Where’s Ben Stiller When You Need Him? – Room: Night at the Museum – April 15, 2018

THE QUICK AND DIRTY

Play if… you’ve ever wanted to throw a raging after-hours party at your job.

Avoid if… the idea of being locked inside a museum makes you want to die of boredom.


THE BASICS

Escape Artist DC:

Address: 720 I St SE, Washington, DC 20003 (click address for Google Map)

Contact and Website: 301-502-2043
https://www.escapeartistdc.com

The Room

Description (from the company website): Oh snap. You and your restoration specialist colleagues got a little out of hand. Now, you are going to be in trouble with the big boss if you don’t remedy the situation you made – but you have limited time to rectify your mistakes.

Not your usual Night at the Museum.

So, what happened to set you off? Perhaps you and the other restoration specialists cannot quite remember why you got so rowdy during your visit to the museum. You were just trying to let off some steam. Then, the unthinkable happened: You destroyed a piece of artwork.

The valuable painting is lying around you in tatters, and you are well aware of the faux pas. Fortunately, your supervisor is not due back for a whole hour. That should be time enough for you to work your magic, right? At least, you hope it is! Regardless, you and your team must figure out how to piece the priceless “victim” back together to keep your jobs and reputation intact.

Now get going and find those clues: That painting is not going to restore itself!

Difficulty (1-10): N/A

Time Limit: 60 minutes

Cost: $20 (for adults; $16 with Student ID)

Identifier: R1

Party Size: Up to 12

Staging Area: Decent sized waiting area with plenty of things to keep you occupied while you wait. FYI, to access the site you’ll have to go up half a flight of stairs.

Metro Access/Parking: Eastern Market is a few blocks away. We recommend that or Lyft/Uber unless you want to roll the dice on driving and finding street parking.


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: a small room that appears to be a section of a museum exhibit.

Understanding of the Mission: well, now you’ve done it. You and your co-workers threw a huge party in the museum one night after closing while your boss was out of town. Now, as you come to, you realize that you’re locked in the museum… and someone trashed one of the prized paintings.

Now, you have to find the pieces of the painting, restore it, and find a way to get your supervisor’s key and out of the locked museum before the museum opens in the morning (in 60 minutes).

Did We Escape: Yes

Time Remaining: 13:30

Our Suggested Party Size: Around 8, depending upon your escape room experience

Did the room challenge the entire team? Yes

Members of our team (other than the ERG): Steph, Eric, Steph, and Heather

Team Disturbed Friends (Steph, Jason, Eric, Mike, Steph, and Heather)

Worth the time and money? Yes

Where to Eat/Drink Before/After:


OUR SCORING:

JASON SAYS: MIKE SAYS:
Overall Expectation (Summary)
We generally tend to base our expectations of rooms we do on other rooms we’ve done at the same location (well, I do at least). This location was the same. Having just completed House of Pawns Episode 4, we were on a little bit of a high for setting a record in that room and could not wait to get into the museum.

If Gallery Heist was any indicator of how a Night at the Museum would be, we were in for a bit of a treat. I cannot say I was disappointed at all.

This was yet another “2 rooms in a row” outing, so I can’t say too much about the expectations.

I expected a lot, since this location has done a pretty good job overall in the design of their rooms as we’ve been doing them this year.

I knew, however, that this would be a very different experience than House of Pawns 4, and I guess my expectations fell somewhere around what our experience was with Gallery Heist.

Story (Rating)
As Museum employees, and your boss being out of town yet on his way back to the office, you took it upon yourself to throw a bombastic party in the museum. Unfortunately, the party got a little out of control and the most valuable piece of artwork in the museum was damaged.

Sounds like being in high school when your parents go out of town and you decide to throw a party and don’t have enough time to clean up. Can’t say I ever did that, but I understand the concept none the less.

Rating: 8/10

So, you work at a museum, probably making just above minimum wage and are faced with limitless shifts of seeing the same exhibits over and over.

However, your boss decides to head out of town for the night, and will return in the morning. What are you and your co-workers to do?

Well… if you said to throw an epic party amongst the Monets, Picassos, Dalis and Van Goghs… you are 100% correct.

