Escape Rooms and interested in knowing how to design one?

Well, you are in luck. Nowescape asked Daniele Colombo to share his secrets to designing “must-play” escape games.

He said to decide on a theme and make the game-play follow the story.  He advised sticking with a classic theme, such as pirates, mad scientist or bank heist, if you’re the first game in the area. But be innovative if you’re last. Decor and lighting should enhance the theme and there should be a themed soundtrack. He suggested using a balance of technical and traditional puzzles.

He also advised considering smoke machines and smell effects. I know they are used to help players become fully immersed in the theme, but I’d advise caution re breathing problems.

More about team-building

Check out more team-building ideas with “What Are We Going To Do Next?”. This fascinating book shows how social team-building builds memories and happiness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exploring Tate Modern

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The Materials and Objects display

A while ago we visited The Tate Modern to discover how artists around the world have used diverse materials and embraced new and unusual materials and methods.

Lee Ufan Relatum 1968, 1994;Relatum photo by Juliamaud
Lee Ufan Relatum 1968, 1994
Magdalena Abakanowicz Embryology 1978–80; Embryology photo by Juliamaud
Magdalena Abakanowicz Embryology 1978–80
Susumu Koshimizu From Surface to Surface 1971, remade 1986;Surface to Surface photo by Juliamaud
Susumu Koshimizu From Surface to Surface 1971, remade 1986
El Anatsui Ink Splash II 2012; Ink Splash II photo by Juliamaud
El Anatsui Ink Splash II 2012
Learning about Marcel Duchamp - Fountain 1917, replica 1964 - photo by Juliamaud
Learning about Marcel Duchamp – Fountain 1917, replica 1964

If you’d like to discover what treasures are held in Tate Modern collection, visit

TATE MODERN 

for International modern and contemporary art

Finding a notorious gangster’s treasure

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Our team met in a coffee shop in the city of London one sunny Sunday morning. We were about to travel back in time to New York in 1935 to solve a murder of a notorious gangster and, hopefully, find his treasure.

Gangsters Treasure

This is the new Escape Game in London by Clue Adventures in association with Locked 60 Escape Games.

Arriving at a nearby pub we were greeted and lead downstairs to The Chop Palace Bar, where Dutch Schultz has been killed. Dutch may have been hated, but he wasn’t stupid. He’d made sure to hide his stash. Our mission was to find out who killed Dutch, find  his will and locate his hidden treasure.

Rather than a locked room to escape from, we needed to complete our task and escape the police. We had just 60 minutes and the clock was ticking.

The game is nonlinear, so we all speed off in different directions, coming together as small groups to solve things. The game is packed with puzzles in keeping with the theme. It’s not lock heavy, and there are some nice props. And, as with Clue Adventures other games, guessing doesn’t help.

As this game is set in a real pub, hints are not given by screens, walkie talkies or ipads. If you need help, you have to bribe the barman. Luckily we were supplied with a fistful of dollars just in case.

As usual, at least two of the team purposely ignored the money, insisting we could get by without hints. They were wrong.

But we did only needed a couple of nudges in the right direction.

And yes, we solved the murder, located the will and found the treasure four minutes before the police arrived. Unfortunately our victory photo was a little blurry.

 

Bookings are being taken to Gangsters Treasure at weekends only until 30th June 2018.

 

 

 

Dreaming of Big Money

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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?……

blocks blur close up colorful
Photo by Digital Buggu on Pexels.com

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…

The Game

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.

 

Girls in Lucardo

Lucardo: Espionage

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.

 

 

Boys in Lucardo

 

Quest for Pharaoh Khufu’s Chamber

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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.

Munich Escape Plan 2018

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