Action… I said ACTION! Why, Oh, Why Can’t I Get Any Action? – Room: Lights, Camera, Murder! – May 6, 2017

THE QUICK AND DIRTY

Play if… you like a good murder mystery.

Avoid if… you’ve never enjoyed a murder mystery dinner.


THE BASICS

Escape Room Woodbridge:

Address: 12668 Darby Brook Ct., Woodbridge, VA 22912 (click address for Google Map)

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

The Room

Description (from the company website): Take a trip back to 1966. You are convinced your fashion model friend’s death was actually a murder. Can you solve the mystery before the police close the case?

Difficulty (1-10)N/A

Time Limit: 60 minutes

Cost: $28 per person

Identifier: R1

Party Size: Up to 8

Note: We were told this room is being replaced in late June.

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

This is the video we took before we entered the room:

This is the video we took just after we completed the room:

Logistics:

Description of the room: Your friend’s murder is about to become a cold case file and you’ve taken it upon yourself to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Understanding of the Mission: It’s up to you to figure out the pertinent information to go back to the cops with. The case is being closed in about an hour, so hurry!

Did We Escape: Yes

Time Remaining: 4:31

Our Suggested Party Size: We did this room just the ERG ourselves, but we recommend 6, tops.

Did the room challenge the entire team? Yes

Members of our team (other than the ERG): None!

The Escape Room Guys (Jason and Mike) solved Madison’s murder with 4:31 remaining. Photo courtesy of Escape Room Woodbridge’s Facebook page.

Worth the time and money? Yes

Where to Eat/Drink Before/After: 

  • Fair Winds Brewing Company – We hit up this place on a previous visit. Great place for beer flights, beers and some food truck grub.


Our Scoring:

JASON SAYS: MIKE SAYS:
Overall Expectation (Summary)
So, we found ourselves at ERW one last time as we had one final room to complete. We thought it would be a good challenge for the two of us to take on said final room on our own, so here we are. As we’ve said previously, every 5 rooms or so Mike and I tackle one our own.

I expected red herrings (got them), a well thought out room (got it), and a tough room (trifecta). Little tougher than I expected, honestly.

We had done all rooms but this one here at Escape Room Woodbridge. Since this was the only one left, and would be closing soon (in June), Jason and I decided to continue with our plan of doing every 5 or 10 rooms on our own… just the ERG.

Based on our experience in the other rooms, I was expecting a challenging room, with a great story and mission, and with everything fitting the theme (from decor to puzzles to locks/clues).

We had been told that this is one of their easier rooms, but I found parts of it to be a challenge… I guess this happens when there are only two of  you and you both get stuck on the same puzzle. The experience did make me appreciate all the diverse talents of our Team of Disturbed Friends.

Story (Rating)
Your best friend was murdered and rather than do any real police work, the cops gave the scene a once over and now it’s basically about to go to cold case territory. You have 60 minutes to figure out what happened to your friend. (Multiple objectives, but not saying what or how many because we weren’t told when we started.)

Keep in mind that this room is closing REAL. SOON. Like, within the next week or so.

Rating: 9/10

It’s 1966, and you have found out that your best friend, a high fashion model, has been murdered. The cops went over the crime scene and didn’t turn up a smoking gun, so rather than do their detective work, they are about to deem Madison’s murder a suicide and close the case. Now, we know that Madison would never, ever kill herself, so it’s up to us to review the crime scene and discover clues to determine what happened to her.

Rating: 8.5/10

Mission (Rating)
You break into the crime scene (your friend’s apartment) with the intent to discover what really happened to your friend before the cops close this one and add it to the pile of shit they will never solve.

Your mission, if you choose to accept it (and I hope you do because (a) you paid to be here and (b) you really REALLY need to set the story straight and find/convict her murderer) is to look through everything in the room and determine who killed her. (There are a few other things you need to find out, but again, as we were told when we asked, you’ll find out as you progress through the room.

