In the crazy world that is 2020, being able to take a fun social activity and bring it into the comfort of your own home is pretty ideal. And whereas I cannot easily bring minigolf or a climbing wall into my living room, playing an actual escape game is becoming increasingly easier. Epic Escapes are an escape in a box option, giving you everything you need to escape whilst staying indoors.
Epic Escapes is delivered in a large box full of all the materials they deem essential to set up an escape room in your house, along with 3 sealed envelopes full of bespoke materials to set up piracy, heist and hijack themed games. It’s all very fancy looking and even opening the box feels like a bit of an experience. Sadly they don’t send you a games master to set up the room, but I guess deciding that is what rock paper scissors is for.
It’s safe to say that the best thing about Epic Escapes, and what sets it apart from other similar competitors, is the quality of the materials. It comes with engraved wooden boxes, a dictionary with a secret compartment and actual combination padlocks. Within each escape game the quality continues with printed acetone sheets, UV elements and wooden tangram puzzles to name but a few. All of these seem designed to blend into an actual real life house, attempting to mitigate the fact that in general, it’s easy to spot what does and doesn’t actually belong to you vs what belongs in a hijackers safe house.
The games themselves all follow the same structure, puzzles to find 3 digit codes, then a big end puzzle to find the 4 digit code. Whilst this may seem quite rigid, the way to get to those codes are all varied in style, with a general logical and satisfying feeling when you crack a code, find a hidden cipher and then unlock a box. They’ve clearly invested not just in materials, but people who understand how to create interesting fun puzzles that can link together and also remain thematic to the determined environment.
I think with any game that requires you to interact with your own home, you know what’s not yours, and in someone else’s house it can be a bit weird searching through their stuff wondering if maybe they just have an odd postcard collection. The fact there are 3 locked items to find before the final puzzle can make the experience repetitive if played close together, and whilst the puzzles were overall decent, each game had one puzzle that baffled the group and needed to be explained to us by the person being the GM. Also as noted, the use of combination padlocks and hiding of items means that there is one person in the group who literally cannot play, though they do get the joy of hiding everything and the setup instructions are very well done.
I really enjoyed playing the Epic Escape games, and it’s great to have another escape at home option that replicates that ‘exploring’ aspect of a venue and also takes it to another level with physical home style items. I played with the same group within a short time frame and I would advise against doing that as it meant the structure of the games was a bit too prominent. If you can resist doing them all as one and instead stretch it out / play with a new group each time, I think you’ll have a blast.
The easy game of the three, where a new captain on your ship has trapped you in the old captain’s quarters and he handily hid an emergency escape hatch and puzzles to help you work out what the hatch code was. A few unintentional red herrings but the puzzles are easy to follow and fun to play.
Somehow you end up in your friend’s safe house needing a code to escape. Ignoring the obvious fire hazard of this situation, it’s probably the most ‘codebreaky’ of the games, with various ciphers and code styles being utilised in the puzzles. A blend of tricky and fun puzzles, especially enjoyable if you love aforementioned code breaking.
A plane is about to be hijacked and you need to identify the plans. The hardest of the games, with some long puzzles and a lot of tactile physical puzzles. Everything dominos pretty quickly into the end puzzle once you start solving stuff, but it’s a tough one.
Grab your own copy from the Epic Escapes site without delay.