Escaping Colorado Springs’ first puzzle room requires wit and teamwork

April 20, 2015

Alexander Nedd
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You and seven of your best friends check into a hotel room to sleep after too much partying to celebrate your friend’s birthday. Suddenly, you wake up. Your friends are all passed out. You decide to get up for some fresh air and head to the door, but there’s a problem.

It’s locked.

This is the beginning narrative to “The Hangover,” a night that will have you and your friends talking for months. It all begins in Colorado Springs’ first puzzle room, a live-involvement feature that locks you up with seven others in a room with only one hour to escape.

No matter what the outcome, online reviews have given the company a five star rating on Facebook.

Puzzle rooms, a trend that started in Europe, have grown in popularity over the last five years. The first in Colorado Springs is called Escape the Place, changing the meaning of free time while hanging out with your friends.

Two rooms are available to try and break out: “The Hangover” and “Blacksite,” where you and your team are captured by the CIA and set for interrogation.

My roommate and I were among the first to try out “The Hangover.” The room highlights those who are able to think outside the box and solve riddles that aren’t black and white. There is no way to train for this, another element that increases the fun and sense of urgency.

Don’t expect to be able to google answers from your smartphone either, trust me, I already tried.

Once you are locked in the room you are only armed with your wits, strength and the other players. Do not waste time keeping precious information to yourself as every second counts once the timer begins.

What made the scenario fun was figuring out the clues that began to emerge after a thorough search of the room. Nothing should be dismissed without first being checked by everyone. Everything in the room except the ceiling is fair game. Use your surroundings wisely.

Don’t get frustrated if you are stuck. You cannot break anything in the room or move any wooden furniture, as explained by the staff before you head in.

A phone is available with clues if your team cannot crack a special code, but there are consequences. You lose a minute of your overall time to get out of the room and you must ask the right question; collaborate with your group on what you specifically should ask.

My group won “The Hangover” challenge by successfully getting out and broke the previous record by five minutes and escaping with 17 minutes and seven seconds to spare.

Once finished, an employee will congratulate your team or inform you that your group did not make it. Photos are taken after with signs that detail the team’s most valuable player and other traits.

Escape the Place is open on Monday and Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets cost $28 per person.