Now open in Blackpool: Escape

Escape Blackpool logoThe Escape chain has been expanding steadily southwards, Edinburgh and Glasgow to Newcastle and now Blackpool. (They have good business in other countries too, notably the Dublin site in Ireland, among others.) The site will be opening on Leap Year’s Day; by tradition, of course, this is the single day every four years on which the site gets to escape the players, rather than the other way around. Exit Games UK has always thought that Blackpool was a market with excellent potential and Clue HQ seem to have done well already. The Escape location is central to the town, very close to Blackpool South train station and opposite a branch of KFC.

Escape Blackpool is launching with three games, each of which takes two to five players and has a 60-minute time limit. Exit Games Scotland point out that the games represent the best of both the Edinburgh and Glasgow branches of the Escape chain.

The Da Vinci Room sees you “take on the role of thief, but for the greater good. Dr John Albright has studied the workings of Da Vinci in great detail. He has amassed a huge collection over the years, including what many believe to be the Holy Grail. Having gained his trust by helping him “acquire” items over the years, you have access to areas of his home and knowledge of his security that no-one else does. You’ve been paid well for your services over the years, but you’ve always felt that an item of the importance of the Holy Grail should be on display for all to see. The professor is away and now is your chance. Get in the room, grab the grail and get out. It should be easy! “The Da Vinci Room” is a live escape game with a twist, you need to get an item out of the room as well as you! The setting is a beautiful old study with artwork, certificates and various vintage items ranging from typewriters to violin cases! Primarily focusing on code-breaking, symbolism and association problems The Da Vinci Room offers an exciting challenge for players young and old.

In Contagion, “You and your team of fellow scientists have been working tirelessly to create a vaccine for the fatal CYE disease. Unfortunately you have all managed to contract the virus. Either sit around and let it take you or you redouble your efforts and create a vaccine. This is not your only problem. After creating the vaccine you must find a way to beat the lock down on the laboratory. The timer is set to 60 minutes, after which the room and all traces of your work, will be incinerated. Create the vaccine and escape the room if the rest of humanity is to benefit from your work!

There’s also the Taken room, which (aside from being a good excuse to link to this post by Really Fun) tells the tale of “A rogue policeman, Brian Miller, has been obsessed for some time with finding the killer of John Doe and in his eyes the evidence points to you and your friends. Part of your group will be Taken and locked away, meaning you will have two tasks to complete: rescue your friend(s) and escape the room. Although separated, the full group will still be able to work together to complete the game. Officer Miller has been cunning in the way he has hidden clues around his somewhat dilapidated room with some impressive gadgetry used along the way. You will need to do some searching and finding in the room as well as the puzzles if you want to Escape. This room is no normal room – let’s just say it’s lacking in some of the comforts of our other rooms – but it’s just as much fun!

Games start on the half-hour between 9:30am and 10:30pm seven days a week: nine games of Taken, nine of Contagion and eight of The Da Vinci Room. (There’s probably wiggle room in the schedule, by arrangement, if two teams want to race against each other and start at the same time.) The tariff matches the Escape UK standard: £66 for a team of 3-5, though couples can apply a code to play for just £48. The site’s Twitter account has posted a code for a 25% discount for a limited time and a quick search reveals no social buying deals yet, so this might be the best time to get involved.

Booking opens for DASH 8… oh, wait

DASH 8 logoThe date for DASH 8 has been announced as April 30th and booking has opened in a number of cities across the US. The shape of the logo and the double-0 reference hint at the secret agent theme. The web site is struggling somewhat in parts, as if someone had tried to set the date on the clock back to midnight on 1/1/1970, but individual cities have their own booking systems up and running.

The big issue is that there are some cities that traditionally hit heavily at DASH which are not yet represented this year. 13 cities have been announced, including new entrants Atlanta and Missoula, but nobody has yet volunteered to run the event in previously ever-present Boston. More to the point for this site, it’s still all looking very quiet in the UK. If nobody volunteers to run it here, it just won’t happen. (A couple of people are discussing the possibility on Twitter.) At the Exit Games UK end, things are always busy with Puzzled Pint as well as the blogging; it would be nice to play one of these things as well as to help others have fun.

