Now open in Cardiff: Escape Rooms Cardiff

Escape Rooms Cardiff logoGo half-way between Cardiff Castle and the Millennium Stadium (or the Principality Stadium, as it now apparently must be called), face east and go forward the length of a hefty up-and-under. You’ll be within a drop-kick of the first- and second- floor location of Escape Rooms Cardiff, which opened today. The site has opened with three different rooms, each of which have a one-hour time limit and are designed for teams of two to five. The web site’s graphic design is gorgeous with one of the best logos in the land.

The Finding Sherlock game is rated as the easiest of the three and recommened for teams of three. “This is the private office of the world famous Sherlock Holmes. He’s gone missing during an investigation and you must solve the clues that he’s left for his trusted friend Dr Watson. Can you complete the trail of clues and make it out in time? He’s counting on you.

A shade more difficult, the recommended team size for The Tomb is four players. “Stumbling inside the lost tomb of an Pharaoh, you set off the booby trap and you have 60 minutes before the walls come down around you! All the puzzles are from ancient times, so you have to think like an Egyptian if you want to get out of this one in time.

Also towards the upper end of the spectrum, you’re recommended to have a team of five to take on The Heist and win. “You’ve broken into a museum to steal their prize possession. Split into two, teams will have to work together, work out the clues from the gallery to get through the laser trap and make off with the goods! It’s tricky! You’ve got 60 minutes before the police turn up!

Prices start at £50 for a team of two and go up to £85 for a team of five. The site is set to open daily, with games beginning every 90 minutes between 9am and 9pm. All the nines; this site looks forward to seeing the reviews – hopefully the games turn out to be dressed to the nines!

Crowdfunding round-up

Savings jar graphicThis site has long had a policy, among many others, of prioritising efforts not to play favourites. While the policy continues as ever, the biggest challenge to it yet has arisen; for the first time, it happens that people who I already knew and liked are starting their first UK exit game. Impartiality (as far as consciously possible, and making efforts to consider subconsious effects) remains critical – but, by way of full disclosure, there’s more of a reason for me to have a rooting interest in this one particular case.

This site has given a few mentions to Mink Ette, one of the team behind the Spark of Resistance game in Portland, near the Pacific coast of the US, and also mentioned Gareth Briggs of last year’s MOLE game and more. The two of them, and others, are teaming to start an exit game in Brixton, with an associated Adventure Society situating its headquarters in the site’s retail presence; the crowdfunding campaign has started like gangbusters.

It would be fair to say that the UK has not previously seen an exit game crowdfunding campaign with such a hot start, this side of a more inclusive decision of exit game that might permit comparison to Hyde or The Crystal Maze. It would also be fair to point out that other sites have reached their targets even after a less conspicuous beginning – and that other sites again that didn’t reach their targets at all have still come to fruition, flourished and made a great many people happy.

It’s worth asking what has made the difference in this case; at a guess, informed by other articles on successful crowdfunding such as this one by beloved band the Doubleclicks, getting your name out there and being a known quantity makes a big difference, and one way to do that is to work on many other people’s projects. It also helps that other reputable people have been willing to lend their credibility by volunteering on the project, on the crowdfunding rewards or simply by being vocal about it. The whole “having run the game before in another country” issue may also make it a somewhat more plausible proposition, too.

This is far from the only game in town, though. There’s another Kickstarter project for Code Rooms, a putative exit game in Cardiff looking to open in 2016. Kickstarter is not the only crowdfunding route; on Indiegogo, the campaign for Escape Rooms Cardiff is offering early bird tickets ahead of the launch, planned for December, at a very attractive rate. This site has also mentioned Mystery HQ Wigan, though the crowdfunding campaign seems no longer available.

More about all these games, as and when news becomes available!

Late September new game news

"+ NEW GAME" graphicNew exit games are coming, both as additions to existing sites and to brand new sites of their own.

