Escape Immerse Explore: New Orleans – Expansion Update

The original 24 tickets to this escape room tour are officially sold out. We made jambalaya to celebrate!

Close up of a pot of chicken and sausage jambalaya.
And yes, it was delicious.

More tickets?

Due to some serious fixed costs – like an extra bus – we need to get enough people to make it work.

At the moment, we are about halfway to that second bus. All we need is a few more interested parties and that bus will become a reality.

If there is enough interest, we will run a second tour bus. Contact us if you want in.


Dates: June 22 – 24, 2018

Price: $599 per ticket

More information and FAQ.

Still on the fence?

Consider what’s included:

If you have questions, just give us a shout.

My Prexcyt Quest Experience in GIFs

Prexcyt Quest was a lengthy puzzling event and I am not an experienced puzzle hunter.

My goals: level up my skills and have fun.

I absolutely improved my skills and had a lot of fun… but my journey was amusingly bumpy.


The Cryptex Hunt is still live and you can still complete it.

This post will not contain any puzzle answers, but it will contain structural spoilers and some hints.

… and this post won’t really make much sense if you don’t know the context of each puzzle.

… and this is all kind of self-indulgent.



“Woot! We’re starting… and we’re overthinking.”

Ski race starting, and one skier falling flat on his face.


Guy with black eye saying,

Hall of Heroes

Guys saying, I got this

Magic Words

Magician in a pink unicorn shirt pulls flowers out from behind his head.


Robot with flashing eyes dancing

Light Grid

Elmo and Jimmy Fallon dancing.

Haunted House

Dan Aykroyd in Ghostbusters looking at creepy stairway asking,


At first glance?

Schwarzenegger in The Last Action Hero smoking a cigar and asking,

Half a day later?

Schwarzenegger in The Last Action Hero smoking a cigar stating,

Temple of Mill “Oh… It’s a Meta!”

2017 darts premier league final, perfect score, thrower celebrates.

Temple of Lum “The Errol Process”

Bowie asking,

Temple of Nor – “Surprisingly Straightforward”

Solved it fast… then thwarted by a bug.

Julius Thomas spiking a football, then it bounces back into his face.

Pillar of Fire – “The one where I had all of the information but thought it was a joke”

Billy Joel slapping his hands on a keyboard with a fire burning behind him

Pillar of Poison – “Prexcyt Go Outside in the Winter”

The Rock saying,

Bruce Willis saying,

Pillar of Electric – “Catan 2: Electric Boogaloo”

John Travolta in a suit lost on an island.

Pillar of Ice – “Mudpen”

After solving the puzzle in 23 minutes.

Commander Riker's blank expression slowing transforming into a an elated smile.

After looking at the leaderboard and realizing that I ranked 63rd on this puzzle.

Captain Picard facepalming.

After reflecting upon the quality of the competition and my place among them.

Spock saying

Pillar of Acid – “Word Spell Backwards”

“Another map? Ok. I can handle this… oh no… not cryptic crosswords…”

Superman catching a bullet, then it explodes into a cloud of kryptonite.


A black Master Lock Directional Lock

Patchwork House – “OMG it’s a Golden Lock-In puzzle!”

Surprised snow owl slowly turning its head.

Wow… It’s a Golden Lock-In puzzle. Everything in this puzzle is about us?!

Woman blushing.

Cute kid with a aww shucks expression resting his head in his hands.

The 10 Puzzle Finale

After puzzle 1:

Morpheus Come At Me

Puzzle 2:

Skin diver swimming off into darkness and disappearing.

Also puzzle 2

Dog floating around in space labeled,

Puzzle 3

A green blob character laying on his back holding a waiving white flag.

Thank Yous

I’d like to thank all of the people who I teamed up with at various points in the hunt. Fro, Andrea, Glyn, Theresa, Ken, Amanda, and Drew. We took turns carrying one another. I’m so glad we did.

Thank you to the creators of the hunt and all of the people who supported them. Y’all are absolutely insane… Go take a nap.

Get Ready for the NYC Escape Room Fan Shindig this is Wednesday!

*Update: Due to the threat of apocalyptic weather, we’ve postponed this event 1 week. It will now be held on 3/14. All other details remain the same.

We’re excited that so many of you are coming out to our NYC Escape Room Fan Shindig.

If you haven’t RSVP’d yet, or you are one of those folks who clicked “interested” on Facebook, now would be a good time to RSVP. (That means clicking “going” for those on Facebook.)

If your friends like to geek out about escape rooms, bring them too!

Black & white & red photos of hands clinking wine glasses.


Wednesday, March 7, 2018 March 14, 2018. That’s two days away.

