Room Escapers – Panacea [Review]

In-game: The sign for the Panacea Apothecary in the hallway of Room Escapers.

Pandemic: Alchemy

Location:  Boston, Massachusetts

Date Played:  December 15, 2018

Team size: up to 8; we recommend 4-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per player

Ticketing:  Public / Private if you book at least 4 tickets

Emergency Exit: Yes

REA Reaction

Room Escapers is at their best when the build large-team, puzzle-focused, humorous adventures. They checked all those boxes with Panacea… and this may be the finest example of their style thus far.

Panacea was visually striking with an elegant color palette and beautiful faux stained glass windows. While the build quality was occasionally lacking, it was a generally wonderful environment.

From a gameplay standpoint, there was a lot to puzzle through. Our entire team was occupied from start to finish. Panacea just needed a culminating puzzle that brought all of us back together for a finale.

All in all, this was a seriously satisfying game, and regardless of experience level, we highly recommend playing Panacea if you’re visiting Boston.

In-game: wide shot of the apothecary. There is a large red chair and a lectern.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Any experience level
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • Beautiful alchemy-inspired decor
  • Challenging puzzles

Story

With a disease ravaging the world, humanity’s last hope was hidden in an old Boston apothecary. We entered the preserved establishment-turned-museum with one goal: master the 7 principles of alchemy and produce a mythical cure-all.

In-game: a stain-glass window depicting a fire-breathing dragon.
One of my favorite features of this game.

Setting

We stepped out of Room Escapers’ lobby and into a beautiful old bepuzzled apothecary-turned-museum.

The build quality varied from item to item. Some of the game was beautifully constructed, while other portions were a little more finicky or flimsy.

The most beautiful feature of the room a set of fluorescent office lights that were converted into faux stained glass.

In-game: a large hourglass in the middle of the apothecary.

Gameplay

Room Escapers’ Panacea was a standard escape room with a high level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around observing, making connections, and puzzling.

In-game: A chest with the depiction of an ouroboros; a snake eating its own tail.

Analysis

➕ Panacea was beautifully themed, down to the game clock. It was an inviting space in which to solve puzzles.

➕ The stained glass windows were awesome.

➕ The story flowed through the puzzles. It became apparent early on how working through the puzzles would resolve the story. We had a good sense of our progression as we played.

In-game: sign reads, "7 principles of truth: he who knows these will find the Panacea."

Panacea offered many hands-on, challenging puzzles. It kept our entire team busy. There was a lot to do and most of it was pretty great.

➖ We encountered one ghost puzzle that led us far afield. This puzzle needed to be entirely refactored, rather than partially reskinned.

➕/➖ In Panacea we worked through a lot of puzzles in a relatively confined space. On the one hand, puzzle elements were well labeled so that we didn’t struggle to connect this astrology with that… astrology. The challenge was in the puzzle. On the other hand, it felt less organic to rely on labeling. Additionally, larger groups will likely struggle stepping around each other.

➖ Some of the tech-driven interactions were finicky. This added unnecessary frustration after we’d solved the puzzles.

➕ The hint system made sense with the story and the space. It added to the experience. (In fact, we recommend asking for a hint, even if you don’t need one.)

In-game: wide shot of the apothecary. There is a large red chair and a phrenology bust.

➖ In Panacea, we spread out, working on different puzzle tracks. Although we enjoyed the finale, we felt it lacked a culminating puzzle that brought the team back together for the conclusion.

➕ There was some really funny wordplay going on in Panacea.

➕ Room Escapers has upped their reveal game. In Panacea, the reveals worked wonderfully.

Tips For Visiting

  • Panacea is at Room Escapers’ School Street location.
  • It is easily accessible by subway. Get off at Park Street or Government Center.
  • If you’re driving, the Pi Alley Parking Garage is right nearby.

Book your hour with Room Escapers’ Panacea, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Room Escapers comped our tickets for this game.

Movie Review: Escape Room (2019)

I’m glad I saw it. I wish it had ended sooner.

Director: Adam Robitel

Writers: Bragi Schut & Maria Melnik

Release Date: January 4, 2019

Run Time: 100 minutes

Rating: PG-13 for terror/perilous action, violence, some suggestive material and language

REA Reaction

Yes, it’s a PG-13 SAW/ Final Destination knock-off… but it wasn’t bad and it was far less torture-porn-y.

