Escape room

The Tomb

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Don your fedora and whip and start solving the mystery!

Stumbling inside an Egyptian tomb (in Cardiff), it’s time to unleash your inner Indiana Jones. You are there to search for a missing explorer, Howard Carter. Unfortunately you’ve just set off a booby trap and now you only have 60 minutes before the walls of the tomb come down around you. Time to think, and walk, like an Egyptian, if you want to get out of this one in time…

The Tomb is by Escape Rooms Cardiff. As this is an Egyptian tomb, the floor is covered with sand and there are hieroglyphs on the walls. The room is also set in darkness.

Normally I would say I’m not a fan of playing in darkness but this one proved fun.One of the great things about the room is that you have to explore using wind up torches. An added interactive element to the adventure.

The puzzles themselves are also in keeping with the plot.  As the story is set in an ancient tomb, instead of technology, there are lots of tactile things to do. The games are well thought out and fit the Egyptian theme of the room.

Good fun.

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Think you’ve got what it takes to stop a runaway train?

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London’s first ever two player escape game is called 2 Tickets 2 Ride. It is produced by Clue Adventures, who also produce Book of Secrets. Set under railway arches between Limehouse and Mile End, the game was inspired by the overground rumbling above the venue and the Elizabeth line planned to run below.

The plot

The story goes that a mad man is threatening to sink London into the ground.

You and your partner must work together to find out who this mad man and his gang are and to stop his evil plan. To do this you will have to comply with his orders and solve the puzzles he has set.

As the adventure is set on the London underground, you’ll wear wireless headphones to communicate. The two of you must work your way from station platform, to train and back to street level relying on your puzzle solving skills.

Will you be able to stop a runaway train and save London?

 

train4

Another recommended adventure by  Clue Adventures.

Clue Adventures co-founder and producer Paul Andrews. Photos by Holly Cant

 

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Time Run: Lance Of Longinus

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Luna Fox had sent us a message via our team leader.

We were to meet at a certain location at a certain time. We were required to wear flat shoes for Time Running and warned that, while we were not to be late, we were also not to be early.

“Do not ring the doorbell until exactly your allocated time slot.”

As we huddled outside a doorway in East London, one brave adventurer decided to flout the instructions we’d been sent and try her hand at ringing the doorbell 10 minutes early.

It was ignored.

But at 6:30pm sharp the door swung open to reveal the Time Portal and our time travelling adventure could begin.

Instead of being greeted by a games master, we were met by Luna’s assistant Aubrey Defoe. He showed us into his “office” for a briefing on our mission. To make travelling between time portals easier we were required to leave our bags and coats behind. Loading the storage crate one member of our team snagged his finger and had to be taken to get a plaster. Aubrey remained in character, telling us that time travel was not supposed to be that dangerous, and ad libbing until all the team were back together.

After the briefing we were shown into the staging room where we “met”  Luna’s other assistant, a robot called  Babbage. He was to be our guide between the time portals. We had more instructions from Luna and then we were off to solve the first puzzles and challenges in an attempt to retireve the Lance Of Longinus.

The puzzles were good and the production value of the sets was amazing. Time Run is  a really impressive immersive game.

Being non-linear, all team members were free to search and solve as we moved between time portals. And we did. Sometimes we worked as pairs, sometimes as a group and sometimes we tried things alone. (Looking at you, “silent solver”.)

We managed to retrieve the Lance Of Longinus and escape back to our time zone with a few minutes to spare.

As well as making it onto the leader board, we were given a report card during the debriefing. After some careful consideration Babbage had decided we were “the Academics” who were both helped and hindered by the raw power of our intellect.

A fair assessment and a great game.

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Book of Secrets

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It’s New Year’s Eve 1999

Master Magician Alistair Wilson performs an amazing trick

And  literally disappears

He is never seen again!

The big questions remain:

  • Why did he vanish?
  • How did he disappear?
  • And what became of his “Book of Secrets”?

With so many questions left unanswered, my team of adventurers set off early one Sunday morning to find a little magic in Mile End. Our quest took us to Clue Adventures

Our mission was to find out what happened to Alistair Wilson on new years eve 1999 and to find his Book of Secrets. Time was of the essence as his flat was due to be demolished. We’d only have 60 minutes before the answers would be lost forever.

clue adventures

Entering the Zone

Wearing our hard hats we completed our briefing before entering Alistair Wilson’s flat. 

Players are offered a choice of play modes. The clues are the same but the amount of hints offered is different. Fun mode gives you a little nudge in the right direction and is good for all levels of player. Experienced players can choose Ultimate where you are asked if you would like a hint before one is given. Players can choose to take the hint or refuse it. 

Despite the look of horror from one team member, our group decided to go Extreme, where you are not offered hints but have to ask for them. Admittedly we had not read the reviews before playing that said Book of Secrets is one of the hardest escape rooms to solve.

Alistair’s flat

This escape room begins in Alistair’s flat and has you searching around finding clues, puzzles and even magic tricks. That’s a nice surprise.

In fact, magic abounds in this escape room. As well as allowing you to perform tricks, the whole experience makes reference to great magicians of the past and present. This adds another level of enjoyment to the game trying to spot different magicians.

Of course, the real object of the game is to solve the mystery and find the book. We were lucky to have a team of four as we could split up and search the room, which is packed full of stuff.