7pm – 10pm


Shades of Green Pub (125 East 15th Street, New York, NY between Irving Place and Third Avenue)

Note that this is a change from our original venue.

Shades of Green Pub will have food and drink available for purchase. Please encourage them to host this type of gathering by purchasing food or drinks.


Please RSVP so that we have enough space for the group.

RSVP on Facebook or via email (


For more information, read the FAQ at the end of the original announcement.

Why Come Hang with Us?

  • You want to talk about escape rooms all evening.
  • You’re looking to meet potential escape room teammates.
  • You need local (or far-flung, I suppose) escape room recommendations.

We look forward to seeing/ meeting you there!


Announcing – Escape Immerse Explore: New Orleans 2018!

Southern Louisiana is home to some of the best escape rooms in the United States. This June, we invite you to travel to New Orleans with Room Escape Artist.

Tickets are $599 per ticket. We are currently sold out, however, we are about halfway to being able to run a second bus for this tour.  Contact us if you want in.

Escape Immerse Explore logo.

About Escape, Immerse, Explore: New Orleans 2018

Join us June 22 – 24, 2018 for a weekend of escape rooms in and around New Orleans, Louisiana.

On this personally-tailored escape room tour, you will get a chance to play some of our favorite escape rooms with other likeminded escape room fans.

What’s Included in the Tour?

Your ticket includes a customized itinerary of 9 escape rooms, distributed among the following companies:

This is so many more escape rooms than our New York tour!

There will be three 2017 Golden Lock-In Award-winning games on this tour (and many more that were in the running).*

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Your ticket also includes:

  • Bus transportation to escape rooms outside of New Orleans
  • A weekend with Lisa and David as escape room tour guides
  • Networking with other tour attendees
  • A talk by Lisa and David
  • One group meal
  • Exclusive discount coupons to book additional escape rooms at these venues
  • Event t-shirt
  • Teammates who are as excited about this as you are!

See the FAQ below for many more details.

Tickets are $599 per ticket. We are currently sold out, however, we are about halfway to being able to run a second bus for this tour.  Contact us if you want in.

Event Structure

Friday – You will play two escape rooms in New Orleans on Friday evening. You will also have time to hang out with us or explore New Orleans nightlife on your own.

Saturday – Saturday will be a full-day bus tour with 5 escape rooms outside of New Orleans. We will spend the day with you on the bus and deliver a talk.

Sunday – You will play two escape rooms in New Orleans on Sunday morning. Take the afternoon to explore the city on your own or catch a flight home.

What Happened in Presale?

We launched an exclusive presale for this event less than two weeks ago.

We sent presale invitations to those who attended Escape Immerse Explore in NYC in November as well as everyone who emailed us since then expressing interest in future tours… and they gobbled up 23 tickets in no time.

We are thrilled at the early enthusiasm for the tour and we’re especially happy that so many people are returning customers.

Extended Event Sales?

Since the event basically sold out during presale, we are looking at extending the event.

Next Steps: Contact us with your full name, email address, and the number of tickets you’re interested in.

This gets you on the list. If enough of you sign up, we will run a second tour bus.


Are you guys “selling out?”

We’re hosting this event because we want to bring this community together again and share a few of the games we love with you.

Considering the costs of booking all these games, the travel involved in putting this together, and things like insurance, this is not an overwhelmingly profitable endeavor.

If we were looking to sell out, we’d do something unethical like consult/ review, or design games… and post reviews of them on our own site.

How many tickets are available?

There were 24 tickets available, but unexpectedly all but 1 sold out during our secret presale.

If there is enough interest, we will expand the event and run a second bus.

Why New Orleans?

David has a vicious gumbo habit.

Southern Louisiana offers some of the finest escape rooms in the country. It’s home to 3 of the 2017 Golden Lock-In Award-winning games and plenty more that were in the running.

Each of these companies offers multiple high quality escape rooms. A few of them are an hour or so outside of New Orleans. This makes the group bus tour feasible.

And really, who doesn’t want to spend a weekend in New Orleans?

Why June?

It fits in our absolutely insane travel schedule. It doesn’t conflict with anything else going on in New Orleans… and most importantly, it’s nowhere near hurricane season.

How will we get from game to game?

The games in New Orleans will be walkable from our recommended hotel. They would also be a very short taxi/ Lyft/ Uber ride.

On Saturday, we will have a tour bus taking the group to Tickfaw and Baton Rouge.

Can I choose my teammates?

You’ll be playing most games as a group of 6. You may select a buddy or put together a full group. The pre-tour survey will cover these types of questions.

I don’t have a team. Will that be a problem?

Not at all. We’ll put you in a group with other escape room enthusiasts from far and wide.

I’ve played most of the games from these companies. Can I still participate?

