Orange really is the new black
You and your team of criminals are due to be checked into the Category A prison facility in Manchester after committing a series of crimes. As hardened criminals you have connections on the inside – they are staging a riot allowing you the opportunity to try and escape. Time will be limited. You will need to use deception, bribery and skill to attempt this escape. Get caught and you will never get to see the outside world again. – If you suffer with a disability or medical condition, please call prior to booking this game.
After successfully foiling the serial killer’s next murder in Virginia House we found ourselves back on the other side of the law for our next game at Lucardo Manchester. This time we were to break out of a prison – nothing new in the life of an escape addict! The briefing for The Prison was slightly different, and required a more in-depth discussion of health and safety, as The Prison is different to the other games on offer here. Once we were clear on what was to come, our guard came to collect us.
We were led around the corner, and given prison garb. In Gem Runner and Virginia House, we were told to put our belongings in a specific location within the room. However, as prisoners, you are not permitted to bring in any personal possessions, and these were confiscated. (don’t worry, you can get them back if you escape!) Suitably attired as convicts, and stripped of our possessions, we were put into our cell.
A prison break is a fairly common theme, but this game was immersive and realistic and on a completely different level to not only to other similarly themed games, but also everything else on offer at Lucardo.
I am a great fan of games that are not only immersive, but also force you to think outside the box to perform more situational based, realistic tasks, rather than relying on what I would think of as more traditional ‘escape room style’ puzzles and padlocks to bar your way. This game had those types of tasks in abundance; these were varied and clever, relying on observation, a bit of searching, and making some deductions about what you would need to do based on what you find.
Gord loves a padlock (or ten), but I prefer them when their placement is logical and makes sense. That was certainly the case here, and so even when we did come across padlocks that required a four-digit combo, they made perfect sense in context.
Puzzles were by no means easy, but did click with us. We did require some help, but as usual for us, this typically came down to a failure to search properly. In our attempt to be helpful by not tearing apart the room, we missed key pieces of information. Larger groups are unlikely to have this problem in the same way however; we just really need to learn to search properly.
From the moment we were collected by our guard, it was clear that this hour would be different from the others spent at Lucardo. We were not shown to the room by our GM; instead we were processed like criminals and shown to our cell. Clues were integrated, and the set was a believable replica of a prison (admittedly, my only ‘real’ experience with prisons are from The Rock and Orange is the New Black.
The game had an interesting journey, and flowed seamlessly from space to space, and puzzles were perfectly on theme. But the highlight for me was the added drama provided by a few moments with the guard. Remember, you will need to use ‘deception, bribery, and skill’ to make your escape, and don’t get caught!
Game play was liner, and I would suggest enthusiasts play in smaller groups, if only to avoid too much thumb twiddling (and also because the space is rather tight, and one might find it a bit cramped playing in a group of six.)
Unlike the other games at Lucardo Manchester, there is no screen counting down your time, delivering clues. Help is available from your man (or woman) on the outside, should you need it, but you need to find something first (don’t worry, it’s not too hard to figure out). Once we had what we needed, we received help swiftly whenever we requested it. The clue system and timer are fully integrated with the game, without breaking the immersion, adding to the realism of the game.
Of the games we played at Lucardo, this was my favourite. As one of Lucardo’s newest games, it clearly shows the direction the venue is moving in with game design, and I, for one, can’t wait to see what they come up with next.
Team: Two Players
Address: Virginia House, 5-7 Great Ancoats Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 5AD