Present, July 2019, were: Granny, The Ant, Panda, Teenage Avenger
Why are pirates called pirates? I don’t know, they just ARRR! Ok, terrible pun out of the way, I feel better for that.
Pirates are a good theme for an Escape Room, with treasure chests and shackles and X-marks-the-spot, so I’m surprised that there aren’t more of them around. Maybe it’s just around us, because we’re nowhere near the sea. But now Trapp’d has opened a very pirate-y room, in the sub-tropical paradise of Kettering, so we had to try it out.
We managed to pick one of the hotter days of the year and, with Dead Mans Cove (not my missing apostrophe) located upstairs at the venue, the room did have an authentically Caribbean temperature. Lovely for drinking rum punch on the beach, bit sweaty for high tension puzzling. Authentic vibe was assisted though by a really high quality set. Trapp’d have done a great job turning the space into an appealingly tactile wooden pirate ship interior.
We would have loved to have spent more time admiring our surroundings but we had to kick on, as there was actually quite a lot to do. The Kettering venue seems to have taken their rooms away from the very puzzle-light style of some of their older sites, while retaining the immersive feel of each theme. All the iconic pirate tropes were present and correct; a ship’s wheel, barrels, maps, pieces of eight, sand, a compass and even a parrot – mostly not just for decor either but neatly woven into the gameplay.
Rather like their Outlaws of Red Rock room, it plays as a prison breakout followed by a heist – escape from the brig* and then steal treasure to bribe your way to freedom. A split start, which is often fun (Granny’s awesome skill required) but you would need to bear this in mind if escaping with kids. We were fine with one adult and one child in each separate jail cell, but it could be quite stressful for a team of one adult and two kids.
The teens did enjoy many aspects of this game, until they kind of wilted in heat. When we got stuck on a code-breaking puzzle (usually a strength), they slumped off into a corner for a little lie-down. Pair of them and a skeleton for company – really wish I’d had a camera. Also wish that the GM had stepped in a touch sooner, as we went around in circles a few times with that code, but we were huddled around the board and she couldn’t tell how much progress we had made with it. This little dip, added to a slightly slow start (my stupidity) and an uncharacteristic search fail, gave us an almost shocking lock-in.
We’ve probably become complacent about our escaping abilities and chilling out in the room to leisurely Island Time is clearly not the best way to play this game. Pirates of the Year award to Trapp’d for their immersive and entertaining voyage. Fifty lashes of the cat’o’nine-tails to us, followed by a long walk off a short plank.
- Storyline: Bit of variance between the website novel and the GM game intro. Actual game does make more sense.
- Theming and Set: Booty-ful. Sorry.
- Searching: More needed than we realised.
- Puzzles: Emphasis on word puzzles.
- Physicality: Some physical elements, including a nice skill task, nothing strenuous.
- Scare factor: Quite Jolly.
- Company Age Guidance: “Suitable for ages 10 years and over. Players of 16 years and under must be accompanied by an adult.”
- Age suitability: Despite what could be a kid-friendly theme, it wasn’t really a ‘youngsters’ game. Pre-teens would probably need a bit of ER experience to enjoy it.