Contact us. There might be an opportunity. We’ll try to make it work and let you know if we can’t.

Will I get to choose which escape rooms I play?

No, but we’ll choose games specifically for you. You’ll fill out a fun pre-tour survey about your escape room preferences. We’re confident you’ll play a lot of games that you’ll love.

You’ll find out your escape room agenda far enough in advance that you can book additional games for yourself during the rest of your time in New Orleans.

I’m an escape room owner/ employee or immersive experience designer. Can I participate?


I have nothing to do with the escape room industry. I just want to play all the games! Can I participate?


What should I do about airfare and hotels?

Your ticket does not cover travel or lodging.

We are setting up a hotel block near the New Orleans escape rooms. You’ll receive more information about that after purchasing a ticket.

Are meals included in the ticket price?

Your ticket includes one casual group meal on Saturday.

You will have opportunities to purchase food throughout the tour.

I can’t make it that weekend. Will you run this again?

It’s highly likely, although future tours may go to other cities.

Can I buy a ticket for someone under 18?

Unfortunately, no. All participants must be 18 years of age at the start of the tour.

Can I sponsor this event?

Contact us about sponsorship opportunities. We are not accepting escape room companies as sponsors.

What if I have other questions?

Contact us.

We look forward to seeing you in New Orleans this June!

*We cannot guarantee that every tour attendee will play all three of these games. However, we will keep everyone’s game list balanced and in line with how they answer our pre-tour survey.

The Unauthorized Prexcyt Quest Starter Guide

It’s dangerous to go it alone, take this advice:

The Cryptex Hunt, known more formally as Prexcyt Quest, is in full swing and I’ve been having a lot of fun with it.

I’ve also been fielding a lot of questions from readers about puzzle hunts in general and Prexcyt Quest’s oddities.

Here are my puzzle hunt & Prexcyt Quest tips to help you get started. Once you get going, this game is a lot of fun!

A hand holding a large cryptex with the colors inverted.


Mild Spoiler Warning

Also, the Prexcyt Quest crew has no idea that I wrote this. While we interviewed them before the hunt began, this guide is not official by any stretch of the imagination. There may also be some mild early-game spoilers, so consider yourself warned.

General Puzzle Hunt Puzzle Structure

Puzzle hunts are fundamentally different from escape rooms in that they are a lot more challenging and typically a lot less tangible. If you’re a seasoned escape room player, you’ll find puzzle hunts a whole lot harder. They are a different beast and there is no guarantee that they will be your cup of caffeine. That being said, I encourage you to try them out.

One thing to remember about puzzle hunts is that the puzzles frequently follow a similar structure:

  1. Figure out WTF it is – The puzzles don’t always declare what they are.
  2. Solve something – Solve whatever you’ve been presented with.
  3. Extract a solution – Take whatever you solved and push it a step further to pull an answer out of it.

You Meta Save Your Work

You’re also going to want to document your solutions because puzzle hunts typically have meta puzzles that conglomerate your past solutions into a new puzzle. These are typically viewed as the puzzle equivalent of a boss battle in a video game.

Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to save all of your work in a puzzle hunt. You never know when you might need to reference something you solved earlier.

General Puzzle Hunt Tools

There are a few tools that I’d encourage you to keep handy while attempting a puzzle hunt.

Code Sheet

The free monthly international puzzle gathering Puzzled Pint has a basic code sheet that they provide at all events. This thing is pretty useful because it lists a number of common puzzle hunt encodings.


The code sheet is far from exhaustive. These free apps offer a lot more detail and decoding functionality:

iOS – Puzzle Sidekick

Android – Puzzlehunt Assistant

Google Sheets

Google spreadsheets are a puzzle hunter’s best friend. Use sheets to collaboratively puzzle with friends/ teammates… and use them to keep a record of all of your work and solutions.

The puzzle hunter’s toolkit can get pretty crazy at higher levels, but this is a solid place to start.

Now on to Prexcyt Quest specific advice:

Getting Started with Prexcyt Quest

To get started, simply visit and click the button in the middle of the page to watch the intro video.

There are two pre-game puzzles that help you earn access to new materials and the digital game world.

Getting in the Prexcyt Quest MUD

With the exception of the first two puzzles, Prexcyt Quest exists in a MUD (Multi-User Dungeon). MUDs date back to the 1970s. They are a text-based way for multiple players to interact with a game environment.

The black & white MUD display.
Behold the MUD

While they aesthetically don’t look like anything at all, MUD-based games like Colossal Cave Adventure are some of the most important early forerunners of escape rooms.

The Prexcyt Quest MUD takes a little getting used to, but it’s a really cool interface for a puzzle adventure.

