Clue IQ – Crane Manor [Review]

Crane Manor is one of the best games in the Metro DC area. Here are our other recommendations for great escape rooms around Washington DC.

Ichabod’s heir

Location:  Frederick, MD

Date Played: October 3, 2021

Team size: 2-10; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 75 minutes

Price: scaled pricing from $50 per player for teams of 2 to $32 per player for teams of 10

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Growing up in New York’s Lower Hudson Valley, the legend of the Headless Horseman was a recurring part of Halloween. I hadn’t seen this story told through an escape room before, and I was pretty excited about it.

The silhouette of the headless horseman on a wall in front of a candle lit alter.

From a gameplay standpoint, we enjoyed Crane Manor. It had interesting, meaty puzzles that weren’t especially hard, but did demand a little more thought than your typical escape room fare. There were some late game puzzle interactions that felt half-baked, but those notwithstanding, it felt good solving Crane Manor.

From a narrative and thematic standpoint, Crane Manor had a bit of an identity crisis. We were never sure whether it was supposed to feel spooky, scary, or simply intriguing? Similarly – and perhaps relatedly – we felt like the set and story weren’t pulling in the same direction. Crane Manor needed to commit to a mood.

Crane Manor had a lot going for it if you have some escape room experience. It was an unusual and puzzley escape game, and well worth checking out if you’re from the area. Newer players should strongly consider playing Clue IQ’s Operation Jingle Bells or Excalibur first.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Best for players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • For a puzzle-forward game
  • Moody, atmospheric set

Story

Legend tells of a man who fought for the British during the American Revolution, and neither bullet, nor bayonet could kill him. He eventually met his end when a cannon ball removed his head… but he returned as the vengeful ghost known as the Headless Horseman.

Years later, a man named Ichabod Crane encountered the Headless Horseman. Narrowly surviving his encounter, he became obsessed with the Horseman, studying magic to learn how to control the ghost for his own villainous purposes.

It had become our duty to break into Crane Manor and finally put the immortal Horseman to rest.

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Clue IQ – Operation Jingle Bells [Review]

Operation Jingle Bells is one of the best games in the Metro DC area. Here are our other recommendations for great escape rooms around Washington DC.

The HR department saves Christmas

Location:  Frederick, MD

Date Played: October 3, 2021

Team size: 2-10; we recommend 2-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: scaled pricing from $46 per player for teams of 2 to $28 per player for teams of 10

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

We’ve generally had a lot of fun in Christmas-themed escape games, and Clue IQ’s take on saving Christmas was one of our favorites.

Operation Jingle Bells had a great aesthetic, and an entertaining mix of smart, joyous, and funny puzzles.

Flight Command in Santa's Workshop.

This game was explicitly designed for large families to enjoy. The large volume of approachable content, blended with the theme and non-linear gameplay, reinforced that design decision. As a result of its non-linear nature, experienced puzzlers will blow through this game. Bring a team size (and mentality) that fits your goals for Christmas puzzling.

Whether you’re new to escape rooms, or you’re just looking to enjoy a great Christmas-themed escape room, check out Operation Jingle Bells if you’re in the DC area.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • You’re feeling the Christmas spirit
  • Great for any experience level, but fantastic for newbies

Why play?

  • A true large-team game
  • For joyous, cheerful fun

Story

While all of Santa’s elves were busy watching the annual Reindeer Games, the mischievous elf Slappy had broken into North Pole Flight Command and made a mess of all of Santa’s systems. It was up to us to restore them and save Christmas.

Continue reading “Clue IQ – Operation Jingle Bells [Review]”

Clue IQ – Excalibur [Review]

Excalibur is one of the best games in the Metro DC area. Here are our other recommendations for great escape rooms around Washington DC.

The trials of the sword

Location:  Frederick, MD

Date Played: October 3, 2021

Team size: 2-10; we recommend 2-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: scaled pricing from $46 per player for teams of 2 to $28 per player for teams of 10

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Excalibur was an amazing newbie-friendly game. We took my aunt to her first escape room (and my cousin and her friend to their third), and I don’t think we could have picked a better first game for her.

Excalibur had a fantastic blend of solid puzzles, ambiance, and magical tech – all set in an approachable environment.

A sword set in a stone, fog lit dramatically behind it.

If you’re an experienced player, there’s a fun game for you here, but I’d suggest savoring it rather than speed running it. There’s a lot to enjoy. Beyond that, I’d encourage you to bring some newbies and play it a little cool. It was a lot of fun watching my family make the right connections and experience the magic.

If you’re in the DC suburbs, check out Excalibur.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Fans of swords & sorcery
  • Great for any experience level, but fantastic for newbies

Why play?

  • To introduce your friends to escape rooms
  • Magical triggers

Story

As King Arthur grew old, he asked his wizard, Merlin to set his mythical sword Excalibur back into the stone from which he’d pulled it so that another who was worthy could lift it.

Generations had passed and no one had been able to pull the sword from the stone. It was our turn to face the Trials of the Sword.

Continue reading “Clue IQ – Excalibur [Review]”