The Games People Play… Room: The Game Museum: Evolution of Gaming – October 30, 2017 – PLAY-TESTED

THE QUICK AND DIRTY

Play if… you’ve been gaming your entire life. Or a part of it. Or you just like games.

Avoid if… you think board games are for kids, or are so competitive at Monopoly that your friends/family won’t play with you anymore (remember: Escape Rooms are cooperative experiences).


THE BASICS

Clue Carré: Metairie Location:

Address: 2712 Athania Parkway, Metarie, LA 70002 (click address for Google Map)

Contact and Website: 504-667-2583
https://www.cluecarre.com

The Game Museum

Description (from the company website): Welcome to the Evolution of Games exhibit at the Clue Carré Musuem of Games. As humanity has evolved over the centuries, so has our ability to fulfill possibly our most primal need: to play games. From thousand-year old games like Go and Mancala through today’s video and virtual-reality simulations, we have filled our free time with cards, boards, dice, and all manner of monsters to defeat. This time, the monsters are the games themselves. Can you play through the millennia of game history in under an hour, or will you be left staring at the two most dreaded words in history: GAME OVER?

Difficulty (1-10): N/A

Time Limit: 60 minutes

Cost: $28

Identifier: R1

Party Size: Up to 8

Staging Area: The location is on a residential street, so look for the sign. The seating area is comfortably set with couches and chairs. We are told that a private room for parties is in the works as well if you want to book your corporate event there.

Metro Access/Parking: You’ll need to Lyft/Uber unless you are local and have a car. Street parking may be limited.


OUR EXPERIENCE

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

Note: The ERG were given the opportunity to try out this room for free, with the understanding that we would continue to provide an honest review and follow the same process we’ve used on all of our other ratings.

Logistics:

Description of the room: It literally looks like a museum exhibit. As you scan the room, there are games posted to the walls with descriptions of each, along with a logical timeline from Stone Age dice all the way up to the present.

Understanding of the Mission: We’ve entered the museum exhibit and have to play all the games and beat the room within our hour-long tour before the next group gets its opportunity.

Did We Escape: Yes

Time Remaining: 6:15

Our Suggested Party Size: 4-6 is perfect. This room *can* be done with 1, but it would be very time consuming and you likely wouldn’t finish in time (there is a LOT to do in this room).

Did the room challenge the entire team? Yes

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

The ERG got to play test this really cool room down in Metairie, LA (while we were on vacation in New Orleans for Halloween).

Worth the time and money? Yes

Where to Eat/Drink Before/After:

  • We’re not local, so we suggest Google. There is a shopping center nearby, so there are likely lots of places to chow down and get some drinks.


OUR SCORING:

JASON SAYS: MIKE SAYS:
Overall Expectation (Summary)
We’d already done 2 rooms in the New Orleans location from Clue Carré, and when the owner, Megan, had told us about a gaming room they set up in their new location, I was all, Gaming what now? Let’s go! So, we did! After the second room at Clue Carré (French Quarter House of Curiosities), we figured it was going to be well done and thoroughly fun.  While we were at Clue Carré’s New Orleans location, we did an interview with Megan, and she mentioned that she had a second location opening up in Metairie. Once she mentioned that one of the rooms was based on board games and that she’d like to get some feedback on it if we were willing to get up to Metairie and play test it, Jason and I looked at each other and had a telepathic conversation (we’ve been accused of sometimes sharing a brain), which went something like this:

Jason: GAMES. GAMES. GAMES. GAMES. GAMES.

Mike: I KNOW. I KNOW. I KNOW. I KNOW. I KNOW.

Both: WE. HAVE. TO. DO. THIS. ROOM!

So, yeah, we wanted to do the room, which we figured would be really well done based on the two rooms we had just done (see our upcoming reviews on The Voodoo Room and the French Quarter House of Curiosities).