Basic Commands

One of the documents that you’ll receive is a 15-page MUD guide. Don’t panic. This really isn’t that hard, especially once you try it out. I’ve been puzzling for hours and basically only used the following commands:

  • Movement – all you have to do is type, north, south, east, or west to traverse the world
  • Inspecting – to look at an item described in the game all you need to do is type, look name of thing you want to see (eg. look sign)
  • Reading –  to read a book type, read chapter# bookname (eg. read 1 guidebook)
  • Opening a Cryptex – all puzzles lead to a cryptex and to open one, type unlock cryptex solution (eg. unlock cryptex star)

That’s it. The MUD is painless.

If you happen to need another command, just reference the manual.

No Grinding Necessary

When you first enter the MUD, you’ll be hit with a whole bunch of Dungeons & Dragons-y stuff: character stats, classes, MUD training, combat. This stuff is fun, but not important because you’re not in this game world to slay a beholder; you’re here to solve puzzles.

While you’re free to explore the RPG aspects of the MUD, I haven’t done any of it, and I have been assured that my character being level 1 will have no impact on my ability to puzzle through to the end of the game. If I fail, that is on me the human, not me the video game character.

The MUD is Noisy

So… one of the first things you’ll notice when you boot up the MUD is that there’s a lot of text scrolling. It’s not quite “reading the Matrix” but in a busy room, it might be close.

What is this?! Everything that every other player or non-player character does in the same space as you appears as an action in the MUD. This can get a bit annoying.

A mixture of four different approaches can help fix this for you:

  • Go to a less busy space – Some areas in the game have a lot going on. If you can exit to a quiet place, do so. Channel your inner introvert.
  • Turn on quiet mode – By simply typing quiet into the MUD you’ll turn off all chat channels. The MUD will still display actions, but eliminating one source of noise helps.
  • Copy & paste – I copy & paste all important game text into a separate text file. I like doing this so that I can read at my own pace and easily reread things without having to traverse or interact with the game environment.
  • Turn on the Freezepane – In the top left corner of the MUD is a series of buttons. The second one from the left opens up a duplicate MUD display that you control entirely by scrolling. It’s a gift from Mil, Nor, & Lum.

Screenshot: Toggle a freezepane

Hint Buying

You may buy hints from the hint market. I’d encourage you, however, to team up with other players, collaborate and piece the puzzles together. Thus far, everything is absolutely solvable… even if some of the puzzles are tricky.

That being said, hints are an option should you get stuck.

The First Puzzle

Your first puzzle can be found northwest of the starting tavern in the Temple of Mil.

Playing to Win?

There are lots of prizes on the line and simply completing the puzzles will enter you in for a drawing.

The cryptex that goes to the champion at the end of this is legitimately gorgeous, but here’s the thing: if you’re reading this post to learn about puzzle hunt basics, you ain’t winning. It’s cool. I’m not winning either. There are some monstrously talented puzzle hunters in this competition and they’re going to duke it out for that top prize.

Don’t play for the prizes; play for the puzzles. This is a really nifty, innovative, and challenging game. Enjoy it.

Some of these puzzles I’m making quick work of. Some of them are humbling the crap out of me. Honestly, I prefer the ones where I have to struggle to learn a thing or three.

Puzzle hard.

Don’t Forget the NYC Room Escape Fan Shindig

*Update: Due to the threat of apocalyptic weather, we’ve postponed this event 1 week. It will now be held on 3/14. All other details remain the same.

As we write this blog, we continue to meet new people who love escape rooms and other types of puzzle adventures and entertainment.

Our hope with this event is to help our most avid escape room players find fellow teammates.

We are looking forward to hosting our first NYC Room Escape Fan Shindig!

Many hands raising glasses of liquor.


Wednesday, March 7, 2018 March 14 2018

7pm – 10pm


Shades of Green Pub (125 East 15th Street, New York, NY between Irving Place and Third Avenue)

Last week we had to change the venue, unexpectedly, as our original venue permanently closed its doors. Luckily, Shades of Green Pub is happy to host us instead!

We encourage all escape room fans in NYC to come, hang out, and purchase your own food/ drink there.


Please RSVP so that we can provide a headcount to the venue.

RSVP on Facebook or via email (


For more information, read the FAQ.

If you’re looking to meet potential escape room teammates, give/ get escape room recommendations, or just talk about these games, we hope you’ll join us and many of our friends on March 7th. We look forward to seeing/meeting you there!

Interview with Justin Nevins about the upcoming Prexcyt Quest (a Cryptex Puzzle Hunt)

We are pleased to announce the Cryptex Hunt.

Cryptex Hunt is a puzzle hunt created by many distinguished members of the escape room player community and presented by Justin Nevins, the creator of the Cryptex Security Box, the hands-down winner of our Cryptex Review Extravaganza.

