- Played July 2018
- Malden, MA
- Two hours or all day
- 3-5 players
- $22 for two hours, $33 for all day
- What People Say
What do you get when you combine traditional escape rooms with obstacle courses, mind-bending puzzles, and top it off with fast paced team building? You get BODA BORG! Found in Boston’s northern suburbs, this was our 2nd stop in a series of companies and escape adventures. Boda Borg was easy to find thanks to some great signage and the large store front location they have. They also happen to be on the same city block as 8D Room Escapes & Board Game Café, so if you’re hoping to maximize the number of companies you visit, we suggest parking in the neighbourhood and walking to both locations. Parking is limited to city streets and lots, with weekend rates ranging from free to moderate, so keep your eyes open for best options.
Boda Borg’s lobby has a traditional foyer, a large front desk with several staff, plenty of customers lined up to purchase a wristband, and a very large café behind it all. There were plenty of options for food and drinks. Teams were also welcome to simply huddle around the several rows of cafeteria style benches… All in all, this was an excellent start to our day at Boda Borg!
Which reminds us, we need to caveat this review because Boda Borg was unlike any company we’ve experienced before. Because of this, it only made sense to conduct our review in a slightly different manner by reviewing the whole facility and not each individual room (this choice will make more sense as you read on)…
Imagine a very large facility partially resembling a junior high school (with a large cafeteria, several interconnected hallways, various colored doors, and a locker area) while other parts resembled an office building (with long carpeted hallways and a reception desk near the lower entrance, allowing teams a reference point in case they get disoriented in the hallways, or if they simply want to ask for a hint). The concept at Boda Borg is simple, there are approximately twenty different rooms, each with their own unique style, theme, and series of team building challenges. Rooms can have anywhere from two to four chambers, and all of the rooms are categorized by one of three colored doors: Black Doors lead to physical based challenges… and in some cases sweating like you’ve never sweat before! Green Doors will lead to rooms that are mostly cognitive and puzzle based, and finally Red Doors are a combination of both physical and intellectual team challenges. The level of challenges you’ll face range from easy to difficult, and it’s safe to assume every team will be able to pass at least one room, but probably won’t be able to pass all the rooms (we’re told several Boda Borg staff can’t even complete all the rooms). To enter the facility you simply need to purchase a wristband: option 1 is a two-hour wristband allowing you enough time to play a few rooms, and option 2 is an unlimited wristband allowing you to freely roam Boda Borg during the day of purchase. Initially we were disappointed that dozens of teams are admitted into the facility at the same time, often requiring us to line up for a room. However we soon realized this was all part of a brilliant game design… because Boda Borg’s rooms are on timers! That’s right, if you don’t act quickly and decisively as a team, or you have a lone wolf who wants to blaze through on their own, you’ll find yourself timed out within minutes of entering the room. In most cases you’ll need to visit a room several times before you can proceed to the next chamber because if you submit a wrong answer, fail a task, or time out, a buzzer immediately sounds, the room shuts down, and you have to leave via the exit door in your chamber. Now you might be thinking that doesn’t sound like much fun, but believe us when we say you’ll enjoy trips back in line. Why’s that? Because time spent in line ups and in between rooms are the only times you’ll have to share what you learned and how you’ll coordinate what to do on your next run through. So what happens when you make it to the final chamber of a room and solve the last challenge? A prize box containing a stamp opens allowing you to stamp your official Boda Borg passport (and just like Pokemon, you’ve gotta work really hard to collect them all)!
Now that we’ve given you an idea of how Boda Borg works, and how their rooms will have you in adrenaline overdrive… What did we think about the technical side of things like room quality, immersion and puzzles?
The room quality for the most part was very good but not outstanding. Most of the rooms, especially those with obstacle courses, were made from basic plywood, plastic, and metal. The props were well done in most cases, which again demonstrated how Boda Borg does a good job of building basic set designs without breaking the bank on costs. Where they fall short a bit short is in their safety and accessibility issues (this is made evident by having participants read and sign one of the longest waiver forms we’ve ever seen). If you have any mobility issues, injuries, or soreness, Boda Borg isn’t a wise choice. Many of the rooms have sharp plywood corners, overhead hazards, and when climbing or crawling with a timer speeding you through, it wasn’t uncommon for us to get scrapes on our hands and legs, or to accidentally step on each other’s body parts. If you’re staying for several hours, you should expect to get some minor bumps and bruises along the way. Given how many groups were entering these rooms, and how hectic things could get, we were amazed at how durable everything was, how flawless the tech worked, and how well each game was implemented (from the very bare and simple, to the very complex). The immersion is similarly diverse and had each of us walking away with a slightly different impression. It’s a shame that most times we were rushing through chambers and unable to appreciate the little nuances of what each room (and chamber) did for setting atmosphere. In some cases, rooms did a great job of setting a dark eerie tone, in other cases, rooms were playful and lighthearted, and yet in others, the combination of lighting and sounds was so believable you’d think you were actually in the scenario! At the same time, some other rooms did seem a bit bare comparatively which is why our team seemed to have different dominant impressions of what the rooms were like. Some of us felt a connection to those rooms with a very highly immersive atmosphere, whereas others in our group kept thinking of those rooms where the immersive experience was lower… In the end it balanced out to be a slightly above average when we added all our scores together. Were the puzzles and tasks just above average also? No way! We loved all of the the team building puzzles and tasks in each room! Part of the fun at Boda Borg is never knowing what to expect because each room plays differently. And the best part of all is the puzzles and tasks are always in context with the room’s theme. What’s more is that we eventually realized Boda Borg hides a small hint for the first challenge of each room within the room’s name and description at the beginning. In short, the puzzles and tasks are what make these rooms so incredible!
We’ll cut to the chase and proudly say we loved our time at Boda Borg! It’s certain they’ll be added to some of our personal Top 10 lists, and furthermore, they’ve helped Boston become one of our new favourite cities for escape rooms! As an aside, when one of the companies we were originally scheduled to visit had to back out because of a scheduling conflict, we were disappointed, until we realized this allowed us more time at Boda Borg. In the end we stayed about 9 hours, managed to try every room, and successfully completed 14 of 20 rooms. Even with all our scrapes, cuts, hunger, and exhaustion, every single minute was worth it!
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