We Stomped the Black Widow – Room: The Black Widow – August 25, 2016

ESCAPE ROOM REVIEW – THE QUICK AND DIRTY

Play if… you binge-watch CSI or Criminal Minds.

Avoid if… you don’t like spiders.


THE BASICS

Escape Quest:

Address: 1127 King St, #200, Alexandria, VA 22314 (click address for Google Map)

Contact and Website: 703-574-8175
https://escapequestdc.com/

The Room – The Black Widow:

Description (from the company website): You and your friends are locked in the gothic lair of the beautiful and infamous Black Widow serial killer. Known for marrying and burying her husbands, you must discover how and why she killed them and get out before she returns and makes you her next victim.

Difficulty (1-10)no rating given

Time Limit: 60 minutes

Cost: $28 per person

Identifier: R1

Party Size: Up to 8 people.

Staging Area: Lobby has a lot of space to sit on couches and chairs, and the tables have a few puzzles to work on and get your mind revved up before starting your room. The front desk attendant will also offer a small bottle of water. Restrooms are right next to the lobby.

Metro Access/Parking: King Street metro w/ a .4 mile walk (or take the free King Street Trolley to N. Payne St.); street/garage parking.


OUR EXPERIENCE

Logistics:

Description of the room: You enter the room and find yourself in the Black Widow’s parlor.

Understanding of the Mission: Find out what happened to the Black Widow’s former husbands (the how and why she killed each of them) before she returns.

Did We Escape: Yes

Time Remaining: 33:11. This is our fastest time to complete a room. Only one other team finished faster than we did (by 1:30), but they used two clues while we used none.

Our Suggested Party Size: There was plenty to do in this room, so we suggest 6-8, though it could be done with as few as 4.

Did the room challenge the entire team? Yes, at times

Members of our team (other than the ERG): Eric, Tara, Steph, Kim, and Kris

Team Disturbed Friends (Jason, Tara, Mike, Eric and Stephanie) stopped the Black Widow from claiming another victim. Photo courtesy of Escape Quest's Facebook page.
Team Disturbed Friends (Kim, Kris, Jason, Tara, Mike, Eric and Stephanie) stopped the Black Widow from claiming another victim. Photo courtesy of Escape Quest’s Facebook page.

Worth the time and money? Yes

Where to Eat/Drink Before/After:


Our Scoring:

JASON SAYS: MIKE SAYS:
Overall Expectation (Summary)
Having completed the other rooms at Escape Quest, we were told that a 4th room was set to open soon, so naturally we jumped on it. Our starting lineup hasn’t changed much, but we added a few first-timers into this room and had drinks after while they shared their thoughts. After we finished our last room here (The Lost Temple), we were told by our Game Master that this room was opening soon and was supposed to be tougher than the others.

Always up for a challenge, we booked this room with a few veterans, and a few newbies.

I liked the theme and the story of the room. We’ve all heard about the Black Widow, and it was a pretty unique experience.

Story (Rating)
I liked the story for this room. Based on something well-known, we were to determine how the Black Widow has killed her previous husbands as well as the current one. Everything you need is in her place of residence (to quote Tara).

Rating: 9/10

The Black Widow has married and killed a number of wealthy husbands and has set her sights on the next one. You are the flies that have entered her parlor.

Rating: 8/10

Mission (Rating)
I always enjoy a room that has more than one objective, so after hearing the story I knew I was going to enjoy this one. More objectives generally means better story and this one didn’t disappoint.

Rating: 8/10

You’re in the Black Widow’s parlor and now you have 60 minutes to figure out who her murdered husbands are, how they were killed and why.

Again, we have multiple objectives here so that’s major bonus points.

Rating: 8/10

Puzzle Diversity (Rating)
Definitely a few we hadn’t seen before, but definitely a few we had. A perfect setting for Escape Room Virgins! However, there were still an abundance of locks.

Rating: 7/10

Lots of different puzzles here, and a few really good red herrings too. I really liked the one puzzle dealing with the husbands, which was a really unique way of helping to solve the mission.

However, some of the puzzle types were those we’ve seen in other rooms, but it was a good experience for our newbies.

Rating: 8/10

Puzzle Complexity (Rating)
Without giving too much away, you had your typical lock-sleuthing, an actual red herring, and some non-regular puzzles to solve. The non-regular puzzles kept us occupied and it was all brains on deck at one point while we tried to determine how everyone perished.

Rating: 7/10

The puzzles ranged in complexity, which was good since we had some Escape Room virgins with us who could cut their teeth on the easier ones. The others were tackled by the ERG and our veteran team members, and we all checked in with each other throughout our experience.

There was one slight hiccup at the end where we got stuck, but Eric figured out the solution pretty quickly (which led to the creation of Rule #6).

Rating: 6/10

Flow/Cohesiveness/Uniqueness (Rating)
It’s been a rare occasion that we here at ERG can run through a room and have everything feel like it’s superbly put together, but that is exactly what I felt happened with this room.

With one exception that I’ll get to in my personal rating, this room and everything in it fit so well together that I felt I had to give it top honors.

Rating: 10/10

The decoration of the room really led you to believe that you were in a wealthy woman’s apartment back in the 1800s.

All the clues and puzzles were well-linked to the theme and mission, and allowed the entire team to work in tandem across the room to solve the last puzzle.

Rating: 8/10

Fun/Amusement (Summary)
I had an amazing amount of fun in this room. Everyone was able to work together and even the newbies felt like they did something (which has not always been the case).

As veterans of this game, sometimes Mike and I just take charge and run the gauntlet, leaving first or second timers behind, but this room had everyone occupied at all times.

I really enjoyed this room. It wasn’t overly challenging or complex, but the room concept was well implemented.

It’s rare that we solve a room so quickly, but that made me enjoy the experience even more.

Game Master (Summary)
Like Mike said, we got our mission in the lobby, got in, did our job (like BOSSes I might add), and didn’t hear from anyone until we were walking out in style. The backstory and mission briefing were well done, but we essentially didn’t hear from our GM until we solved the room (just over 27 minutes after entering it).
How Helpful Were Any Clues Given, if any (Summary)
Nope, nada, zilch. No clues needed! We made the leaderboard and would have been in first place had the first place team been penalized for using two clues.
Anger Level Score ERG (pronounced URG, as in “we should have known better”) Score
On the list of no-nos for these rooms, there are things like don’t climb on the furniture or rip anything off the walls. Well, I won’t say which rule we should have broken, but we should have broken one of those rules. If we did, it would be Team Disturbed Friends on that leader board in the pole position…

Rating: 2/5 Fists

Just a small one but Eric saved this from a higher rating after sticking to his guns and insisting we review something we briefly overlooked.

Rating: ?‍♂️?‍♂️ FacePalms – 2/5

ESCAPE ROOM GUYS’ OVERALL SCORING: 7.9/10

Final thoughts: While this room hasn’t received our highest score, we feel it’s because we had a really good team that just ended up gravitating to the clues that best fit their personalities and solving the puzzles really quickly.

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