There were many points in Escape Room (2019) where I had solved the puzzle ahead of the characters. I mean that as a compliment. It’s difficult to write puzzles for on-screen actors to solve within a narrative and still present them in a solvable manner for the audience. Escape Room (2019) largely achieved this… although not entirely.

Two characters standing in a room that has turned into an oven.

The opening sequence was chaotic and messy, but it gave way to solid character development and some genuinely interesting escape room challenges, albeit murderous ones. There were good solves and amazing interactions… one of which had me thinking, “why haven’t I seen that done in real life?”

All of this was sustained by acting and dialog that were far better than I had hoped for.

Unfortunately, the final act took a nose dive into utter nonsense.

Finally, the escape room in-jokes were as good they were cringey. There was a character who was such an escape room enthusiast caricature that I watched him thinking, “well… this is how I sound to normal people.”

A card for Minos Escape Rooms.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Players with at least some escape room experience

Why Watch?

  • You can actively solve many of the puzzles along with the characters
  • Solid character development
  • Really cool, over-the-top escape room-y moments
  • Escape room in-jokes

Story

Six strangers received mysterious puzzle boxes in the mail. Solving them led to the day, time, and location of an escape room game where the winners would receive $10,000… if they survived.

Gameplay

I won’t go so far as to call this movie a game, but it was possible to kind of play along. I solved some of the puzzles along with the characters.

7 hands holding a block of ice with a key in it.
Worst process puzzle ever.

Analysis

➖ The opening sequence was laughable and chaotic.

➕ The characters were interesting and generally likable.

One character excitedly speaking to the group.

➕ The escape room enthusiast character was really something. I found him equal parts amusing and cringey. His references to playing with crappy strangers, escape room company names, how escape games work, and “immersion” were painfully dead on.

➖ They made an odd decision to only establish 3 of the 6 characters at the beginning of the movie. This diminished 3 characters from the onset and telegraphed entirely too much about the film.

➕ I truly enjoyed being able to remain engaged and mentally follow most of the puzzles.

4 characters outside of a cabin in the middle of a snowy forest.

❓ Escape Room (2019) wasn’t gory or particularly gross. The death scenes weren’t graphic and generally ended quickly. Personally, I preferred this.

➕ Most of the rooms that the characters “played” in were imaginative and over the top, while still feeling more or less grounded in escape room tradition.

A bar room where everything is upside down.

➖ There came a point where everything started to feel rushed. They condensed interesting concepts to make room for the ending.

➖ The final act was nonsensical garbage. Escape Room (2019)’s sin was explaining too much. I don’t know if it was trying to be profound or establish a path to a sequel. Whatever the thought process, the conclusion was miserable.

➕ Murder notwithstanding, there were concepts in this film that I hope to see incorporated into real life escape rooms.

A character solving a puzzle box.

➖ It’s not the fault of anyone involved with this film, but there were a number of different moments that felt especially uncomfortable in light of the tragedy in Poland that occurred on the movie’s opening day. It was difficult to see a newspaper headline on screen that read “5 Dead in Fire,” and to see heat and fire traps, poison gas, and even the overall concept that these rooms might kill you, knowing what had just happened in real life.

Tips For Watching

  • Accept that this isn’t a masterpiece and embrace the fun.
  • Solve along with the movie when you can.
  • Consider leaving as soon as the game is officially over. What comes after doesn’t add any of value.

Book your viewing of Escape Room (2019), and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Los Angeles, California: Escape Room Recommendations

Looking for an escape room near Los Angeles, California?

Latest update: January 5, 2019

Los Angeles is one of the strongest escape room markets in the United States.

This city offers some of the best sets and scenery we’ve seen in escape rooms. That doesn’t mean they skimp on the puzzles. The best escape rooms in Los Angeles deliver full experiences.

You might be interested in our recommendations for Anaheim, California as well.

Scene from LA in black, white, & blue. A sports car speeding past a building that says, "MADE IN LA."

Market Standouts

  1. Stash House
  2. Lab Rat, Hatch Escapes
  3. The Elevator Shaft, THE BASEMENT
  4. The Courtyard, THE BASEMENT 
  5. The Morgue, Evil Genius (We haven’t played it yet. See comments below.)

