First ever plug!! -Clockwork Dog presents

As it’s a pop up game in London, I don’t mind doing this one. I won’t be able to play it, and I get nothing for it, but I don’t mind sticking it up. ( That, and I’m a tad busy at the moment to write reviews).

Clockwork Dog presents Langstroth’s Last Riddle

A pop-up adventure game at The Bee’s Sneeze

 

Langstroth’s Last Riddle is a captivating hour long live ‘escape room’ style adventure game for groups of 2-5 players. A pop-up experience and will be running for just three weeks.

 

Step into the world of Alfred Langstroth, an eccentric collector of rare antiques and historical artefacts. After his recent passing, all of the items in his shop will be bequeathed to relatives or are to be sold, all except one very exceptional item… an object, legend has it, of awesome power.

 

Contenders will need to use logic, lateral thinking and have their wits about them in order to solve the riddle he has left within his old antiques shop: The Bee’s Sneeze. Amongst his collection, he has left clues and connived devious puzzles which will eventually lead to the artefact’s location, so you need to look closely, leave no stone unturned and be quick about it – Langstroth specified contenders may only have an hour to complete the challenge.

 

If you have enjoyed other such mysteries such like HintHunt, ClueQuest, Escape Plan and Time Run, then this is the game for you. But you must be fast – this game is for a limited time only running from 23rd May to the 12th June.

 

This is brought to you by Clockwork Dog, a new company specialising in creating pop-up adventure game experiences across the capital.

Tickets/Prices

£20 – £26 pp

Tickets can be booked at http://clockwork.dog/

Dates/Times

Runs from May 23rd to June 12th.

Weekdays – 7pm – 1030pm (2 slots)

Weekends – 10am – 1130pm (7 slots)

Location

The Bee’s Sneeze

12 Green Lanes, London N16 9NB

https://goo.gl/maps/BuuPXvbRhBP2

About Clockwork Dog

Clockwork Dog are a brand new company specialising in short-term ‘Escape Room’ style games based in site-specific locations: existing spaces already full of character and atmosphere.

Inspired by the location, they formulate an immersive adventure game to be played by small groups of two to five. Plunged into another world, participants will need to work as a team to solve a number of riddles and puzzles before the time runs out.


Clockwork Dog was founded by Tom Dixon & Alex Hylands-White:

Tom has designed and built a number of ER style games for corporate events, which have been extremely popular. He is a passionate puzzle solver and creator, and a huge fan of experiential and immersive theatre. He is excited to bring the two together to create the next generation of ER adventures.


Alex is a writer and director working in music video, short film and advertising. Using his knowledge of storytelling on screen, he is now applying it to immersive ER experiences. His film portfolio can be seen here. http://wearehalcyon.co.uk/

Bad Clown, Halloween, over midnight

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Well, as soon as this game appeared, there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that the addicts would be playing this specific game, 90 minutes long, especially when coupled with live actors! ( N.B. Bad Clown is now called Mr. Chuckles FunHouse – Bad Clown, and they have a non – live actor, less scary game, at 60 minutes long called Mr Chuckles FunHouse).

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From the website:

Would you like to play a game?

Mr Chuckles has got one that he’s made especially for you! It’s no ordinary game, Mr Chuckles doesn’t like ordinary games, his are designed to trick, torment and terrify you.

Once you enter his horrific fun house you’ll be at his mercy and only the bravest contestants will survive.

You have 90 minutes to open the exit door and leave after collecting as many golden tickets as you can find or win.  There are also other bonus items you can exchange for tickets at the end of your game to help you secure a place on the leader board.

Not only will you need to be brave, you’ll need to be lucky too, as you’re invited to play Mr Chuckles games of chance.  When you solve the final puzzle will you escape with your lives or stay longer to find more golden tickets?  Is that a gamble you’re willing to take?

For those unlucky enough to be trapped as the final seconds tick by, Mr Chuckles has one last surprise up his sleeve.  He needs to clear the fun house ready for his next players and the fastest way to do it is to flush the place out with an acid shower.

