A perfect choice for our 100th room
An Englishman’s home is his castle. Or his curio if he’s a treasure hunter who’s spent a lifetime collecting trinkets from all four corners of the globe. Alexander Curio was a true eccentric. A legendary explorer who left no stone unturned in his search for gems and gimcracks. To him, life was a gamble, with fate to be decided on a whim or a flip of a coin. A mysterious loner who loved to raise the stakes until they could be raised no higher.
Alexander’s life was one big puzzle. Only a select few ever got beyond his front door. You’re about to join their exclusive ranks. At first glance, Curio looks like the home of an explorer whose passion for chasing treasures has taken him from the Thames to Timbuktu. But the clue lies in the name. Secrets lie within her seemingly innocent walls and trinkets hold the key to untold riches. Fortune favours the brave but riches come at a price.
‘Milestone’ rooms are always special and you always remember which rooms they were, you never forget your first (Secret Studio: Escape in Time) and I also remember our 50th (Old Father Time), so we wanted our 100th room to be a special one. Curio at Escapologic has a reputation for being special, so this is the room we chose. Unfortunately we planned poorly and had a long wait before we could do this room which meant we couldn’t do any other rooms in the meantime.
Having heard a lot of good things about Escapologic I had built up an image in my head of what if would be like so was quite surprised when we went down into a basement, a freak show/carnival themed basement.
It’s quite an operation they run here, given that they currently have seven rooms at their Nottingham site there is quite a thoroughfare of people and staff in the waiting area. Although it got busy it never felt too crowded in there.
Our GM, Jodie, introduced herself and we went across the road to where Curio was located. We had a nice little chat while heading over and we mentioned that this was our 100th room – a fact she already knew yet we didn’t know she was aware (more on that later).
The health and safety (don’t lick wires) briefing and room introduction took place inside the room so we were able to have a glance around while being briefed. It’s clear to see that there is a lot going on in this room so it was nice when the GM gave a cryptic pointer about where to start. An innocuous question of ‘do you suffer from motion sickness’ was an insight into what was to come…
The puzzles in Curio obviously had a lot of thought put into them as they all fitted well into the theme of the room. There were some which were based on logic and required an element of teamwork, and others which need decent observation skills but this room wasn’t a ‘search’ heavy room.
There was a very linear feel to this room which wasn’t a surprise given how you were going through the room on a journey, so bear that in mind if you go with a larger team.
I’m not sure if it was supposed to be a puzzle or if it was just an overzealous GM doing the reset but one aspect became very frustrating and probably cost us over ten minutes. It felt more like an annoyance rather than a puzzle and reminded me of being back in the Scouts. The GM apologised for this at the end though so I think it was probably just a reset error (very minor in the grand scheme of things).
Everyone talks about how Curio is a special room and it really is down to the room design, not just what you can see but also what you can’t. I won’t give anything away but they’ve used the space very cleverly and every time a door opens it’s a mystery as to what you’ll find on the other side.
One thing I will say though, this room gets hot. Liz is always cold but even she took her jacket off for this room. By the time we were finished my body temperature had raised a few degrees and it was a relief to get out and stand by the fan – or maybe it was just the pressure of the room?
Jodie was friendly and chatty and gave a great introduction to the room. However where we felt she (or the team in general) went the extra mile was to make Curio even more special for our 100th room. We were going along happily solving puzzles and in the game we opened a door only to find giant ‘1-0-0’ balloons behind it. We swiftly pushed them aside to focus on the task at hand, but it was a wonderful gesture that we certainly won’t forget.
Clues were delivered in character over a speaker system hidden in the room. There is no timer in the room(s) so you don’t have any idea of how long you’ve been in there which really adds to the pressure.
Make sure you listen to the GM during the briefing, this room is not your ordinary room so pay attention to what they say about red and green lights, and cable placements.
We did Curio as a team of two and although at times there was a lot to cover it felt like a good size as we got to experience everything. I’d guess more than four people could feel a bit cramped – if you’re rather tall you may need to hunch for most of the game.
Not only were we greeted by balloons during the game but we were also given an escake once we got out. An added bonus was that Jodie gave us a little behind-the-scenes tour to show us how the room worked, did it break the immersion? Of course. Was it worth it? Definitely.
Team: 2 players – escaped in 47 minutes with two clues
Address: 21-23 Castle gate, Nottingham, NG1 7AQ, England, UK