Escape Rooms are re-opening across the country as lockdown is lifted, so it’s the best time to get ahead and book a room to finally celebrate being let out of the house.
But before you get locked in (especially if you’re heading to the pub first), here’s some top tips to maximise your fun and get leaderboard-topping times straight from the people who actually run the games.
1. Don’t turn up hammered
So, you’re out with your friends – and you’ve had a couple of drinks before your escape room. Yay! The only thing we recommend is that you don’t drink too much. We’ve seen people zoning out, breaking things, and even falling asleep in the room. If you are going out for a few pints beforehand, make sure at least some of you still have enough brain-power to complete the room!
2. Listen to your Games Master’s briefing
This might seem self-explanatory, but please listen to your briefing at the start of the game. Your Games Master will tell you if there’s any tricky padlocks in the room, or anything you need to look out for. The briefing is to make you perform better, and have more fun. You may want to be looking around, but listen to what you’re being told!
Poor communication is a pitfall of pretty much everything, from jobs to relationships – and it counts for escape rooms too. There’s nothing worse than watching a team who refuse to tell each other the clues they’ve found or puzzles they’ve already found. It can shave minutes off your time if you just let people know when you find a clue or solve a puzzle!
4. Organise your stuff
There’s nothing worse than trying to find a clue or key amongst a huge pile of stuff collected from around the room. The more organised you are, the quicker you can find the things you actually need. Try to keep all the clues and props orderly and neat during the game – it can make all the difference!
5. Don’t get frustrated
Escape rooms are about having fun – not necessarily getting the top time. Make sure you’re coming with people you like, who actually enjoy each other’s company. Then even if you get stuck or need clues, you’re still having a good time together! There’s nothing worse than getting stuck in a room with people who take things too seriously.
With the build processes of our third and fourth rooms put on pause due to the pandemic, we thought about how we could add to our portfolio in a creative way. We decided to start with ‘The Mysterious Case of Hugh Dunnitt‘. This room was an ideal candidate to bring to the world of online escape rooms. It is a great introduction room for people who had not played escape rooms before. Hugh Dunnitt is still enough of a challenge to satisfy escape room enthusiasts.
Using 360° photography of the original Escape Room and Telescape’s game builder system, we managed to recreate a digital version of Hugh Dunnitt. Puzzles are brought to life in unique ways along with maintaining the quirky and crazy charm that the original game has. All this is brought in a virtual environment that up to 6 devices can occupy at the same time. This enables you and your team to get your teeth into a proper escape room experience! If you are stuck at any point you can help yourself with either a clue. The players have everything they need to guide them (if needed) through the experience.
What is next?
Hugh Dunnitt will be on sale (£15 per team) as of the 19th of March, 2021. The next digital escape room experience is First Contact. As with all Cryptology rooms, we will look to progress this onto the next level. We have a unique opportunity to delivery some actions and puzzles that we could not bring to the original real-life game. DEAN is involved and will guide you through time in space. Once completed we will be looking to complete our real-life third room ‘Afterlife‘. More digital games and real-life escape room experiences are coming throughout 2021 and beyond.
To celebrate the completion of the latest Nottingham room, Daylight Robbery. Cryptology decided to go do an Escape Room trip to some venues that had been recommended in Barcelona and Budapest. As one-third of the escape team was from Yorkshire we decided to choose our next destination from Budapest based on nothing more than price.
Advice and Meat…and Beer
Our number one piece of advice for potential travelers is to not to book your flight in the middle of a major storm, Ciara tried her best to ruin our best-laid plans and we had to delay one of the escape rooms by a couple of days due to late flights. Instead, we arrived in a chilly Budapest in the dead of night and ventured out for some food to fill our souls ready for the next day of escaping or attempting. We discussed over a 52000HUF platter of meat, rice, and chips what the next day would hold and how it would stack up to the rooms we had done in the UK. Between the group, we have over 100 escape rooms under our considerably expanding belts.
We started the day with a walk to the first venue, Mystique Room. They had a large array of rooms to choose from, from which we chose; The Cube, The Time Machine, Alice and The Pharaohs Burial Chamber. In all of the rooms, the set design was fantastic and you felt like each one was its own micro-world. My only bugbear was the use of a walkie talkie in all areas. A walkie talkie does not fit in with the theme of the majority of rooms and let’s be honest they are a pain to understand/listen to and sometimes get forgotten. The standout game from this venue was ‘The Cube‘ a pristine build, with no padlocks and a real feel of the futuristic.
