Love is in the Air…

With Valentines Day almost upon us (again) I thought I’d share details of three different and ‘loved up‘ offers.

Can You Escape?

First up is for all of you who want to do something on the 14th February, but don’t have a date. The team at Can You Escape? have just the thing for you.
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Join the team from Can You Escape? for a speed dating night with a difference!  There is space for 5 males and 5 females at 7 o’clock on 14th February to take on Operation Deadlock our game that sees two teams go head to head.

7:00pm – arrival, introductions & a mini game to decide the teams
7:30pm – Operation Deadlock begins
8:30pm (or earlier if you’re quick!) – head to a local bar for drinks.

After playing the Can You Escape? team will book a table at a local bar where you can hang out with your fellow escapees.

Tickets are £15 (plus fee of £1.52) and are available on Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/speed-dating-with-a-difference-tickets-31160488861

Escape Rooms Scotland

Next up we have Escape Rooms Scotland who are offering a £20 off deal on rooms booked for Valentines Day.

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All you have to do is pick a venue, pick a room, and enter the promo code “Valentines_2017” at checkout when booking your game at http://www.escaperoomsscotland.com

This offer is available at all three venues, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee, but be quick as spaces are limited.

The Room

Finally we have The Room Glasgow who are also offering £20 off for Valentines, but are also throwing in a surprise Valentines gift.

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The rooms included in the offer are the Mystery Room, Identity Room, Spy Room, and the offer is for 2 players only.
Games must be played on Sunday 12th, Tuesday 14th, Wednesday 15th or Thursday 16th February.
Just use the code  “bemyvalentine when booking your game at http://riddlerooms.co.uk 

Go Escape

Scotlands newest escape room Go Escape, which opens in Dunfermline on Saturday 11th February, have also got an offer for Valentines Day.

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On Tuesday only its only £40 per couple to get locked in a room with your loved one for an hour (maybe less?). Slots available at 5.30pm and 7.00pm.

However this can only be booked via the Go Escape Facebook page, not the website.

Deals of the Week

With so many deals and vouchers available I thought it best to put it into a blog post instead of a facebook post. Ideal if you’re looking for a festive activity or even a Christmas gift or two.

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Edinburgh

Escape Rooms Scotland have opened in Leith and are offering a Groupon voucher for their Bunker room, so a team of upto 6 can play for £39. The only restiction is that it excludes the holidays – 24 to 26 Dec 2016, 1 to 3 Jan 2017. The voucher is valid till 30th April, so it makes a fabulous Christmas gift. https://www.groupon.co.uk/deals/escape-rooms-scotland-6

Escape Rooms Scotland have a fabulous voucher deal for all their rooms, get 20% discount on all room specific gift vouchers.  Once you’ve decided which room you’re buying a gift voucher for then head for the booking page and select “Specific gift voucher” and pick your game. Use the code CHRISTMASGF and get 20% off on a voucher vaild for 6 months. http://escaperoomsscotland.com/book-now/

Glasgow

The Room have a Itison voucher where you can play either their Spy, Identity or Mystery rooms for £48. The only restriction is that there is a £10 surcharge for Saturdays (payable at the venue).  https://www.itison.com/Glasgow/deals/the-room-escape-game-6pp/activities

Tick Tock Unlock also have an Itison voucher for up to 6 people for £39, but be quick if you want to use it this year as not only does it exclude Saturdays, but also 8th December to 1st January. January 2017 is also available if you want a post festive escape. https://www.itison.com/Glasgow/deals/breakout-game-city-centre-less-than-7pp/activities

Clue HQ are still offering their Bunker38 room on Wowcher, with a game for up to 6 for £39. There is a £10 surcharge for weekend bookings (payable at the venue) . http://www.wowcher.co.uk/deals/glasgow/deal-1560005-detail/39-instead-90-60-minute-live-escape-game-group/deal.html 

Escape Rooms Scotland have a fabulous voucher deal for all their rooms, get 20% discount on all room specific gift vouchers.  Once you’ve decided which room you’re buying a gift voucher for then head for the booking page and select “Specific gift voucher” and pick your game. Use the code CHRISTMASGF and get 20% off on a voucher valid for 6 months. http://escaperoomsscotland.com/book-now/

The Exit Games have a discounted room rate on to celebrate their opening, with a room for up to 6 for just £40. The Sherlock room is definitely worth a trip to Paisley, give it a go!  http://www.theexitgames.net/booking

