RISE Escape Rooms – The Bookie [Review]

Do you want to play a game? No… Seriously, we have casino games.

Location: Tickfaw, LA

Date played: October 6, 2017

Team size: 6-8; we recommend 4-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per ticket

Story & setting

A troublemaking friend talked us into visiting an underground casino. After a night of losing, we finally struck it big, but the bookie overseeing the joint stole our money and sent us packing. The following day we returned with only one thing on our mind: stealing every penny that thieving bookie had to his name.

In-game: A roulette table in the foreground, a card table in the background.

While I can’t say that I’ve visited one, The Bookie looked the part of a small underground casino, complete with a bar and all of the major gaming tables, each one converted into a puzzling station.

Puzzles

The Bookie was built for puzzlers.

The Bookie included both obvious and subtle puzzles. Some puzzles beckoned to us in the form of large casino games. We found others hidden within our surroundings. The Bookie included both sustained, overt puzzling and one-off, observational solves.

While many of the puzzles were themed on casino games, no prior knowledge was necessary to resolve these puzzles. You can solve these puzzles even if you don’t know poker from blackjack.

In-game: shot from within a craps table, the casino's bar lit in the background.

Standouts

RISE Escape Rooms wrapped the casino set in a larger story, which added a layer of excitement and unexpected set exploration.

The Bookie included strong beginning and ending puzzle sequences, with substantial puzzles to chew on in the middle. In this way, the escape room flowed well and created emotional tension.

We interacted with the casino set and props through the puzzles. These tangible, involved puzzles would entertain a larger team without feeling like busywork.

Shortcomings

The Bookie could easily be overwhelming. Casino games themselves are puzzle-y. Escape room puzzles staged on top of blackjack or roulette can be paralyzing, as players need to ascertain how much to involve the games in the puzzles at hand. When some of the puzzling is more complex, as it was in The Bookie, it can be easy for a team to go off the rails. The key to remember going in: the puzzles were not built within the games that they look like. Anyone can solve any of these puzzles.

The Bookie included one arbitrary connection mixed in with these more involved puzzles. It seemed out of place in the experience.

It was possible to solve a little too much of the final puzzle sequence out of phase. This caused us a little bit of confusion.

Should I play RISE Escape Rooms’ The Bookie?

The Bookie was a puzzler’s escape room, set in a gorgeous casino and staged as a heist. It included a number of serious puzzles and this set up added a layer of complexity.

Because of this, The Bookie would be an intimidating challenge for newer players. We recommend that you play a few other escape rooms before taking on The Bookie.

Note that you do not need to know casino games to enjoy The Bookie. You can solve every one of these puzzles even if you’ve never handled dice, cards, or poker chips.

In The Bookie, RISE Escape Rooms wrapped challenging puzzles in a clandestine adventure, which upped our adrenaline level and delivered a seriously fun escape room.

Book your hour with RISE Escape Rooms’ The Bookie, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: RISE Escape Rooms comped our tickets for this game.

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