Find your escape

Trapped in a room with a small group of people, all you have is a timer and clues scattered throughout the room. All you have to do is start investigating and figure out how to get out. It may sound simple enough, but the challenge is what drives people who want to escape.

Trapped in a room with a small group of people, all you have is a timer and clues scattered throughout the room.

All you have to do is start investigating and figure out how to get out.

It may sound simple enough, but the challenge is what drives people who want to escape.

Escape rooms, a thrilling challenge to get out of a locked room be finding clues and problem solving, have been cropping up in Canada for the past couple of years.

Red Deer’s own escape room is family-owned and located downtown. They have four different rooms and Tammy Oliver-McCurdie, an owner, said they have had some great early success.

“I didn’t expect to be this busy,” said Oliver-McCurdie. “But we are, which is a good problem to have. We won’t slow down until January.”

In their first seven weeks, Lockdown Red Deer had about 2,500 people through trying to get out.

Oliver-McCurdie said they have about a 20 per cent success rate, which is about where they want it. The idea is to keep it challenging enough that people come back, but not so frustrating that people lose interest. When the rate goes higher or lower, adjustments are made to the room.

Escape rooms first started appearing about five years ago in Asia and eventually came to Canada.

Oliver-McCurdie said the players who attempt the rooms are largely recreational such as friends, families, date nights or businesses on team-building exercises. A smaller percentage does it competitively.

“We do get escape addicts who come from Calgary, Edmonton or Toronto,” said Oliver-McCurdie. “There are people travel the world to play these. I have a group that played with us quite a few times and they went to the Philippines to do escape rooms.”

Oliver-McCurdie had done a few escape rooms before and thought they were pretty fun. She started doing some research and it seemed like a good fit for a new venture.

When the business first opened, she bought the first two rooms and payed a consultation fee to a British company to get started, a third room was a creation of their own. As the business grew they added another room designed by the family.

“We create them ourselves and I continue to do research,” said Oliver-McCurdie. “It’s fun to do the research and play other people’s games.”

Their business, located at 4836 51st St., has four rooms now including a study, a prison escape, a virus outbreak and a freezer.

For more information visit www.lockdownreddeer.ca or call 403-986-4836.

mcrawford@bprda.wpengine.com

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