We Stole the da Vinci Code(x)! – Room: da Vinci's Workshop – March 18, 2017 – PLAY-TESTED

THE QUICK AND DIRTY

Play if… you like art and crazy inventions.

Avoid if… you think the da Vinci Code was overrated or have an unnatural hatred for Renaissance Italy.


THE BASICS

Escape Room Woodbridge:

Address: 12668 Darby Brooke Ct., Woodbridge, VA 22192 (click address for Google Map)

Contact and Website: 703-910-6015
www.escaperoomwoodbridgeva.com

The Room

Description (from the company website): As a rival inventor, you’ve been eager to discover the secrets of this mastermind. Now it’s your turn to get into his workshop and steal his sacred codex before he returns. Can you outsmart Leonardo?

Difficulty (1-10)no rating given

Time Limit: 60 minutes

Cost: $28 per person + tax

Identifier: N1 – replaces the Adventures in Wonderland room

Party Size: 6 people max

Staging Area: Simple sitting area with couches. Restrooms are located in the back of the building past the Escape Rooms.

Metro Access/Parking: No metro access. This company is located in a shopping center and has ample parking. Watch traffic delays on I-95 and leave ample time to get there.


OUR EXPERIENCE

Note: The ERG were invited by Escape Room Woodbridge to playtest this room before opening to the public. We provided feedback once we completed the room. Our review below is based on our experience as it was during the playtest, so some items may have been altered prior to the room opening.

Logistics:

Description of the room: You enter a room decorated like da Vinci’s workshop (plaster walls with some exposed brick) and decorated with artwork, inventions, scrolls of drawings, and some furniture.

Understanding of the Mission: Infiltrate Leonardo da Vinci’s workshop, solve the puzzles, and find his hidden codex (containing sketches of his inventions and plans).

Did We Escape: Yup

Time Remaining: 4:19

Our Suggested Party Size: 4-6

Did the room challenge the entire team? Yes

Members of our team (other than the ERG): Mark, Eric and Alphonzo

Team Disturbed Friends (Jason, Mark, Mike, Eric and Alphonzo) found da Vinci’s hidden codex! Photo courtesy of Escape Room Woodbridge’s Facebook page.

Worth the time and money? Yes

Where to Eat/Drink Before/After:


Our Scoring:

JASON SAYS: MIKE SAYS:
Overall Expectation (Summary)
Based on our experience with the Adventures in Wonderland room (and the fact that we’re doing the Dr. Jones’ Apprentice room in April), I hoped this one would be near as good as AiW was. Not gonna lie, it was tough…

And this was the first time I’ve had the opportunity to playtest a new room, so I was super excited! (Thanks ladies!)

So, we had high expectations going into this room based on our experience with Adventures in Wonderland. We started talking with Angie at Escape Room Woodbridge, and she invited us to come in and playtest their new room that was replacing Wonderland. When I heard that it was da Vinci themed, I was all in.

Now, I’ve mentioned in past reviews how I look forward to certain themes based on my love of other things like movies, books and video games, so here goes… this room is set in the time of Renaissance Italy, which is also the setting for Assassin’s Creed, and there is even a da Vinci mission in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (that I haven’t played yet).

So, yeah… the theme itself, the fact that it was replacing a room I really liked, its connection to Assassin’s Creed, and the opportunity to playtest this with a new business connection made this a no-brainer.

Story (Rating)
You’re a rival inventor of Da Vinci (not that good an inventor at that…). You’ve broken into his workshop and are attempting to find his notebook with all his sketches, etc., before he returns.

I know I’m missing something (that Mike will remember), but I’m throwing a +1 on there because Angie’s enthusiasm telling the story was what we always talk about with the GM’s being involved. 

Rating: 8/10

That pompous ass, Leonardo, has been soaking up all the resources of the powerful Medici family, one of the most prominent ruling families of Florence during the Italian Renaissance, for the past 7 years and is using their wealth to fund all of his own inventions and experiments. This exclusivity has made it really difficult for us to get OUR inventions funded (there are only so many powerful ruling families in the city), so we’re going to sneak into his workshop and steal his infamous codex, which contains all of his drawings and ideas.