Death comes quickly to those that are left behind!

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The one other bit that appealed to me specifically…

  • Darkness, enclosed spaces, live actors & panic inducing scenarios are all part of this game.

So not only do we get to play a late night escape game, but with the fun noted above, this was going to be amazing.

However, I’m not going to comment on the escape itself. The live acting was damn impressive, each room was spot on, the risk/rewards for the golden tickets was done very well, and the variety of the games superb. What sets this room apart, for me, is twofold. The introduction, which I imagined was going to be good ( going off the previous 2 rooms), was absolutely exceptional ( no spoilers though so tough!!). Secondly, and this nearly made me forget the introduction, was that it was just bloody good fun. A lot of the time we seemed to spend was not escaping, but enjoying ourselves, and I’m going to assume that this is a huge part of the game itself.

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As for the result, we escaped with 60 golden tickets, as unfortunately, the games of chance did not fall our way ( and tbh, we missed a fair amount as well!)

A huge congratulations to Elaine, Mike and the team for yet again surpassing expectations and going above and beyond at every step of the journey.

Cluefinders – Remy’s room

Slight change to the order of the room reviews now as I’m working my way down the room ranking order that I put up a couple of weeks ago. ( should make it easier to do these).

We visited ClueFinders back in May 2015 ( I am so far behind!!), and the review is obviously from then..

Clue-Finders

 

We really didn’t know what to expect from ClueFinders, as we’d not heard anything about it before we went, apart from that we knew it was on an industrial estate, and the game was for anywhere between 3 and 10 players!! We arrived, as usual, way way too early to find the place empty… before long we were comfortably in and having a chat with one of the owners of Clue Finders. We tend not to say in advance how many games we’ve played, but sat through an informative and lively briefing. From the website:

Hey Ace! It’s the 1940’s and Top British Spy, Remy Blumenfield has disappeared under suspicious circumstances, and that’s bad news. The Cops are a pack of Whistl’n Dixie’s & the trails gone cold. Now some high class Dames offering you serious megabucks to find him before some wise guys do – or he’s done for. Can you wrack your brains and track him down in time?!

There is no physical restrictions within this game. The room itself is wide and there is plenty of space, an opportunity to sit down, and no strobe lighting or distressing sound effects. There will be music playing throughout the game, but at your request the game can be played without audio, if needs be.

At this point we found out that as soon as there are more than 6 players, the teams split in 2 identical games, with a surprise at the end…..

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Anyway, the game itself. There are a variety of environments to the rooms, all of which work, all of which have puzzles related to them, all leading to the end of the game. It flows exceptionally well from room to room, and it all builds up to tracking down Remy. There’s a good mixture of puzzles, as well as hidden objects, and one pretty damn good red herring ( which doesn’t detract from the game). We flew through the game and managed to smash the previous record, with approx 10 mins remaining, as well with 0 clues!!

They have a very good “after” escape room experience, somewhere to sit and chill for a few minutes, as well as the standard photo, it was rapidly printed and put into a scrapbook as seen below…

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which is a very nice touch! You can see from the comments throughout the book that they really do know what they are doing at Cluefinders! It’s highly recommended and jumps in at no 2 in my ranking list!

 

Room rankings… part 2

As promised, I finally got my rooms ranking sorted. However, it was a personal choice, and not that of all the addicts. The initial plan, which we are in the process of, is to provide a balanced view, so we will amalgamate each of our personal rankings into a combined one over the next few weeks.

