Chocolate Factory – SCRAMM – Banbury

Present, in December 2022, were: The Ant, Aunty Ant

One of the things guaranteed to lure a GATAPAE team to a venue is the promise of chocolate (the other things being free alcohol and Russian language puzzles. We’re a mixture of niche and very predictable). So our first choice of room when visiting SCRAMM was obvious. Owners Allan and Andrea were anxious at first – “you’ve played a lot of rooms, would you not rather do one of the more challenging options?” To which the answer is simply “but, chocolate…”

Quick note here on customer service – I sent a ridiculously late-notice email asking about availability and received an almost instantaneous follow-up, arranging an emergency GM, incredibly neatly and cheerfully organised. Gold stars all round for that.

First impressions in SCRAMM’s Banbury venue are great too. Parking was easy enough and their reception room (up a flight of stairs) is bright, welcoming, spacious and stylish in their yellow and black livery. It was just us and our lovely GM Michael at stupid o’clock on a Saturday morning, and we felt very at home.

Our mission is to find the lost secret ingredient for Miss Holly Dolly Mixture to rescue The Chocolate Factory. I’m calling a win for successfully predicting the solution before we entered the room! But the journey to get there was still a lot of fun. Decor-wise, it’s a fairly basic set-up, but with some cute bits of kit to explore, all on the candy theme with a kind of industrial kitchen vibe. And, of course, discovering a stash of real sweeties (the first of many!) instantly got us into the spirit. Within minutes we knew we’d made an enjoyable choice.

As you’d expect, this is a family-friendly room, geared more to kids than advanced escapers. As such, it is quite linear and there are plenty of tasks on a practical level, nothing too complex. But the puzzles are original, entertaining and satisfying and kept us on our toes. One physical task we found quite challenging, but Michael smartly stepped in before we got actually frustrated with it – very good judgement. Smaller kids especially would struggle with this. One task also requires good communication. A team of one adult and one child might have the odd difficulty here too, depending on how well you work together.

Overall, this is a great room for groups with younger people, an ideal learning room for less seasoned escapers, or simply a lovely, sweet (ahem) experience for teams who fancy something light, fluffy and full of chocolate. A real treat.

  • Storyline: Cute and followed through, if using a little ER logic.
  • Theming and Set: Not the most immersive, but does the job.
  • Searching: Casual candy hunt side quest is a great incentive, but otherwise not much.
  • Puzzles: A good range of the standards given a sugary twist with a decent set of practical tasks.
  • Physicality: Little bit of hand-eye required but nothing strenuous.
  • Scare factor: A big, lovely cuddly room.
  • Company Age Guidance: “Games can be played by anyone from the age of 10 to the age of 99! Groups of 2, 3 or 4 require at least 1 participating adult over the age of 18. Groups of 5 or 6 require at least 2 participating adults over the age of 18”. They specifically mention no under-10s on the website, but there seems to be some flexibility in this.
  • Age suitability: A great room for tweens, would be ideal for 10th/11th birthday parties.