Witchy goings on at the British Museum

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Witchy goings on with Treasure Hunts in London at the British Museum

Join this years adventure from 28th to 31st October 2017

Buy your tickets at www.scavengerhunts.london

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Holy Foul- Up, Blackwing!

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Black.

The game started with complete darkness.

And music…

Edgy, scary music designed to make players nervous…

We entered not knowing what to expect. Sure, we’d played other escape rooms. Ones where you sift through drawers and empty cupboards looking for clues.

But this game was different.

This game was the Breakin’ Blackwing’s Cave room with its superhero theme.

A superhero lair doesn’t have cupboards and drawers to riffle through, so this was going to be a different type of escape room. One that uses high tech gadgets. We’ve played them before too. Some use gadgets to progress the story. Some just add them because they can, without adding anything to the experience. Some gadgets work, some don’t. Some require feats of incredible dexterity.

Starting in darkness, our first task was to find some light, so we began by feeling our way around the walls ….

Good set design, shame about the puzzles.

The set design was good so we were hopeful that the puzzles would be too. Unfortunately that was not the case. 

Our friends had played the Sherlock game as a team of 5 and warned us that, being a linear game, only a limited number players could solve things at a time. There were times when some of them had nothing to do except watch the others.

The Blackwing room is also linear but with only three players, we had more chance of puzzle interaction.

The game is played in darkness so it takes time to find the limited light source and get accustomed to the room. We didn’t find the lighting a problem. However we were frustrated with poor puzzle design, lack of puzzles and poor customer service.

The mission

**NB this review contains spoilers**

During the briefing we learnt that Blackwing was off fighting his arch enemy, while we were needed to defuse bombs inside Blackwings Cave.

Early on there was a major puzzle which we failed. I don’t mean failed to solve. I mean failed, as in the countdown reached zero and the “bomb” exploded. [note 1]

We were left wondering if that was really the end of the whole game. [note 2]

Having paid almost £30 each for an hour of puzzle solving, we expected the game to last longer than 15 minutes. Therefore, we searched for something else to do.

It soon became clear there was nothing else to solve so we used our Walkie-Talkie to ask for a hint. We were told we could continue trying to solve the failed puzzle [note 3] or to ask for a hack to bypass it and move on.

How many teams continue trying to defuse an exploded bomb, I wonder? Was this designed to hold teams up rather than provide enough puzzles?

We were feeling frustrated by this point and elected to take the hack. The hack released a second wave of tech gadget and maths based puzzles. Having maths geniuses on the team (not me) we were able to quickly work our way through the clues until we hit another major problem.

**minor spoilers**

We found a secret “room” – an oppressive blocked corridor where two of the team got locked in. Although we “solved” the escape puzzle numerous times, nothing happened. Finally we asked for another hint, which turned out to be to continue doing exactly what we had been doing!

I was hot, frustrated, and claustrophobic by now. Spitting feathers, I shot back into the Walkie-Talkie “we’ve been doing that but nothing happens”. At this point another Games Master took over our game and told me that nothing was supposed to happen; the puzzle only gave a clue to the person outside the room. [note 4]

Escaping from the sweltering, cramped corridor we found the exit door was now covered with lasers that appeared to serve no useful purpose other than to block the doorway. The clock above the door had also stopped, even though we had more time remaining.

Our original games master arrived and warned that breaking the lasers would incur a time penalty. It wasn’t clear that escaping within the 60 minutes depended on exiting the door without triggering the lasers, so they just looked out of place.[note 5]

By now we were infuriated and frustrated. Escaping in 60 minutes was no longer a goal. We just needed fresh air.

Had we enjoyed it, the GM asked? No we hadn’t.

Complaints

When we left we complained about the puzzle designs and the claustrophobic second room.

[note 1] The games master (GM) said defusing the bomb was a difficult puzzle to solve, especially as you had to connect the wires to defuse the bomb in a certain way. They added that in training it had taken the GM’s 40 minutes to solve that single puzzle.