Escape Reality is a brand new venue to Scotland and are opening on December 1st in the Merchants City with 5 rooms and a bar. They have an opening offer of 20% discount on all bookings made in November. Use the code ESCAPENOW20 at  http://www.escapereality.com/glasgow 

Inverness

Lockdown offer a great 10% discount on both their rooms for off-peak bookings, just use the code THXS when booking online at http://www.lockdown-inverness.co.uk/

Breakout Inverness are opening their new room Prometheus, in the new year and are offering 50% off tester games in the first two weeks in January. Quote TITAN to them when booking (online booking not available at the moment, give them a call on 07788 254629).  http://www.breakoutgamesinverness.com/

Dundee

Escape Rooms Scotland have a fabulous voucher deal for all their rooms, get 20% discount on all room specific gift vouchers.  Once you’ve decided which room you’re buying a gift voucher for then head for the booking page and select “Specific gift voucher” and pick your game. Use the code CHRISTMASGF and get 20% off on a voucher valid for 6 months. http://escaperoomsscotland.com/book-now/

 

Have I missed any offers or deals? Let me know and I’ll add you to the list.

Into The Bunker

It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes I’m in the right place and the right time and get the opportunity for a sneak peak at new escape rooms, and also get to beta test them. This week I was most fortunate to take a team to the new venue for Escape Rooms Scotland which is on Great Junction Street in Leith to be one of the lucky tester teams.

The Venue

OK, I failed the first challenge! I had to text to get directions…. Great Junction Street is easy to find and I got parked down one of the side streets without any hassle, but I missed the door for the venue.

That’s because you go through the Spilt Milk cafe and down the stairs. There is a sign at the door, but I missed it in my rush to get there.

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The cafe is very easy to spot, its right next to the church. The cafe staff are lovely (and make an excellent caramel latte) and will direct you down the stairs to Escape Rooms Scotland where you will be greeted by some fabulous street art.

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The Room

Its 1942 and you are trapped underground in THE BUNKER.

Do you have what it takes to outsmart your enemies and make it out in one piece???

We were briefed by the very friendly games master, Paul, who was most interested in finding out all about us and what rooms we’d enjoyed previously. I do like it when the host takes the time to chat and settle you in; it gives the team a few minutes to settle and take in the new surroundings before the health and safety briefing.

We were then taken back to 1942, and as with all evacuees back then we needed to be furnished with our kit bags containing our gas masks. It’s a great authentic touch that brings the room to life before you even start. We were also given a walkie talkie for communications.

We were given a very short briefing, and very little information given, but what do you expect when you need to take cover… it is 1942 you know!

Into the Bunker we went, and was immediately impressed with the both the production of the room and the atmosphere that Escape Rooms Scotland have made. It helps to have an underground location as you’ve no windows looking out to a modern street scene, but also with the materials used add to the effect too.  The room also has some great sound (no wonder they put recording studios down here too) and the soundtrack used really enhances the immersion of the game.

In fact the only thing that didn’t fit in the room was the TV used for the timer and some of the locks, but you have to allow for those.

We were a team of four and we soon got to grips with the initial puzzles, which are nicely designed to get you settled in and get you working as a team. These worked a treat and we were soon making progress with the puzzles.

We only had major problems with one puzzle, and that had been earmarked already for re-working to make the puzzle clearer. All the tester teams had some issues with it (hence the need for putting several groups through). Being a tester also flagged up another puzzle that needed a design tweak, because I worked it out without finding the correct information.

We escaped with just over 10 minutes to spare, and even remembered our gas masks too….just in case!

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Accessibility

Access to the rooms is through the Spilt Milk Café and then down the stairs. But don’t worry if you don’t want to use the stairs, there is also a lift (just ask the café).

Entrance to the Bunker room is a small space, but this can easily accommodate a team with space to spare. A couple of the doors may be a little narrow for some wider mobility aids though, so please check with the venue.

Summary

Escape Rooms Scotland are a great new addition to the growing escape room community in Edinburgh, and despite it being outwith the centre it is easily accessible as it’s on a major bus route. Having an on site café also adds to the experience, we had coffee and cake between rooms and it was lovely.

The two rooms contrast each other nicely, the Outbreak room is ideal for those who want some “intensive feelings” while the Bunker is perfect for those who want to solve puzzles and its ideal for families.

