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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

Race against the clock: Epic Escape Game challenges all ages

May 31, 2018 05:10AM ● By Melanie Wiseman

We were locked in a room with only 60 minutes on the clock.

Our only hope of escape was to find clues, crack codes and solve puzzles before time ran out. Could we do it?

It sounds like a TV thriller, but instead of watching the action from the living room sofa, we were part of an Epic Escape Game. This real-life adventure game challenged our wits, skills and teamwork, and was an activity of epic proportion for my whole family.

The initial challenge

I’m all about creating memories versus handing out gift cards for Christmas. But with the passing of each year, it becomes more challenging to find an activity that my whole family—three generations, including teenagers—can enjoy together.

We decided to try Epic Escape Game, an interactive adventure in downtown Grand Junction that puts players into a story or themed room where they have 60 minutes to find clues, solve puzzles and escape before time is up.

“Opening a lock and finding the right solution before running out of time is a thrilling experience,” said Epic Escape Game Manager Leslie Kell.

It was my husband, Dan, and I; our daughter, Leslie, and son-in-law, Jim; and two of our grandkids, Lexi, 17, and Daniel, 14. Even though you can have up to six people in a room, our family chose a face off—guys versus girls. The game has four themed rooms for participants to choose from at various levels of difficulty. The three women chose “The Hunted” and the three men chose “The Watchman’s Chambers.”

The staff of “cluemasters” did a super job of preparing us for our impending adventure. The scenario of each room was well described, as well as safety features such as monitors that kept a constant watch over us. Once “locked” in our respective rooms, we went to work. Each team was given three “free” calls for assistance in the form of additional clues. Each call after the third costs five minutes off the clock.

For those 60 minutes, we were totally unplugged—uninterrupted by cell phones, computers, generational barriers and the outside world. It was just the six of us having fun, working toward a common goal and trying to beat the clock.

The women escaped our room in 57 minutes, and the guys were working on their last couple of puzzles when time ran out. But win or lose, we all had a great time.

Mission accomplished

The game was a hit with my family, even the grandkids. Daniel and Lexi both had fun and said they’d love to do it again—even with the family. Score!

“The perspectives of our different ages helped and made everyone equal on the team,” Leslie said. “The hour went by so fast.”

It was the perfect outing for creating memories. After the game, we went out to dinner and recapped our experiences, compared strategies and discussed the skills required to beat the game. We all agreed that we’d like to attempt the challenge of another room sometime.

Kell said there’s more benefits to escape rooms than just having fun.

“The act of problem and puzzle solving is actually very beneficial for brain function and brain activity,” she said. “If solving puzzles can help the brain function better, just think what an hour in an escape room can do for you.”

It’s hard to go into detail about how much fun it was without giving away secrets and tips that would affect the experience for other participants. The main advice I can give is to expect the unexpected. I tended to move through the hour expecting things to be orderly and connected, but just like in a true mystery-solving scenario my expectations were unrealistic.

Dan said it requires a lot of thinking outside the box and working together, so go with friends or family. It’s the perfect activity for family get-togethers, birthday parties, anniversaries, retirement parties, or just to have fun.

Visit Epic Escape Game, 605 Grand Ave. in Grand Junction. Call 985- 5897 or book online at www.epicescapegame.com. Most games cost $27 per person.

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