Could you be the superstar to take it on? Last year’s London leader Iain wrote a call to arms last month as to what is required, along with the official guidelines. DASH in London has been blessed with fun routes in previous years, but the official guidelines state explicitly that it’s okay to run DASH in a single location if the route-planning aspect is the trickiest bit of the organisation. Even if DASH were to happen in a single great big pub all day, any DASH would be much better than no DASH.

Of course, there’s no reason why the event has to happen in London; it could happen anywhere in the UK and still be very likely to draw teams of solvers from around the country!

Now open in Wigan: Atherton Escape Rooms

Atherton Escape Rooms graphicMore specifically, now open in the borough of Wigan; Atherton is a town of its own, about half-way between the town of Wigan and the M60 ring road around Manchester. (You can take a local train out from Manchester in the direction of Southport or Kirkby to get there; don’t go a station too far otherwise you’ll end up in Hag Fold, which sounds like a good name for a witch’s dance move.) Atherton is one of a number of towns in the area whose names have been adopted as surnames over the centuries where the surname has gone on to be nationally famous; when you think of Atherton, you might think of Mike Atherton. Similarly, the next town along to the south-east might make you think of Clive Tyldesley. The next town along to the south-east from there might make you think of someone else.

Thanks to Mark from Really Fun for pointing out Atherton Escape Rooms which opened on February 4th. It made a big splash, opening with four one-hour rooms, each designed to be played by a team of two to six. The Room of the Missing Child game is “…simply a child’s room containing all the usual things a child’s room would contain, ordinary objects & toys that a child would possess. There is just one thing missing “THE CHILD”. Using everything to hand contained in room, can you find out what has happened & escape from the room before the time runs out.

In The Log Cabin, the tale goes that “A retired detective leaves a distinguished career blemished with just one unsolved case. A group of campers had disappeared without a trace, despite searching the area & a nearby log cabin the case remained unsolved. The retired detective, unable to let the case rest, still believes the Cabin holds the key to the mystery.” If you’d prefer to play inside The Office, you’ll be investigating a different sort of crime. “The sports promoter is involved in criminal activities. He is using his office as a front for illegal dealings. You have turned up to an arranged meeting, the office is empty. As a journalist, your instinct is to snoop around. Have you got time?” Lastly, if you’re caught in The Train Waiting Room, “You have missed your connecting train in a remote station in the dead of night. The waiting room door becomes mysteriously locked. Using all your skills & with clues to hand, can you escape the room to get your next connection before the final whistle blows. Not all is as it seems!

Games will eventually be available seven days a week, though for the first few weeks the site is in operation from Thursday to Sunday only. The site has already been covered in the Wigan Evening Post, along with hints that more rooms might follow. The location inside an old mill is a little unusual, though Trapped In of Bury also use a mill, and surely there are plenty of other mills in Lancashire that are looking for exciting occupants. Looking forward to the views of the bloggers of the north-west on this one!

Treasure Hunts coming up, especially on April 16th

Treasure map graphicTime to look at some treasure hunts coming up soon. There’s an unexpected running theme running through them.

  • Treasure Trail Quests are running their first event on Friday 15th April to Sunday 17th April; it’ll be in Stowmarket. Buy a book of clues for £20, either by choosing to receive a .pdf on Friday morning or a printed copy in person.

    Study the clues. Go online and research in advance. Visit the town with family, friends or get together a group of work mates then answer the puzzles. ((…)) It has been carefully crafted to be a family friendly fun challenge made up of a series of puzzles. There will be picture puzzles, word play and number play. ((…)) Entries must be received by 11.59hrs on the Sunday night. Entries can be made by email or by text or by using a submission form. Each book has a unique serial number. Only one entry per serial number. ((…)) The winner is the entry that is the first ALL correct entry drawn at random the next day, Monday at 13:00hrs. The prize is a cash award of £1000.

