“Don’t pull on that Liz! That’s just a microphone”
Pirates have hired your team to sneak aboard Black Bart’s ship and steal the treasure from the Captain’s quarters….the problem is, you’ve been locked in the brig and need to escape!
You have one hour to find all the pieces, solve the clues to the treasure then escape the ship before Black Bart and his pirates return from the port. If they catch your team aboard, you’ll be made to walk the plank!
Although this game is called ‘Tenby’s Great Escape’ and we’ve classed it as Tenby, it’s worth noting that it is actually located about 10 minutes drive from Tenby at an entertainment centre called ‘Heatherton World of Activities’.
We were in the area so we thought we would give all three of their games a try. We had already played Tenby Asylum and Wizard’s Lair so the final game of the day was ‘Captains Treasure Room’ and I must admit I do love pirate themed rooms.
Heatherton World of Activities is an interesting place and there is a lot there you can do to make it a day out with your family. We didn’t get much of a chance to explore, but it looked like there was something for everyone, including plenty of food options and parking. I was a bit hesitant in booking at first as often it seems like the escape rooms are seen as a cash cow with little thought in how to make them good, but we were actually pleasantly surprised by the games here.
When we arrived we were welcomed by our host for all our games, Bruce. Bruce did a great job with our first two games so after a quick refreshment break it was time for us to return for the Captain’s Treasure room. Bruce disappeared and then quickly reappeared lightly in character to escort us to the room. This is a split start room and from what I could see, we were very much locked in the cells and I couldn’t see an obvious emergency escape should it be needed.
When we were ‘safely’ in our cells, Bruce gave us our mission briefing and a couple of pointers and then we were left with 60 minutes to try and escape our cells and find the four missing doubloons, easy… right?
I can’t say that this room felt particularly like we were on a ship, but all of the spaces we encountered were well themed and they had obviously put a lot of effort into making this game feel as immersive as possible. There were ambient noises playing at all times which certainly helped to drown out any external noises.
As I mentioned earlier, this was a split start game and as a team of two we had plenty of space to move around. But I think if you play in a larger team then you may be treading on each others toes, at least at the start anyway.
This was a dark room to play but lanterns were provided (more in theme than regular torches) so it was never too dark to see. Personally I would have preferred if the lanterns were a bit brighter as some things were a bit challenging in the dim light, but that’s just a personal preference really.
There was a good sense of adventure in this game and each space we found felt like it would have belonged on a pirate ship (just ignore the odd layout of the rooms). Another nice touch with this game was that a lot of the props and items in the game felt like they were built to last and would be quite robust.
The game had a nice ending to it and it was clear we had reached our end. Ok, we just exited into a corridor but the last puzzle we had to complete before this felt like it was clearly the end.
I don’t know why, but we struggled in this game. This was the game I was most looking forward to at this venue but it was also the one we clicked with the least. I’m not sure if the signposting was weaker, or we were just tired, but the puzzles in Captain’s Treasure Room were probably our least favorite of the day.
It’s not really a spoiler to say that early on in the game you find a book that you’ll need to aid your mission. The issue we found was this book had A LOT of information in it, arguably too much. We found ourselves spending a lot of time going through this book to try and work out what was needed and what wasn’t, it just felt like a time sink for no real reason.
Being a split start game, it’s quite obvious that early on the puzzles rely heavily on communication. Other than that there was a bit of everything; observation, searching, physical, spatial awareness, wordplay, and some puzzles that involved colour. Although we didn’t really click with the puzzles, they were generally fair, although some of the searching was quite sneaky.
Puzzles usually resulted in a combination for a padlock or enabled you to retrieve a key to open a keyed lock. There was some use of tech (or it was GM triggered, we’re not sure), but mostly this game revolved around padlocks.
Bruce again did a good job as our GM. We probably kept him a bit more active in this game than in previous games, but this was mostly due to search fails or general dimness on our part. We were slow to get out of our cells at the start and I think this really threw us off, so perhaps a little more help early on would have improved our overall mood.
If we needed clues, we simply had to request them and they would come through the speaker system. Bruce never really kept us waiting for long, and his clues were generally just cryptic enough to get us back on track without actively spoon-feeding us the solution.
In terms of a timer, there wasn’t one. Well there was, but it wasn’t overly helpful. They’ve gone for immersion here so they kept with an old style hourglass – so we had a vague idea of how long we had but that was all – still, it fitted the theme so no complaints there.
We didn’t click with this game, but we still appreciate that it was well designed and had a good sense of adventure. I had low expectations for this venue, and was pleasantly surprised. If you’re in the Tenby area then this venue is worth checking out.
Another nice touch with this game is that the main character is a real person from history, ‘Black Bart’ who was a famous pirate (his story is actually quite interesting). I quite like it when a venue uses local history to add a little bit of education in with the fun.
Team: 2 players – escaped in 45 minutes
Address: Heatherton World of Activities, St Florence, Tenby, Pembrokeshire, SA70 8RJ