Last week I had the chance to visit an escape room operated by a company named “Cryptology”. Here’s my report.

An escape room is a live adventure game, in which players have to solve a number of puzzles to escape from a room. It is sort of a paper chase for adults. Escape rooms have become quite popular in recent years.

 

The Cryptology escape rooms

In Nottingham, UK, there are two crypto-themed escape rooms operated by a company named “Cryptology”. When I took a trip to London last weekend, I took the chance for a day trip to Nottingham to attend one of these escape rooms. Afterwards I had a meeting with Mark Thompson, the managing director of Cryptology and creator of the Cryptology escape rooms.

The two escape rooms Cryptology operates are named “Cipherdyne” and “The Crypt”. When I booked my participance, I chose the former. I had to pay 40 pounds for two persons. The maximum is five persons (80 pounds).

After my arrival in Nottingham, the following picture was taken at the townhall:

Escape-Room-05

The two Cryptology escape rooms are located next to the town hall in central Nottingham. I rang the doorbell to get in:

Escape-Room-03

Our escape room slot started at 2:15 and lasted exactly one hour.

Escape-Room-04

Before our adventure started, a nice young lady explained us that, precisely speaking, the expression “escape room” was not correct in this case. Instead of escaping from a room, our goal was to prevent a certain disaster within 60 minutes of time. To achieve this goal, we had to open locks, answer questions, guess passwords, interprete strange inscriptions, search for hidden objects and more. All of these puzzles were somehow integrated into the room we were in.

As it turned out, some of the puzzles to be solved were quite difficult. Whenever my co-player and I got stuck, the lady outside gave us hints via a computer screen on the wall. This brought us pretty close to the solution. Nevertheless, we were not successful in the end. The disaster took its course.

All in all, the Cipherdyne escape room was a fun experience. It felt a little bit like a movie, in which we played along ourselves. There was only one thing I had expected a little different: None of the puzzles had got much to do with cryptology. As it turned out, the other Cryptology escape room, “The Crypt”, would have been the better choice, as it features a few codebreaking puzzles.

 

Meeting with Mark Thompson

After I had almost saved the world in the escape room, I had a meeting with afore-mentioned managing director Mark Thompson.

Escape-Room-01

Mark told me that he had worked as a buyer for electronic retailer Maplin (the British counter-part of Conrad Electronik) for many years. When he saw an escape room for the first time, he decided to quit his job and to start a new career in this business. He founded a company named “Cryptology” and started two escape rooms in the city of Nottingham. He plans to open two more in the near future. They shall have something to do with cryptology, too.

British crypto mystery expert and blogger Nick Pelling, whom I met the other day, told me that there is an escape room dedicated to the Voynich manuscript in Milton Keynes, UK. Maybe I will go there on my next UK trip.

Further reading: New Agatha Christie stamps deliver hidden messages

Kommentare (10)

  1. #1 Thomas
    1. November 2016

    If you need to decrypt the VM to escape, you should take your copy and start to prepare in time, Klaus 😉

  2. #2 Marc
    1. November 2016

    Very interesting 😉

  3. #3 Marc
    1. November 2016

    Is there something like that in Germany ?

  4. #4 Norbert
    Berlin
    2. November 2016

    @Thomas: Ich stelle mir den Voynich-Room so vor, dass man in einen Raum gesperrt wird, in dem sich vier VM-Experten unablässig über ihre verschiedenen Theorien die Köpfe einschlagen. Schafft man es innerhalb einer Stunde, sie alle von seiner eigenen Theorie zu überzeugen, darf man wieder heraus (andernfalls wird der nächste Kandidat halt fünf Experten vorfinden) 😉

    @Marc: Ja, escape rooms sind auch in Deutschland schwer im Kommen. Hier in Berlin gibt es einige Anbieter – bei zweien davon war ich schon mit Frau und Tochter, wir hatten viel Spaß dabei (und nebenbei die Welt gerettet, natürlich).

  5. #5 Marc
    2. November 2016

    Das muss dann aber ein sehr großer Voynich-Room sein, da die Anzahl der Experten sehr schnell ansteigen wird 😉

  6. #6 Piper
    4. November 2016

    Nett, das erinnert mich daran, wie wir vor Jahren Myst gespielt hatten, da gabs auch einiges zu lösen und zu rätseln, obwohl das Erlebnis in einem echten Escape Room wohl noch etwas intensiver sein dürfte, besonders unter dem Zeitdruck von nur einer Stunde.

    Das wäre ein interessantes Szenario für einen MUD (Multi User Dungeon) Server, wo man sich dann als Gruppe an den Rätseln versuchen und durch einen Dungeon laufen darf. Kostet dann auch keine 30 Pfund Eintritt 🙂

    “Clausis Crypto Cellar” wäre doch ein würdiger Titel dafür 😉

    Da könnten sich dann die Leser von Klausis Kolumne treffen und nächtelang gemeinsam vor sich hinrätseln.

  7. #7 Jerry
    England, Europa.
    4. November 2016

    For anybody visiting Bletchley Park/TNMOC, there’s one here too! http://www.agreatescaperoom.com/about

  8. #8 michanya
    5. November 2016

    … gibt auch BMW marketing film – the ESCAPE – mit viel action und viel raum im carROOM – und schauspieler clive owen.

    BitteMachWeiter …

    action needs reaction – biotec4u

  9. #9 michanya
    5. November 2016

    … und im BMW M5 – macht sogar MADONNA mit – sie ist ja mit ihren roten bändchen auch kabbalah spezialistin – und hat ein eigenes ROOM Center 4HIM.

    Action pur … BMW5

    Madonna – kaum zu glauben – biotec4u

  10. #10 Linda
    Wien
    24. November 2016

    Kürzlich besuchte ich einige Fluchträume in Wien (ich empfehle: http://www.openthedoor.at)