A Game Of Clans
A Game Of Clans
- Played October 2019
- Hamburg, NY
- 60 minutes
- 4-8 players
- What People Say
About fifteen minutes (and a 30-cent Interstate toll) outside of Buffalo you’ll find Omega Escape. This is the company’s first expansion outside their home location in Rochester, NY. We were invited by the Omega crew to come check out Game Of Clans which was our last stop of the day, but we were no less excited to see what they had in store for us. Thanks to their proximity near the highway, finding our way there was simple and minus the annoying toll, it’s a nice scenic drive with clearly visible signage and lots of parking. The building entrance is oddly designed as it starts you in a small hallway containing a bathroom, a coat rack, and a staircase. However, once we turned left, walked an additional six feet, and proceeded through another door, we then entered their proper lobby which was spacious, clean, visibly appealing and was staffed by two young adults. It didn’t take long to see the two young staff were having an off night and feeling frazzled by various things happening around them. Only one of the staff interacted with us, and although he seemed overwhelmed, we could see he was trying his best to make us feel welcomed which we appreciated (it was one of those times you just wanted to reach out and hug a stranger to tell them: ‘’It’s going to be ok.’’) As we waited in the lobby, we sat down on their comfy couches to look around the room a bit more. We noticed a nice large screen TV displaying promotional slides and previous team photos, and of all things, a garage door acting as a side wall that blended in so seamlessly with the décor we didn’t see it at first. The staff then did something we’ve never experienced before (in over 1100+ rooms completed by ERA)… they handed us some comic books (huh?). We thought at first it was just some promotional materials, but no, it was the pre-room description in comic book form… now that’s unique and clever! This brought us back to being excited, and away from the growing anxiety we were feeling at watching the one staff member run around, while the other staff member appeared annoyed and ready to leave. Nonetheless, we were now ready for A Game Of Clans!
So back we went through the second door, into the small hallway, and up the stairs. As we got to the top of the stairs and ventured down another hallway, we realized those with mobility issues may not be able to access this room, so it’s best to call ahead with any specific needs you might have. Once we entered the room we were fairly impressed with the build quality. Solid wooden props and pieces of furniture were used in conjunction with authentic knick-knacks here and there, and nothing seemed overly worn and/or out of place. We were informed the screen ordinarily used to give hints in the room wasn’t functioning properly so clues would be given via staff intervention instead. The game starts off with you handcuffed within the room, and unfortunately none of us remembered to check whether safety releases were on the handcuffs or not (we’ll explain later why this turned out to be very important). Although it’s a single room design, we have to say we felt the space was used well, and when considering the level of well crafted design work within the room, alongside the quality props, we all agreed this was probably the strongest aspect of what this room has to offer.
Our individual impressions of the immersive aspects of the room were a bit more mixed… For the most part each of us felt immersed and connected by at least a couple things within the room. From the background music, to the slightly dimmed lighting, to the authentic props, and even the artwork, there were several aspects that just worked well to keep a nice consistent theme within the room. On the flip side, the embedded malfunctioning clue screen in the middle of the wall (albeit the entry/exit wall), plus the use of modern halogen flashlights, alongside not having any story development within the room did take away from the immersive experience to varying degrees for each of us. In the end we still felt it was a decent immersive experience, and about the norm of what one can expect within the majority of escape rooms within the industry as a whole.
The puzzles were somewhat the same. A few of the puzzles were clever, well designed, and caught our attention. While at the same time, there were a lot of locked boxes and drawers that led to… more locked boxes and drawers. In fact, this room may very well hold a record for the number of locked boxes and drawers we’ve seen within one room, and although that’d typically be something we’d prefer to avoid, it worked fairly well here. The sheer amount of things to unlock kept us busy and forced us to keep moving without sitting back. This is a room for people who don’t need a lot of time to think their way through challenges, puzzles, or what needs to come next. Unfortunately there weren’t any teambuilding puzzles within the room, but for the most part the puzzles were inclusive and had several moments where the puzzle path was non-linear (or 2-to-2) which was nice. Quantity over quality is the best way to sum up the puzzles in A Game Of Clans, which was enough to be considered a solid, average, experience.
Typically this is when we’d talk about how much fun we had and for whom we’d recommend this room… but for us the most memorable part of the experience took place after we completed the room. We successfully finished A Game Of Clans with about twenty-two minutes remaining, and opened the door… to an empty hallway. There was no staff member to congratulate us, and no one else was on the upper floor… just eerie silence. We waited for a minute because sometimes staff can get held up by things happening at the front desk… so we waited… and waited… then after several minutes of waiting, we thought we’d just head downstairs, back through the little entranceway, and into the lobby. Once we got back, we saw only one staff remaining (the same young man who was interacting with us earlier) and he was clearly in distress. A large group of inebriated young adults had come in to play a room, and although they weren’t overly aggressive, their large and vocal presence was too much for him to handle on his own. We purposely stayed back several minutes because we didn’t want anything bad to happen, but with a three hour drive ahead of us at the end of the night, we eventually had to leave. What concerned us almost as much as the staff member’s safety was the safety of those who (like us) find themselves on the upper level of a building handcuffed to the wall, without staff being able to give their full and completely undivided attention to those within the room. Thankfully nothing happened, but it was worrisome to know that if an emergency did take place, there would have been no safe escape for us. Once we got back to Toronto, we contacted the owners to express our concern over the situation and they assured us they’d make the appropriate changes.
So then…how much fun did we have with A Game Of Clans? Well… quite a bit actually (bet you didn’t see that coming)! The hurried pace to get through all the puzzles kept our minds engaged, and the consistent theme displayed throughout the room was a nice touch. Now don’t get us wrong, this room won’t win any prizes for best designed room, nor will it be the most immersive experience you’ve ever had, but for those who want to try an escape room with a few of their friends and/or family members that has quick pacing, we’d recommend this one. Just make sure you verify the handcuffs do in fact have a safety release. A Game Of Clans is ideal for people who don’t like sitting back and watching, nor is it a good room for dominant, lone-wolf players who need to be at the centre of everything happening. It’s well designed for a group of 4-6 people who like to delegate and share tasks within a room. Chances are you’ll probably want at least one or two experienced puzzle solvers with you, but overall escape room experience isn’t necessary for A Game Of Clans.
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