Adam has decided on the following ranking:

1. Clue HQ Warrington – Dungeon of Doom
2. Escape Quest Macclesfield – Curious Encounters
3. Cluefinders Liverpool – Remy’s room
4. Escape Quest Macclesfield – Bad Clown ( 90 minute)
5. Extremescape Disley – Pirate Ship
6. Clue HQ Warrington – the Vault
7. Breakout Liverpool – Wanted -Indians
8. Escape Quest Macclesfield – Amazon Escape
9. Clue HQ Blackpool – Detonation
10. Countdown Escape Las Vegas – Atelephobia
11. Breakout Manchester – Madchester
12. St Helens Arts Service Pop-up Room – St Helens vs the Lizards
13. Great Escape Sheffield – Homicide
14. Clue HQ Blackpool – Quarantined
15. Locked in Games Leeds – Classroom of Doom
16. Locked in Games Leeds – Nursery Nightmares
17. Breakout Manchester – Sabotage
18. Crack the Code Sheffield – Cold War Room
19. Breakout Liverpool – Wanted – Cowboys
20. Exit Strategy Liverpool – Illuminati
21. Code2Exit Altrincham – Blueprint
22. Breakout Manchester – Classified
23. Great Escape Sheffield – Mad Scientist
24. Clue HQ Warrington –  Bunker 38
25. Escape Room Manchester – Room 13
26. Breakout Manchester – Facility
27. Breakout Manchester – John Monroe
28. Breakout Liverpool – Shipwrecked
29. Gamescape Liverpool – Golden Cage
30. Escape Room Manchester – Slaughterhouse
31. Tick Tock Unlock Liverpool – Blueprint
32. Breakout Manchester – Infiltrate
33. Breakout Manchester – Virus
34. Escape Room Manchester – Secret Lab

Room rankings – As of end Feb 2016

I’ve been asked ( well, pestered), by Ken of the excellent escape game review blog the Logic Escapes Me for a few months now, to present my ranking list of escape room games. I’ve done this list as a strictly personal list,  based on several things. It’s not based on the thoughts of the whole team of us ( that will be done another time)The quality of the room as a whole, the flow of the game, the storyline,the quality  and relevance of the puzzles, the game hosts, but to me, the most important part, the enjoyment and fun that I had.

Some of the games I’ve played have been reduced in price/free for varying reasons, and this bears absolutely no impact in the list. I’ve also not taken into account overall difficulty levels as that’s a different kettle of fish altogether. When I have a bit more free time, I’ll edit the ranking to link to reviews, but for now, I’ll just put the list out there….

  1. Escape Quest Macclesfield – Curious Encounters
  2. Cluefinders Liverpool – Remy’s room
  3. Extremescape Disley – Pirate Ship
  4. Clue HQ Warrington- the Vault
  5. Escape Quest Macclesfield- Bad Clown ( 90 minute)
  6. Clue HQ Warrington – Dungeon of Doom
  7. Breakout Liverpool – Wanted -Indians
  8. Breakout Manchester – Sabotage
  9. Clue HQ Blackpool – Detonation
  10. Breakout Manchester – Madchester
  11. Escape Quest Macclesfield- Amazon Escape
  12. Breakout Liverpool – Wanted – Cowboys
  13. Great Escape Sheffield – Homicide
  14. Clue HQ Blackpool – Quarantined
  15. Crack the Code Sheffield – Cold War Room
  16. Exit Strategy Liverpool – Illuminati
  17. Breakout Manchester – John Monroe
  18. Code2Exit Altrincham – Blueprint
  19. Locked in Games Leeds – Classroom of Doom
  20. Clue HQ Warrington –  Bunker 38
  21. Breakout Manchester – Classified  (only now in Liverpool) – test game
  22. Great Escape Sheffield – Mad Scientist
  23. Gamescape Liverpool – Golden Cage
  24. Escape Room Manchester – Room 13
  25. Locked in Games Leeds – Nursery Nightmares
  26. Tick Tock Unlock Liverpool – Blueprint
  27. Breakout Manchester – Facility
  28. Breakout Liverpool – Shipwrecked
  29. Escape Room Manchester – Slaughterhouse
  30. Breakout Manchester – Virus
  31. Escape Room Manchester – Secret Lab – test game
  32. Tick Tock Unlock Manchester – the Hatch
  33. Breakout Manchester – Infiltrate ( room has been changed since we played)

