An Escape Enthusiast Abroad: Vancouver
I am back with another escape room vacation! Yaaay! This time we are tackling some of the west coast of North America!
Shortly after booking our NOLA trip, my friend Errol learned that his sister would be in Vancouver for a week while her daughter went to camp. She was despairing about how little she would have to do other than miss her daughter.
So naturally the solution was to invite ourselves along and travel to the west coast to do as many escape rooms as we could! I very briefly considered whether two escape trips in a year was too much/costly…then decided not to think about it anymore. And here we are!
Ontario Bumpkin Status: 60%
Because I am still in my beloved Canada, there is not really much culture shock going on. That does not mean however that British Columbia does not have its differences!
There are mountains! They’re huge! And misty!
In Toronto it’s about 30°C and summer has officially kicked off. In Vancouver it is 16°C. I am already sick of wearing pants again.
In BC there are many traffic lights that flash green. Apparently this means they will only turn red when a pedestrian needs to pass. To us it looks like something is just very wrong with the light.
The water in Vancouver is better than Toronto. Hands down. It’s wonderfully soft and is probably drawn from some wonderful mountain stream. I don’t want to go back to Toronto water.
The jet lag is only 3 hours, but it’s still jet lag (that was originally spelled “lage”. Hurray for minor post jet lag editing!). I am so tired.
I saw a steam clock! I went full tourist and took about twenty photos of it.
We managed two escapes today at Find&Seek. The first was The Curse of Madame Zita’s Curiousities and the second Mystery At the Magestic Theatre.
I think there was some sort of overarching narrative for the entire facility…something to do with time travel or dimension travel…but darned if I could actually hear the initial monologue all that well. I must be getting old. Luckily it was not integral to the rest of the room so we still managed to get through. Still, it would be nice to find out what sort of narrative work went into the rooms.
I’ve come to realize how much I’ve come to appreciate good feedback in a room, even if it does not always make sense to the narrative. Having sound effects declare whether you got a puzzle right or not really helped with the flow of the room.
There were some neat little reveals and the puzzle solutions all made sense. The sets were solid. Everyone got a chance to have a hero moment. For the most part, we had fun.
But then came…the logic puzzle.
Let’s talk about logic puzzles. I love logic puzzles. Actually. I love the feeling in my brain when another solution slides into place.
But in escape rooms…they are difficult to do. They are naturally designed to be longer, usually only one person can work on them, and the more complex you make them the more tedious they get in an escape room scenario.
This logic puzzle was…more complex than usual. There were two or three layers to each clue before we were able to confirm which item was what, there was a lot of information to try and hold in our head, and there was some outside historical knowledge that very few people would know off hand.
It got very frustrating very quickly. Admittedly, we made a mistake on our own that did not help our situation. But even without that, we spent about ten minutes on one puzzle. By the time we finally asked our GM for the answer, I was done with the room.
Which is a shame, because it started so strongly. It’s a bit of a bias, but logic puzzle by committee simply does not work as well as designers like to think it does. Every time it has happened in an escape, especially where there are more than five clues, it grinds the whole game to a halt and I am jolted out of the experience.
Errol was not shy about pointing out his problems with the room after. Our poor GM was a good sport and did his best to take the criticism and frustration in stride. The puzzle ended up leaving a bitter taste in an otherwise perfectly good experience. Still, looking forward to what else Find & Seek will come out with!
Vancouver does not really have much in the way of an escape room community. There are actually only about twenty facilities in Vancouver and the surrounding area. That does not mean it’s non-existent though.
We had lunch with Brian Hughes of Pandora’s Locks and proceeded to talk escape rooms for a full three hours. It was glorious. It was nice to hear an owner talk about experimentation and finding the next generation of room. Without experimentation, the medium cannot grow. We play his rooms on Wednesday and are looking forward to it!
Tomorrow is Seattle…we have six rooms booked…this should be entertainingly intense.