Photo by Game The Room

Wine Country Escape Rooms

By Alexa Chipman September 25, 2017

Game The Room in Rohnert Park - Skeleton Key

Photo by Game the Room (Skeleton Key)

What are escape rooms? You can save the world, explore ancient tombs and blast off into space with vibrant, interactive puzzle games that are in the real world, not on a computer screen. With an hour to complete the tasks, energy is high, challenging group dynamics, because splitting up to solve riddles is helpful, but will only go so far. Solutions will be uncovered by working together and not being afraid to speak up with an idea.

Get hands on with three dimensional clues, or tackle the intellectually stimulating pieces of logic to unlock additional mysteries and ultimately escape the room. Careful observation is key, because almost anything might have a purpose—oddly hung portraits, a backwards book or scratches on the wall could hold hidden meanings. Don’t go overboard with ripping apart what is really a stage set; the ceiling, for example, is just a ceiling. To help players and avoid needless damage, the room is monitored, and a disembodied “narrator” voice will offer hints and guidance. If you feel frustration brimming, and the group agrees, ask for assistance, rather than fuming at a puzzle that seems unsolvable.

I became fascinated with this sort of game after watching Geek & Sundry’s Escape! series, and when I searched near my area, discovered they are prohibitively expensive for just a group of friends to stop by. I was delighted to find a local opportunity with Rohnert Park’s Game the Room near Sonoma State University.

They have two rooms, that will be rotated out about once per year. Currently running are ESC Key, which is a large room for 4-10 players that has a creepy science fiction A.I. and the smaller Skeleton Key for 2-6 players in a “Steampunk” pirate universe. I participated in the latter, which features a mysterious Victorian atmosphere and piles of locked treasure chests. It was the ideal balance of being difficult enough to require cooperation and quick thinking without making us feel upset that we couldn’t solve the clues.

Game The Room - Skeleton Key

Photo by Game the Room (Skeleton Key)

There is a marvelous sense of accomplishment in completing an escape room, and I had a fantastic team with me who each contributed to fit pieces together that would not have made sense without our various perspectives and insights. If you haven’t heard of escape rooms and want to try, or are looking for a reasonably priced location in the San Francisco Bay Area, I would recommend stopping by Game the Room. You can book in advance online, or call the same day at 707.708.8965 to see if there is an opening, and leave a message. It is currently $24 per person, or $20 with a valid student id.

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