An Escape Enthusiast Abroad: RECON Boston Day 1
I’m BAAAAAAAACK! And travelling no less! To Boston! For RECON (Reality Escape Convention)! For the past two years, RECON has had to be a virtual event due to that big event we all have ingrained in our brains by now. This year though they were finally able to have it in person, and so far I am so glad I was able to come!
I was a bit nervous to travel again, more because of getting to places on time than COVID nerves. Luckily it was a series of fortunate events and the flight and customs were pretty smooth. But enough about that, time to get to the fun stuff!
Canadian Bumpkin Status- 50%
Because I’m travelling within North America, there’s not too much culturally that’s different between Canada and the US. Of course, there are still a few things to find.
I’ve had to get used to American money again. You’d think that colour wouldn’t make that much of a difference to me, but man, I’ve really come to depend on it to identify my money. My cash transactions usually involve me fumbling and squinting at the bills to see the number (it just occurred to me I could also look at the picture of the president, but I don’t have those memorized!).
Being in Boston, I am beginning a seafood journey but for some reason decided to order PEI mussels yesterday. Yeah, I know. Haven’t yet tried clam chowder. It feels…like a weird food.
I also got to know the transit system. Being from Toronto, I had used subways before, but Boston’s was bit more complex Heck, everywhere is more complex than Toronto. We have a total of two lines). Scott, a fellow enthusiast I met up with, had two…Charlie cards? I think they’re called? Which is a fun name. I got into the subway just fine, but his card rejected. He ran off to take a Lyft and I was left in the subway to fend for myself. I’m thankful I bought a tiny bit of US data in case of emergencies. Luckily, there were also two other enthusiasts going to the same place I was, so all was well!
And yes, I had to stop myself from staring in awe when someone with a thick Boston accent spoke. It’s a cool accent!
I managed to play two escape rooms yesterday thanks to Scott, the enthusiast I mentioned before! It is so amazing to just hang out with enthusiasts and nerd out for hours on escape rooms.
Boxaroo: The Magician’s Secret
First up was Boxaroo. One thing I noticed yesterday about both places we went was that teams had to assemble outside first before being let in. I’m not sure if that’s a COVID thing or just a Boston thing. I should ask around.
The Magician’s Secret was a pretty cool experience. The premise is that you are paranormal investigators looking through the study of a magician who had gone missing. It was interesting to play amongst strangers (other enthusiasts, but ones I didn’t know). We basically had to establish our own rules to make sure everyone was on the same page (when to get hints, where to put finished puzzles, etc).
The room itself was solid. Nice set design and puzzles that mostly made sense. Quite a few locks on cabinets and boxes now that I think about it, but they were each different enough that I didn’t notice at the time and the puzzle solves felt satisfying.
There were a couple of moments that I wish we had gotten to do ourselves rather than the game host. I totally got why the game host had to do it, but it was such a neat moment I wish it could be experienced at the player level. Another nitpick was that the paranormal investigator role didn’t really come into play once the game proper got going. Not a big deal, but I’m a sucker for paranormal investigator themes and always hope for more.
Still, a great experience overall! I enjoyed playing with my new teammates! Thanks Scott, Mark, and Greg!
Trapology: The Institute
Another fun time! In Trapology’s The Institute, you are subjects in a clinical study. That’s all I’ll really say about that without spoiling things. Here, the game hosts did try to take on more of a role by dressing up in the intro, which I always appreciate. We also got a new teammate! He is also named Scott!
Same kind of deal with the puzzles. There were some nice tech moments, some four digit locks again, but some unique implementation of puzzles. Of the two, I would say Trapology had more puzzle innovation, but there was some really fun moments in the Magician’s Secret as well.
I did notice a couple of bigger plot holes in the narrative that kept niggling at me, and there was a character I wish I could get to know more, but if the criticism is “I want more”, that’s a good sign. This one had some lighthearted tones to it which is always a welcome change. I always enjoy escape rooms that can be comical while still being a satisfying experience.
Of the two, I think Institute was my favourite one, but it was a pretty close race. If the two I’ve played so far are any indication, Boston seems to be focused more on puzzles, unique takes on common themes, and the “head to toe” balanced experience of escape rooms. I’m really liking it so far!
It hasn’t happened yet! But I did get to hang out with a bunch of enthusiasts in the lobby of the hotel yesterday just playing games, having some drinks, and nerding out. It was awesome.
I should head downstairs now to figure out where things are. Until tomorrow!