We recently connected with Justin to learn more about this event and how to get in on all the fun.

REA: What is the name of the puzzle hunt?

Justin: Prexcyt Quest, The Lure of the Dragon.

Prexcyt Quest Cryptex hunt promo image, looks like the cover to an old RPG campaign book.

When will the puzzle hunt take place?

February 24 – 25, 2018: This is the warm-up weekend, where you can learn the hunt format through qualifying puzzles to get an idea of what to expect.

February 26 – March 2, 2018: The Daily Challenges will be released Monday through Friday.

Saturday March 3, 2018: Final Challenge (think “boss monster fight”) begins. It will last as long as it takes for someone to complete the challenge and win.  However, you must complete all of the Daily Challenges before you can start on the Final Challenge.

You can continue to play the hunt as long as you want. This way people who find out about it late can still be a part of the fun. We hope to keep it up and running maybe as long as a year or until we release another one!

Does it cost anything to play?

No, it is entirely free. We encourage as many people as possible to play and enjoy it. All time, efforts and costs have been donated in order to keep it free to anyone who wants to play.

What is the structure of the puzzle hunt?

Errol Elumir of Room Escape Divas fame designed a unique structure that none of us had ever seen for a puzzle hunt… and I won’t divulge anything else. It’s puzzles wrapped in a Cryptex, inside an RPG!

In terms of timing, the qualifying puzzles will be released on Saturday, February 24. You will find a number of qualifying puzzles to solve throughout that weekend. Once you complete the qualifying puzzles, you will be able to play the five daily puzzles, released from February 26 – March 2. The daily puzzles will be released at 8:00 pm Eastern each day.

Once you solve the fifth and final daily puzzle, released on March 2, you will have access to the Finale Puzzle Challenge when it is released at noon Eastern Saturday, March 3rd.

The first person or team to complete the Finale Puzzle Challenge will be declared the winner!

Do you recommend playing as an individual or a team?

We encourage small groups to play together for the camaraderie, but this hunt can be done as a solo event as well. A small group will help insure a wide variety of skills and still allow everyone to participate in each puzzle. Think D&D party size with players having different skills and talents.

You will register as one “player” and will not be able to split up to work on different puzzles in parallel. Teams will not have a major advantage over solo players.

Please note that there will be only one prize available per challenge. If you work as a team and win a prize, you will have to decide who receives the prize.

What are the prizes?

Everything is more fun with prizes and there are some nice ones for this puzzle hunt!

Grand Prize – The first person/ team to complete Prexcyt Quest will win a custom Nevins Line Cryptex Security Box, handcrafted by me from real stone and brass with 23k gold inlay (estimated value $3,500). This box has been specifically designed for this puzzle hunt and will be thematically appropriate.

2nd Prize – This will be determined by a random drawing of all people/ teams who complete Prexcyt Quest within a certain period of time. They will win a standard line Cryptex Security Box replica of the Grand Prize. This box will be made with polycarbonate and brass instead of real stone (estimated value $650).

Locked cryptex beside a $10 bill for size reference, it's a few inches longer and a little wider.

Daily Prize Winners – We plan on having daily prizes for the first person/ team to solve each of the daily puzzle challenges. (Note that each person/ team can only win one daily prize.)

How did the idea for this hunt come about?

A friend asked me if there was a “Cryptex Day” holiday to which I replied “Sure… it’s March 1st!” This was the day I created the first Cryptex back in 2004.  It became a running joke that I had declared March 1st “International Cryptex Day,” (Hey, if you are going to make up a holiday, think big. Why limit it to just “National Cryptex Day?”)

Then Errol said, “You should make a puzzle hunt for International Cryptex Day!” When I agreed that that would be awesome, he said “I’LL DO IT!!!” He gathered a group of really talented people and convinced them to volunteer their time. Together, I think we’ve all created a pretty cool and unique puzzle hunt!

Who is the team behind Prexcyt Quest?

Errol Elumir, Darren Miller, and Dan Egnor are the primary hunt creators and puzzle designers. David Lewis provided technical assistance. I provided Cryptex wrangling/ training and Cryptex technical consulting, as well as design and creation of the prizes.

Several other people contributed to this hunt as game testers, creatives, and consultants including Tyler Goen, Kari Maaren, Julie Nevins, Debbie Ridpath-Ohi, Mags Storey, Lizette Tanner, Alex Wai, Manda Whitney, Margaux Yiu, Michael Yuan, and Ruby Yuan. To them we owe huge thanks!

Why did you decide to create this hunt?

I wanted to give back to all the really awesome escape room owners and enthusiasts, puzzle hunters, and fans of the Cryptex. This industry and community has been so great to work with and I’ve personally had so much fun playing escape rooms and puzzle hunts. I wanted to be a part of developing something fun for you!

