Who’s the Ghost with the Most? – Room: The Handbook – March 27, 2018

THE QUICK AND DIRTY

Play if… you’re a fan of ’80s nostalgia.

Avoid if… insects give you the heebie-jeebies.


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): You poor dead souls! You’ve really screwed up. Your only mortal friend has been kidnapped by a dastardly bio-exorcist in hopes of escaping The World Of The Dead. Can you decode his name and save your friend before it’s too late?

Difficulty (1-10): Not Listed

Time Limit: 60 minutes

Cost: $28 – Use ERGUYS when booking to get either a percentage or set $$ amount off per ticket (whatever promotion is running)

Identifier: R1

Party Size: Up to 7

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:

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: The room looks like the attic of a house with some furnishings, including a smaller replica of the neighborhood.

Understanding of the Mission: As a newly deceased person, you need to figure out how to navigate the many rules of the afterlife using your handy handbook. However, you decide to take a shortcut and hire a bio-exorcist, against the explicit orders of your caseworker. Now, your memory has been wiped, and you have to remember the ghost’s name to rescue your living friend from the World of the Dead.

Did We Escape: Yes

Time Remaining: 4:28 remaining

Our Suggested Party Size: 4-5 people would be perfect

Did the room challenge the entire team? Yes… and no. Read our ratings below.

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

The ERG and team of Disturbed Friends (Mark and Alphonzo) rescued their friend from a horrible marriage to a bio-exorcist!

Worth the time and money? We agree on the overall answer on this, but for different reasons. Jason says “yes, but more so from a nostalgia point of view (at least until the new movie comes out…whenever that is).” Mike says “yes, the room was worth doing despite an initial starting issue (our fault) and ending issue (their fault).”

Where to Eat/Drink Before/After:


OUR SCORING:

JASON SAYS: MIKE SAYS:
Overall Expectation (Summary)
Ever since escaping from beyond the looking-glass, we’ve had high expectations for Escape Room Woodbridge. We’ve always found their themes to be fun and refreshing and, having known about this theme for quite a while now, we’ve been looking forward to finally play-testing this one.

It’s somewhat funny that, as we’ve completed all of ERW’s rooms, I feel like there’s always a hiccup whenever we do one (like this). Maybe it’s just me; idk. (I’m one of the common denominators, after all…)

 

We’ve been doing rooms at Escape Room Woodbridge for a little over a year now, and have enjoyed our room experiences overall… to the point where they ask us to come in and playtest right as they open so they can work out any kinks we might find.

We’ve been hearing about this room theme for awhile, and were curious to see what the experience would be.

Story (Rating)
Our GM spoke so fast I wish I had recorded it.

We’ve been recently deceased and are specifically told not to make friends with any of the humans that now inhabit our old house. However, haunting them is, of course, perfectly fine. Well, we should also stay away from the “independent contractors” and just stick with our case worker and her direction. Well, we didn’t, so it’s really our own fault that all these (evil) shenanigans happened.

Rating: 5/10

As recent inhabitants of the afterlife, we’ve decided – against the advice of our caseworker – to employ the services of a bio-exorcist to get rid of the people who have moved into our lovely, quaint house and things went a little… well… caca.

The bio-exorcist has kidnapped the only cool living housemate and is forcing her to marry him so he can remain in the real world (find out what happens when people stop being polite…). Our caseworker is FURIOUS with us, and has stricken his name from our memories, which was our the only way of contacting him (apparently cellular service doesn’t transcend planes of existence).

Rating: 6/10

Mission (Rating)
The objective of this room was simple: Save your (human) friend and prevent the “Independent Contractor” from permanently entering the world of the living (by calling him 3 times and not saving your friend). Easier said than done, in this case, but still.

There wasn’t much that differed from the reference material (if you know what I mean), but it was clear where it came from.

Rating: 6/10

Uncover the name of the bio-exorcist, call him back to the land of the dead, and rescue our friend from a horrible, eternal marriage to a dead asshole.

Rating: 7/10

Puzzle Diversity (Rating)
The best part of this room was obviously the puzzles. There was 1 lock (and it was a standard key; not a combination, or directions, or anything stupid, but a single KEY), which was totally refreshing.  The majority of the locks were magnetic (as we know the owner loves her mag-locks…). (Actually, I can’t say I don’t.)

The puzzles themselves were mostly unique, but a few re-purposed from other props we’ve seen at this location before (some recognized as such, some told to us after; not that this is a bad thing). Nothing, however, really stood out to me as amazing, as there has been in the past here. (With the exception of the model; that was pretty slick.)

Rating: 8/10

Woodbridge does a really good job of mixing it up. There were a few similar locks (not your standard combination locks), and a nice variety of new stuff. One was really cool and we were DYING (HAHAHAHAHA) to find out how it operated after we unlocked it. Those familiar with the source material will recognize this puzzle/lock when they get to it. NICE F%$&ING LOCK!

There were a good mix of puzzle types in the room to appeal to a variety of creative thinkers and people with different experience levels. They also did a very, very good job of hiding some things in plain sight.

Rating: 8/10

Puzzle Complexity (Rating)
Here’s where things got interesting. Nothing was overly complex, however there was one thing that stumped us all. And that was basically because it didn’t belong in the damn room. Not without some sort of indication as to what should be done with it, at least. Yes, I get we should have just looked at it and screwed with it, but still. That pissed me off to no end. It was a sticking point after the room when we were talking to the GM and such, too. However, after we got past that hump, we blew through the rest of the room.

