Survey Deep Dive: Escape Immerse Explore New Mexico

In June 2022, we brought 47 players to Albuquerque & Santa Fe. This was our 7th Escape Immerse Explore tour.

Over the course of 3 days, they each played 9 terrific escape rooms and visited Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return.

The post-event survey surfaced the top games in the region, but also shows the diversity of preference even among serious escape room players.

Lisa and David speaking to the entire tour group at New Mexico Escape Room.
Continue reading “Survey Deep Dive: Escape Immerse Explore New Mexico”

Last Minute Ticket Available for Escape Immerse Explore: New Mexico

We had a last minute cancellation, so there is a ticket that could be yours!

This tour starts tomorrow at 7pm in Albuquerque. Escape rooms (9 of them!) are spread across Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. Monday includes a visit to Meow Wolf in Santa Fe.

Here’s all the info:

If you’re interested, email or get in touch over social media.

Actors As Escape Room Gamemasters on The Hayden Farm

In mid-November 2021 Room Escape Artist hosted an Escape Immerse Explore tour to The Hayden Farm at 13th Hour Escape Rooms in Wharton, NJ. Based on my experiences on previous tours, I purchased a ticket without knowing very much about 13th Hour or what to expect from their escape games. 

On October evenings and weekends when the haunted house next door is operating (sometimes including Christmas & Valentine’s Day), the escape rooms have an added twist: actors. The actors roam the escape rooms providing character, hints, and the occasional jump scare. They are also the gamemasters. The actors take on the personas of the different members of the Hayden family, a clan of murderers who use the tricks and traps installed into the different rooms of their old farmhouse to capture their next victims.

Room Escape Artist was able to pull some strings and bring the actors back in for our post-Halloween visit. This was the best example of in-room actors-as-gamemasters that I have ever seen. Days afterward I was still marveling about how impressive they were.

The father of the Hayden family looking creepy in a torn up suit.

How It Works

On the day we visited The Hayden Farm, 4 or 5 escape rooms were running at all times. These games were serviced by 4 in-character actors (in complete haunt style costume and makeup) along with a 5th team member in the control room. The actors were free to roam the entire facility as needed. They would periodically visit each game individually or as a group. They would interact with the players and each other, adding story, comedy, scares and hints to the games.

The younger brother of the Hayden family with a large eye wound.

Playing Both Sides

The motivation for the fictional Hayden family members is to have you fail the game and therefore be trapped in their house where you will meet an end of their choosing. 

I was fascinated by how clearly this storyline came through, while they made sure each team escaped in just enough time. For slower teams, they gave just enough hints to keep them progressing. For teams moving quickly, they’d playfully sabotage, but always to just the right extent so that the players escaped on time and the actor could then play up their disappointment at having to eat spaghetti for dinner again instead of dining on the flesh of their victims.

Their knowledge of all the games allowed them to provide in-character hints that didn’t feel like hints. They used dialog and physical acting to clue players towards important information. 

The older sister of the Hayden family with blood spattered across her face and dress.

Connecting With Players

Since we were playing multiple games on the same day, the characters became familiar to us, and we to them. Ongoing jokes, nicknames and running gags added so much fun to our visit. 

One frustration I experienced as a player was that due to the building design there can be some sound bleed between rooms, but it works in the story world because the setting is a single farmhouse with multiple rooms. Our actors used this to their advantage to both understand what was happening in other games and to communicate with each other to help facilitate their visits to each team. Hearing the characters screaming and arguing with each other throughout the house was both spooky and believable.

The big brother of the Hayden family choking David.
(Not typical customer service)

Hear It From Tour Attendees

Here are some comments about the actors from other tour participants:

“It’s really an incredible skill that they have to be creepy, sweet, funny, kind, and cutting all at the same time – and also be great gamemasters.”

“They seemed to strike the perfect balance between leaving us alone and giving us help, and they were always there to help us cross the finish line which was really appreciated.”

“Live, in-person hinting can already be tricky, so to do it through multiples rooms running simultaneously, while staying in character is #chef’s kiss

“There seemed to be musical or sound clues they responded to. For example, the “daughter” was with us in the parlor and ran off quickly when she heard a song play in another room. Likewise, they all showed up when a music cue went off in the parlor.“

“The performers were terrific! They did a great job balancing messing with us and giving us hints, and kept us laughing the whole time.”

“I thought the actors were wonderful. They heightened the immersion and brought the games to life in a thrilling but campy way. They walked a fine line between scary and humorous and made the experience wickedly fun!”

Animation of the younger sister of the Hayden watching TV while holding her dolls. She occasionally lunges forward and sticks her tongue out.

Consider Escape Immerse Explore

My experience at The Hayden Farm was surprising and wonderful. An EIE tour once again went above and beyond what I was expecting. It introduced me to a style of gamemastering that will be hard to top. 

The service that Room Escape Artist is providing by running these tours is quite remarkable. Escape room players from all over are able to gather and experience some of the best games and the most interesting styles and techniques on the market today. The tours also provide a means of connection and community-building that is important for our industry. I encourage everyone to keep their eyes peeled for announcements about future Escape Immerse Explore tours from Room Escape Artist.

If you want to make sure you’re informed when the 2022 tours are announced, contact REA and note your interest in future tours.

There Are a Few Tickets Left For Our Escape Room Tour in November ⏳

Before the pandemic, this tour was sold out, but the plans had to change (a few times), and as a result… now’s your chance to join in the fun.

One of the things we missed the most in 2020 was Escape Immerse Explore.

These escape room tours gather a group of us with a common love of these games together to appreciate some of the best in the business. Each tour is 1-3 days to play, discuss, and experience together.

Escape Immerse Explore 2021 The Hayden Farm features a creepy black, white, and grey aesthetic.

The Hayden Farm

The Hayden Farm is the setting of some of the most delightful games in our home region.

13th Hour Escape Rooms is northern New Jersey’s most consistently high-quality escape room company. They are a two-time Golden Lock Award winner (2017 & 2018).

They have a whimsical style all their own. It’s a little bit creepy, but not scary. Their games are playful.

With a background in haunts, 13th Hour Escape Rooms builds outstanding sets that utilize space so well for puzzles, surprises, and memorable scenes.

They also have a unique approach to actors… these folks roam the farm on occasion, and they’ll be around for this event, for those who are interested in this unusual twist (totally optional!).

Wharton, NJ

Located in Wharton, NJ, The Hayden Farm is rather inaccessible for a New Yorker or a casual escape room tourist.

It’s an hour by car from Manhattan and 40 minutes by car from Newark airport. Unfortunately, it’s not near public transit.

However, we’ve solved your transportation puzzle with Escape Immerse Explore: The Hayden Farm. We’re running a bus from Manhattan out to Wharton for a full day of 4 games at 13th Hour Escape Rooms.

Escape Immerse Explore

Join us Sunday, November 14, 2021 for Escape Immerse Explore: The Hayden Farm.

Read all the details and the full FAQ here.

There are just a few tickets left. One of them should be yours!

What About Montreal?

Yes, Escape Immerse Explore Montreal is finally happening this October!

It is sold out and there is a waitlist. It will be our largest tour yet, and our first international tour. We’re excited to make this event a reality.

Many of the folks joining us in Montreal will be coming to The Hayden Farm as well. So if you missed out on Montreal tickets, you can get the inside scoop from them, and start planning a future trip to our northern neighbor.