History Mystery Norwich, The Museum of Norwich – The Merchant’s Vaults

A Saturday visit with a new player joining our regular duo, we headed into another historic underground area of Norwich to play another game. There aren’t any doors with locks on, only a story to tell and some ingenious ideas to reinforce the story.

You have travelled into the past of Norwich with no money, and have found yourselves way back in time with only a considerate sponsor willing to help you get back to your own time.

It is a romp through some major industries of Norwich with physical and mental puzzles, it is not always linear but you do need to work together to solve as you work through the “ages” to escape Debtor’s Prison and get back to your own time.

A good games master with the ability to tell a story here really helps the experience, particularly one who knows the history as we have always found that these guys do. Our GM was attentive, sarcastic when necessary and played her role well when we ran into the inevitable health and safety issues that presented themselves in such an important listed building. She gave a character while being herself at the same time, and clearly had a lot of experience in dealing with both experts and novices alike. I believe her name was Rosie and she was also an experienced dungeon master for D&D. This gave our group a great experience and I can see it being a good time for anyone as long as you have a team with a sense of humor and can work logically.

I found the physical/mechanism of the puzzles useful without being intrusive on the time period, and as immersive as it can be bare in mind there was limited space. There were certainly a few things I hadn’t seen before.

I would recommend this game to visitors to Norwich who perhaps have some games under their belts, and can work well together. I think it may be difficult to do with 2 players, but we managed well with 3 and I think two pairs would do well.

Certainly a company I enjoy, we are happy to have our Platinum reward badges (a nice touch) and hopefully we will play the last currently available game of the Queenmaker soon at Blickling!

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Norwich – History Mystery – Archived Alive!

A game where you are trying to break someone out of somewhere as opposed to breaking in…a whistlestop tour of Norwich’s rich history on the way, a chance to see inside the beautiful Guildhall…wait, a WINDOW?? That I wasn’t expecting. You can get a rather good view over the market and to the City Hall. Nice…wait, were’t we supposed to be doing something?

The city’s archivist has managed to get himself locked in the secure vaults after forgetting his pass in his jacket pocket. You’ve arrived at his office, to see him waving at you from a screen. The remote access is only available for an hour a day, and he needs you to get him out by solving the puzzles in his office. Perhaps he was paranoid, I don’t know, but if there was so much chance of this happening…wouldn’t there be backup measures to get them out a bit sooner?

Anyway. The puzzles are linked to the city’s history in some way, but are a little random in their approach. There are personal hints available through a computer if you need them, and the archivist also comes on every so often to encourage, or worry you slightly. It’s nice to have a live actor, it brings something to the experience to realise that it is a genuine rescue/breakout.

The main problem I had was wanting to look through all the books for far too long, there’s some interesting literature scattered around, as you would probably expect for an archivist. Nice touch.

Again, we played this as a pair, and it was rather tight on time, with us worried we wouldn’t complete the rescue. There is a lot to search through, but it does pull together well at the end. I think beginning players may struggle with just two people, but I suspect the less competitive won’t actually mind, the game will most likely teach you something either way. I would say 3 to 5 people is ideal. It is fun for both beginners and the more advanced, I think, and families may find this a fun activity at weekends and the holidays, especially if they like puzzles and putting things together.

I did like the idea of combining history and some kind of adventure from the start, and living in a city with an interesting past, I am glad it was established here close to me.The fact that their other games are associated with the very buildings they stand in really does bring something extra to the game. This one is more a general romp, but if you want to find out more about everything, you always have someone to ask…

Our host, and the owner, Alisdair was a goldmine of information about both city history and escape games, and with our shiny silver winners’ badges we headed home happily, with both their other game booked, and a point in the right direction for a friendly company who had opened in the nearby town of Dereham…