I love games and puzzles of all kinds. So when we had the opportunity to play a live-action escape game during a recent visit Prague we jumped at the chance. Could we find our way out of TheRoom?
The premise of TheRoom Prague is simple: you are locked in a room that is full of puzzles and clues, and given 66 minutes to “escape.” Sounds easy, right?
I figured I’d be a pro at this. I’ve played countless escape games online and know the way they work: you find yourself locked in a room (or a house, or an abandoned building . . . you get the idea) and must use clues and random objects to find the way out. Banging through the wall with a sledgehammer is not an option; this is a game of wits.
A seemingly random number on a wall photograph might be the combination for a lock on the other side of the room, or a key hidden under the sofa opens a box containing a key to a cupboard full of red and yellow balls that mean. . . what? That’s what you have to figure out.
We pushed the doorbell on an otherwise typical Prague building and were let into the courtyard by Susanna, who would be our “handler” and guide for the duration of the game. She explained the basics: the “escape” key for the exit was inside a box with 10 locks on it. We would have 66 minutes to find all 10 keys to the box and “unlock” our escape key.
The box with 10 (!) locks that held the key to our escape
Susanna assured us that she would be in a hidden location and able to see us the entire time should we need help. There was a computer monitor that displayed time remaining; if we needed hints, we could ask out loud and she would post clues on that monitor. She also confirmed that we did not need to speak Czech–all of the clues were either in English or used numbers, shapes and colors. Lastly she pointed out the “panic bar,” which would let us out immediately in case of emergency, or if we just plain gave up.
We were playing the “Old World” version of TheRoom Prague, where the atmosphere had a Cold War spy flavor to it. (There is also a separate “Occult” version of TheRoom Prague.) We entered a dimly lit room (part of our task would be to find the lights), painted black and filled with some furniture and 60s-era Eastern European accessories like a chunky old phone and record player. Occupying pride of place in one corner was a big trunk with 10 locks attached. Game on!
The props in TheRoom Prague included Cold War era touches. Were those freaky goggles a clue to the escape, or just there for atmosphere???
We found our first key in about two minutes and thought, “piece of cake!” Wrong. Over the next 66 minutes we poked and prodded, knocked, tapped and puzzled, searching for clues and places to use them. As time wound down, we asked Susanna for clues more frequently. Finally our time was up, and we had only found six of the locks—epic fail? Not really. Susanna assured us that we were about average; about 50% of players escape with the help of clues, only about 10% can escape with no help at all. (Okay, so that makes us a little below average ?)
Reviewing the clues afterward it seemed obvious what we had missed. But hindsight is always clearer. We definitely need more practice at this type of game—and not just on a computer. It was great fun, a terrific way to exercise our brains, and a fun way to spend an afternoon or evening with a group of friends. We highly recommend it.
The cost to play TheRoom Prague “Old World” is 50 Euros for a 90-minute session (66 minutes for the game plus time for introduction and wrap up) that accommodates 2-5 players. Reservations must be made in advance on the online reservation page. You will have exclusive use of the game during your session.
Have you tried it? Did you manage to escape?
Thanks to TheRoom Prague for hosting us during this game. Opinions are our own.
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