Bank Heist

7.1 Overall
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Mastermind is hidden away in South Johnson County, but it’s worth the trip. The location is hard to find, located beneath a We Buy Gold store. While there is a map on their website, they would benefit from adding clear directions. Once you find the building, however, the experience begins. At the bottom of the stairs, you are welcomed by a colorful and clever lobby. They have the standard chess boards and puzzles available while you wait, but the best feature is their wall of locks. It’s a great way to kill time while waiting for your room, and it gets your brain warmed up for what is ahead.

Our game master Eric was great. Prior to entering the room, he mentioned that one of the puzzle areas had been damaged by the group before us, and he offered us a chance to come back another time. We decided to press on with instructions on what to avoid. That turned out to be moot, though, since Eric managed to sneak into the second room and repair the damage while we were solving the first room. Truly impressive.

Mastermind is now using a points-based clue system on iPads. You can choose a 10-point clue that will guide you in the right direction, or you can use a 20-point clue that will essentially walk you through the puzzle. You start with 100 points, which is great for teams who need more help. While this does allow for consistency of hints for every group, there’s no real penalty or benefit connected with the points themselves.

The instructions from Eric and our pre-room video set up a solid backstory and presented us with two clear objectives: rob the bank and escape before the police arrive. The transition between this introduction was seamless and exhilarating as we were ushered into a dark room with an alarm blaring. This helped set the scene immediately and filled the room with a sense of urgency. Once we discovered a light source, we found ourselves in a bank setting, complete with teller stations, vaults, and cheesy FDIC posters. This first room was extremely impressive with great attention to detail. The puzzles were creative and allowed us to use all of our critical thinking skills. This room had wow factor. On three separate occasions, we gasped with delight at a surprising development.

Unfortunately, the first room wrote a check the second room couldn’t cash. While the bank theme continued with a wall of safe deposit boxes, the rest of the room was essentially undecorated. Everything else felt out of place and game-y. It was a stark contrast to the quality and consistency of the first room. The puzzles were a little redundant, and the secondary quest proved rather meaningless. A few cosmetic changes could really improve the room. However, the final puzzle is a doozy, and we were very impressed. Having to enter the final code into the iPad (in addition to opening the final lock) took the wind out of our sails a bit, but we were still thrilled to escape. This one came down to the wire.

This room is not for beginners, however experienced teams will find it challenging and enjoy several memorable moments in the first room. The space is small, so we recommend keeping teams to 4-6 players.

Two things to note: this location is not handicapped accessible, and this particular room does involve some crawling.

Final Verdict:


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