  • Liverpool’s gamEscape‘s Facebook page shows day after day with their single room in heavy utilisation, so a second room is a logical addition. Their second room is entitled Prison Cell and booking is currently available for it from Wednesday 23rd September onwards. “You have been locked up for a crime you did not commit! You are in lockdown, where many prisoners of the inescapable prison have tried, and ultimately FAILED to escape, there is a rumour that one inmate has successfully escaped. They left many clues, use the clues, solve the puzzles and become the first (officially) to escape before the warden comes back and shuts you in FOREVER.” Hopefully this will prove as popular as their first Golden Cage room!
  • The Room of Glasgow have two pieces of exciting news: the nights of Thursday 29th October to Sunday 1st November will see a temporary Hallowe’en Thrill. As they say on Facebook, “Remember how we always promise there’s nothing scary in our rooms? Well, for our Halloween event, we can promise the exact opposite!” The room asks “Do you have the courage to enter a haunted house? When all is pitch black and you cannot know what you would face? Do you have what it takes to handle the paranormal? If you do, book our special Halloween experience, a multi-room escape event with a haunted house twist! The game lasts about 40 minutes, available for groups of 2 to 5.” Fifty pounds per scream. Er, per team.
  • Staying with The Room, from November 11th, teams of two to four can pay £66 (or £55 with coupon code MYRMSP1) to play the new Mystic Room at the same location. “The oracle was found dead in her room. What happened? Why police is reluctant to investigate? What fortune was told to whom? Did the prophecy come true? What clues did the oracle leave behind, and are you able to read them? Can you use your wits and your senses to crack the case? You have one hour to find the answers and your way out of the mystery. Clairvoyants read the stars, and communicate with the afterlife. You might also need to do it for the truth may well be out there….
  • At the other end of the country, thanks to Ken for notice that new rooms are a-poppin’ at Escape Plan Live of Chatham, which opens at weekends only. A new Nuclear Winter sixty-minute game for teams of up to eight will be available from 11th October. Notably, it turns the usual premise completely on its head; you’re looking for a key, but not to unlock a door. “The inevitable has happened – as the bombs rained down, the initial blasts wiped out most of humanity; starvation and the extreme cold caused by the lack of sunlight took care of the rest… almost. Of the few survivors, radiation has ensured most have become ravenous zombie-like beings who are now just an hour away from your hideout – a kitchen where the cupboards may now be bare, but it does have what you really need… a door that locks! Can you find the key and use it to keep the cannibalistic hordes out?” November sees the addition of festive-themed games Mission: Save Christmas and The Naughty List for up to six. Cutely, you can specify players’ names to appear on a letter from Santa, or to be put in place on the titular Naughty List for the players to seek to remove. Presumably these will only be available at the appropriate times of year; 2016 will see the addition of an eight-player Arctic Freeze game, possibly inspired by the admitted notorious coldness of the location where the games take place!
  • It looks like Lock’d of London are opening their third room, Perpetuum Mobile, on Friday 25th September. In this game, rated at 4/5 keys of difficulty, “In just one hour, the world will be plunged into eternal darkness. And there’s only one person who can stop it. You. The planet’s delicate energy resources are about to run dry. And Professor Richter, the only man with the knowledge to save the world, has disappeared. The future of humankind is in your hands“. Looking at all the games listed as coming soon, might the site have plans to expand to nine different games? That would be mightily impressive.
  • There’s not really been enough information to talk about Escape Rooms Cardiff yet; their web site is currently still a placeholder, though their Facebook page is up and running. (Honesty kudos points because it doesn’t yet feature five-star reviews before the site has opened.) What the world does know is that there is a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to help scale up their plans – very strongly recommended for those who know they’re going to play and want to secure an early bird discount. If you’re local and want to know more about what they’re about, they’re running an event called The Quest on Thursday 24th September at an adults-only after-hours event at the Techniquest science theatre and planetarium.
  • Should these not be enough for you and leave you asking “What are we going to do next?“, e-mail has arrived suggesting that Invitation To events, known for their Treasure Hunts in London, are set to release a book with possible answers to just that question, filled with the sorts of answers that readers to this site would enjoy!