• Ace

Make Your Escape Room New Again...And Again

I love to get the announcement when one of my favorite escape room companies is opening a new room. Most times, I don’t even know what I’m excited for, but I CAN’T WAIT TO GO!!!

The sad part is that this happens far too infrequently for someone who goes through as many escapes as Team Bluefish. It seems like every business we go to is working on their next room or trying to get one of their neighboring businesses to leave so that they can take over some space…and start working on their next room.

We can do better!

I know that it’s a slow, complicated process to get an escape room ready for the public, but I think that most of the industry is completely overlooking an avenue that would lead us to more games and better stories, without too much more work.

Room re-use.

Team Bluefish recently visited Constant Evolution Escape Rooms for the third time. The owners are great, the rooms are extremely well balanced, and we were looking forward to it as soon as we got the email blast.

The unusual part of this was that all three experiences take place in the same physical room! Initially, you’re told that a professor has retrieved an artifact and it’s your job to ransack his office and…uhhh…repossess the artifact. The experience is solid and we had a good time ransacking the office during our search for the treasure.

What was really remarkable was when Constant Evolution invited us back to tell us a new story. Apparently the professor had anticipated our sneakiness and laid a false trail to a cleverly disguised fake. Now we needed to return to the office for a new set of puzzles to collect the real artifact.

Barely a month later, we heard that Constant Evolution had opened yet another experience. We didn’t think that there was any way that they would be re-using the same space again, but when we arrived we were led to that now-familiar door for another hour of sleuthing.

Each of the three times we went there, we had a completely different experience. Yes, we were in the same physical space, but we were finding new clues that let us solve fresh puzzles while an entirely new segment of story played out. I thought for sure that we would get tired of tricks that the designers had re-used, but amazingly that was never the case!

Because the experiences at Constant Evolution are centered around solid puzzles and not props (that often end up being more of a gimmick than anything), it’s totally plausible to have multiple experiences in the same room. In the words of Anna, “We love playing a room with a great theme, but it’s the puzzles that keep us engaged. We might’ve played 20 pirate games by now, but we’re still going to want to play our 21st pirate game next time we find one… the difference between meh and memorable is probably going to be how much fun we have exploring and solving the puzzles.” Well said, dear. Constant Evolution has come up with some really interesting puzzles, so when they produce a new story with fresh puzzles, they can count us in.

The owners at Constant Evolution have hit upon an idea (and a methodology for delivering it) that I think is going to revolutionize how we think of escape experiences. Owners will be able to share more experiences and tell stories that last longer than 60 minutes. And us…? We’ll get more chances to escape, which is always great.

Aside: as a lover of all things board games, I can’t wait for the day when someone comes up with a legacy escape room, à la Pandemic Legacy. If I can play multiple games in the same story and influence the set from game to game, my head might literally explode.

MORE Puzzles, Please