The game is non-linear so everyone gets the opportunity to solve. However you may discover things that require something else to be found before you can use what you’ve uncovered. Good communication is essential. As is remembering what you’ve discovered as you may need to refer to it later.

The big question 

Having solved the first two questions, we still needed to find the actual Book of Secrets. The finale pulled all the team together with literally seconds to spare. 

A recommended adventure.

 

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The Battle For Britain

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18th August 1940. It had started as a normal day.

The WAAF were serving tea to the airmen playing darts and cards when the attack happened. No-one expected the Luftwaffe to launch a resurgent attack on Britain.

With their air base hit by the first wave of heavy bombing, the airmen abandoned their darts match. As the only survivors, the airmen and the WAAF needed to access the strategic ops room and mobilise the full force of the RAF to save Britain.

With another attack imminent, there is no time to loose.

So begins ESCAPE PLAN: THE BATTLE FOR BRITAIN

A friend invited us to play the new story from Escape Plan which is set within World War II at an unnamed RAF base.

The game starts in the officers mess, with its photos of airmen and pub games. We played the only survivors of the Luftwaffe surprise attack. There were enough challenges to keep everyone occupied as we searched for a way to get into strategic operations.

A nice range of puzzles feed into a bigger puzzle that got us into the next room. This  room contains an impressive piece of prop some of us were especially eager to access.

Once inside the strategic ops. room, we set about gaining control of the surviving airbases. Our aim was to shoot down as many German bombers as possible. We had to find the correct airbase codes and despatch the planes before scurrying to safety ourselves.

Able to get all aircraft airborne, we activated the escape code to get us to safety. A great time, plus a few great photos to mark the occasion. Recommended.

escape plan battle for britain

 

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Adventure Rooms, Cardiff

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Adventure Rooms began in Bern, Switzerland, in March 2012. Now a franchise of Adventure Rooms Escape Games offers venues in over 30 locations all around the world. The UK Adventure Rooms can be found in Cardiff, where they currently have two games – The Mad Scientist and The Black Queen.

The Black Queen – Cardiff

Team “Invitation To Events” tried out the Cardiff Adventure Rooms and played The Black Queen, the harder of the two games.

“I’ll take two of you into the room first and come back for the other one” said our Games Master during the briefing. This led us to believe we’d be separated and have to solve puzzles to link up. So we split up along the lines of “someone has to take me”  and left our team mate behind. We need not have worried as the split was only so that the Games Master could handcuff us to the wall, then handcuff our team mate in another part of the room.

Wait a minute. Did I say, not to worry? Here we were, all chained to the wall!

The start is in keeping with the premise of the game. The story goes that you are trapped in the mansion of a mysterious figure, the “Black Queen”. So your first task is to get out of the handcuffs and start finding out about the Black Queen and how to defeat her.

You have to make your way through her lair and escape before she finds you. It’s not a horror room, although there was a point where we turned the corner and had a slight shock. Think it was more to do with us being immersed in the experience.

The Black Queen is well decorated and has an Alice in Wonderland feel to it although its in monochrome.

We played valiantly and were working on the final puzzle when the time ran out.

A great time and we very nearly escaped.

 

adventure rooms

The Black Queen can be found at Adventure Rooms, Cardiff 

 

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FOX in a BOX

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Fox in a Box started in 2013 with an escape room in Vienna. Today its international franchise has over 20 location spread over 3 continents. Their stated aim is to have the brand Fox in a Box become the synonym for real life escape games. They currently have 7 different themed escape room adventures.

The Bunker – Madrid

Team “Invitation To Events” tried out the Madrid Fox in a Box and played The Bunker, which is one of the harder games in the Fox in a Box franchise.

The games masters were multilingual and the game can be played in English or Spanish. There was an initial problem with our game as it had been set up in Spanish! This was quickly rectified by our Commander in Chief (Costumed Games Master) who stayed in character so as not to distract from the immersion of the game.

The Bunker is set in the Cold War era. You and your team are sent to the hideout of a suicidal madman who has decided to take most of humanity with him. He has just activated the countdown to a nuclear explosion and you have 60 minutes to save the world.

Wearing combat gear, you and your team of secret agents enter a room with military plans, maps and wired technology…..

The Madrid game is played in a brick bunker which adds to the atmosphere. The room itself was very well decorated, and contained themed props. In fact one of the best bits about the game was the incredible Nuclear Briefcase which you must carry around to complete the deactivation process. This large piece of custom electronics was the star of the room.

We needed a little help – having the clues in English being one – but still managed to Save The World and make it out in time.

A great game that was a lot of fun to play.

Invitation To Events saving the world - the Bunker Escape room at fox-in-a-box-madrid
Invitation To Events saving the world – the Bunker Escape room at fox-in-a-box-madrid

 

 

The BUNKER

From http://www.foxinaboxmadrid.com/reservation/index/game/bunker

“Ye who enter, abandon all hope.” — Well, the situation is not that dramatic but, as soon as the door closes behind you, the countdown starts. You have exactly one hour time to search through the bunker, use the items and tools you find, solve the puzzles, get the keys and codes to get into the control room and prevent the nuclear catastrophe. This cannot be done alone. Trust your skills and those of your agent-mates and maybe then – maybe!? – you’ll reach The Button… But, when the time expires, it comes the Big Boom!

 

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