    The full T&C suggest that the prize rolls over if nobody gets everything 100% correct, presumably to the second hunt scheduled for St. Neots on May 13th to 15th. The same person is behind this as the Pop-Up Puzzle Room – so, while it’s by no means necessary, you might want to play his game or follow the brainteasers he posts to Facebook to get an idea of the house style. 

  • The Armchair Treasure Hunt Club are running a Spring club event in Shrewsbury on Saturday 16th April. The club has run an event every autumn for about twenty years; additional spring events are a recent revival of previous form. “Everyone is welcome to come along and compete, whether you are a member of the club or whether you just enjoy competing in treasure hunts. Gather for the hunt at 10am for an 11am start, and it’ll probably be about tea time when the treasure is unearthed. The £25 entry fee includes lunch as well as the hunt and its prizes.” The club’s web site has a page with more information and it just might be that there are a few pre-clues on the posters worth exploring there as well.
  • This site’s friends at Treasure Hunts in London have a couple of events coming up as well. Between 2pm and 5pm on Saturday 26th March, the Easter Treasure Hunt at the V&A Museum looks at “…art from north of the border. Working in teams you will be solving clues and puzzles, and answering questions about the art work. As this is an Easter hunt, expect a few Easter surprises along the way. As always we will end the hunt with a wee drink as we announce the results and award prizes to the winning team.” Tickets are £20 for a single player or £38 for a pair.
    Treasure Hunts in London are also organising a hunt called Rule, Britannia on, inevitably, Saturday 16th April. “The Queen’s 90th birthday takes place on 21st April 2016.To mark the occasion Treasure Hunts in London are organising a Royalty-themed Treasure Hunt. There will be themed clues to solve, puzzles, photo challenges and assignments. This hunt starts when the teams collect clue packs by the Queen Victoria Memorial, outside Buckingham Palace. It ends with a drink and prize giving at a pub near Kensington Palace.” Tickets must be pre-booked, a minimum number of teams (of 2 to 6 players) are required for the game to go ahead, and you must bring a smartphone to complete the photo challenges… and any additional tasks that might be sent out by text throughout the game. Tickets are £38 for a pair of players, £20 for a single player or £15 for a single player booking by the end of March, all including a drink at the end of the hunt.

If you know of other hunts, please send the details through. (That said, there was a Valentine’s themed hunt in early February that this site missed; the page has details of a few other interesting past hunts as well.)

Now open in London: Escape Land

Escape Land graphicHere’s a first, and a welcome one! This site previewed Escape Land a year and three quarters ago, then sadly bade it farewell last September, in one of the more surprising closures. It was a very pleasant surprise, and about as unexpected as they get, to see a reopening announcement posted to Facebook last week. According to that announcement, and to the site’s booking page, Escape Land opened for business once again today! By analogy, this would be like learning that Andy Kaufman had faked his death decades ago after all.

Sites have relocated in the past, but this feels different because this site had stuck a fork into Escape Land and considered it done. Indeed, it was tempting to wonder whether this might be a completely unconnected game that happened to use the same name… but there’s enough evidence to suggest that it really is a revival. The new location is probably the best address for an exit game yet: 37-39 Oxford Street, London, very near the Tottenham Court Road station on the forthcoming Elizabeth line. (Indeed, within the length of a Class 345 train of the station.) Sure, there are other businesses on the same premises, but that’s still a heck of a prestigious place to be.

Within two and a half weeks of reopening, the site will have two games. You can already play the Professor Oxford’s Experiments game: “Why is Professor Oxford doing secret experiments on his own home? What is he up to? And why is he inviting test subjects to analyse a medicine that is not strictly speaking legal? Based on Escape Land’s original game: Escape from the Age of Steampunk. There are a lot of similarities between these two games, please only book if none of the players in the team has played that room in the past“. That clearly establishes the lineage between the two games – and the game from which it is a development was popular with The Logic Escapes Me, with What’s On UK and with Thinking Bob, so this is very welcome.