Unfortunately, the party may have gone a bit too well and you all wake up the next morning with pounding headaches… and find yourselves locked in after security was activated. Now, you have to find your supervisor’s key to unlock the door so s/he is none the wiser.

As you start your clean up and search for they, you also stumble upon one of paintings that was somehow ripped off the way… and torn into pieces.

Ohhhhhh… FUUUUDDDGGGGEEEE!

Rating: 8/10

Mission (Rating)
This one was a little more straightforward than the previous one we did that afternoon, however it, too, had multiple objectives. So you know we always like that.

After everybody left the museum, it was your job to clean up, repair the damage painting, and find your boss’s spare key in his office to get out before the museum locks itself down. Sounds simple, it wasn’t. There was a lot going on in this room, and six people was definitely a good number for this room as there was plenty to do.

Rating: 8/10

Well, crap-diddily-ap… now we also have to find the scraps of the painting, re-assemble it, and GTFO before the boss arrives back in just over an hour.

So, I kind of liked this mission even though it was pretty straight forward… cover up something you did so no one is the wiser (check… I learned how to do this in high school), and re-assemble the painting. Guess I can always try and live out my dream of being an old antiquities repairer (I always thought it would be old books though).

Rating: 8/10

Puzzle Diversity (Rating)
Again with the no combo locks. Actually okay, this time there was one, and a puzzle box I think, and finding that last key just to exit the room so I’m not counting that one.

As I said, there was plenty to do in this escape room and we ended up breaking into two groups of three (ironically men and women). I get a little impatient when I see something that I want to work on and people struggling to work on it, however I tried my best to not usurp one, maybe two, puzzles as people were going too slow for my liking.

While Milind was giving us a quick briefing of how some of the things in the room worked, he blatantly told us that some things were red herrings and to ignore them. We ignored his warning instead.

I feel like I haven’t said this in a while, but it is well deserved for this room. There were many things we haven’t seen before. From either puzzles to technology, the amount of puzzles in the room was astounding. I wish I could count and give you a number, but I would guess it’s north of 12. Maybe if we can get back in there, or I can email him and ask.

Anyways, something as simple as a Solo Cup was part of a puzzle (there was a party, after all). And everything had to do with either the museum or the party itself, and as that was the story behind the room, it was all well-placed.

Unfortunately, I think anything else I say about this is going to give away too much so I’m going to stop here.

Rating: 9/10

So, our group is experienced enough to just all separate as soon as the door closes and the clock starts, so we all scattered to the different points in the room to start examining stuff.

There is an entire wall that Milind (the owner) mentioned was there to help you solve some of the puzzles, but that you didn’t need to use those extra hints. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

He also casually mentioned a number of red herrings, and that we shouldn’t pay attention to a few of the items in the room. Boo, Milind… BOO… Red herrings increase the challenge LOL

Okay, but I digress. There was some really cool stuff in this room but not a lot of combination locks to open, and the wall was pretty interesting to examine after we had opened a few of them already (to see how they clued you in).

Lots of tech, surprisingly, in this room, and it made solving the puzzles a great deal more fun. We, in fact, solved one of the puzzles in an incorrect way, which we told Milind later, and I believe he noted that down to fix the issue after we left. LOL

We followed our rule #8 (Time’s Up) a number of times here, which allowed others to cycle in once others were having painter’s block (hahahahaha).

Some of us *coughs, Jason, coughs* may have been a bit too enthusiastic about solving some of the puzzles, while others decided to have a dance party when there wasn’t enough room in one of the spaces for everyone to play comfortably.

We did encounter another issue with a puzzle that had to be unplugged and restarted… and another that instructions that could be worded a bit differently to help work out the mechanics of solving it, but we knew what we had to do.

Rating: 9/10

Puzzle Complexity (Rating)
I don’t recall there being anything that was overly difficult. There was one puzzle on one of the walls that was a bit ambiguous in the way things were used, but when he came in after and showed us what we did wrong with it it was pretty easily said to be user error.

There was also one other puzzle that required a tech reset, but it was something we’d never encountered before so I won’t give it a demerit.

