Escape Artistry – Roaring Dan’s Pirate Dungeon [Review]

Seavey shanties

Location: Chicago, IL

Date Played: March 10, 2022

Team Size: 1-8; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $34 per player for 3+ players

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A] Push To Exit

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Roaring Dan’s Pirate Dungeon was based around a truly fascinating bit of local Chicago history: the real-life tale of “Roaring” Dan Seavey, a pirate who frequented the Great Lakes. A well-acted intro video and a theatrical gamemaster helped open this historical portal, and while the room and gameplay were otherwise that of a generic pirate-themed escape room, this historical framing helped the room feel rooted in its location.

Escape Artistry’s rooms stand out for their sustainably built sets, and the masonry and woodwork in Roaring Dan’s Pirate Dungeon were solid and beautiful. Even many of the wooden crates strewn around the room were handbuilt, and some contained some neat handmade mechanical locks.

A pirate's den viewed through a cargo net.

That said, the set felt somewhat underutilized for the puzzles, with most puzzles involving standalone elements in the room. The puzzle flow was fair and contained some rather cute moments, but overall it felt quite dated. I’d love to have seen more Roaring Dan and other local Chicago history directly incorporated into the puzzles and props, and generally more of this story driving the gameplay.

Roaring Dan’s Pirate Dungeon‘s immersive set and smooth, accessible puzzle flow would be especially great for newer escape room players. For experienced players, Duck & Cover Classroom provides denser puzzle content and a few more twists and turns, but Roaring Dan’s Pirate Dungeon would also be an enjoyable appetizer if you have time to play both.

Who is this for?

  • Scenery snobs
  • Newbies and families

Why play?

  • The sustainably built set

Story

We were sent back to 1908 to retrieve the stolen treasure from real-life Lake Michigan pirate “Roaring” Dan Seavey.

A collection of barrels and crates, stacked high.

Setting

Roaring Dan’s Pirate Dungeon was set in, well, Roaring Dan’s pirate dungeon. The space was decorated with reclaimed wooden crates, stone walls, and other pirate items.

Gameplay

Escape Artistry’s Roaring Dan’s Pirate Dungeon was a standard escape room with a low-to-moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around logic-oriented puzzling and dexterity tasks.

Analysis

➕ The stonework and range of wooden colors and textures in Roaring Dan’s Pirate Dungeon looked fantastically pirate-y. It was impressive how sturdy and well-constructed the set was, all from salvaged or recycled materials.

➖ While the perimeter of the room was well decorated, the center of the room was mostly empty except for a large wooden crate which served as a sort of table.

➕/➖ An intro puzzle was mechanically fascinating in concept, but it was easily bypassed with a gentle tug or long arms.

➕ The puzzles in Roaring Dan’s Pirate Dungeon were logical and straightforward. While they won’t blow the minds of more experienced players, they were well designed to ease more novice players into escape rooms.

➕/➖ A creative transition into a new space took us by surprise, though the space itself was underutilized and nearly empty.

➖ Laminated papers showed significant wear and were falling apart.

🥔 A physical challenge was fun, cute, and on-theme.

Tips For Visiting

  • Street parking was available nearby.
  • We enjoyed debriefing and snacking at Native Foods, just up the street.

Book your hour with Escape Artistry’s Roaring Dan’s Pirate Dungeon, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Escape Artistry comped our tickets for this game.

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