Soon to arrive is the Da Vinci’s Exploration room, which is “Based on Da Vinci’s life. This escape game requires players to work as a team to solve hidden puzzles, look for clues and to try to escape in an hour. The room gives to the players the opportunity to use their knowledge, teamwork skills to accomplish a unique escape game“. Both games have 60-minute time limits and are recommended for teams of 3-5, though teams of 2 and 6 may be possible by prior arrangement. The Oxford Street price is £78 for a team of three, £96 for a team of four or £110 for a team of five, which is broadly in line with central London rates.

A game so well-loved that nobody could keep it down makes a welcome return! If you go to try it, then be aware that by cute coincidence, another business with the same address is the Escape to London recruitment company; don’t get the two businesses confused!

Now open in Kettering: Kettering Escape Rooms

Kettering Escape Rooms photoWhat do you think of when you hear the name Kettering? Here, it brings back memories of Len Martin – the original Final Score results reader from the fifties to the early nineties – saying the name Kettering Town as only he could, for it was always one of the most euphonious team names in the non-league. As for where Kettering actually was… er… East Midlands. Draw a pentagon between Leicester, Peterborough, Cambridge, Northampton and Coventry, and place it so that you can exactly balance it on the point of a pencil and you’ve got Kettering. You probably also have a very strong pencil.

Kettering has a bowling alley rather aggressively called the New York Thunderbowl, with rather aggressive discounts to match. Since February 12th, it also hosts Kettering Escape Rooms. Not long ago, this site discussed exit games within laser game centres; this is the first UK example of an exit game within a bowling alley, which is another step along the way towards exit games being examples of further activities that you might find among more generic family entertainment centres. Many thanks to Ken for pointing this one out.

Kettering Escape Rooms has opened with two one-hour games, each of which caters for rooms of two to six players. In the Diamond Heist room, “You find yourself in a room belonging to a member of a crew involved in a local diamond heist. Can you find his stash of gems and escape before he returns in an hour with his crew?” The Mad Medic room suggests that “A new doctor is in town but a visit to his surgery results in a race against the clock as you realize his methods are more than a little mad! Solve the riddles and escape before you become part of his next experiment!

Games are available starting between 11am and 9pm daily, or as late as 10:30pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Pairs pay £40, trios £57, fourballs £70, fivesomes £75 and teams of six pay £90. Looking forward to seeing the reviews for this one; there’s no reason why a room within another facility might not have been created, implemented and maintained with as much love, care and attention as a room that stands alone.

(Almost) Everybody hates deliberately ambiguous puzzles

You might have seen these puzzles, which have been doing the rounds on social media recently. What do you think the answers are?

Ambiguous fruit puzzle

a) 15. A bunch of bananas is a bunch of bananas. Who knows how many there really are in each one?
b) 14. There are four bananas in the bunches in lines 2 and 3, sort of, and there are only three bananas in the bunch in line 4.
c) 11. Nobody cares about boring old ordinary bananas. The only reason the bunches in lines 2 and 3 have any value is because of that special double-tipped banana. Without it, the rest of the bunch is worth zero.

Ambiguous flower puzzle

a) 26. A blue flower is a blue flower, regardless of how many leaves it has. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
b) 25. The flower head and stems are distractions, this is really about leaves.
c) The answer is undefined as there is no basis to say what the relationship is between the value of a blue flower with four leaves and one with five leaves. Consider how much more highly a four-leaf clover is regarded than a three-leaf one.

How many watermelons are there?

Ambiguous watermelon puzzle

a) Five. Three-quarters times four is three, and one-half times four is two.
b) Six. The middle four are two cut in half, the other four are used to produce the outer four. Yes, four quarter-melons are missing, but they clearly aren’t used to make up the ones in the middle.
c) An indeterminate number between six and eight, because we don’t can’t tell whether or not the ones in the middle are two halves of the same melon or not.
d) Zero. Three quarters of a melon and half a melon are both different things to a watermelon, notably in terms of freshness.

