A big thank you to all of you who came out this past weekend for our inaugural weekend, and to the beta test groups that came the previous weekend. Our launch was a tremendous success, and so many groups showed us that live escape rooms will be alive and well in Winnipeg for some time to come!
What we learned:
- No matter how smart you think you are, someone else is smarter. We kinda knew that already, but there’s nothing more humbling than seeing someone outsmart your clever game design. Several of our groups found ways to solve or otherwise bypass puzzles that we would have NEVER even conceived of, and good for them!
- If you’re going to operate an escape room, own bolt cutters! That lesson took only one day to learn after some frantic lock cutting with a hacksaw. Locks fail, especially when you invite lots of people to play with them. Day two of our launch started with the purchase of some heavy duty bolt cutters.
- Hard games are fun. This was more of a confirmation of what we believed than a lesson. It’s been our philosophy that escape games should be difficult – enough so that most groups are NOT successful. Otherwise, there’s no real victory in beating the room. Our rooms were about as difficult as we expected them to be, and our player survey results have affirmed for us that even if people aren’t able to beat a room, they have a pretty darned good time in the process.
- Be prepared to think on your feet when things go wrong! With so many people tearing a room apart looking for clues, stuff can get mangled in the process. As much as we aimed to be able to quickly replace broken locks or destroyed clues, things came up that we were not prepared for and we had to act quickly to make sure the rooms were ready for the next group coming in. Not everything went absolutely perfectly, but I was proud to see that every group had a very playable room for their experience and there were very few puzzle failures (really only one substantial one).
It has been an amazing joy taking this venture from a seed of an idea to a functional escape room game with (currently) two rooms. It was a freakish amount of work for a while, but this weekend made it worthwhile.
And I can’t possibly talk about the successes without mentioning our resident game master Holly. Without her help there’s no way it would have held together.
Thanks again to those who were a part of the launch!