3 reviewers, 1 room ( and a bit of a chat)

A few weeks ago, after a quick Twitter conversation, Ken, the main protagonist behind http://thelogicescapesme.com/ was asking for a room ranking of the many North West rooms that I’d played, as he was planning a trip up encompassing  the Preston, Liverpool and  Manchester areas. This quickly expanded into an invite for Mark, the reviewer behind http://www.reallyfun.uk/puzzled-pint-manchester/ as well as myself, with the premise being that as a team of 3, we play a room none of us had before, and then without chatting about it afterwards, write our own reviews. We left the final decision to Ken ( seeing as he was paying up front), and he settled on the new room at Tick Tock Unlock Salford, called the Hatch.

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We met up before hand at the New Oxford pub, just over the road for a quick drink, chat and general conversation about our experiences so far, as well as a generalisation of our favourites and ones to miss. I was fashionably late to this, mainly as I have a foot injury   (awaiting X-ray results). I don’t know about the other 2 guys, but I was pretty nervous going into this. We all have good % escape rates, and was wondering how well we’d work together. In each group of regulars, there tends to be a variety of personalities that assist in being successful, and if we were all the same, how would we cope? Just one of the small things that was on my mind.

We popped over the road to Tick Tock Unlock, fortunately Mark had been before, as late at night, the sign outside is a little tricky to see otherwise. It is set underneath the railway arches just outside Salford Central train station, so the immediate thought is to imagine a cold, dark damp place. The door was answered rapidly, we were ushered inside where we had the usual chat with the game host, and thankfully, it was nice and warm. They also provided somewhere for bags and coats to go, if you didn’t want to take them into the room, which is always a good touch.

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The Hatch sounded an interesting concept. You have an hour to turn off an electromagnetic device that will wipe your memory, so you either manage it, or fail and have no memory of the attempt ( quite a clever idea). Added to that, we were split up at the start which wasn’t expected, with Ken and myself in one room, Mark in the other, with walkie talkies to talk to each other ( we ended up just yelling). The puzzles in the first rooms were definitely designed to get us working as a team, even if Ken and myself completely butchered one of them. We also had answers to puzzles Mark required and vice versa, but we eventually muddled through into the main room.

Even though there was a linear aspect to the room, it seemed to flow pretty well. A lot of the puzzles were definitely different than usual, either in their presentation or in their solution, and we did get a little stuck, we generally received a fairly quick prompt ( maybe a touch too quick sometimes), where we hadn’t properly checked/searched. They also had the MOST difficult puzzle to physically find where we would never have found it without assistance. We did generally fly through each puzzle, with what turned out to be the final puzzle an absolute corker, and if you solve that successfully, you feel like you’ve definitely achieved something and possess the patience of a saint!! We escaped with 17:30 left on the clock, which is the fastest time they’d had so far ( in a relatively new room), and I honestly think we left 10 minutes in there as well. The usual discussions and photograph followed, and it was time to say goodbye, as I had to rush off to catch a train. It was a bloody fun night for certain!!

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The room – the premise is sound, but doesn’t quite follow through from the initial brief. There’s a great opportunity in my eyes to stick a huge machine in the middle of the floor of the main room saying electromagnetic device on it, with several puzzles requiring solving to de-activate it. Saying that however, I did really enjoy how they linked up all 3 of the rooms throughout the game, and culminating in one of the more challenging final puzzles I’ve seen. There’s an about right level of difficulty overall, with some easier and some more challenging, and it’s definitely a fun game to play. That one tweak suggested above, would set it slightly aside to some of the other escape games.

Now to see what the other 2 have written….