Enigma and Scooters
After we had finished at Mystique we quickly realised that walking the distance to the next venue, Enigma, was not achievable. How could we get all the way across Budapest without the need for running (it has been a while since I last run). Then, like a white a green flash a Lime scooter flew passed. Yep, we were sold, downloading the app and finding the three nearest scooters we spent the next several minutes giggling like little schoolboys as we flew at an entire 22km/h towards our next escape.
We arrived just in time and the lovely host ushered us in and we were briefed on what was required. I will say that as a venue this seemed a little run down, but the puzzles were so strong it made up for our initial reservations. A good mix of puzzles that at times made teamwork an absolute necessity. I also got to slide across the floor like a slug and I can proudly say I am quite….sluggish.
Back on the scooters to find some food and some beers as we had a little time before the next game that had us excited. Mark had mentioned that this game was something else. We turned up to the venue and I saw a slide, I knew this would be good. The host Dave was an enthusiast and gave an impassioned brief that really set the tone for the rest of the games, oh yeah the games, Santa Muerte and Secret Subway at E-Exit. WOW, what a game I don’t remember a point where our jaws either came off the ground or we weren’t giggling at the thought of what was next. A true masterpiece of tech, story, and theme. I will not say more otherwise….spoilers!
Locked In Escape Rooms
Our final games of the Day were at A-Room and their sister company Locked In and we did House of Escobar and Research Base. House of Escobar was the standout performer and was a room that as a group we clicked with. Strong puzzles, great theming and a thoroughly enjoyable game. After this, we needed refreshment in the shape of a pint glass and painkillers for our backs and feet. We ventured to the Ruin bars to sample the local ale. Although to be fair there were more Brits than locals it seemed and it is one hell of a crowded area.
Making Up for Storm Ciara
The next day we decided to catch up on the missed game on the first night, White Mission and this was one that has been in Budapest for a while and had no backstory. You simply go in and have to get out, as a traditional premise for an escape room as you can get. The game was anything but traditional. Although I seemed to only see a small number of puzzles as I was the only one who had not done a specific puzzle, the game was enjoyable and worthy of the time.
The Blind Exhibition
We also got back on our beloved scooters and headed over to the Buda side to check out the Blind Exhibition. I was confused as to what this would be, but after a slightly awkward start where nobody really knew what was going on (All our faults as we had gone with no idea what was involved), we were given a tiny impression of what a blind person goes through living in a city and what they experience. Our host was great and even got us a drink at the end in a pitch-black bar. I would say this is a must-visit as it is an educational and fascinating experience.
That night we flew to Barcelona, without hiccup this time. Tomorrow would bring a different style of an escape room.
Team Building, as the name would imply, is an activity where colleagues work together to build workplace unity. Companies all over the world use a variety of techniques and strategies to help employees to get to know each other and advance their problem-solving skills, boost creative thinking and unify as a team towards a common goal.
The Last Straw?
However, some of these activities fail to attain these simple goals. I remember I once did a training day where I had to make some sort of structure out of straws. There was nothing wrong with this approach to business team building, but I couldn’t understand how my employer thought that this would be in any way interesting for those of us actually taking part. The majority of thoughts were simply towards the bar at the end the day or the coffee break (love a good biscuit!) where we could all keep in our own groups and question why we were here.
We see our escape rooms as part of the solution to this. Your team is placed in a themed immersive environment where you must work together, communicate and use your problem-solving skills to complete the room. You, for want of a better term, BUILD A TEAM! After you have all done the escape rooms, you can use our meeting room facilities to analyze, discuss and absorb what your mind has just gone through.
Due to the way we design our rooms, there has to be more than just one over-exuberant employee taking part to solve the puzzles, but there are various difficulty puzzles to ensure that it is an inclusive team event.
An event for all!
During Cryptology’s time in South Yorkshire, we have had; football teams, McDonald’s, banks, local businesses, council departments, and one person booked so she could assess her team that she had recently inherited. All of them went in knowing very little and with an air of pessimism that this was just another straw-building event, but on completion, these same people couldn’t believe that they had never done an escape room before and were excited to book again for their next team building event. Most importantly in my eyes is that whether you are successful in escaping or not, you ALL get something out of the experience.