The Chamber at Escape for Fun

THE CHAMBER ESCAPE ROOM

Played September 2015
Wheaton, IL

60 minutes

Up to 10 players
$30 USD/person

Escape for Fun
escapeforfun.com
314 South Main Street, Wheaton, IL


RATING: 6 / 10

Clues allowed: 5
Did we beat it? Yes, in 44:02 minutes

REVIEW

The Chamber is an medieval-themed escape room set inside the walls of Camelot. The castle is under siege and players must channel the wit of the Knights of the Round Table to escape!

The theme of this room really takes you back to the dark ages. We began in a chamber with glowing castle doors, decorated with swords and shields that made you feel like you were prepping to cross a drawbridge into the dwells of King Arthur's castle. This is where the game master reviewed the rules and set the stage for the game.

Once beyond the wooden gates, we entered a dimly lit room with cobblestone walls and wooden bookcases filled with relics and books. The first thing you see is a table with a sword plunged in the center and several locks and chains securing it in place. In one corner stands a suit of armor, plus maps, flickering torches, mirrors and a coat of arms along the walls of the room. The game designer did an incredible job of taking us back to medieval times! The only opportunity to improve the experience would be to review the game rules in the waiting area and make the first chamber part of the game. I love to unlock additional rooms and Escape for Fun could make players feel as though they were advancing through a castle by building out the first room more with puzzles and clues before players pass into the main chamber.

The puzzles and challenges inside The Chamber varied, and there was a nice mix of combination and key locks. Beyond modern keys, this room also incorporated antique skeleton keys which reinforced the feeling of being back in time. We scoured the bookshelves for clues and found treasure boxes and sheets of paper with riddles and clues. Most of the puzzles could be completed independently, which meant the order in which we opened the locks and unchained the sword was driven by the discoveries of the team. This is great for timing, but in a large group (we had 8 players) it means that some of us who were working on one puzzle missed out on other solutions and challenges. Given this, I recommend more advanced players limit their team to 4 or 5 people to get the most enjoyment out of the room.

As we advanced, we uncovered more complex puzzles and a black light to reveal the solutions to an advanced map-based challenge. There's also a memorable use of the mirror in the room. Once we freed the sword, there was a really cool wooden dial on the wall that you had to place it in. This one hung us up for a while, so players will want to read clues carefully for that.

The room was really high quality with newer, clean props. The game master we had seemed a bit inexperienced or is just too overzealous at helping teams escape in record time. Clues are given on slips of laminated paper and passed under the door. Our game master would pass these clues under even when we didn't need them and didn't allow us much time to struggle through the problem and use teamwork to solve it together. Being a game master is hard, and requires a delicate balance of providing suggestions without giving things away. This time, I feel like ours was a bit too focused on helping us beat the record escape time than allowing us to fully experience the satisfaction of solving the problems unassisted.

All in all, The Chamber at Escape for Fun is a well-crafted room and the theme is fun! They pay attention to details to make it feel realistic and it's a nice change from rooms that use gore and fear to create an exhilarating ambiance. The Chamber is a solid room for a group of new players or a small team of experienced escapers. I'd totally play it again to try my hand at puzzles that I missed, or with only a couple of other people to see if I can beat our time!

Insider tip: stay on Main Street and park out front. If you follow Google Maps, you'll end up in a residential area and feel like you're most assuredly in the wrong place.

-- Melissa