Then we’ll hit up the Medici family for some funds and start living a life of luxury.

This may not be exactly how Angie described it to us (but it’s damn close), but this is what I heard in my own mind and it drew a pretty good picture, so she narrated the story well. It also got the competitive juices flowing… how dare that rat bastard corner the market on all the $$?! This is the freaking RENAISSANCE. Everyone has ideas! It’s the enlightened age for chrissake.

Rating: 8/10

Mission (Rating)
As said rival inventor, you need to decipher all the clues in his workshop to find out where the Codex is hidden. 

Rating: 6/10

Only one mission objective here: solve the puzzles that the wacky inventor has rigged his workshop with and find his hidden codex.

A suggestion that I just thought of is to maybe to add another objective where Leonardo had the door to his workshop booby-trapped and it swung closed behind you and locked and now you need to find the key to escape? You can work it into the story line where the Medici guards is having a shift change in an hour and Leonardo’s workshop is the first location they check.

Rating: 7/10

Puzzle Diversity (Rating)
I assumed there would be some things in here that we hadn’t seen before based on what was in the AiW room. And I was right.

If I recall, there was only 1, maybe 2, padlock(s) in this room. Which is awesome. There was also one very interesting puzzle that stumped us for way longer than it should have. (Dammit, Katheryn; I directly blame you for that.)

Anyway, looking back on this room, there weren’t that many puzzles. They were just more difficult than we normally see. Which is a nice challenge, for a change. 

Rating: 9/10

There were some really cool puzzles in this room, and you could tell that Escape Room Woodbridge went all out on some of them. One puzzle will remind you of a childhood game (that’s all I’m saying about it). There may be some red herrings in here to throw you off the scent.

This is also the first time we’ve had all guys do the room, and that is not our normal make-up, so I’ll also say that you should diversify your team members if you really want to be successful in this room.

Other than that, the rest of the puzzles were really thought out and a great mix and required you to use a lot of different skills and senses.

Rating: 10/10

Puzzle Complexity (Rating)
Still blaming Katheryn, that puzzle was cool, but I was just completely useless on it. And I’m sure some of you reading this will be just as terrible at it as I was. You’ll know the one when you get there.

Other puzzles included a new type of puzzle box and some other stuff. I was going to put more in white, but didn’t want to give more away. The one that got us stumped, though, is really what sticks out most in my mind. Still kinda bummed about it, but nothing I could do. OOOH, and this was the first room of 28 that I’ve done, that I recall an actual RED. FREAKING. HERRING. Like, for real. 2 of them, at that! Well played.

Rating: 9/10

So, we were talking with two of our team members on the way over, and were relating some of the types of puzzles we had seen in the past that they had not seen yet in their room experiences with us. I was talking about a tough one we experienced in The Wizard’s Apothecary (one of the rooms we actually failed) that was pretty cool, but the more you worked on it, the harder it got to solve. You’ll know this puzzle once you see it in the room.

And wouldn’t you freaking know it… as soon as we entered the room, that same type of puzzle was right in front of me.

Well, yours truly stepped up to the plate with the feeling of “I got this” and worked on it for 20 damn minutes before we needed to ask for a clue because we got stalled (we had solved everything else in the room and need the solution to this one to move on). I felt supremely stupid after we got a hint (not a full “here’s what you do” or “here’s the solution”) because I’m pretty sure I had the solution at one point (I think at the 7-minute mark) but discarded it because it didn’t look right. I didn’t follow Rule #3 and have someone else look at my proposed solution, so we lost some time here.

That being said, it was well done and some of the other clues were just as difficult. It’s always hard to figure out where to spend your time and how much to spend before asking for a hint or a full on clue.