[note 2] The GM said some teams have given up and walked out when they failed. I’m not surprised, as it appeared to us that the game was over after 15 minutes when the bomb exploded. Having paid almost £30 each, we demanded more for our money and expected to be given more puzzles to solve. (Maybe the other teams were not offered the hack.)

[note 3] The GM said if you wobbled with a connection at any stage you had to start the whole process again. This meant a lot of teams failed and had to keep reattempting it.

Photo

The GM tentatively asked if we still wanted a photo to remember the experience, as she could sense we were very disappointed. I stayed true to the room, but my fellow players pretended they’d played something different. Blocking the memory before we’d even left the building, huh.

IMG_9051

We left feeling very angry that we’d wasted our time and wasted our money.

 

 

Other Online Reviews

I hadn’t spotted the online reviews until after we’d played the game. Although we had the worst time ever, the others didn’t find the room too bad. Here are their thoughts, which include some of the points we raised about the room. I have no idea if they paid full price, like our team did. All I can say is we did not find it enjoyable, and certainly did not find it value for money.

Escape the review

“It’s a pretty linear game. We played with four people, and I’d suggest three as the best number. Two of the larger sequences of the game are limited in how many people can get involved with them at once, so larger groups may find players standing around in these sections…..The number of puzzles in the room is a little on the sparse side.”

Two Bears Life

[note 4]”………..we had issues with the actual game design and flow. Sadly, we also struggled with their clue system, that hardly helped us when we got stuck.”

[note 5] “The puzzles in the room are mostly high-tech with some cool twists. Another warning for the end though: the game is NOT over once the timer stops. We failed to realize that and got all our leftover time deducted, because we thought it was already finished……The last game-element in the Blackwing room was such a frustrating ending to the game that we were fairly stomped afterwards……..”

The Logic Escapes Me

[note 5] “…with a final puzzle sequence that incorporated two unusual techniques to make the game stand out – one of which happens after your clock has stopped. Given that, in every other room I’ve ever played, that meant the game was over, it left us a little confused at a time when the endorphin rush should have just kicked in. “

Den Of Geek 

It was a dark and stormy afternoon when the call came through…

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The ringing phone could only just be heard over the sound of the wind outside and the excited chatter inside. Someone needed our help or rather a few someones needed our help…..

Invitation To Events sprang into action and dispatched teams across Nottingham to discover the hidden clues, objects and codes. Each team would have only 60 minutes to solve the mysteries, puzzles and challenges in order to find the key they needed to escape their room.

As part of a Hen Weekend in Nottingham, we organised an afternoon at an Escape Room. Or rather THREE rooms at one Escape Room Provider.

Logiclock is a puzzle-based live escape game where small groups of people solve puzzles and mysteries to escape from a room or series of rooms. All of the escape rooms are theme-decorated, as shown by the after game photos . Logiclock advertise that all of the decorations and puzzles are handmade and unique to their venue.

Cosa Nostra – The Sicilian Adventure

The British Spy Agency required a secret team to infiltrate the villa of the Sicilian mafia, where 4 mafia bosses were holding a meeting. They needed to discover the plans of the mafia bosses and escape from the villa without being detected. Would they succeed in their mission?

Pirates in Nottingham

While all this was going on another group was dispatched to a secret house discovered in the heart of Nottingham which was full of pirate treasures. Although it had been rumored that such a place existed,
no one had left the pirate shelter alive to tell the tale. Would our team be successful in acquiring the treasures and finding the final key to escape?

Made in Stein – Science Adventure

Professor E had been working on something of great importance when he had abandoned his office abruptly. Now his assistant, Mrs. Taylor, was looking for someone with a scientific brain to complete his research.
This was where our task force came in. Although Mrs Taylor had  seen a lot of candidates,  she was still searching for the best of the best. Would our team prove to be what she needed?

Awaiting exam results can be stressful

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August can be stressful as you await your exam results

  • Did you do enough revision?
  • How lenient will they be with the marking?
  • Did you read the question correctly or skim it and make some stupid mistake?