The Bunker will keep more experienced escape room players immersed and entertained there is a good variety of puzzles in there. Newer escape room players and first timers will also enjoy the Bunker, as you’re not overwhelmed at the start which gives players the time and space to concentrate on the first puzzles, easing them into the game.

 

Hurtling Through Space……

In honour of Can You Escape? taking part in Disabled Access Day on March 12th, I thought I’d write my next review for them and include my thoughts on accessibility.

Can You Escape? is already an established escape room company in Scotland as they’ve celebrated their first birthday, already revamped one of their rooms from Operation Bald Eagle to the head to head game Operation Deadlock, and are about to launch a mobile game (as well dropping hints about their forthcoming second venue).

Situated on Holyrood Road, they are literally a stones throw from Dynamic Earth and although there is on onsite/street front carparking, there is a multi story car park a couple of hundred metres up the road.

Back in August 2015 we booked for our first game at Can You Escape? for the Operation Odyssey room. This is described as a 4 out of 5 difficulty room for 2-6 players. The mission is:

As space cadets on the International Space Station you must race against time to ensure you fix the escape pod before it’s too late. Houston received your distress call and has concluded that it was a meteor shower that struck the main ship a short time ago. The escape pod has also been damaged so you must first restore all of the systems before attempting an escape.

Cadets, you need to hurry! The next meteor shower is predicted to strike in an hour so there is no room for error!

The entrance is well signposted, but its not the largest of shopfronts, so you still have to look for it. From an access point of view then this is the first issue, its a standard door with a couple of steps, so will need some negotiating for mobility chairs/walkers.

Once in the entrance of Can You Escape? its rather cosy, there is just enough room for a team to be briefed, space is a premium. The Operation Odyssey room is direct facing the entrance so easy to get to, and the toilets are round the corner (also on the same level) with the other game room downstairs.

We were warmly welcomed by the gamesmaster, who was in full character thoughout and gave us an excellent briefing and then issued us all the first mission….. think up Agent names! Of course we weren’t prepared for this but as its space themed room we went for names of mars space rovers (Curiosity, Opportunity, Beagle, Spirit and Phoenix) ….and yes we quickly Googled them!

The team photo was taken and then we were issued with out equipment, walkie-talkie, note taking equipment and Agent armbands. Then into the game and into the dark!

After negotiating the initial puzzle to get into the control room of the space craft we soon set out the puzzles. Can You Escape? have a modular system for the room where you have distinct min-missions to solve to release the final puzzle. This is perfect for groups and there at least a mission each, and no two missions are the same, there is a wonderful mix of the more physical and more mental and a couple that rely on communication within the team, it ensures that everyone can shine at something.

Communication with the games master is thought the mission control computer, and you type in your questions. The walkie talkie is also there if you’re not near the terminal or just need something explaining. We got a couple of clues, one of which we shouldn’t have needed, but we missed finding an obviously hidden key! Its always the ones in plain sight that we miss…

Then onto the final mission, and I’ve still no idea how we managed to complete the room in 50:55 as we were laughing so much during the final puzzle. Its the most like a game from the Crystal Maze I’ve ever encountered in an escape room and we LOVED it.

We fell out into the reception area laughing and positively bouncing with achievement! We had a ball and made it onto the mission completed wall of fame.

Although I don’t have a favourite room (but that’s another story) this is one of the three rooms I recommend to people who ask me whats a good room to do. The entire escape is well set out, its mini-mission system makes it good for new players to see what goes where and there is two systems of getting hints and help (and the gamesmasters are very good). The puzzles are well themed and the finish of the room and we were immersed in the story quite quickly (to the point of wasting time by trying to fit someone into the space suit before they attempted the final puzzle!)

If you haven’t visited Can You Escape? yet then please add it to your to-do list.

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So onto the accessibility bit……

The mission is split into distinct areas, none of which have that much space, and involve some tight bends or low doors and some low puzzle solving, so not easy to negotiate a chair/walker. The main control room has a central table and a computer terminal on one wall, so again space to move isn’t plentiful. We had no problems, but we were a team of 5. Also there is no seating in the room, so ask if you want a chair put in.

There a dark areas and areas with lots of lights, so players with visual issues could benefit from a torch for the early section. For players with hearing issues then the soundtrack is rather loud in places, but that’s a very easy fix.

Having two systems of communication is a huge benefit for accessibility, with vocal and text systems, and having a mix of puzzle types ensures that everyone can solve something and contribute to the success of the mission.

