Photo courtesy of Trapped Puzzle Rooms
There’s no way to unlock the door, no one available to call for help, and no possible escape route. No, you’re not in jail. You’re in Trapped Puzzle Rooms, a new kind of interactive game that opened in Uptown in May.
Transport yourself into a real life game of Clue, minus the infamous Colonel Mustard (but feel free to grow chops and wear pale yellow in his spirit). After getting locked into one of two rooms—the library or the apartment—you only have one hour to gather and solve clues that will lead you to the way out, which may or may not be through the same place you entered.
After being part of a team that was able to crack the mystery (celebration at Herkimer ensued), I learned some helpful things to keep in mind as you navigate the unknown Trapped Puzzle Rooms.
(Note: No clues are given here. Any examples given are fictitious to maintain the mystery.)
1. State the obvious: “There are X number of pens,” or, “there’s a lamp in the corner.” This will help you become familiar with the room, in case you see something one of your partners doesn’t. You never know what may help solve a clue.
2. Use your phone: It’s not against the rules, so take advantage of it! The clues are not trivia-based so you probably won’t need to Google search, but with so much information, it’s helpful to jot notes and record the Oz-like voice behind the curtain that offers you clues along the way.
3. Be quick: Remember, you only have an hour. Designate someone as the timekeeper to push the group along. Setting an alarm every 15 minutes will also keep you aware of how fast time moves in the puzzle rooms. Unlike a race, don’t pace yourselves! As soon as the door is locked, take off in a sprint.
4. Carefully curate your group: Though my group of nine successfully found our way out, it was a bit chaotic. The room is small, so we continually bumped into each other and talked over one another. Four to five people is the sweet spot—with just enough brainpower, and enough room to breathe. (Oh, and it doesn’t hurt to ask your sharpest friends to join.)
5. If at first you don’t succeed: Try again! This is an interactive experience, so you’ll want to move things and play. If you get stuck on a clue, keep scouting for other hints—the pieces of the puzzle will eventually come together (or you’ll be given a hint).
You don’t have to be trapped at home for your next game night—instead, get trapped in a puzzle room. Just make sure to book online 24 hours in advance. Happy solving!