Escape room

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.

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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?……

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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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A highly guarded secret……

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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’.

FRIGHTS-CAMERA-ACTION!

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.

Challenge accepted.

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……….

secret studio

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The Celestial Chain

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Having played the Lance of Longinus, my team were ready to take on Time Run’s Celestial Chain mission. We gathered at Time Run HQ in Helmsley Place and met Aubrey for our mission briefing.

The Celestial Chain

As before, at 6:30pm sharp, the door swung open to reveal the Time Portal and the start of our time travelling adventure.

It appeared that a rogue goddess, once imprisoned, had broken free of The Celestial Chain. We were charged with gathering items needed to bind her once again……or risk the end of the world!

It was an offer we couldn’t refuse.

Following the briefing we moved to the staging room. Here we “met”  Luna’s other assistant, a robot called  Babbage, who was to be our guide between the time portals. A few more instructions from Luna, then my team set off across space and time, gathering artefacts and solving puzzles.

Collecting the artefacts

You only get 12 minutes per room to collect the artefacts, before you have to move on through the next time portal.

I’d read reports that you don’t have enough time to solve all the puzzles before you are moved on. Some reviewers had found this frustrating, and I’ll admit, it put me off playing this game. However, I spoke to a fellow enthusiast who said the puzzles equate to points. You move on through the next time portal with the artefacts you’ve collected and the points you’ve scored, so aim to collect as much as possible and score as much as possible.

With that in mind, we discovered there was enough time to attempt most of the puzzles in each room, even if you didn’t always succeed.

There is a lot of reading in each room, especially the second room, which has low lighting. We struggled to read some instructions and to see the puzzles clearly in this room. However, we were still able to collect two of the three artefacts required before moving on.

At the end we were given a score card listing our teams achievements and accomplishments. The “Skill Points” are a weighted measure of overall success. At 94 out of 100 points we were all very pleased with ourselves.

Time Run

This team, Babbage decided, were “the Calm”, as we sailed through time with glacial grace – moving at our own pace and calm under pressure. Perhaps a little too calm under pressure….

Time Run is a high production escape room in London. If you haven’t played both these games, book now as there’s only so long left.

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