Team Constitution unlocks secrets of Old West
A Dec. 5 beta test run of the newest escape room at Escapologist offered a great heist for Team Constitution.
The reporter joined Constitution General Manager Mike Owensby and wife Corinne, along with Tony and Cassie Garibay and Sean and Meagan Garibay to undertake the 60-minute challenge inside the Jailhouse Heist room at the Escapologist complex, 602 SE Wallock. Unlocking the secrets to the Old West-themed challenge was a mission meant for the best of bandits. Even without bandanas, the team did its outlaw best.
Owner Casey Roehler offered a short overview of what to expect before locking the group inside. He offered simple instructions not to climb, hang or tug anything with much force if it's meant to open you won't need more than your fingertips and a light tug.
Now, the fun of the escape room experience is derived from figuring out both, the mystery ahead of you and how to solve it. Sometimes it's easier said than done. Writing about a game of clues and secrets without spilling many clues and secrets is pretty tough, too.
In preparing the group for its visit to the hoosegow, Roehler the jailer, offered the gamers a short background story about outlaws, dirty lawmen, danger and gold. Then, "clink," the paper's "Magnificent Seven" were locked inside the cell. A note from former inmate Butch Cassidy explained the bare minimum of the saga that you are joining. Here's where the players take off the cowboy hats and put on the "thinking hats" unless you're a Sherlock Holmes aficionado. Then, by all means, don your best deerstalker and grab the magnifying glass, because it's time to get to work.
Inside Jailhouse Heist, you have to decipher the many assorted clues and then figure out how to complete the multi-dimensional tasks. Through wit, wiles and ingenuity, the first mission is to get out of the cell and into the adjoining sheriff's office. Next, find the gold hidden throughout the office and take it. Finally, find the hidden dynamite and dispose of it before exiting. You have an hour to do it or, as Roehler reminded, "Kaboom!"
Behind the bars, the wooden interior makes it easy for players to fall into a time warp and back into the 1880s Old West. That's the one easy piece to the puzzle the setting. Everything else is pretty hard. You can be overwhelmed with information. Writing on the walls that may or may not have any key into making your way into the office portion can lead a player into rabbit holes of thought that end nowhere.
On the walls of the office and just out of the cell's clear sight line, "Wanted" posters of notorious Old West characters Jesse James, Doc Holliday, John Wesley Hardin and others hid vital information within plain sight. When the "clues" can overwhelm a player alone, working within a group of five or more becomes most beneficial. For each to stay focused on the many minute details allowed the group to progress. Communication gave insights to lead forward. The initial 15 minutes inside the jail evaporated in seeming seconds before escape was made. With three-quarters of an hour to go, it gave the mission more sense of urgency.