The Dig

6 Overall
Room Quality
Puzzle Design
Fun Factor
Users (0 votes) 0

The Dig

  • Played February 2018
  • St. Louis

  • 60 minutes
  • 2-10 players
  • $30 on weekends, $28 on weekdays
  • For all ages

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Located in the city’s downtown core, you’ll find Escape The Room St. Louis. This company holds a special place in our hearts as it marked the first stop in ERA’s cross-team training weekend. In total we had 12 ERA members from our Denver, KC, Chicago, and Toronto teams. We split ourselves into two teams of six, played through a room, then swapped so all 12 of us could discuss what we experienced. First up for our group was The Dig!

The pre-room experience was a mixed bag of pros and cons everyone noted. On the positive side, the lobby was clean, the staff were friendly, there was good signage outside so you couldn’t miss the location, and there was a small selection of fun distractions in the lobby area. At the same time, having a downtown location presented a problem with finding and paying for parking, the lobby space felt bare and underused, and at least one of the games in the lobby (Cards Against Humanity) probably isn’t the best choice for families with children. We enjoyed the energy of our game master, but he seemed nervous and unsure how to introduce the scenario in a manner that would make us curious or engaged. No worries, let’s dive into the game itself.

The room quality gave our groups some mixed feelings. On the one hand everyone thought the room was well constructed. There was some obvious wear and tear on certain set pieces and props, but nothing out of the norm. One thing that caught our attention was how they took the time to make sure the ceiling and overheads were used in the set design (so few companies do this). It definitely makes a difference when you can be surrounded on all four sides by the set. At the same time some of our teammates noted the tight spacing and use of several props in those tight spaces made for tripping and/or bumping hazards which frustrated them. The prop quality varied from cheaper plastic items to higher quality metals and wood items. When we took all things into consideration, The Dig is a good example of what we typically see as the standard norm for room quality nowadays.

Moving along to immersion then… With 12 reviewers giving their scores and thoughts it was surprising how everyone seemed to feel the same about the immersive aspects of this room. Because the story and objectives were introduced at the beginning of the game in a nervous, ‘third person’ manner, our teams felt disengaged from the purpose. The set designs themselves did a fairly good job of setting the mood (kudos once again for immersing players on all four sides when possible), but even within the sets there was a disconnection from the story. The puzzles somewhat helped us connect with the story, but without any real story development in the game, we were left with the feeling of just going through the motions of going from puzzle to puzzle. Some use of sound and ambient music would’ve helped greatly. In the end we needed more story development, a stronger sense of purpose, and a better introduction to feel immersed.

The puzzles were a different matter however. They provided a fairly decent amount of fun, used some different thinking skills, and fit into their surroundings well. The puzzles for this room are ideally designed for a group of 2-5 if everyone is hoping to be included. You wouldn’t want more than 2-3 escape room enthusiasts doing this room together (we had 6), and you definitely wouldn’t want more than 4-5 if everyone in your group is new to escape rooms. The moment you go beyond our suggested group size you’re bound to experience what most of us did… a LOT of standing around trying finding something to do. This isn’t a critique of the puzzles but rather our advice on how to enjoy the room for what it is. The puzzle path is linear, the spacing is tight, and the only way to proceed is generally through standard numeric and letter locks. There are some clever uses of tech within some of the puzzles that we won’t give away, but again, make sure you bring a smaller group when you tackle this room so you can be involved.

Was it fun? Would we recommend this room? For the most part yes and yes. The Dig, as you can guess, is a fairly standard room with some strengths and weaknesses. On the plus side, the set design is fairly good, and you’ll always feel surrounded by the environment. On the weaker side is the immersion and lack of inclusive puzzles. Who would most enjoy this room? Those who are new to escape rooms or looking for something to go hand in hand with their night out on the town. Puzzle enthusiasts, immersion enthusiasts, or those who are uncomfortable in tight spaces, are best to choose something else in this case.

We want to hear your thoughts! Be sure to comment in the section below or send us a message via ERA’s email, Facebook, or Twitter… As always, happy escaping!

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