HOW TO ACE AN ESCAPE ROOM

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

Photo by Maurício Mascaro from Pexels

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

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

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!

3. Communicate

Photo by fauxels from Pexels

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.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

A Digital Murder Mystery arrives at Cryptology

Ethereal Being

Why?

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.

The Pentagram Portal, Hugh Dunnitt
Pentagram

How?

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.

Astral Plane, Hugh Dunnitt
Traversing the Astral Plane, anyone?

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.

Book your digital experience now, here.

Building a Team at Cryptology

Build your team

What is Team Building?

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.

Team

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

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.

Murder Mystery with your team at Cryptology Sheffield
The Mysterious case of Hugh Dunnitt, Cryptology Sheffield

Cryptology’s solution

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.

Meeting facilities at Cryptology Nottingham suitable for up to 20 people
Conference facilities, Cryptology Nottingham

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.

Cypherdyne v1.5 an office like no other
Cypherdyne v1.5 Escape Room, Cryptology Nottingham

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.

Team Building in Sheffield in First Contact Escape Room
First Contact Live Escape Room Experience, Cryptology Sheffield


A Brief History Of Escape Rooms

Build your team

Being in the industry of Escape Rooms for over four years now. I have heard many theories as to where it all began. Exit Games, or Escape Rooms were words I first heard in 2014 whilst looking for “Things To Do In Bristol”. This lead me to find my first escape room! From this moment, it has been my life for the nearly half a decade.

Locks, an Escape Room staple.

Where Did It All Begin?

For a European-centric answer to this question, it is Hungary. In 2012 Attila Gyurkovics wanted to bring the exciting parts of computer games into a live experience. Their answer was to create a game where they must escape from a physical room. The first escape rooms that opened in the UK tended to be operated and built by Hungarians.

There were escape games available to play in Hong Kong as early as 2006! The Japan Times reported that Takao Kato of Scrap Publishing used his passion of Manga comics to think up ideas for escape games. By 2008 there were a plethora of escape rooms all over Asia .

Takao Kato - One of the first people in the Escape Room Industry
Takao Kato

When Did The UK Get Escape Rooms?

Back to Europe and in 2012 they were beginning to pop up everywhere, the UK’s first appearing in London. Cryptology opened its doors on the 3rd of July 2015, the third in Nottingham in less than 9 months.

At the time of writing this article (05/07/2019) there are 1444 bookable games (1329/1078 if you don’t count duplicate games at one/multiple sites). They are spread across 340 companies with 497 venues.
This stat is taken from the very well-ran UK Escape Room directory Exit Games.

What Is Next For Escape Rooms?

This is a highly subjective question, but I can answer it in terms of Cryptology.
With 6 companies in Nottingham alone offering Escape Rooms, Nottingham‘s focus is to give all players of all abilities as close to a full hour as possible.
Cryptology Sheffield is mixing up the clue system . In fact, the term clue system is not really correct, it is more of a Narrator. More details of this will be in a blog post soon!

True Terror on its way to Sheffield!

Now that we have First Contact and The Mysterious Case of Hugh Dunnitt escape rooms here at Cryptology Sheffield we think it is time to bring true terror to West Street.

Cryptology believes that with First Contact escape room ticking the box for choose your own path’ space adventure and The Mysterious Case of Hugh Dunnitt escape room taking you on a murder mystery tour with a difference. It is time that Cryptology Escape Rooms delved into the murky world of truly terrifying HORROR! 

What Kind of Escape Room is it Going to be?

This experience will be more than just a scare-fest – in true escape room tradition, puzzles will be throughout your hour. But will you dare complete them all?

Set in a secret private lab where they test the latest and greatest (most of the time) in neural gadgets. This latest test involves your team and you are here to be a lab rat for a new neural implant. Unfortunately, they need to test this implant to its extremes and that means it will play on your fears. Don’t worry though, they almost never have issues during these tests, in fact 60% of the time it works every time.

Where And When?

This new live escape room experience will be based out of our West Street location in the centre of Sheffield, next to Tescos Extra and up the road from Pizza Express. This will be Cryptology Sheffield’s third immersive escape room experience and we hope to continue the high levels we have achieved so far.

