Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Clue Room

Kerry Hammond tells us what's it's like to be locked in a room, a clue room, with five of her closest friends. In Denver, and other cities, groups are putting together puzzle rooms where you have one hour to get out. Let's see how Kerry and her friends fared...

Some people spend a normal Saturday in the park, throwing a Frisbee or playing with their kids. True mystery lovers spend their Saturday locked in a room with a timer clock on the wall, solving puzzles to unlock doors where clues are hidden. This is what six Crime & Beyond members chose to do, and it was more fun than I can even describe. I will tell you up front that we did not unlock the door ourselves, and our clock ran out before we’d solved the puzzle we were sent in to solve. But what fun we had trying. 

I spotted the Denver Clue Room in a routine email from a Groupon type source. The Clue Room calls itself “Colorado’s first live escape game” and it had my attention immediately. Six people form a team and are locked in a room with a mission. I thought long and hard and chose friends that I thought would rise to the challenge. Let’s just say that I got a resounding “yes” from each person I invited, all within 10 minutes of my email. I knew I had chosen my team wisely.

We met at the Clue Room ready for the challenge. In the waiting room prior to our mission, we played with Rubik’s Cubes, Word-based Combo Locks, and Number Slide Puzzles. I watched my carefully chosen team devour these and master them. It reinforced my opinion that I had chosen wisely. 

Then we were approached by our host. He informed us that we were chosen for a mission. A cell of terrorists had offices in the building and a team was needed to go in and find out the time, date and place of their next rendezvous. We had only 60 minutes to gather our data, or the alarm would sound, notifying them of our presence. The bad news, 3 different teams had already attempted to infiltrate this group and failed. To makes matters worse, they hadn’t been seen since. He gave us the option of accepting our mission and received a unanimous response in the affirmative.

I won’t go into too much detail about the activities that went on inside the room, because I don’t want to give away any details. We were allowed to open drawers, pull pictures off the walls, and look everywhere that didn’t contain hazard tape (these places were without clues and therefore off limits). We would find clues that gave us different codes. These codes were used to unlock further clues, all used to further our mission and solve the puzzle we were tasked with. Some of the puzzles were extremely interactive and teamwork was a must.

We were monitored as we worked and helpful hints were slid under the door when it appeared we were stuck. I’ll just say this happened more often than we would have liked. The staff at the Clue Room was excellent. The puzzle creators were extremely talented and the puzzles were across the board as far as level of difficulty. Just when we thought we were smart, we would come across a complicated one that stumped us. 

We all went out for a drink afterwards to discuss our exploits, all the while planning how we would do better next time. The Clue Room has two different rooms you can attempt and they are working on a third that is set in 1893 and based on the book Devil in the White City. You had me at 1893. 

If you’re ever lucky enough to find one of these events in your city, it is well worth it.

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