Maybe you should have just stolen the exam paper!

Well, no, in real life you shouldn’t. But for an escape room adventure that’s just what we were asked to do.

An Eccentric Professor’s Final Exams

On a trip to Madrid Team “invitation To Events” tried out the escape room “Exit Madrid”. Luckily the game was available in English as well as Spanish.

We played The Lab, a medium to high level game that was created in 2010. Our mission was to steal an exam paper from our lecturers office because we’d been partying rather than revising. Would we find the paper and discover what´s on Prof. Calm´s next exam?

As with other escape rooms, this one starts by locking you in a room, where you can only escape if you complete the mission. We were given 66 minutes to complete it and were warned that 45% of the teams don’t succeed in escaping the room at EXIT Game Madrid. 

Result!

Pleased to say that, with a few hints from the Games Master, we completed the mission with nearly 3 minutes to spare.

Escaping from Exit-Games-Madrid
Escaping from Exit-Games-Madrid

The Trafalgar Square Treasure Hunt and Drinks Reception

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Artists and Artisans Treasure Hunt

Spend the afternoon exploring Trafalgar Square on Saturday 12 Aug 2017

Your adventure begins near the Sainsbury Wing entrance of the National Gallery.

Come and collect your explorer packs before setting off to discover heritage around the Trafalgar Square area.

Venture along streets and down alleyways, discovering interesting items as you hunt down answers to clues.

Explore gardens on your quest to solve puzzles and challenges.

When you have completed your mission, the fun continues with the after hunt party. Share your stories with other hunters over a drink while the scores are calculated and prizes awarded.

Will your team have scored enough to claim the winning prize?

 

Buy your tickets now

Delivering the unexpected

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The Postal Museum opens on 28 July 2017

‘British postal services helped to shape the modern world. The Postal Museum works to connect people through this human story of communication, industry and innovation by making it accessible to all.’

The Postal Museum’s Collections Development Policy

The collection spans five centuries of history, revealling Britain’s remarkable social and communications history.

Exhibits include stamps, letters, greetings cards, postcards and even song sheets. There is a collection of post boxes and operational equipment. Tools such as handstamps, sorting machinery and furniture are on display, as are horse-drawn or motorised vehicles and train carriages.

MailRail

A network of automated trains stretched from Paddington to Whitechapel and kept the capital’s communication network flowing for over 75 years. While millions of items of mail were delivered every day deep beneath the streets of London, Postal workers were forbidden from travelling on the train.

But now you can experience the ride.

The subterranean rail ride – MailRail – is due to open to the public on 4th September. It is currently available for private group events. Ride through the hidden tunnels and discover a unique piece of industrial heritage, then explore the galleries packed with objects, stories and interactive displays.

 

MailRail by Juliamaud
MailRail by Juliamaud

 

The Invitation To Events team, including an ex-Post Office Engineer, were privileged to get a trip on the train ahead of its opening to the public.

visiting mailrail with Squaremeal
Invitation To Events visiting Mailrail with Squaremeal

The Invitation To Events team plan on another trip to see the museum, so if you’d like to join them sign up for our Newsletter and you’ll be kept informed of this and other exciting visits and events. Click here to join the club http://eepurl.com/cA8aRj

Treasure Hunt app offers adventures around London and Cardiff

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Treasure Hunters using phone for hunting with Treasure Hunts in London
Treasure Hunters using phone for hunting

Discovering history in London and Cardiff just got even more exciting thanks to these fun treasure hunts you can play on your phone. Challenge your powers of observation as you explore London streets and parks or experience the National Museum in Cardiff.

Receive clues and hints directly to your phone or tablet. Follow the trail and learn interesting facts with each correct answer. The hunts are available for both Android and iOS smartphones and tablets via the ClueKeeper app.

The hunts take around two hours and can be used as a walking tour of each location. There are currently five Treasure Hunts in London self guided hunts to choose from:-

Treasure Hunters using phone for hunting with Treasure Hunts in London
Treasure Hunters using phone for hunting