I am docking a point here (-1) because finding out the other things we had to find out would have made no difference to the plot here. It would have just been easier to know what I was looking for to start.

Rating: 8/10

We enter Madison’s apartment in order to discover what really happened to her. We have an hour before the police deem her death a suicide and close the case. Now we have to find out a bunch of stuff, which comes during your exploration of the room, and is unveiled as what you need to do in order to solve her murder and solve the mystery.

Again, I love the fact that we had to figure out multiple mission points in order to solve the room. I didn’t like it at first, but after reflection, I understand why Escape Room Woodbridge designed it so you’re not told everything up front. Some of the mission parameters reveal parts of a storyline that you have to discover.

Rating: 8.5/10

Puzzle Diversity (Rating)
Well, F me if I do like a good maze. That’s all I’m saying about that.

Anyway, there were a few locks, but nothing standard about them. The puzzles you had to solve to open said combo locks (there was 1 small safe, a combination pad lock, a magnetic lock IIRC) were unique (well, the safe had instructions that were locked behind the combo lock, so there’s that…) and one in particular had us pretty well stumped.

The music was good, at least…

Rating: 9/10

There were a lot of different types here ranging from your combo locks to some other types that you’ll see in many rooms (and even a few red herrings, so beware and watch your time), but the room was not designed in a linear format (a nice bonus). Jason was in one part of the room working on one puzzle, while I was on the other side solving another. Having done so many rooms, there were a few that I was able to recognize on how to solve them without needing to work through the process of doing the room.

One thing that Jason and I have worked out well in doing the rooms on our own… we follow Rule #3 almost exclusively. When I couldn’t get something to open, he tried it out and vice versa. This saved us time in the end and we each played to our strengths in the types of puzzles we normally gravitate towards.

Rating: 9/10

Puzzle Complexity (Rating)
The first couple puzzles we encountered were easy. That is not a surprise. Once we got into the nitty gritty, that’s when it picked up.

Make sure you search EVERYTHING in this room. That is the one hint I will give you.

You really need to pay close attention to detail in this room; that’s where they’ll get you in this one. 

Rating: 7/10

With only the two of us doing the room, it’s more likely that we’ll get stuck on a puzzle that has a new spin or a different take on one we’ve seen before, so even with our experience, we can get stumped. We knew what we had to do, but we just couldn’t figure out a few of the puzzles without some clues (at Escape Room Woodbridge, you’re given a max of three, and we used all three).

The other thing we found when doing the room on our own, is that it’s easy to overlook something (not a double-check… just simply overlooking a section of the room), where a larger team could tackle the entire room. So, in this instance, I’d say to move through the room methodically and check everything and discard after searching. We wasted a clue on something we should have found early on, which ate up precious time later.

At some point, we solved everything but the one puzzle we were stuck on (at this point the room came together and had to be solved in a linear fashion, which was completely fine). We tried numerous solutions to the puzzle, but we didn’t keep track of what we tried, so I felt kind of stupid when we got a clue and we found out that it was the ONE potential solution that we failed to investigate and that turned out to be the right direction.

I normally pride myself on figuring out patterns or observing what is missing (the devil is in the details is a good adage to keep in mind as you’re doing this room), and I was completely stumped and frustrated at one point, which doesn’t happen often.

So, I’ll give a shout-out to our team of Disturbed Friends and tell them that we do appreciate everything they bring to the table in our experiences together. However, I still like doing a room occasionally on our own because it keeps us somewhat humble and our game skills sharp. 

Compared to the other rooms they have, I’m glad we did this one on our own because there was a good mix of complexity where we solved the easy ones quickly, and had the extra time to spend on the harder ones.

Rating: 9/10

Flow/Cohesiveness/Uniqueness (Rating)
Man, I walked into this room and went straight for a red herring. Thankfully, it only took me about 30ish seconds, so wasn’t a complete waste of time, and it was first thing upon starting.