Story (Rating)
Clue Carré has opened an exhibit on gaming throughout history. (It actually reminds me of the gaming museum in Germany…) Each tour is 60 minutes and you are asked to scram before the next group begins their 60 tour in 60 minutes. There are games ranging from Dice to some visual puzzles to Monopoly, so you best be on your best behavior.

(I deliberately put 60 in there so many times so that I could tell you now that it felt like I had to play 60 games. Yes, it was absolutely terrible…</sarcasm>)

Rating: 8.5/10

You have gone to Clue Carré’s museum exhibit on the Evolution of Gaming and entered their interactive exhibit, which lasts for 60 minutes. Once inside, you are surrounded by games dating back to the stone age (dice) and moving through history from mancala and poker to monopoly and battleship to some word-based computer games to *surprise*. The best part about this exhibit is that you have to play ALL the games in order to leave!
Rating: 9/10
Mission (Rating)
After beginning your run through the exhibit, you are tasked with winning each game in order to progress to the next, and eventually exit the exhibit. You are allotted 60 game-filled minutes to complete all the games and escape, otherwise you may become part of the exhibit (read: the next group will make fun of you for not getting out in time; I know I would). Did I mention VR? No, I didn’t.

Rating: 8/10

Play all the games, solve all the puzzles, and escape the interactive exhibit within 60 minutes and emerge as a Game Master… otherwise it’s GAME OVER.

Are you Ready Player One?

Rating: 9/10

Puzzle Diversity (Rating)
All the puzzles in this room were based on the game they were representing (mancala, Clue, poker, for example). Now, that’s not to say they weren’t fun, because we had a blast in this room. There was nothing you’d expect from a typical escape room, though (and lets face it, nothing could really have been “typical” when you’re making a game about games). All the games were based on games, after all, so if you go into this room thinking you’re going to solve some obscure puzzle referencing some random fact, you’re going to be wrong. Protip: Play this game as a gamer. 

Rating: 8/10

So, because you are expected to play the games in the room in order to escape, there was a lot of diversity based solely on the fact THAT. YOU. ARE. PLAYING. MANY. MANY. DIFFERENT. GAMES!!

So, that being said, not one puzzle was duplicated, and there was a good deal of diversity in the types of locks you had to spring/open.

Rating: 8.5/10

Puzzle Complexity (Rating)
Here’s where things changed. I can’t even tell you (mainly because my memory is shit) how many games were in here all together. I remember most of them, yes, but if you made me write them all down, I’d definitely miss at least 2. Who cares, you may ask? I do. So keep reading.

As you progress through the room, yes, they get harder. And you’ll definitely get one or two that just come to you (as there is in *every* room). But then there’s the closet. When I started this particular puzzle, I was trying to do it myself until Mike was finished with the one he was working on (plenty to do in this room, so we split up after the initial tests). He had me do something (I won’t spoil this, because it was pretty fun) and when we spoke with Megan after, she told us what we did was how she envisioned that puzzle to be solved. So, not only did we do it “correctly”, we did it correctly. (See what I did there? No? Oh well.)

That all being fine and good, I think the more monumental task in this room is not the difficulty of the puzzles but the volume (but that may be because there were only 2 of us). This room is designed to be non-linear, so you can have more people in there working simultaneously to get out.

Again, though, quantity reigned supreme here.

Rating: 6/10

The museum exhibit is based on a timeline of games throughout history, so you start off with games that are really simple to learn and play, and progress through some pretty hard puzzles.

As such, the puzzles get harder and harder as you progress through the room. There were a number of them that were much easier with some teamwork (which is why I would say that doing this room on your own would be really, really difficult).

There were points where Jason and I teamed up, and others were we operated independently. When we got stuck on an individual puzzle, the other stepped in and tried it on his own, or we collaborated for a few minutes to solve that immediate puzzle.

Your best approach to the puzzles in this room is to attack the puzzles on HOW the games are played (don’t worry if you encounter a game you’ve never played before… the room is designed to give you everything you need in order to play the games and solve the related puzzles).

What I really liked about this room is that there are twists to a few of the puzzles where you have to apply additional logic on top of how the game is played, so it heightens the level of difficulty.