Look out for more updates to follow here; https://cryptologyrooms.co.uk/Sheffield/rooms

Check out some of our videos here; YouTube Channel

5 (Digital) Escape Games That Sam Loves Too Much

Before Escape Rooms were the thriving business they now are, many people who wanted to challenge themselves turned to other types of games, most notably, video games.

Portal
Yes, I made the jump! Now just to- Oh.

There are A LOT of video games based around escaping and, if you love playing or building escape rooms, then you certainly should be looking at some of these as your next inspiration, challenge, or both.

After the break, come and see what games you should start with that offer the best themes, puzzles, and challenge.

Continue reading “5 (Digital) Escape Games That Sam Loves Too Much”

Laser Cutter: Better Than Seabass

Sanding Machines in the Dust Zone

A laser may make you think of Dr. Evil, but for Cryptology employees it makes us think of Hackspace!

Nottinghack

For a modest monthly fee you can have access to a wide array of tools, including a 3D printer, embroidery machine, very large table saws, and more.

Biggest. Circular. Saw. Ever
A massive circular saw based at Hackspace Nottingham

Sanding Machines in the Dust Zone
There is a whole designated section for sanding, complete with industrial extractors

A small selection of tools at Hackspace
Some of the wide array of hand tools at Hackspace Nottingham

Bits & Bobs at Hacksapce
A wide array of bits and bobs you may need for any project

Most importantly an A0 laser cutter.

Nottingham Hackspace's A0 Laser Cutter
Nottingham Hackspace’s A0 Laser Cutter

Laser: Vector, Not Raster

Continue reading “Laser Cutter: Better Than Seabass”

The Creation Of Cryptology Escape Rooms

Cryptology Creation

The Beginning

Before the creation of Cryptology Escape Rooms in Nottingham, my career was as a buyer, a job I had for over 8 years. Whilst it was indeed a great job, I felt that I had ticked all the boxes in that career path. I really wanted a change of scene. But with 8 years of one career on your CV, it is difficult for another employer in a different field to take you on! Or take you on at a wage that supports your mortgage and debts!

The last buyer job I had really did not fulfil me, there was no pressure and I was used to having many things on the go at once. One weekend I was visiting I used to live with in his new home town of Bristol. Whilst a weekend of drinking and eating out was great, I felt we should do something extra. I found this weird thing called an “escape room”. Continue reading “The Creation Of Cryptology Escape Rooms”

What’s The Reason For A Cryptology Blog?

Why A Blog?

Hi, I’m Mark, the owner of the UK escape room franchise “Cryptology”, welcome to our blog. I opened Nottingham’s doors in July 2015. Currently there are open branches in Nottingham and in Barnsley, our newest branch in Sheffield is currently in production; it’s all go!

The Trigger Point For A Blog

In June of 2018, an ex-colleague was heading to a LinkedIn networking event just around the corner from Cryptology Nottingham. He suggested we met up for a drink, I didn’t realise that I’d actually be taking part of the event!

After signing up, receiving some Prosecco and access to a cheese board (I was very pleased!), the concept of the meetup was explained. People from all different industries and from Nottingham and the surrounding areas were left to mingle. After a few introductions to other people who jumped in at the deep end to just meet other people, I began describing Nottingham’s latest game that was in production, Dreamscape. The organiser who is from London walked past and said “this sounds interesting” and joined in the conversation. I was explaining some of the concepts and themes within the game, some of the issue we are having in setting them up, and what’s coming up on the horizon.

Linked In And Beyond

I asked about LinkedIn and what marketing examples she could tell me about. She summed everything up with if she is interested what I was explaining, then other people would be too. I had indeed toyed with the idea of a blog about Cryptology. But I really didn’t want it to be a diary, an ego boost, or a sales pitch. But after explaining the creation of Dreamscape to my ex-colleague and a stranger, I did indeed conclude that some of you may be interested in the behind-the-scenes of an escape room franchise.

As it is now 2018, I would want this to be more of a video blog (VLOG), I will encorporate as much video as I can. But with Dreamscape Nottingham, and First Contact Sheffield my time is stretched very thin! Watch this space!