Escape The Room – Part Houdini, Part MacGyver – Lots of laughter and a little tension as the clock ticks down.
Our thirty-something daughters and sons-in-law included us in an exciting ninety-minute adventure game in San Francisco called Escape the Room. I found this experience totally engaging.
Escape the Room is a game in which your team of about 8 adult players enters a room and solves puzzles and riddles in order to reveal the exit and escape. Some puzzle solutions lead to clues to the next puzzle. In some games, your team escapes one room only to enter another seemingly without an exit… and more clues, more mysteries and more puzzles. This is not solo play for puzzlers. Most puzzles require the cooperation of several teammates. You learn a lot about your team mates – everyone has ideas, strengths and weaknesses. Players must both lead and follow, make suggestions and listen. We played as a family, but it would be fun with friends, co-workers or members of a team.
San Francisco Escape Rooms at The Palace of Fine Arts
In San Francisco, The Great Houdini Escape Room is based on a (not entirely historically accurate) premise that it was designed by Houdini 100 years ago to challenge to eight famous innovators: Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Henry Ford, Charlie Chaplin, John Philip Sousa, William “Buffalo Bill” Cody, Helen Keller and Luther Burbank. They all participated in San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915. It incorporates some of Houdini’s tricks and illusions.
We played the Teddy Roosevelt Escape the Room. It is 1915 and Teddy Roosevelt is a popular former President who needs help preparing for WWI. Your team is enlisted.
The newest room at Palace-Games in San Francisco begins with this telegram from Thomas Edison.
These rooms are more elaborate than most and you will pay $400 for your two-hour experience. Palace-Game
My daughter highly recommends Escape My Room in New Orleans. There is a Jazz Parlor theme, a Mardi Gras Study and an Inventor’s Attic. Tickets are $30 per person for each one-hour escape challenge. 8 players are in the room at a time. If you don’t buy all the tickets, you might have company. Escape My Room, New Orleans.
New York City
An ASE subscriber wants you to know about Brain X Cape in NYC. It won the Trip Adviser Certificate of Excellence Award in 2017. Located at 48 W. 20th Street in Manhattan. In Prison Break, your team ‘wakes up’ in a cell and needs to solve puzzles and escape before the guard returns in an hour. In the Haunted Hotel, you need to escape from room 224. Teams of 2-8 can play and each ‘escape’ lasts an hour. $60 per person for two players, $31 per person for 8 players. Check the website for teams of 3 to 7 players. Brain X Cape.
In NYC, our friends recommend Escape the Initiation, a cool, secret society-themed room. This is a 60-minute game based on a company president who has selected you to join his secret society. Your team must prove its worth – or be trapped forever. Pro tip: Avoid Escape the Darkest Hour, another game at the same site. Apparently it is really scary. Escape The Initiation.
Go to The Ultimate Heist Room here for great set design. Apparently it’s the most realistic/immersive room in NYC. Your team is trying to steal treasure from the home of a master thief, The Fox. Clue Chase has four rooms and they have all been recommended. The Ultimate Heist is for 4 to 10 players, $29 per person. If you do not have a ten-person team, they might put other player sin the room with you. Clue Chase
Detective Story has been recommended, especially for small groups (fewer than 6). This a one-hour game. $155 for six players, $100 for two players. Escape Games, NYC.
What do you need to know about Escape the Room Experiences?
You’ll want about 8 players on your team. Some escape rooms allow up to 12. More team members mean more puzzle solvers, but communication and teamwork is complicated. If you do not buy all of the tickets for a specific hour, you might have other players join you.
The experience in San Francisco lasts about two hours with 90 minutes in the room(s) to solve the puzzles and riddles and escape and 20 to 30 minutes of introduction to the game. Some rooms have a one-hour escape challenge.
The rooms are not physically challenging, but there is lots of excitement, mental challenge and a little tension.
This is not for children. Most rooms require participants to be at least 15, some will allow children 12 and up.
To find an escape room experience near you, just Google Escape the Room and your zip code.
- Komnata Quest – New York
- Enchambered – Sacramento
- Cross Roads Escape Games – Anaheim, Calif.
- 5 Wits – Mass. and N.Y.
- Escape Code – Branson, Mo.
- 60 to Escape – Gurnee, Ill.
- Breakout Lawrence – Lawrence, Kan.
- Escape Room Insomnia DC – Washington
- Omescape – San Jose
- 60OUT – Los Angeles
- Real Escape Game – San Francisco
- Mission: Escape – Atlanta
- Palace Games – San Francisco
- Locked In: The Birmingham Escape Game – Birmingham, Ala.
- Breakout KC – Kansas City, Mo.
- House of Hints – San Diego
- Austin Panic Room – Austin
- Room Escape Live – Los Angeles
- Trapology – Boston
- The Basement – Los Angeles
Escape room experiences are all over the world. Prague has 100+ rooms.
It is said that there are over 3,500 escape room experiences around the world. Some are scary. I think the fun is the teamwork, the logic and the puzzles so you will never find me ‘Escaping the Zombie’, but those experiences are out there.