Some games I recognized right away (I am a typical Gen-Xer who grew up in the ’80s), and jumped right into playing them. And not everything in the room is just for the mind… there may be some manual dexterity required at some points. NO SPOILERS.

Overall, however, I wouldn’t say that any of the games were overly complex. I think that we only got one clue when we were stuck, and we asked a few clarifying questions since we were doing this as a play test to help Clue Carré iron out some wrinkles prior to opening.

That being said, though, just because this category isn’t rated as high doesn’t mean that I didn’t have an absolute blast in playing all of them.

Rating: 7/10

Flow/Cohesiveness/Uniqueness (Rating)
I would go so far as to say the last few puzzles were my favorite (and I absolutely LOVE how her early answer of “You’ll see” to one of my questions was tied completely back into the room as the puzzle that completes the game). The games and puzzles merge beautifully and I would venture a guess that there is at least 1 game that you’ll just not catch a reference to to get how it’s done (we certainly didn’t on at least 1 occasion). There are times, however, where strengths and weaknesses were apparent and teamwork was needed (or shunned hahaha).

When we were done, I had asked if anyone had ever been to the Video Game museum in Germany because that’s exactly what it reminded me of. Sadly, no. *sadface*

Rating: 9/10

If you haven’t gotten it by now, you are playing an escape room where the sole purpose is to play games… inside the biggest interactive game of all! I don’t recall anything in the room that wasn’t somehow game related, so the room was really well designed.

The flow was really well done too. It starts off with allowing you to look around the room and work in different areas and then slowly works you towards the conclusion (kind of like a museum exhibit where people can disperse, but then you are moved from place to place until you reach the exit).

The decorations in the room were pretty awesome and all related to games and being a museum exhibit.

I do remember actually laughing out loud when one of the games was sprung upon us. It was unexpected and really fit into increasing the anxiety as time kept ticking away.

One of my favorite games required teamwork… we started on it and after a minute we figured out that Jason needed to drive while I provided directions (note: this does not necessarily mean that Jason actually “drove” anything… just the best way to describe how we attacked the puzzle). So, I will say that being able to communicate and recognize each others’ strengths is a good way to divide the work in this room. Megan (the owner who was serving as our GM) told us that she loved the fact that we changed our approach pretty quickly because that is how they designed the game to be played (and not all groups approached it in the same way).

Lots of unique things here. And the climax (final game to play) was just so well done and capped the entire interactive museum experience.

Rating: 9/10

Fun/Amusement (Summary)
An escape room game about games? Uh…YES PLEASE! I’m still thinking about this room weeks later. I had an absolute blast.
Game Master (Summary)
Megan only came in to help us with some technical difficulties (and answer our clarification questions). Megan was really good. She offered to provide us with some clues at certain points as we progressed through the room, but we asked that she wait until we requested help. She did step in a few times (and stop the clock) when we encountered a few tech issues, but that’s the purpose of doing a play test.
How Helpful Were Any Clues Given, if any (Summary)
We only really asked if we were doing something right (or if this light switch was needed…). I think that we only asked for a clue once to determine that we were on the right track.
Anger Level Score ERG (pronounced URG, as in “we should have known better”) Score
I really just want to play through it again…

Rating: — Fists – 0/5

Didn’t feel stupid or like smacking my own face at all in this room.

Rating: — FacePalms – 0/5

 

ESCAPE ROOM GUYS’ OVERALL SCORING: 8.2/10 (add your story and mission scores to this)

Final Thought: This room wasn’t on our radar when we planned our trip to New Orleans. We thought that we’d do 4 rooms while we were there, but when Megan asked us if we were interested in play testing this one, we really couldn’t say no. We encountered a few tech issues and stumbling blocks, but we’re pretty sure that they’ve been ironed out by now (their grand opening of this location was Friday, November 17). We’re glad we checked it out and wish Clue Carré a lot of success with their new location. If all the rooms done here are on par with Evolution of Gaming, then people are going to have great experiences.

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