EDITED to add that there are several features that we didn’t notice at the time (or have been installed since August 2015), including ramps for the entrance, and additional doors that can be opened. Can You Escape? have put a huge amount of time and resources into making Operation Odyssey as accessible as possible.

For more information, and to see the room and chat to the staff then please get in touch with Can You Escape? on info@canyouescape.co.uk and read their blog at https://canyouescape.co.uk/blog/disabled-access-day-65  

 

 

 

Evac – Glasgow

We were rather intrigued by Evac Glasgow as it appeared with very little publicity and a rather cryptic company website, Evac UK which also pointed to sites opening in Edinburgh and Aberdeen. The Glasgow site was listed as The Asylum, so we had visions of lots of mind games to work through.

The next we heard of Evac was vouchers on not one,but two online discount deal sites. So of course we just had to buy one and visit.

The Evac premises do not conform with the rest of the Glasgow escape rooms in that it is not in the city centre and is not in an office type building. Instead it is south of the river on Commerce Street and is located in one of the many railway arches.

It also does not conform to the ‘standard’ model (if there is such a thing) as Evac is only open for Friday evenings and all day Saturday and Sunday. The game is for upto 5 players (again the Glasgow standard is 6 or more). Another unique feature (well, I’ve never seen this on any other site) is that the website clearly states that there are no restroom facilities on site. Perhaps this is an added incentive to complete the room??

Anyway, we arrived on a cold and wet evening to the Evac site, which is very easy to find, the satnav takes you to the door and there is parking available outside. The building is well signed so you don’t have to search for a doorway.

We got to the door and pressed the doorbell, and were asked on the intercom for our booking name. We then were buzzed into the reception area where we expected to see someone to brief us…. there was no one. You’re immediately in the game! There is a small walkie-talkie on the table and this is your only link to any other person until you escape.

Loved this little twist as we took the lack of briefing to mean that the game is so slick that no further instruction or explanation is required.

As with all game reviews I wont go though the puzzles or the twists/turns but we managed to get though the room without any clues, it wasn’t a record breaking time as we only had a couple of minutes to spare, but we were pleased with our clueless success. We had a couple of head-scratcher moments and it did help that we’d seen some puzzles elsewhere, but this didn’t spoil the enjoyment of Evac.

The final puzzle was the one that took the most time (as it should, in my opinion) and it does rely on lots of communication, a very steady hand, some tongue biting  and a whole bucketful of patience! How there was no major domestic in our team I’ve no idea.

We then burst through the final door and finally met our gamesmaster in his tiny office/workshop and did the usual congrats, game post mortem and photo.

Not the greatest photo, but it was dark and raining…evac

We loved the mix of puzzles in Evac, there is a great mix of observational, logic, hands on and sneaky puzzles and challenges. There was something for everyone to shine at and also something for everyone to get stumped with.

Also loved the straight into the game theme,  and the use of the space in the railway arch is also exceptional, as you have no idea when you enter how big, or how small, the room is going to be. The more traditional office type rooms you get a sense of scale from the corridor.

What wasn’t what we were expecting/hoping for? Well, there was no sign of the Asylum that the Evac UK site promised, in fact there was no theme/story or aim to the room. Some sites call these classic rooms, but I do prefer the rooms with a story and a specific objective to do before exiting. But that’s just me.

The only other slight niggle was that we weren’t warned about the 5 min lockout on a safe. Luckily we knew it would lock us out,and didn’t enter codes blindly, but for new players who didn’t know then it would be easy to lose time and momentum by having to wait for 5 mins.

Would I recommend?  Definitely. Its great for families as there are lots of the puzzles that smaller hands can do. Great for groups, but also doable by couples. Unfortunately its not fully wheelchair accessible, there is at least one narrow door and a couple of steps, but it is accessible to players with limited mobility (and there are plenty of chairs if you need to sit down)

We look forward to see what Evac come up with next, with a railway arch venue then I envision some ‘Italian job’ type gang hideout, or a lair for a super criminal…..

 

 

 

 

 

Backlog….

I could make a million and one excuses, some of which could be worthy of an escape room senario, but regardless of what I can dream up the fact remains that I’ve neglected this blog so far this year.

I have a backlog of rooms to review, so rather than put them all out at once I will try to put a review out every couple of weeks.

Well, thats the plan….