The Dueling Saloon Rooms

7.5 Overall
Room Quality
Puzzle Design
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The Dueling Saloon Rooms

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We arrived at iPanic’s new location on Main Street in St. Charles, Illinois, to play the Dueling Saloon Rooms (yes, it’s a head-to-head challenge!).  The building was easy to find, had plenty of parking, and the giant hedge “lock” helped us know the right place to go.  As we entered the building, we realized that there were decorations outside each door, so you know a bit about the theme before you even went inside.  In addition, there was ample seating and merchandise for sale.  We were greeted and told a bit about this new location and the game we were going to be playing first, and then shown a very well-made introduction video that matched the saloon theme well.  Since it’s a head-to-head (you can also just play one room) we had to divide ourselves into two teams of two.  We picked teams out of a hat rather than just splitting two-and-two, and they were quite accommodating! Once we knew our teams, we were taken to the rooms and given the finally bit of information we needed for the room.  We were so excited to get started!

Upon entering the room, we saw what we would expect to see in a saloon–from a poker table, to the bar, to barrels, it felt like a saloon. The parts that were built were very well crafted and the quality was great.  Unfortunately, there were several items with price tags still on the bottom, and a few buttons that did not make much sense to us given the theme.  With that being said, again, the craftsmanship in what they made was very well done!  The fact that this was a head-to-head challenge led to deeper immersion, and they have a clever way that you can see how the other team is doing—which adds even more excitement and pressure to the game.  We felt tense and excited throughout, with both teams just trying to beat one another.  With that being said, there were times we felt like we were more immersed in the idea of beating our teammates than actually being immersed in the story.

The puzzles in the room were interactive and most puzzles fit the theme of the room.  We did have one puzzle that we found no clue or reasoning for (both teams had this issue) and we still don’t quite understand.  Both of our teams were given a hint on the monitor to tell us what to do, however, we are unsure how we would have otherwise known.  In addition, both teams had technology trouble with one puzzle, but eventually got it to work.  The puzzle ideas were there, but the execution, in our opinions, could have been better.  We loved the thought behind the puzzles, and with additional tweaks we think the puzzles could be great.

Did we have fun? Yes!  The fact that this is a head-to-head room and you can see the other team’s progress really pushed this room over the edge for us.  We had so much fun making our way through the room and trying to blow up our teammates!  It was fun to see that our two teams were actually right on par with one another, completing the room about three seconds apart!  We would recommend this room to teams who like completion, bigger groups (so you can split up), and newer players.

Final Verdict:


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