Oh, and there was a piece “missing”. (I say “missing” because it was actually just lost in the room.) Eventually, though, we were able to work around it, but still. Other than that, the one puzzle was pretty cool, though one I’ve seen somewhere else. And obviously the use of the Handbook was good. (I don’t want to get into too many specifics, so I’ve deliberately kept it vague.)

Rating: 6.5/10

We always go into a room trying to get the best time possible. The Game Master team informed us that they did the room in 26 minutes, and the leaderboard at that time was 38.

We are generally very anti-clue, but if we’re stuck for a long period of time, we’ll break down and ask because we actually want to solve the room (because if you don’t solve the room, you don’t get to see 100% of the experience, and that pisses me off in a Type A/OCD kinda way). In other words… it’s always good to make sure your team finishes.

Now, we got stuck… for 30 minutes and finally asked for a clue. When we were given the hint, I actually got a little pissed because A) I didn’t see how the thing fit with the room, and B) what we were supposed to do with the thing did not match up with how the thing normally operates. Once we got past that part, we cruised really quickly through the room. Despite a 30 minute stall, we finished the room with about 4.5 minutes to go, and we’d add on an additional 4 minutes for having to search for a missing piece (see next section), so if we hadn’t gotten stuck on a shenanigan, we would have even beaten the GM team’s time. 😛

The puzzles themselves aren’t overly complex. I would say that this is one of their easier rooms we’ve done, but it was fun just the same. I think newbies and kids will have a great time here because the puzzles range in complexity and will appeal to lots of different people.

Rating: 7/10

Flow/Cohesiveness/Uniqueness (Rating)
Once we got “started”, as both Mike and I mentioned earlier, we made quick work of the room. Puzzles flowed from one to the next, albeit in a linear fashion. After the initial search of the room, there was little in way of branching paths/puzzles, so we were relegated to shoulder-surfing our teammates at times.

That being said, the room itself fit the bill. From the model to the decorations, source material was pretty well placed. (This includes elements to help with the immersion.)

I’m a little bit disappointed with the re-purposing of some items from Dr. Jones, however, being the business that this is, it’s to be expected (and it wasn’t 100% obvious). However, the fact that a piece of the final puzzle got “lost” in the room irked us both (and while our GM was telling us to just guess, we’re sticklers for completion and refused for several minutes).

Rating: 6/10

The room is rated for up to 7 people, and I think that is a good limit. The room is completely linear. We were stuck for 30 minutes on how to get started, but ended up solving most of the other puzzles and were just waiting to see how they pieced together (so we had to backtrack occasionally).

The decoration of the room is extremely well done, and the props and other pieces in the room lent themselves very well to the theme. It was actually kind of creepy how similar some of the items were to the source material.

There were some really unique items in there in terms of what you had to do and how you had to do them. Woodbridge likes some interactivity with the GMs in order to complete the room, but that’s all I’m going to give you here.

I will have to deduct a point here because a major piece of the solution to the room went missing, and we had to essentially make an educated guess as to what the solution was. Now, I understand that things happen (especially during the initial period a room opens), but to have a piece of the final puzzle go missing and require a “guess” to complete the room might make them want to rethink where they put certain pieces during the room reset.

I do think, however, that it is pretty cool that they are able to change out the ending to make it more difficult and to refresh the room.

Rating: 6/10

Fun/Amusement (Summary)
I’ll be honest here; I was completely frustrated by the time we got our first clue. Then I was even MORE frustrated at what we had to do after hearing said first clue. It was pretty smooth sailing until the end when we asked for clue #2 and were adamant that we were missing a piece. But hey, this is why we playtest, right? I had a good time searching and checking things out, then I got annoyed that we were stuck, and then pissed at what we had to do when we got our first clue. However, after that, it was fun until we got to the very end. Overall, it wasn’t the best experience I’ve had doing a room, but a far, far cry from the worst. Just a few tweaks can smooth our stumbling blocks out.
Game Master (Summary)
She talks SUPER FAST, so pay attention (during the game briefing). We asked ahead of time how she’d be providing clues and it was at the 20/30/40 minute marks. This works for us because, as you know, I am anti-clue.  Fahima was our GM, and she did a good job in presenting options for clues/hints. We ended up asking for 2 clues, and they were helpful. I’m guessing there were first week jitters because she did rush a bit with the pre-room briefing, but was good at delivering it with some excitement and humor.
How Helpful Were Any Clues Given, if any (Summary)
I don’t even want to talk about this. Like, seriously.  We asked for 2 clues and they were helpful. I still call foul on the first one though LOL.
RAGE Meter ERG (pronounced URG, as in “we should have known better”) Score
If there were an icon I could find that was a fist punching through the wall, I would post it. How about this instead: 

I’ve also taken this opportunity to officially change it from “Anger Level Score” to “RAGE Meter”. Probably should have done that on a previous post, but no time like the present!

Rating: 👊👊👊👊👊 Fists – 5/5

This is a big ole fat 5. We should have known better, we did break a few of our rules when doing this room, but there were a few issues (already explained) that gave us a few “come on” moments.

Rating:  FacePalms – 5/5

ESCAPE ROOM GUYS’ OVERALL SCORING: 6.55/10

Final Thought: This was a fun room to play, especially if you know the source from where they got their inspiration. There were a few stumbling blocks from both sides, but – hey – that’s what playtests are for. We would recommend that they work that first puzzle/prop into the storyline for those groups who may have done a lot of rooms (COUGH, COUGH) and may be brainwashed into not pulling things apart. ERW, contact us if you’d like a suggestion on what to do with this puzzle we’re referencing!

Also, there is a small hint hidden somewhere in the first 1/3 of the review of where we got stuck initially, and how to avoid what we went through.

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