Fine for corporates, not for enthusiasts
Cops and Robbers is a brand new, head to head, escape room experience!
Facing the Cops is a grueling investigation where they need to discover the King Pin’s identity and ultimately gain access to the King Pin’s safe house. Meanwhile the Robbers are facing stealthy clear out of the safe house. However the only safe exit is now the emergency door, which no one knows how to unlock.
Will the Cops gain access to the Safe House and catch the criminals?
Will the Robbers manage to clear the safe house of all the incriminating items?
All we know is the King Pin is on his way back to release his associates so the pressure is on the Cops to solve the crimes that are still under investigation.
One of our team decided that they wanted to try a versus style game so as we were passing Swindon we thought we’d give Cops and Robbers a try.
Arriving at night we found this place a bit tricky to find and once you’re in the building it’s a hodgepodge of small businesses (sort your mortgage while you’re there?). First impressions weren’t great as the first waiting room had a very strong smell of cigarette smoke, fortunately we were swiftly taken to a secondary waiting area upstairs which didn’t smell as bad.
Being a team of five there was no way to do an even split so we thought we’d try guys vs girls. The two guys would be the Cops and the three girls the robbers. The premise was simple enough, the cops had to catch the robbers to win, and the robbers simply had to escape before the Cops caught them.
This room is set up as two rooms with a door dividing them, this is what the cops need to get through to catch the robbers in the act. The robbers have to escape through another door in their room.
Briefings were done in the rooms separately which meant the Cops had about a two minute head start as theirs was first. This may seem unfair but the sheer amount of stuff the Cops have to get through makes this very useful.
Fortunately Liz and I were in separate rooms so we can write this review knowing what it all contains, rather than just from one side, so we’ll break it down for each team.
COPS: this was far from a traditional escape room for us and was more about reading copious amounts of notes and then trying to align two pieces of evidence with one perpetrator. If we got it right then a box opened giving us more evidence.
The aim for us was to get enough evidence to give us the combination for the safe which contained the key to get through the door. Other than the safe there was one padlock and one very small search for an item. Other than that it was purely research based.
This was not a room we enjoyed as it felt more like a school/work project and less like an escape room. At times we were questioning life choices that brought us to this room.
ROBBERS: Clearly no one has much respect for the criminal mind. Unlike the cops, with their reems of research, we had a traditional, 1st Gen escape room, with a variety of padlocks, and puzzles to result in numerical or directional codes, plus the usual search and discover.
There were no real surprises here, and as a stand alone, it’s a decent room for a group that don’t have much experience with escape rooms. Although, one puzzle in particular was frustrating, simply because I have no idea how you were meant to notice it without being given a nudge.
COPS: I think I was given a tour of a police station as a child, but I can’t remember that so all I can go on is my memory of watching ‘The Bill’. So going on my extensive knowledge I can only assume that this felt like a police station, think large wood veneer desks, old computer, and whiteboards. That was literally it.
It felt like a stretch that Robbers would be in a room right next to the Cops but ok, we’ll go with it. But as this felt more like a police station I can’t help but feel that it would have been better suited to have been set up like a [what’s the fucking word?! Hideout? Undercover place]. Outpost?
The room was very tired and worn down, our GM even showed us that the boxes could be opened with your little finger and just said not to do that and make sure we solved them.
Due to a lack of soundproofing we could actually hear the Robbers on the other side of the door, so considering we weren’t supposed to know if they had got out or not until we opened the door, it was pretty obvious when everything went silent.
ROBBERS: Being a law abiding citizen, I have no idea what a criminal’s lair looks like, but it was a bit grimey, and rather sparse. I suppose I could believe it was a real hideout, but I’m basing this purely on watching things like The Wire. Our goal was to find all of the evidence and take it with us before the cops made it through the door. This was really the only element that put a twist on this side of the room, as you weren’t just racing the clock, but also half your team.
This side of the room was also a bit tired, with one of the puzzles being able to be almost entirely bypassed due to over-enthusiastic previous guests, plus the invisible puzzle.
COPS: We had a TV screen in our room that the GM could provide timely nudges with. We didn’t ask for any actual clues, as it was pretty obvious what we needed to do.
ROBBERS: Like our counterparts, clues were delivered via TV screen. We didn’t ask for any, but we were given a few nudges, one to do with the invisible puzzle, and another that was delivered simply because our GM didn’t realise how far along we actually were, and he seemed concerned we were going to lock ourselves out of a safe (despite the fact that you’re given three chances, and we hadn’t even taken one yet).
If you’re looking for a corporate team building exercise where you need to encourage teamwork, then this is probably a good room. But if you’re an enthusiast group then we’d advise that you give this one a miss.
The GM explained to us that enthusiasts don’t normally do this room, and although it is very old it’s a bit of a cash cow from their corporate clients which is why it is still going.
On this occasion the girls (Robbers) won, but impressively there was only 15 seconds in it. Looks like we balanced the team pretty well!
Team: 5 people (Cops time left: 23:23, Robbers time left: 23:38 – Robbers win)
Address: 165/166 Victoria Road, Old Town, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN1 3BU