Rating: 9/10

Flow/Cohesiveness/Uniqueness (Rating)
So, this room felt disconnected at times, but that’s because of the whole red herring thing. Threw me for a loop. (A loop-ditty-loop, if you will.) I’m still surprised that I encountered one. If I dismiss my thoughts about it, then it definitely flowed well. (Hell, should I even be talking about said herring? I’m not even sure I like herring to begin with…)

Anyway, with my thought train back on track and heading in the right direction, there were definitely parallel paths we were able to work on (there were 5 of us, after all, so that’s wonderful) and everyone was occupied. We did stand around scratching our collective heads a few times, but we got it figured out.

It was also decorated pretty damn well and made you feel like you were actually right there in his…lab? Apartment? Studio? What do you call that, anyway? Oh right, workshop. Right there in the description…

Rating: 8/10

I thought the room flowed pretty well. The clues and puzzles were definitely linked to the theme and actually fit the time period as to what you could expect in Leo’s workshop, but Leo was also years ahead of his time so a little leeway is given here.

The decoration was really great. I actually believed we were in a painter/inventor’s studio in the 16th century Italy, and the furniture and props fit the room too.

The flow of the room started off on a wide-berth (allowing for all of us to tackle some puzzles on our own, or work in teams of two), but they started to funnel towards the conclusion, which is just how it should go.

And, of course, there were some types of puzzles here we hadn’t seen anywhere before and really good variations on ones we had, which almost made them “new” puzzles to experience.

And you are always told about red herrings, but we rarely see them, so encountering one here that sucked a bit of our time was a pretty freaking awesome move on their part.

Rating: 9/10

Fun/Amusement (Summary)
I did! This room just felt different. And that’s not a complaint. It had everything we normally like about an escape room and nothing we hated.  I had a blast, even though I was frustrated (in a good way) with the challenge of the aforementioned puzzle.
Game Master (Summary)
Angie was great! We’ve been in contact with her since I posted on Google about the room, and she’s just been wonderful. She really helped to get us invested into the room with the enthusiasm she put into the storytelling (see above) and that makes a huge difference. Angie was really great. She explained the storyline really well and talked with us a bit about what she was looking to get out of us play testing the room (wanted to see how the flow went, if the puzzles operated correctly, if one caused us any more problem than another so she could come up with better hints or full on clues).

I thought it was pretty cool that she had a puzzle in the room and referenced one of our rules, wondering if we were going to follow it.

We actually had to adapt the rule slightly based on the puzzle we encountered. Sorry folks… I’m not giving any more info here because that would be too close to a spoiler as to what you’re going to encounter.

Let’s just say it helped us adapt even more….like the Borg. If you do a room with us, you follow our rules. Resistance is futile.

How Helpful Were Any Clues Given, if any (Summary)
We asked for a few in this one, mainly because we were stumped on one, then we just ended up being short on time. Hrmph! Yeah, we asked for a few. One because we were stumped (again, that one where it got harder the more you worked on it), and another where we didn’t follow the instructions to the letter. This leads me to propose another rule, which we’ll post in our Rules section if both Jason and I agree.
Anger Level Score ERG (pronounced URG, as in “we should have known better”) Score
Nothing to complain about here.

Rating: 0/5 Fists

This gets a huge fat 5 because of my own stupidity vs. anything the room had to do with it. It tricked me and I didn’t get a double-check. Nice move, da Vinci’s Workshop… fool me once…

Rating: 🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️ FacePalms – 5/5

ESCAPE ROOM GUYS’ OVERALL SCORING: 8.3/10

Final Thought: It’s always a gamble to replace a room that does well. We liked Adventures in Wonderland, and were excited to try our hand on da Vinci’s Workshop. As we do these ratings, we do them on our own and try not to review what our counterpart says or scores until after the final score is calculated, and only then do we put this in our spreadsheet of overall scores to see how they stack up against the other rooms we’ve rated. So, the fact that this room got the same exact rating as Wonderland says something.

Another thing that the reviews say (while scoring them blind) is that the ERG think waaaaay too much alike sometimes.

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