 

 

 

Skipping forward a touch now.. extremescape

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At the beginning of December, I received a follow on Twitter, and then a very interesting message from the team at Extremescape, who are based in Disley ( just south of Stockport, near to Manchester). They had been open a while, but had not had any customers who had played escape games before ( although they’d had plenty of customers, they’d all been first timers), and they wanted to know how their room measured up to teams who had played before. We were obviously extremely willing to help out, and quickly arranged playing on the 12th December ( quickest review ever!!)

With work being so hectic, we barely had time to put a team together, let alone have a look at the website www.extremescape.co.uk to find out a bit more about the game! We also ended up with a new team. Joobs was unable to play for the first time ever, so joining myself and Adam was a flatmate of Adams,  Ellen Rose, who was a first timer to these games. Hopefully a fresh perspective would pay off!!

Extremescape is slightly unique, in that it can cater from between 2-8 players and is also a 90 minute game. Their first room is called the Pirate Ship, from the website:

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This exciting escape game calls treasure hunters for a pirate adventure second to none.

A long time ago on the Carribean seas sailed the Spanish Galleon, Castoria.
Captained by Zak Barrow and crewed by a gang of murderers & merciless cutthroats.
Plundering ships of all kinds along India’s Malabar coast, Barrow was a Pirate,
one of the most infamous Pirates of all time.

Barrow’s ship Castoria battled with the India Merchant, a huge treasure ship of 350 tons.
In rough seas, the merchant vessel fired but due to a sudden ocean swell, the shot missed its mark.
The pirates threw their grappling hooks, bringing the two ships together.
And rapidly boarded the ship, soon Captain Barrow was in the possession of one of the greatest pirate treasures ever.

The ship disappeared in 1722 and was not seen again until now!

So me hearties, all hands on deck,
find the clues, solve the riddles, find the treasure,
Then dare to escape, you have 90 minutes
but fail, and remember – dead men tell no tails

Are you ready to meet Zak Barrow, find the treasure and escape the Pirate Ship?

So we headed off to find the place. Met up with the others at Disley train station, and it was only a couple of minutes drive from there, located, handily, next door to Disley Golf Club. They have started putting some very obvious signs up to help find it even easier! We arrived at what was clearly a farmhouse, extremely early in absolutely awful conditions ( the start of the winter storms), and we were quickly taken inside to a very warm and dry meeting area, and met the 2 who run the game, Jess and Graham. Both are highly enthusiastic and are clearly serious about what they do. On arrival, there are lockers/a cloakroom available, free soft drinks and uniquely, even during the game, access to these drinks and a toilet without receiving any penalties!

After the usual health and safety briefing, we were then given a “game” briefing, before the door automatically opened! Another unique part to the game. Instantly on entering the room, you can see that they’ve clearly given the style and theme of the room lots of thought,  and even though there are the usual screens to receive hints, you have to find gold coins and feed them to a parrot in order to gain them. This is where Jess and Graham have thought about things, and do not put the same amount of coins in every time ( ie a team of 2 would probably get more than a team of 8). There’s also a talking parrot who can, at any time, give additional hints.

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As with most of the newer rooms we’ve played, the puzzles and clues are relevant to the storyline, but the addition here, the gadgets in this particular room are exceptional, and fit perfectly. When you use one of these gadgets, you feel it adds to the experience and the room, and that you’ve actually achieved something when you use it!

The room is also designed not to be linear, so there’s always something to actually do when you get stuck, and believe me, you will! You’ll need your thinking hats!! Ellen Rose definitely helped see the bigger picture where myself and Adam got completely stuck, and solved some damn hard puzzles by herself.

The way the game progresses onwards to the latter stages is as well thought out as we’ve seen, I just hope that people make it to that part as it’s so much fun!!

We did manage to successfully escape, not in a particularly great time, but an escape is an escape. Within a couple of minutes of the standard photo, we received a printed version, which is a very nice touch!

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You can really tell Jess and Graham have put time, effort and money into the room, and they have taken that forward with their enthusiasm which adds into the experience. I will just say this, just go. It’s damn good fun, a good escape room experience and with their plans for their next room well on the way, a great place to visit!