You might think that the fact that they’ve got hundreds of thousands of shares suggests they’re popular and thus worth including (or, at least, adapting) in your exit game. Please don’t. They’re popular because they’re deliberately ambiguous and can be argued more than one way. That’s really not a good property for an exit game puzzle. The fact that people are likely to have seen the puzzles, or their central conceits, before is not the best starting-point.

Counting puzzles have a long history in exit games and are a core skill. They’re hardly likely to excite, though there are a few cute ways to dress them up and if you have fantastic art then they can be genuinely pretty. The last time that a counting puzzle actually made someone smile was approximately 1898 (some reports suggest 1896) when Sam Loyd sold more than 10,000,000 copies of “Get Off The Earth” (discussed in detail, though the link is old and so the pictures have rotted, at the wonderful defective yeti) – and that’s perhaps better classed as an optical illusion than as a puzzle.

Algebraic equations are also known within exit games; if you write out the equations in words, then things are unambiguous. They may be a sufficiently close reminder of school that people who didn’t like algebra at the time are unlikely to appreciate the reminder now. The first puzzle of the three is the least problematic; if the bananas were completely separate from each other, it would be unambiguous, though not particularly exciting. As it is, it gets into issues of two-dimensional depictions of three-dimensional objects; why do you assume a banana is there when you can only see part of it, when you assume there isn’t any fruit hidden behind the apples?

One big problem with the puzzles above is that if you declare one of the answers to be correct and another to be wrong, then people are unlikely to be impressed by your explanation as to what makes something right or wrong. The bigger problem is that when people try what you consider to be the wrong answer and find out it doesn’t get them anywhere, they will probably stumble on the right answer by shifting one either way and then concluding that either their arithmetic was wrong (not much fun) or that your arithmetic was wrong (even less fun). It then becomes simple trial and error rather than puzzle-solving. It’s the sort of situation where only the person setting the room thinks it’s funny and the people playing the room think it’s not.

By contrast, if the “right” and “wrong” answers were, say, six away from each other and there were a satisfying reason why the “wrong” answer was wrong, that’s a much better puzzle – and whether a reason is satisfying or not is judged by the person hearing the answer, not the person setting the puzzle. This has been a very negative article so far, so here’s a constructive suggestion instead. If you’re effectively required not just to count up items for an equation but identify each item and work out whether thematically it fits into the category to be counted, that’s fine and potentially good; at worst, it’s a “how many animals of each time did Moses take into the ark?” trick question.

In short: stay well away from this sort of gimmick. The least worst thing that could be said about them is that they anchor the creation of your room to a particular point in time – specifically, this week or so – when everyone will have moved onto something completely different next week.

And as for the division sign in this little blighter, don’t even go there

Ambiguous division puzzle

Now open in Birmingham: Clue HQ

Clue HQ logoThe Clue HQ chain today opened their fifth branch, this one in Birmingham. It is situated underneath a railway arch, barely a Virgin West Coast Pendolino’s length from Birmingham Snow Hill station. (A station which, of course, Virgin West Coast does not serve, but saying a London Midland Desiro would be neither poetic nor accurate.) It’s effectively a couple of streets away from Escape Live, in an area that absolutely nobody apart from this site refers to as Birmingham’s Exit Game Quarter.

Clue HQ has already picked up coverage in the Birmingham Mail. Owner Stuart Rowlands is quoted as saying “Although we’ll open with 2 games, we’ll soon have nine different scenarios available all inside one unit. This means that not only will it be Clue HQ’s biggest location, but it’ll also be the biggest escape game centre in the UK.” The two games that the site is opening with are identical copies of the popular Bunker 38 seen in other Clue HQ locations, for head-to-head play right from the start; a nose through the planning application suggests that early plans for the other rooms included some other games from the Clue HQ range (with the implication that at least one of them will be reinterpreted in a very interesting and unusual way…) and some game titles that were completely unfamiliar and thus particularly exciting. It may well be the case that due to fire regulations, it may not be possible to fill all nine games completely to the brim at the same time.