Who would this puzzle hunt be good for?

We think it will appeal to anyone who likes to solve puzzles.

If you enjoy escape rooms puzzles, but you’ve never tried a puzzle hunt, this will be accessible. It will be challenging, but since the puzzles are released at 24-hour intervals, you can spend a lot of time working through these puzzles without feeling behind.

Experienced puzzle hunters will likely solve the daily puzzles more quickly, but that will not diminish the fun of the puzzles.

How do I start playing?

Keep your eye on  We will reveal information there as the start date approaches.

Will there be future Cryptex hunts?

I certainly hope so! I’d love to make this an annual event, but it will really depend on how well this one is received and if people are willing to donate their time to help create more of these in the future (so we can keep it free). It’s been a real joy to work with the development team, testers, designers, coders, writers, artists etc. Everyone has been super generous with their time and efforts to make something I think will be really cool and fun to play!

Real Escape Games by SCRAP – Trials of Bahamut [Review]

Moogles and cactuars and tonberries, oh my!

Location: New York, NY

Date played: October 20, 2017

Team size: 6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $38 per ticket early, $41 per ticket regular, $46 per ticket at the door if available

Story & setting

Based on the events of the video game Final Fantasy XIV, the primal dragon Bahamut, long thought dead, was reviving. We needed to gather the tools and knowhow to assemble a battle plan that would defeat this almighty beast. Failure would mean the end of the world.

In-game: The faux stone cavern set walls. There are ropes to guide lines and a sign that reads "Cactuar Cavern."

Trials of Bahamut was a mass escape event put on by Real Escape Games by SCRAP, the creators of many other large-scale events that we’ve reviewed such as a Legend of Zelda game. In typical SCRAP fashion, Trials of Bahamut took place in a sparsely decorated event space. The center of room was full of tables, one for each team of 6. Around the perimeter of the room, various sets represented different locations, each guarded by characters, played by actors.


As is typical at SCRAP mass events, much of the puzzling took place as a team around our table with pencils and paper.

As Trials of Bahamut progressed, there were opportunities to solve puzzles with the characters along the perimeter. These were more interesting and dynamic puzzles that also granted more compelling rewards.


Each player was assigned a character class (thief, paladin, bard, ranger, black mage, white mage). Each character came with individual powers that only they could execute at specific points throughout the game. Some of these powers were the keys to individual paper puzzles; others required creatively interacting with actors. The roles kept everyone involved throughout the event and added an intriguing dynamic to the gameplay.

Post-game photo features our team holding up the signs of the character classes that each person played.

Trials of Bahamut was the most interactive SCRAP event that we’ve played (running around a stadium notwithstanding). In the past we’ve spent almost all of our time around a table, solving puzzles that could just as easily have appeared in a puzzle book. That was not the case in SCRAP’s Final Fantasy game.

Trials of Bahamut was more approachable than the previous SCRAP events that we’ve attended. Don’t get me wrong: most of the teams lost, but more than a few won or almost won.

In-game: The initial table setup. There's a book sealed shut with a padlock, a Moogle doll, and an assortment of paper puzzle components.
That Moogle was so damn adorable. He was also the team MVP.

The final puzzle sequence was smart. Our most common criticism of SCRAP events has been painfully obtuse final puzzles. While this challenging last puzzle sequence still required us to think exactly like the puzzle designer, at Trials of Bahamut, since we had been paying close attention, the steps were clear and deducible without logic leaps. This was a huge improvement on previous SCRAP mass event finales.

Most of our teammates had little or no experience with Final Fantasy and we still found Trials of Bahamut enjoyable.

There was a hilarious and morbid moment that anyone who has ever played a Final Fantasy game could appreciate.

Some of the actors really went for it.

The stuffed Moogle on our team was freaking adorable. You should get one. 


Trials of Bahamut suffered from long lines to meet with characters. Luckily our team got out to a quick lead and never relinquished it, so we didn’t wait on too many lines, but these really backed up. This is a common event problem. With linear progression, individual characters become bottlenecks.

Some of the character classes assigned to us were more interesting and essential than others.

While Trials of Bahamut was less paper-puzzley than previous SCRAP events, it still relied heavily on them… and some of them were pretty silly.

Trials of Bahamut began and ended with a lengthy, cringeworthy video.

SCRAP hires most of their actors and staff in each city that the game visits. We played the first instance of Trials of Bahamut in NYC and at each juncture our team was the first to approach the actors with solutions. Far too often our correct answers were rejected because the staff wasn’t quite up to speed. A little more training would go a long way.

