Hockwold (Suffolk) – Rustic Riddles – Pan’s Problem

So what better to do on a warm Sunday afternoon than go and visit a local goatherd who has a little problem with trolls?

Something a little bit different to a regular escape game, well yes! There’s no room to escape from for a start, and the aim of this game is to create a magic potion to see off a troll, and save the goats from being eaten. No easy task when some naughty wood nymphs have left traps and puzzles for you to solve to get the ingredients.

I loved this game right from the start. I am not sure how I would have felt if it had been pouring with rain, but I suspect it wouldn’t have detracted from the clever puzzles. There are a few padlocks, some great physical puzzles, and some interesting brainteasers for good measure. Everything fitted well with the outdoor venue, the natural materials used went a long way to making a great atmosphere, and there had clearly been a lot of thought put in to making this a fun adventure, for which you will be using both body and brain. It’s a fair way around that hollow, that’s for sure!

Our host was genial, and had plenty of stories to tell. It was really good that he had future plans for the venue as well, I definitely look forward to seeing a sequel game. I would recommend this to anyone, and there is no age requirement either. Everyone can get involved with something, even exploring their surroundings. Doing it with 2 people was rather hard though with all the moving around needed. We didn’t finish in the 60 minutes, but that was partially due to our absolute stupidity on one puzzle. Ah well.

We’re not even bothered that we were beaten quite handily by a group of children. Honestly!

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London – Breakin’ Escape – War on Horizon Alpha

The last of our rooms on the 3rd July, we were sitting in a pub at Waterloo trying to see if we could find another place to visit, and we struck lucky.

Out on the Holloway Road, pretty much opposite the Garage, we found this. I liked the window decor, and the steampunk/industrial like theme continues inside, and there are 6 different games here of varying difficulty and themes. Each is based very loosely on a film, and our gamesmaster’s sense of humour shone through when he was giving us the briefing, with his not-quite subtle references.

The theme of War on Horizon Alpha is that you are infiltrating a space station, attempting to take down the shields there so a rebellion plot can succeed. The room itself, as expected was very technological, with very few traditional escape game puzzles. I don’t think I saw a single padlock either, which is good because I doubt they would have fitted the well-done theming. There was even a cool droid there to help you.

The hint system here has a keypad and tablet that gives you clues, you are given a code over the radio to type in if you ask for a clue. Even that was well-placed in this room, and carried on the futuristic theme. Kinda felt like you were radioing in to your base for assistance actually, and was a fun little addition. I am not sure how well it would have fitted in some of the other rooms though.

For a searcher, you won’t have that much to do here, which is a little annoying, but there is one part where you can feel a little smug. We were told that the start of the room can be tricky for some teams, and a lot of people need a clue to get started. The room is very linear, and I do think that having any more than 3 players would be awkward. You have to have 3 for this one, but apart from one little part, I think two people could do it fairly easily, especially with a fair amount of thought.

The room was a little bit broken, which was a shame, but I would say that it could be fixed fairly quickly. I gather that they are very popular with groups that might be a little less than careful with the equipment. I don’t think it affected our game too much, but it would be nice if things that are supposed to be stuck to a wall are actually going to stay there, particularly when you need it working to escape. We had no other problems though, and it didn’t stop us from getting out successfully.

I do recommend this venue and game, it’s a little on the expensive side, but it is London. I should imagine that those who like to role play would have fun doing that in here. I would say that 3 players is ideal, maybe 4 for less advanced players, and teamwork is crucial.