Sunday 15 January 2017

Social Escape Rooms - Paris Review (this time as a spectator)

Hi all

This review is a little different to my recent review of Paris at Social Escape in that this time, I was sitting in (or next to) the game master’s seat rather than as a player.  For my review of this room as a player, click here.

Moments after I finished my solo escape from Paris, 2 members of my usual team set out to escape from Paris.  This was the second time that I have sat on the other side and watched people escape from a room.  It was a very cool experience and it gave me a really interesting insight into the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to ensure a great escape experience for players. 

So, here are my thoughts from the experience:

·        we started by resetting the room after my solo escape.  Mark showed me his Paris room “bible” which went on for several pages and showed precisely the steps needed to properly reset the room.  It took us maybe 10 to 15 minutes to reset the room and to double check everything – we were chatting as we did it, but I learned it is a process that takes time and attention to detail;

·        on that note, I buggered up and didn’t close a suitcase padlock properly.  I was concentrating and doing it slowly, but I still stuffed it up (thankfully, it was one of the easier puzzles so I didn’t give my team too much of a freebie).  Again, I learned that resetting a room is not straight-forward and it can’t be rushed;

·        while we were watching and listening to my friends escaping from the room, Mark showed me his very cool excel spreadsheet that he has designed which sets out every single puzzle aspect in the room.  Each time players locate a puzzle piece or solve a puzzle, Mark clicks his mouse and his spreadsheet records the time and tells him how the current players are tracking compared to average teams.  This is a really important tool because it lets Mark know when he might need to step in to provide some nudges or hints.  This system is incredibly accurate, but it ensures that the game master has to watch your every move, which from a player’s perspective is exactly what you’d like;

·        this data is also used by Mark at the end of the game to provide players with a print out of how they went compared to average teams, on a puzzle by puzzle basis.  It’s incredibly detailed and very cool;

·        I know my team members very well and I know their strengths and weaknesses in escape rooms (just as they know mine).  I was really surprised because at the start of their game, I picked that there would be certain hidden items they wouldn’t find and others they would find immediately – and I was totally wrong.  They attempted puzzles in a really different way than I had done.  Things that I needed a hint to find they managed to find literally within seconds of entering the room, whereas other items I had found took them some time to locate.  So from an owner’s point of view, I can appreciate how cool it is to see how different teams tackle your room – everyone does it differently; and

·        when Mark and I noticed that my friends hadn’t found a particular hidden item, it was really interesting that Mark could then project forward and know which knock on puzzles they would be delayed by as a result of not having found the hidden item.  I also learned how INCREDIBLY frustrating it is to know puzzle answers or where hidden items are but to see teams struggle.

Over all, this experience again showed me the true importance of having dedicated game masters for each room.  Playing escape rooms is not a cheap exercise and according, we players expect to have a fun experience with a dedicated game master ensuring that we have that fun experience. 

Thankfully, Social Escape Rooms are one of those great outfits in Sydney that put the customer experience as their priority.  And accordingly, Mark is bound to be successful. 

Where:                   Level 1, 62 Wyndham Street, Alexandria

Duration:               60 minutes

2 different themes (but 8 rooms planned in total)

$31 to $36 each (for 4 players, depending on time of week) (We played at the kind invitation of the owner)

Overall Rating:      Awesome, family friendly fun for all group types

More details:

1 comment:

  1. Hi Scott, I'm so glad you got to experience the game master side of the desk!
    Yes, I do agree that a game master should be dedicated to each room while teams are playing.
    - A great experience can turn bad by something as simple as not responding to a hint request promptly, or offering a hint that isn't relevant to what the team are working on.
    We can't wait to get our third room running and get you back out again.