High-octane word games.
- Website: Escape Capers
Address: 4235 16 St SE, Calgary, AB T2G 3S2
- Private Booking: No
- Price: $28 per person
- Duration: 60 minutes
- Linearity: Nonlinear
- Group size: #medium
- Player Level: #competent
- Premise: “Maxim Buckerson, Calgary’s wealthiest and most prominent citizen, has invited you to a dinner party. While sharing wine and hors d’oeuvres with the other guests, the butler announces that Mr. Buckerson won’t be joining you for dinner this evening but that he has left you a video message.” He has poisoned you and left you the antidote.
Every time we visit Escape Capers, we always end up geeking out with the staff about escape rooms. This is a family-owned business and the staff members here seem like they are family.
I was a little bit sad coming in to do Maxim’s because it was the last room we had left at Escape Capers! We did hear that they’re working on a new room though, so I’m super excited to play it once it’s done!
Our introduction was done by the always-enthusiastic Paige, and our host was the characteristically stoic butler JP. The staff group at Escape Capers is probably one of my favourites – they make you feel pumped to start playing, and the hosts are always adding to (and never detracting from) the in-room experience.
Ben does a terrific job below of explaining why Escape Capers is puzzle heaven. If you’re someone who enjoys crossword puzzles, anagrams, or any word puzzles, you are in for a treat.
What I particularly loved about the puzzles here is that they are so low-tech. Actually, scratch that, this room is no-tech. The puzzles relied on good ole brainpower–just classic word games that were solvable and intuitive and didn’t insult the players’ intelligence. These are classic puzzles that are easily replicable at home but elevated in execution.
Having done all of the rooms at Escape Capers now, I can confidently say that puzzles are their biggest strength. There’s always enough clues to solve a puzzle – it never feels like a leap of logic. Across all 3 rooms, the puzzles also tended to be more word-heavy than other rooms we’ve done (which I actually really liked!). Lastly, the puzzles make you work a little bit harder than other rooms. Think you’ve solved a puzzle and gotten the combo for a lock? Think again. You’ll need to take your new info a few steps further before you get that combo.
Specific to Maxim’s Dinner Party, there were a couple of things I really liked. First, there was a journal item that was well executed – it wasn’t full of tons of information that left us overwhelmed and wondering what would be relevant. Second, there were very few locks in this room. Lately, I’ve really been enjoying low/no-lock rooms and I think it’s because it forces you to think more flexibly. When you’ve got a 3-digit, a 4-letter, and a directional lock, you’re limiting the solutions you think of to a puzzle to be either 3 digits, 4 letters, or a set of directions. Low/no-lock rooms are also a little bit liberating in that the puzzles don’t have to lead to something that fits into a lock. The intermediate puzzles can really be anything, as long as that final meta-puzzle gives you the combo (if there is one to be got!).
Judging by the marketing for this room, I expected to be in an aristocratic dining room complete with a long table and fancy chandelier. When we entered, I was very disappointed because it looked just like an ordinary living room. What I did appreciate was that it wasn’t the typical rectangular room. I also thought the use of space was excellent as everyone in my group was able to spread out.
This room looked nice, but I was a bit disappointed that it wasn’t an actual dinner setting. This room was more like a study. Maybe it’s my lack of experience with fancy dinner parties, but the look of the room to me didn’t match the theme or the story.
Thanks to the puzzles, our time here just flew by. Every single person was busy doing something. No one was hovering behind someone or standing idly around. Much of the time wasted in escape rooms is being stuck on a puzzle, thinking and feeling frustrated. However, in our case, we were opening one lock after the other because the puzzles were intuitive.
The puzzles kept me in it the whole time. The host never broke character, which meant that we also stayed immersed in what was an admittedly shallow backstory. The group we did this room with is very excitable (including us) but we had to tone it down a little bit so we didn’t scare the host! There aren’t any scary elements or anything though – we just communicate very loudly. With just a little bit of excited yelling.
The structure of this room played out like an ordinary objective-based escape room. Get in, get something, get out. The puzzles were strong in isolation, but they were not thematically cohesive.
Like I mentioned above, I was sad to see very few dinner party elements in the room itself. While the backstory at the start was delivered very well, there wasn’t a lot of meaningful connection between the story and the room. Also, you know that victory photo you take with that framed picture? It’s kind of weird thematically. Once you do the room, you’ll find out why.
I give this room a #diamond. If you’re a seasoned escape room player, you will absolutely love this room. The puzzles were satisfying to solve and the progression was distinct. We had a fantastic time. Bring a group, everyone will feel useful!
This room gets a #diamond. If you’re a puzzle person, this room (and really, any of the rooms at Escape Capers) is for you, but this room may not appeal to those of you who want really solid theming and narratives.
- Completed:October 9, 2016
- Escaped? Yes (4 people)
- Our Time: 0:52 (/1:00)
- # of hints used: 4