Bunker 38 is a one-hour game for a team of 2-6. “You’ve been living in an underground bunker for years due to a radiation leak. Now you’ve been given the all clear, but you’re locked in and oxygen levels are running low! With only 60 minutes of breathable air left, will you be able to escape in time?” The tariff is the same as at other Clue HQ branches, starting at £44 for a team of two and going up to £90 for a team of six, though if you get in quick you might be able to take advantage of a Groupon for an opening discount, taking the price (regardless of team size) down to £39 on Mondays to Thursdays. The three-day opening weekend has already sold out completely, so time is of the essence… and would you really want it any other way?

Definitely pots of potential here; Exit Games UK looks forward to revisiting this site as it adds room after room after room!

Puzzle competitions coming up soon

Selsdon Park HotelThere are exciting puzzle competitions coming up soon, both in person and online. The online contests take place this weekend, the in-person ones next weekend. The online contests are free to enter and you can do so at a time and place of your own choosing; the in-person contest has a specific time and location and fees must be charged to cover the cost of booking it.

The second round of the World Puzzle Federation‘s Puzzle Grand Prix series takes place this weekend. It’s a 90-minute contest, which you can start as soon as 10am on Friday 19th February but which you must complete by 10pm on Monday 22nd February, so you have half a week in which to pick your 90-minute window. (Those times are the ones quoted in theory, the ones in practice may be an hour later.) This set of puzzles has been devised by the Slovak team. As with the previous round, the puzzles have been divided into Casual and Competitive sections, with the Competitive section more traditional constraint-based grid puzzles and the Casual section slightly more freeform, though not necessarily easier. Log in to the GP series web site then download the instruction booklet to find out the types of puzzles in advance, then plan your attack.

If you prefer Sudoku, though, then Logic Masters India have a contest for you this weekend where the puzzles have been devised by Belfast’s David McNeill, the over-50 World Sudoku Champion – and over-50 World Sudoku Champion, too! David has been a mainstay of the UK puzzle scene for well over a decade and is a very experienced puzzle setter, so this promises to be a treat. This weekend’s contest is called Triplets and Triangles; it too is a 90-minute contest, available between Saturday 20th February and Monday 22nd February at times to be confirmed. The contest has 14 puzzles, starting with classic 9×9 sudoku, running through some variants themed as the title of the contest suggests, and ending up with some brand new puzzles that seem to combine two other variants into a single new challenge.

In person, the UK Puzzle Association are running the UK Open tournaments in sudoku and puzzles on 27th and 28th February at the Selsdon Park Hotel near Croydon, pictured above; increasingly this has become the home of puzzles in this country, most famously for being the site at which the UK held the World Championships in 2014. Again the instruction booklets have been posted; most notable is Bram de Laat’s second round, “Two to Five”, with sixteen different puzzles in four general styles: room placement puzzles, split wall puzzles, division/dissection puzzles and number puzzles. In each of those four styles, there’s a puzzle that relies on two-themed properties (pairs of cells, sets of two adjacent rooms, dominoes with two digits and so on…), a puzzle themed around threes, a puzzle themed around fours and a puzzle themed around fives. Delightful design! The event is always highly convivial so do take a look and see if it’s your sort of fun.

New rooms from the newsroom

The NewsroomSeveral sites have refreshed their line-ups recently; others have just plan expanded. Here are details of the new rooms at existing sites that Exit Games UK has found recently. If your new room is missing, please let Exit Games UK know and the list shall grow longer.

