New review here
Madness of the Easter holidays behind us, so here is our latest review.
Click link for Outlaws of Red Rock at Trapp’d Peterborough
Latest review here
Review live here now Cell Block C
Fixed broken link!
Have also now added ‘Company Age Guidance’ to each review, as the official counterpoint to our own Age Suitability suggestion.
So, it’s March, which makes it the ideal time to post up reviews of our Christmas games! Fortunately, nothing particularly festive about either of them, so can both be enjoyed all year round.
Lightning In A Bottle, Secrets of South Lodge, Kanyu, Wetherby, West Yorkshire
The School Room, Axes & Escapes, Fakenham, Norfolk
Escape Rooms for us were originally meant to be adult entertainment – Aunty Ant had been introduced to them through a work event and swiftly indoctrinated all her friends. Having kids around usually made it tricky to sneak off and play though, so our solution was generally to bring them with. Panda and the Avenger were around 12 years old, Amazing J was 10 and Jack-Jack just a baby. In order to play, we had to find suitable ventures that would cater for at least some of them, as well as entertaining us. It’s not as easy as you’d think. There’s no official age categorization and most websites don’t go into much detail. “Over 18s only”, “Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult” and the occasional “Under 10s are not permitted” are about the sum of it. I spend a disproportionate amount of time on the phone to venues, checking exactly how suitable a scenario might be, in a horrible helicopter parent way. General age blankets are all very well, but sometimes the specifics are key. A cynical 15 year old can cope fine with being blindfolded and put in a cage – not so much a sensitive 11 year old.
Generally I would have a few criteria with which to evaluate and possibly reject a room. You don’t want a room that:
- Traumatises your poor child out of their wits, leading to years of nightmarish broken sleep and decades of expensive therapy.
- Baffles your child with complex puzzles and intricate logic, smashing any confidence in their own intelligence.
- Bores your child senseless with train timetable questions, greige scenery and plot involving tax accountancy, meaning they whine uncontrollably and sulk in a corner.
But ringing up to get this kind of information from a venue is delicate. Is it too scary, too difficult, too dull? Tends to elicit a response of “That depends. How brave is your child? How smart? How well have you raised them, as a parent, to be patient, tolerant, determined and polite?” It can all get a bit…judgey.
Therefore, this is one of the purposes of this blog, to produce a bit of a guide for escaping with kids, so you don’t have to resort to those uncomfortable, judgemental chats with venue staff. Now Panda and the Teenage Avenger are older, more cynical escape room veterans, suitability is less of an issue for them, and we all relish seeing them blindfolded and thrown into a cage. But Jack-Jack is now of an age where he is able to come along more often, and so the cycle begins again. And our rule for Escape Rooms applies here – the more information and knowledge you have available, the easier it is.
Disclaimer: I am not the Granny of this blog. Not even a Granny – in fact none of us here are (yet). I’m not even a panda or an Avenger, although I suppose most people would think that goes without saying. They (Granny, Panda and the Avenger) do, however, make up part of our enthusiastically amateur escape room team. Hmm, ‘team’ makes us sound all organised. We’re really not – more a disparate blob of random people who get together in various combinations and attempt escaping. Pretty much anyone can come along – why don’t you join us? You’d be very welcome. I’m the ‘Anthropomorphic’ of our title, named for my habit of extensive conversation with any inanimate object in the room. You know, you apologise to one chair for bumping into it and ask if it minds being moved into a corner, and next thing everyone decides you’re some kind of weirdo. ‘Anthropomorphic’ also great for winding up Game Managers when they try to write your team name on the results board… Well, that’s me, The Ant for short. Doesn’t mean I’m tiny and superstrong, probably the direct opposite is true, as I’ll bash my head on any remotely low-hanging shelf/ceiling/chandelier and regularly need help opening jars. And there’s your disclaimer. All views are mine and mine alone, and I’ve already told you I’m strange. So, are we good? Let’s escape.