Location: Scottsdale, AZ
Date Played: March 10, 2022
Team size: 3-6; we recommend 4-5
Duration: 120 minutes per ticket
Price: $34 per player for up to 2 hours
Ticketing: Your group plays privately, but there are also other groups playing at the same time.
Game Breakage: There were many broken props and interactions.
Accessibility Consideration: This experience requires some agility. At times there are flashing lights.
Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock
Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints
^ If you aren’t especially deep in escape room culture, let me assure you, that line is funny.
Let’s start with some history. Boda Borg is akin to an escape room amusement park, but with more physical challenges than an escape room would typically have. You can read all about it in our various pieces on their Boston location. The Boda Borg approach to things is awesome, which is why we are featuring them as part of RECON Boston this year.
Bam Kazam is an overt copy of Boda Borg’s game design and business model, which isn’t inherently a bad thing. Level99 (also part of RECON Boston) took the Boda Borg approach in a different direction to great effect… but that’s not what’s happening here. Bam Kazam feels like someone copied off of Boda Borg’s homework and still managed to get a lot of answers wrong. So let’s explore that, because the failures here are legitimately interesting:
The first thing that jumped out to me was the price of Bam Kazam: $34 per player for up to 2 hours.
Boda Borg Boston costs $24 per person for up to 2 hours or $36 for up to 4 hours. And it’s just outside of Boston… where I can guarantee that the cost of damn near everything except maybe water is way higher.
Boda Borg Boston has 21 games.
Bam Kazam has 6 games… and while the staff talk about new games “coming next month,” they haven’t arrived. I called and checked just before we published this; nothing has opened since we visited. I also spoke to people who went to Bam Kazam months before us, and they told us the same story. The game offerings are stagnant.
Bam Kazam’s website lists only a couple of games… but laughably includes nonsense “game numbers” implying that there are thousands of Bam Kazam games.
This just feels like someone over at Bam Kazam knows just how anemic their lineup is and tried to puff the organization up.
So, Bam Kazam is offering fewer games for more money than Boda Borg.
Craftsmanship & Upkeep
Boda Borg has been operating for years. On our most recent trip there, everything was working and looking great.
Bam Kazam has been operating for months and seems about as well maintained as a Russian tank:
- Broken props were haphazardly taped together.
- Games felt unfinished. In one case there was an empty room in the middle of a game.
- Interactions mysteriously failed us, even when we were confident that we had done them correctly.
- In a facility where you are allowed to climb, set pieces weren’t always fastened to the walls or the floor.
- And in one incredible moment, another team was let into our game without us having finished it… which felt a lot like having someone walk into the bathroom while you’re using it. Everyone involved knows that a mistake was made, but none of us knew who was at fault. (It was, in fact, Bam Kazam’s fault.)
So, Bam Kazam is offering fewer games of lower quality for more money than Boda Borg.
The thing that really got me was that none of the games in Bam Kazam even had their names over their respective doors. Nor did they give any kind of indication as to whether these games were mental, physical, or both.
Boda Borg does all of this stuff… and honestly, this is the easiest, cheapest thing that Bam Kazam just ignored.
So, Bam Kazam is offering fewer games for more money than Boda Borg… and they are neglecting the basics.
Should I Play?
Bam Kazam has one thing going for it: the concept is inherently fun… even when it is this poorly executed. So, if you’re in Phoenix, and are able to enjoy physical challenges, there are lots of worse things you could do with 2 hours and $34.
Just know that this place is a shadow of what it could and should be. Given Escape The Room’s resources and experience, it certainly feels like they choose mediocrity. It’s a shame; I used to respect them and I’d like to be able to again someday.
Who is this for?
- Puzzle lovers
- Athletes (for some challenges)
- Any experience level (but experience certainly helps)
- A wide assortment of mental and physical challenges