Don’t Back Us into a Corner! – Room: Escape the Oval Office – November 1, 2015

ESCAPE ROOM REVIEW – THE QUICK AND DIRTY

Play if… you’ve always wanted to be a Secret Service agent.

Avoid if… history just ain’t your thing.


THE BASICS

The Escape Lounge on H Street:

Address: 1322B H Street NE, Washington, DC 20002 (click address for Google Map)

Contact and Website: 202-399-0900
http://escapetheroom.today

The Room – Escape the Oval Office:

Description (from the company website): Escape the Oval Office is an escape room game where you are a team of White House correspondents for the National News Agency and you just received an anonymous tip about a brewing “scandal” in the White House. Now you and your colleagues must sneak into the Oval Office to uncover the details so that you can get your story to print in 60 minutes.

Difficulty (1-10)6/10

Time Limit: 60 minutes

Cost: “From $15”

Identifier: R1

Party Size: 4-10

Staging Area: The room is in a townhouse on the second floor, so it’s basically a living room. It is spacious with a lot of seating.

Metro Access/Parking: Union Station and Galludet Metro stops are both a 1.2 mile walk away from this location, or search for street parking.


OUR EXPERIENCE

Logistics:

Description of the room: It’s a room that is decorated to mimic the Oval Office. Desk, 2 couches, table.

Understanding of the Mission: You are part of the White House press crew and get a tip that there is a scandal being covered up. Does it go all the way to the top? You need to infiltrate the Oval Office, find proof of the scandal, and escape before Secret Service catches you.

Did We Escape: Yes

Time Remaining: 12:45

Our Suggested Party Size: 6-8

Did the room challenge the entire team? Yes

Members of our team (other than the ERG): Steph, Gina, Shanell, Aaron, Jennifer and two random guys.

Our first room! The team (Jason, Mike, Steph, Gina, Shanell, Jennifer and Aaron) escaped the Oval Office!
Our first room! The team (Jason, Mike, Steph, Gina, Shanell, Jennifer and Aaron) escaped the Oval Office!

Worth the time and money? Yes

Where to Eat/Drink Before/After:


Our Scoring:

JASON SAYS: MIKE SAYS:
Overall Expectation (Summary)
This was the very first room we had done. I found it on Groupon or Living Social and figured it sounded like fun. Couldn’t fathom what would have been in there. I was soon to be pleasantly surprised. This was the one that started them all. I had heard about Escape Rooms catching on in the area, and wanted to try one since I had done the interactive experience at the International Spy Museum with my parents and had a blast. I was hoping it would be as fun.

Jason found a Groupon for this place, we convinced a few friends to go with us, and the rest is history.

So, I can’t say that I had a lot of expectations since I had never done one before.

Story (Rating)
Once we infiltrate the Oval Office, we needed to find some information regarding a potential scandal in the White House.

Rating: 8/10

I sort of remember being told that we were a double agent trying to find evidence of a scandal in the Oval Office, but that may have changed since the website now reads White House correspondent… maybe that was our cover?

Rating: 7/10

Mission (Rating)
Break into the most important office in the world, find a smoking gun, find a way out before the Secret Service catches you. Piece of cake, right??

Rating: 8/10

You’ve infiltrated the Oval Office and have to solve the clues to find evidence of a scandal, and then escape the room in under an hour because that is when Secret Service will return (like the Oval Office isn’t wired for pressure-plates in the floor, sound and video – suspension of reality, I guess!).

Rating: 8/10

Puzzle Diversity (Rating)
Being that this was our first room, I can only rate this in retrospect. I don’t recall there being many locks, but I do remember a laptop, some black-light stuff, a cryptex, and a few other things.

Rating: 8/10

There were a bunch of different puzzles and a variety of things to open. I remember that there were a few cryptex (cryptexi, cryptexes, cryptices… yup, that last one is correct).

I liked the DaVinci Code and had never seen one of these before, so that was a lot of fun.

Rating: 8/10

Puzzle Complexity (Rating)
The puzzles weren’t anything terrible complex. However, we (ok, I) made one huge botch (which, come to think of it, was the origin of Rule #3). Nothing was overly complex, but this was the first time I’d gotten my hands on a cryptex.

Rating: 7/10

We thought we were a pretty smart group, but we completely overlooked one of the first clues. We were told that we were the only group to not find that right away (it took us 40 minutes), but we ended up solving most of the puzzles anyway.

This one clue, however, spawned the creation of Rule #3, which is also the rule we end up not following half the time, leading to high scores in Anger and ERG (Stupidity).

Rating: 6/10

Flow/Cohesiveness/Uniqueness (Rating)
The room was decorated pretty well for a mock Oval Office. The puzzles didn’t so much go so far as being totally appropriate for the theme, but they at least did flow together themselves. I liked the objective (well, the final one at least) of having to find a key to physically unlock the door to run out, but I didn’t like where it was hidden.

Rating: 5/10

The room was supposed to be a duplicate of the Oval Office, but had 4 distinct walls, so that could be something they adjust (just get some cutouts and put them in the corners making the room more of an oval shape).

The puzzles and clues themselves didn’t lend themselves to the theme of the room, but more to the mission, which worked for me.

There was also one part that I’m sure had the GM laughing her ass off as she was watching us literally dance around the room trying to solve a puzzle (we didn’t know what to expect… we thought that if we performed a certain action, she would hit a button to unlock something!). I’ll bet we were featured on-screen at their annual holiday party.

Rating: 6/10

Fun/Amusement (Summary)
I had a good time for this being our first Escape Room. I went in with really no expectation so I wasn’t disappointed. I left pleasantly surprised. I had a blast considering not having anything to compare this to. I obviously enjoyed it enough to get addicted to these things and spend hours of my life writing reviews and drawing up sketches of business plans for developing them!

We did end up with two random, hungover guys with us in the room, which is why we suggest in our Tips & Tricks section to book the entire room if you don’t want to chance having drunk people in the room with you. I was a bit pissed because just as we were about to get the briefing and enter the room, they showed up downstairs (we were told by the GM that any time we wasted getting into the room would be deducted from our overall time).

Game Master (Summary)
I remember the room had a telephone that was used to give the clues. Unfortunately, I couldn’t understand a damn thing they were trying to tell us. I had to pass the phone to someone else. She was good and helped us when we got stuck (again, after probably changing her pants from having peed herself laughing so hard at us).
How Helpful Were Any Clues Given, if any (Summary)
I remember we got at least one clue. Mainly my fault. Allegedly, though, we had gotten the farthest anyone had gotten without getting this one clue so late into the game. Which I think is pretty boss! I remember getting help twice and the clues helped us escape with over 12 minutes remaining. We felt pretty successful.
Anger Level Score ERG (pronounced URG, as in “we should have known better”) Score
My only frustration was the problems we had with the desk phone. The 2 random people we had in there with us were basically useless (pretty sure they were still hung over from the previous night).

Rating: 1/5 Fists

Yeah, I felt stupid a few times in this room because I was a ERV (Escape Room Virgin) and didn’t know what to do… and for dancing… on camera.

No, there is no video. You’re not allowed to use your cameras in the rooms, remember?

Rating:  ?‍♂️ ?‍♂️ ?‍♂️ ?‍♂️ FacePalms – 4/5

ESCAPE ROOM GUYS’ OVERALL SCORING: 7.1/10

Final Thought: This was a great room for us to lose our (Escape Room) virginity on. We were all newbies and we found out how to work together to complete the mission.

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