There was one continuity issue I found. *****SPOILER ALERT***** (Highlight below if you want to spoil the fun.) When I referenced music earlier, there’s a particular puzzle that gets you the combination to a suitcase atop the TV, which has a radio in it. Said radio is playing Paint it Black and a puzzle you had before opening this case tells you to listen for 12 words or something like that. Well, it’s supposed to be the first 12 words that play on the radio. It wasn’t, but I figured it out anyway.

Aside from that, the puzzles fit in well. We were able to recognize one of them early on and didn’t have to wait for one of the other puzzles to be solved to get it, so that was a little bit of a bonus.

Rating: 7/10

The room flowed incredibly well, and larger teams could be working in different sections of the room before having to come together at some point to solve the mystery. It was a lot of work for just the two of us.

I did end up liking that we had to figure out part of the mission to winning the room after going through some of the puzzles (I say that now, but I was a bit peeved when we were doing the room since we didn’t know the full mission parameters when the counter started – I am a bit OCD/Type A, so having how to win as something not provided at the start was a bit unsettling).

One thing I normally rate down in the rooms we do are the props and the decor and how they relate to the room itself. In this instance, the room gets almost a perfect score because EVERYTHING is something you could have found back in 1966, so you are pretty well transported back to a snapshot in time).

There was only one small issue with one of the clues that I’d address, but it didn’t throw us off too badly. Just something that I would encourage the Game Master to watch in the reset of the room.

Rating: 9/10

Fun/Amusement (Summary)
This ended up being a room we probably could have used 1 or 2 more people in to help us out. You know how anti-clue I am, so when we had to eventually ask for one or 2 (or 3 or 4, I forget), I was pretty ticked off. But overall, it was a good time.

I have neglected to mention that since this room is closing, ERW allowed us to run through it with GoPro cameras on so that they could see what it looks like from our perspective. Watching it back, parts of it were pretty damn funny…

I had a great time going through the room, but there were points where we were stumped that I felt pretty stupid for not being able to figure out the next step. The fact that I was frustrated is an indication that even people who have done 30 rooms can still be stumped by one puzzle that brings the experience to a grinding halt.
Game Master (Summary)
Birgit is a fucking riot. That’s all I’m going to say. Birgit was great. She imparted a seriousness in the pre-room briefing that kind of set the tone for what we were trying to accomplish. She tried to guide us along when we asked for a clue by starting with simple “are you sure you searched everything carefully” versus telling us what to do. When not in Game Master-mode, she is hilarious.
How Helpful Were Any Clues Given, if any (Summary)
Sigh, yes, we asked for clues. No, I’m not happy about it. Especially since one of them was really dumb on our part. The three clues we asked for were very helpful and allowed us to get over the few stumbling blocks. Once we got to the end, we were able to use the logic to solve the mystery. The final parameters require a lot of deductive reasoning.
Anger Level Score ERG (pronounced URG, as in “we should have known better”) Score
Why, Rule #3, why oh why do you continue to fuck us? Even when it’s just the 2 of us, we still manage to screw ourselves with that god-forsaken rule!

Rating: 👊👊👊 Fists – 3/5

I felt kind of stupid on the one puzzle about 3/5 of the way through the room. I simply didn’t see where to go without the clue we were provided.

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

ESCAPE ROOM GUYS’ OVERALL SCORING: 8.4/10

Final Thought: We’re glad that we got to do this room on our own before it closed because it played to our strengths, and also showed us some of our weaknesses (namely SEARCH EVERYWHERE). While a great room, we’re also excited for their new room to be opening in June so it gives us another opportunity to see what they came up with. The rooms they have here are getting more complex, and become a better experience every time they close one to open another. It was also a hell of a lot of fun to go through the room with GoPros and re-watch the videos of how we went about attacking the room (we got permission to do this since the room is closing soon). Looking forward to The Haunt!

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