Our first experience of a real escape game was actually in an event-based game down south by REG Singapore. REG Singapore is an offshoot of SCRAP, the parent company from Japan which produced the first ever real escape games in history.
The theme is pirate, and it was held in St John’s PowerStation, probably a nightclub that has seen better days. We (Cheech, Jing, Joshua) met up with another friend there, which made the 4 of us. The organizer set us up with another 2 players, so each team had 6 players. I recalled there were about 100 participants altogether. A Jack Sparrow double is the MC for the day, starting the game by giving us the story of the game (lots of arrrr), and what needs to be achieved to win the game.
Each team was given an envelope filled with puzzle cards. Most of the puzzles are word-based. Some can be solved there and then, most needed clues which were scattered across the floor. Puzzles were marginally related to the theme (think pirate and voyage-related words). Overall, the initial puzzles were not overly difficult, and quite enjoyable to solve for beginners like us. As there were a quite a lot of puzzles, we have to move very quickly or risk falling short of time. There were minimal props involved, but this is not surprising as it will be difficult to cater for 100 pax. The venue was quite packed for 100 pax, as the floor was filled with ikea-style plastic tables and stools, making movement around a little difficult. There were plenty of staff around, but with no meaningful interaction that will enhance the gameplay. It seems like their role was just to remind us that we’re behind in time…
What I liked most about the game was that at specific intervals, additional clues were released, all crucial to solve the final, big puzzle. Even the story-telling at the beginning was laced with clues. The final puzzles were quite tough, but they managed to integrate all the clues and the theme very well. We were given meaningful solutions and a satisfying ending to the story. Nevertheless, only 3 teams made it out after the timer ran out at 60 mins, and we were not one of them.
After REG Singapore, we went on and challenged a few small rooms. And I decidedly prefer smaller escape rooms rather than huge events as there will be more interactions with props and less about paper-based word puzzles. Still, this is the pivotal first experience which has launched our escape careers, seeing us trailblazing through many rooms in the past year (failing half of it)…. and hopefully more to come.
For a taste of what’s in an REG game, check out the following official trailer for this game:
Image taken from REG Singapore.