  • Let’s go very roughly north to south, so that this way the list can start with a site with two new rooms. Breakout Games Aberdeen of the Granite City have overhauled their offering to introduce a pair of new treats for 2016. The Amazon has opened with a bang to become the most challenging game on site and is not recommended for beginners. “Plunged into the depths of the Amazon your team are charged with finding a priceless ancient artifact in an escape room filled with twists, turns and surprises. Will you be lost in the jungle for all eternity?” The two Lock and Key rooms have been replaced with two Deadlock rooms, enabling teams to race against each other: “DEADLOCK is the perfect escape game to introduce new groups to escape games in a race against the clock! With two identical escape rooms of DEADLOCK teams of 12 can race to escape completing exactly the same puzzles. With riddles, codes to crack and some twists and turns along this way this new puzzle is fantastic fun with a three star difficulty rating!” The site is also installing two identical copies of Black and White in March, which will make it one of the biggest sites in the land.
  • Down to Newcastle where Lost and Escape were feeling excited on Facebook about their new room, The Dungeon. Follow that link for the pictures; the story for the room suggests that “You accidentally went into an ancient house. The door of the house is a time machine, which brought you back to the 1900s. You found strange symbols everywhere. The only way to go back is to get the key in 60 minutes. The person who runs out of time will be locked in the past. Can you travel back successfully?
  • Next to Manchester where Breakout Manchester have added their ninth room, this one in their High Street offshoot. In Most Wanted, Ray Cokes chats with production and viewers while introducing… oh, not that Most Wanted. “It’s another race to escape although this time the bigger reward you collect, the higher up on the leaderboard you will go! ((…)) Think of yourselves as Bounty Hunters of the Wild West breaking in to a Saloon in search of loot! Make sure you’re out by the time the Sheriff returns, even if it means leaving some of your riches behind, or you’ll end up spending the night in a cell as Breakout Manchester’s Most Wanted!” There have been rooms which award scores in the past; sometimes scores can be analogues for solving time, as the longer you spend cracking the pre-scoring puzzles, the less time you have to work on the additional challenges which determine your score. Here, it’s clear; “Time is important to your game… but the reward means more to your team!
  • At the south end of Greater Manchester, Code to Exit of Altrincham have now opened their second room full-time. In The Test, which they describe on Facebook as being without keys, padlocks or furniture, “An alien life force has been experimenting with the human DNA. They tempered with few of us and mixed their genes with ours. You are being abducted to complete the tests and find out if it was successful. Are you intelligent enough to represent our species? If you pass you will be set free.” The site have also suggested that their third game is only two or three months away and will feature quite an unusual theme that this site is looking forward to. Code to Exit now offer discounts to people booking off-peak, to students and to birthday parties; they also offer team-building days during office hours as well.
  • Bristol is apparently further north than Gravesend by scant seconds of latitude, so Puzzlair have announced that they are taking bookings for their fifth room, The Poltergeist Room, which opens next week in their Puzzlair 2 location. “A widow lived in this room with her daughter, and suddenly they disappeared. Every once in a while people seen the silhouette of a woman walking around in the rooms. The players have to find out the reason behind the disappearance and also produce a successful ghost exorcism in order to escape the room in 60 minutes.
  • The Panic Room of Gravesend are running their current room for another week and a half, then will be taking a few days off to change it over to The Witch House, running in March and April. “Our next mystery begins with a student who rents a room inside an old house with a long and dark history. His dreams are haunted by those of a Witch from the town’s legend. During the witch trials of 1692 she disappeared never to be seen again. It’s 11pm and your team has been sent to help the poor student uncover the mystery that lies within the room. What happened to the witch? Can you break the curse before the clock strikes midnight?” Eek!
  • Salisbury Escape Rooms write to say “Since initially opening at Easter 2015 with the Magna Carta challenge, in October 2015 we changed the theme to Murder in the Museum. Players are met and briefed by a detective then led to the reception of the Salisbury Smithsonian Museum. A body has been found and a suspect is in custody. Police have one hour left to either charge him or release him. The team are required to find the missing evidence and get out within the hour. The new game, again designed, built and run by retired detectives is proving to be very popular. Tripadvisor reviews have been excellent and several teams who have completed many escape rooms have said that this is the best they have done!
  • Lastly to Exeter where Mission Escape have added a third room, with more promised to launch this year. This one is deliberately designed to cater for teams of no more than four players. In the Pharaoh’s Anger room, you must “Make your way through the tomb of the Kings… be careful not to disturb the dead. Align the Celestial bodies to release you from the Pharaoh’s wrath or be entombed forever“. Nobody wants that!