The ending was anticlimactic. We had prepared to battle a dragon… but we only needed to submit a dragon-fighting battle plan. The conclusion had all of the drama of turning in a pop quiz.

Should I play Real Escape Games by SCRAP’s Trials of Bahamut?

I’m really glad that I went to play Trials of Bahamut. This experience has given me hope that SCRAP is evolving their events, that they aren’t a one-trick pony, and that they can do something different with this rarely-explored escape game format.

I was ready to write off SCRAP’s events. Bluntly, I didn’t want to attend Trials of Bahamut. I’ve played Final Fantasy III and X, but I can’t claim that I’m a fan of the series. We attended because a friend bought the tickets, planned the evening, and invited us.

Trials of Bahamut was an engaging, intriguing, and entertaining event. We left excited that we had conquered a fair and interesting challenge. SCRAP’s escape events still have plenty of room to grow, but the next time they bring one to New York City, I will not drag my feet on booking a ticket.

We would recommend Real Escape Games by SCRAP’s Trials of Bahamut, but New York City was the final stop on its tour. If it ever experiences a revival, you should check it out.

(If you purchase via our Amazon links, you will help support Room Escape Artist as we will receive a very small percentage of the sale.)


ClueKeeper, that puzzle hunt app [Review]

ClueKeeper is an iOS & Android app for building and playing puzzle hunts.

ClueKeeper logo

ClueKeeper is best known as the interface for the annual international puzzle hunt, DASH (Different Area, Same Hunt) since its 6th event in 2014. It is also used by companies such as Shinteki, Palantir, and about 30-40 others to host public and private puzzle events.

Escape room puzzle hunts

Over the past few years a few escape room companies have begun using ClueKeeper as a way to create outdoor walking puzzle hunts.

2015 Golden Lock-in winner Locurio has a ClueKeeper-based puzzle hunt in Seattle. So do San Francisco’s incredibly popular Palace Games and Jersey City’s Puzzle Out, among a few other escape room companies all over the world.

A wide-area puzzle game is a fantastic idea, especially for escape room companies in walking cities in temperate climates. They are fun, engaging, and don’t require an elaborate set build; your beautiful city is the set.


ClueKeeper can facilitate a wide variety of puzzles and it works well at scale. The largest annual puzzle hunt in the world has relied on it for years… so they are clearly doing something right.

ClueKeeper can be used to create wide-area location-specific puzzle games that require walking about or location-non-specific games that can be played within the confines of a player’s own home.

Games can be created within the app. It was designed for testing and rapid iteration by incredibly talented puzzlers.

A puzzle hunt creator can build a game within ClueKeeper and then sell/distribute that game through the ClueKeeper puzzle hunt store.

ClueKeeper’s augmented reality capabilities are pretty damn cool. Gnome Invasion is a free tech demo of ClueKeeper’s augmented reality functionality available for download in-app. (Note that if you do not have access to the items that it is looking for, the app will respond to photographs.)

ClueKeeper essentially administers itself. Once the team has started a well-designed puzzle hunt, there isn’t much – if any – gamemaster support required.

The ClueKeeper team has produced a lot of documentation to help you get started and is available to provide support.


When you’re using ClueKeeper, you’re using ClueKeeper. The app cannot be re-skinned or themed in any way. If you’re striving for a deeply immersive experience, you’ll have to achieve this through the environments, game flow, and storytelling. The app will not visually change.

ClueKeeper’s GPS interpretation is subject to both physics and the limitations of an individual phone’s technology. If you’re in a bunker of a building or you’re experiencing some variance, it might have a hard time placing your exact position, which could cause problems with location-specific puzzles.

Should I use ClueKeeper?

If you love puzzles, you should absolutely download ClueKeeper. Try out some of the puzzle hunts that can be played in your own home. If there’s a location-based one near you, give it a shot. Your mileage will vary from hunt to hunt.

If you’re an escape room owner with a facility in a walkable area, you should try out a few puzzle hunts and see if this is the kind of thing that would appeal to you and your clientele. We love puzzle hunts and welcome the opportunity to play creative games on the platform.

If you’re going to create a puzzle hunt on ClueKeeper, I encourage you to be creative. Make sure that no two puzzles feel the same. Edit your writing down. Make use of as much of the functionality of the app as possible.

If you want to hire someone to professionally produce a puzzle hunt for you, the folks from ClueKeeper can make recommendations.

Download it on iOS & Android, or read a bit more on

Major Updates to the REA Event – Escape, Immerse, Explore: NYC 2017 … Register Today!

Come experience the best of New York City’s escape rooms and interactive entertainment with Room Escape Artist this November!

About Escape, Immerse, Explore: NYC 2017

Join us November 3-4, 2017 for a tailored tour through many of New York City’s best escape rooms.