As I said earlier, we split up into men women so Mike, Eric, and I ended up getting into the second room while the ladies were working on 2 puzzles in the first room. In that second room, there were other things we haven’t encountered before (okay starting to hate having to say that again), but once the ladies came in (with fresher eyes) we were able to quickly run through that half of the room. One of the things I liked about this room was the abundance of physical puzzles. And I don’t mean that in a brute strength kind of way, but in a more hands-on than logical thinking sort of way. There were puzzles that involved using mirrors, ciphers, riddles, to name a few.

Rating: 8/10

So, the room is designed for a larger group and has some easy puzzles and harder ones to help with the ebb and flow of the entire game. Nothing was overly complex (we didn’t request any hints for this room either), but I think it’s because we had some experienced people in the room who knew what to look for in terms of “oh, this might hide a magnet or an RFID chip that could trigger XXXXXX.” That being said, there were a LOT of puzzles in this room, so it’s good that some were easier to solve than others.

I LOVED one of the puzzles on the side of the room opposite the main door because there were multiple layers to solving it… finding things and then having to piece it together and then figure out what the item was trying to tell you.

In the other room, I took charge of one of the more logic puzzles, so I worked quite a bit with my teammates as we looked for the pieces to solve this one too.

This room, I believe, is the first one we’ve encountered that encouraged us to use Google to solve a few of the solutions, so that gave it more of a real-life feel (this isn’t required… some people who have a specific type of knowledge or are in a particular profession may be able to solve these items without Google).

Rating: 7.5/10

Flow/Cohesiveness/Uniqueness (Rating)
Soooooo… Milind started us off by saying that part of the “clue wall” was a red herring, which we all got a good laugh at.

Moving from puzzle to puzzle was quick and, in this group, if you didn’t see it immediately, you were too slow. There was a decent amount of backtracking as well, which I love, and it was fun to run between the rooms.

Being that this was a museum party, though the decor was a bit on the sparse side, everything went well with the theme of the room. From puzzles relating to the buster painting to those having to do with the party, everything was pretty much on par.

Rating: 9/10

The room flowed well, but was definitely not linear. We had 6 people and we did well in separating to search and then coming together to solve.

The decor of the room was well done… felt like a little alcove of a larger museum exhibit, but it contained a lot of information that you had to sift through in your determination of whether it was important or not.

I did like how Milind incorporated both the museum and the party aspects of the story into the room design, and some of the smaller things you had to solve were pretty subtle… almost to the point where you would think “am I overthinking this?”

No. No, you are not.

Rating: 9/10

Fun/Amusement (Summary)
We’ve had a good run lately with really fun rooms, and this one was up there. I can’t just pick my favorite thing this time; there were so many.

 

Yup, I had a good time in this room. Some adrenaline surges when we solved certain things, and the ability to work on a number of the puzzles at different points. We could even solve some of a puzzle and leave the rest to others, which was a great way of making you work with your team.
Game Master (Summary)
Milind was mostly hands off in this one. We did such a damn good job.

 

Milind and his method of delivering information through a tablet and an app has been explained in our other reviews. I think we only had to call him in twice when two of the puzzles weren’t operating as we thought they should.
How Helpful Were Any Clues Given, if any (Summary)
Nada? No clues… just a few re-sets of two puzzles once we realized that we were trying to work them properly. They just needed to be unplugged and plugged back in. Only cost us about 30 seconds.
RAGE Meter ERG (pronounced URG, as in “we should have known better”) Score
Big ol’ fat nothin’.

Rating: 0/5

I am so smart… S-M-R-T… I mean, S-MAR-T.

Rating: — FacePalms – 0/5

ESCAPE ROOM GUYS’ OVERALL SCORING: 8.35/10

FINAL THOUGHT: This was a really fun room to do. We like this location for both the challenge it provides as well as the mixture of the rooms themselves. They could all be politically themed because we’re in DC, but nope… Milind throws you a few rooms that could be found in any city with a decent art museum. We thought this may have been a bit too similar to Gallery Heist, but we were pleased to find out that it’s completely different and has an entirely different arc to the story line, and not a lot of the types of puzzles re-imagined from what we saw in the other rooms.

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