Escape Immerse Explore NYC 2017 logo

Major Updates

Thank you to our pre-sale supporters!

Based on feedback from pre-salers and other interested participants, we’ve slimmed down the event to focus on escape rooms and slashed the price in half.

What’s different?

  • We’ve cut the final day’s big event, Accomplice
  • We’ve added an additional escape room to everyone’s agenda
  • Only VIP ticket holders will have tour guides
  • The unlimited metrocard is no longer included

The Accomplice event and tour guides effectively accounted for nearly half of the ticket price.

We seriously want to host that Accomplice show, but we’re going to have to do it as a standalone sometime in the future.

Sign up today for this escape room exclusive: REA plans your day at the best escape rooms in New York City.

Lisa and David along the Hudson River, New York City in the background.
We would like to welcome you to New York City!

Escape Rooms

As part of the event, you will visit at least five escape rooms from some of the best escape room companies* in New York City including:

*Not every tour track will visit every company.

What else is included?

First Person Xperience’s RED in Long Island City is a 75-minute psychological thriller where guests are immersed in an apocalyptic story, interact with real actors and special effects, and work together to complete an objective. RED is a live action experience where your actions and decisions matter, because in this show, YOU control how the story ends!

Escape Entertainment in Herald Square will be our hosts for a morning of breakfast, networking, and escape games.

Lisa and David will be giving a talk by players for players. Lisa and David have been featured speakers at Transworld’s Escape Room Shows in Chicago in 2016 and Niagara Falls in 2017 and at Up The Game in The Netherlands in 2017. This presentation will be exclusively available to event participants.


Escape, Immerse, Explore  – $399

This includes RED, networking breakfast at Escape Entertainment, Lisa and David’s talk… and a booked agenda of at least 5 escape rooms.

VIP Escape, Immerse, Explore – $549

This includes RED, networking breakfast at Escape Entertainment, Lisa and David’s talk… and a guided tour of at least five escape rooms led by Lisa or David.


The event begins on Friday, November 3rd at 5pm. The Friday evening event is in Long Island City, Queens, a short subway ride from Times Square (NOT on Long Island). Note that booking times on Friday evening will vary. You will have the opportunity to request an earlier or later booking time.

The event will wrap up on Saturday evening after a busy day of escape rooms.

Attendees will receive exclusive discount coupons to book their own escape rooms while they are in town.

Also Included

After you purchase your tickets, you’ll receive additional information about:

  • tour customization survey
  • discounted accommodations
  • travel and parking recommendations
  • discounted rates for booking additional escape rooms


Are you guys selling out?

Between legal, insurance, food and the cost of sending people to all of the games… this is not an overwhelmingly profitable endeavor. If we were looking to sell out, we’d do something unethical like consult, or design games… and review them on our own site.

We’re hosting this event because we want to bring this community to New York City and share a few of the games we love with you.

Why New York City?

We live here. This city has outstanding escape rooms. We want to show them off!

Why November?

It’s not winter. It’s not summer. And the escape room conferences were back in May.

Why these particular companies?

We selected them because they showcase some of the best in escape rooms and immersive games.

How will we get from game to game?

Walking, subway, or taxi/uber/lyft. Your tour agenda will recommend how to get around.

Can I choose my teammates?

The escape room tours will be groups of 4 or 6. You may select a buddy or put together a full group.

I don’t have a team. Will that be a problem?

Not at all. We’ll put you in a group with other escape room enthusiasts from far and wide.

I’ve played most of the games from these companies. Can I still participate?

Contact us. There might be an opportunity. We’ll try to make it work.

Will I get to choose which escape rooms I play?

No, but you’ll fill out a survey and based on that we’ll put you into games that we think you’ll love. You’ll find out your escape room agenda far enough in advance that you can book additional games for yourself during the rest of your time in New York City.

I’m an escape room owner/employee and/or immersive experience designer. Can I participate?


I have nothing to do with the escape room industry. I just want to play all the games! Can I participate?


What should I do about airfare and hotels?

Your ticket does not cover travel or lodging. However, we will send you recommended hotel accommodations and information about travel to NYC after you purchase a ticket.

Are meals included in the ticket price?

The ticket includes brunch at Escape Entertainment on Saturday. Saturday’s escape room tour will have a meal break where you can purchase food.

I can’t make it that weekend. Will you run this again?

If it goes well, we’ll consider running it again in New York or elsewhere.

Can I buy a ticket for someone under 18?

Unfortunately, no.

How long have you been planning this?

A very long time. We’re pretty sure we’ve got something great here.

Can I sponsor this event?

Contact us about sponsorship opportunities. We are not accepting escape room companies as sponsors.

What if I have other questions?

Contact us.

We look forward to seeing you in New York this November!