Set & Scenery Driven

Puzzle Centric

Creative Tech

Unusual Concept

Newbie-friendly

Big Group Games

Private Booking Companies

Spooky & Scary

Games with Actors

You are always welcome to contact us if this recommendation list doesn’t answer your specific questions.

5 Dead, 1 Injured in Polish Escape Room Fire

Updated 12:51pm Eastern:
Additional information has been added. 
Updated 12:05pm Eastern:
All suspicions previously published, confirmed. 

Heartbroken and infuriated best sums up my mindset as I write this piece.

A dying rose against a black backdrop.

What Happened?

I can confirm the following information:

  • There was a fire and an explosion in an escape room in Koszalin, Poland on January 4, 2019.
  • Two reliable sources have confirmed that this tragedy occurred at the To Nie Pokój escape room.
  • Five 15-year-old girls were killed from smoke inhalation while celebrating a birthday.
  • A 26-year-old gamemaster was seriously injured. It has been reported that he tried to help the girls in the room.
  • The fire broke out in the lobby as a result of an unsealed gas cylinder. The girls were locked in a room with no emergency exit.
  • Polish authorities have instructed the chief commander of the State Fire Brigade to conduct inspections of all escape room facilities. Many companies have received inspections today.
  • In absence of clear escape room safety standards, fire inspectors are applying arbitrary safety standards to the escape rooms that they are inspecting. From region to region, inspectors are focusing on different problems, some more significant than others.
  • A result of the uneven inspections is that in some instances, good escape room companies are being denied the right to operate, while some bad companies are being given clearance.
  • Many companies in Poland are experiencing cancellations or calls asking questions about safety from their customers who had booked games prior to the fire.
  • This story has made international news.

My Thoughts

The thought of 5 girls entering an escape room to celebrate a birthday and never leaving breaks my heart and enrages me.

For years we have been writing about safety in escape rooms. Lisa and I have appeared on stage at conferences in four different countries (one of them being Poland) and spoken of the need for all escape room companies to make fire safety a top priority. While a great many escape room businesses abide by fire codes and think through their safety protocol, not all of them do, especially the bottom tier of the industry.

I wrote this post on fire safety while I was in Poland last year. I’m not going to reiterate my thoughts on the subject here.

One additional thought: any escape room operator who isn’t interested in fire safety should close their doors for good.

Speculation

Based on what I am hearing, I suspect that the owners of the escape room company in question will be charged with criminal negligence.

Effects on Poland

This may be a meteor strike to the Polish escape room market. We won’t know the effects for some time.

I suspect that many companies in Poland will not survive the coming months because they will not be able to meet safety standards.

I think that the Polish player base has shrunk dramatically and permanently as a consequence of this tragedy.

In addition to questions about what kind of standards will emerge in Poland, these questions remain: how much damage has been done to the player base? Will this strangle additional Polish escape room companies that do meet safety standards?

International Effects

This is in the press (CNN, Polish news website in translation). We don’t know how far it will go or which countries will internalize this news. I suspect that the answer is “many” and rightfully so.

I assume that fire inspectors everywhere will be aware of this incident, and will tighten the reins on escape room companies within their jurisdictions. Fire safety should be paramount.

I suspect that some countries will pass legislation regulating escape rooms or, more likely, loop escape rooms into already existing amusement legislation. This will force all companies to take safety issues more seriously, and probably force many out of business.

I hope that this tragedy does not stain the entire industry. There are many people who already had an inherent fear of the concept of an escape room. For those who seek validation, this tragedy will serve to confirm those fears.

In our experience, the overwhelming majority of escape rooms do not lock players in. This fact has not been adequately conveyed by the news pieces that I have read covering this story, all of which included passages akin to the BBC’s, “Escape rooms, in which participants are locked in a room and must solve a series of puzzles in order to get out, are popular around the world.” This will undoubtedly instill additional fear in readers.

A Change for Room Escape Artist

Starting this year, our reviews will call out whether or not the company locks players in without an easily accessed emergency exit. We’ve frequently discussed it, but this will become a permanent fixture in our reviews moving forward.

We are not in a position to judge compliance with fire safety laws or guidelines, but we can do more to shine a light on companies that are obviously failing in their duties to their players.

A Change For Escape Room Owners

We love escape rooms. We love this industry. It’s time for every escape room operator to decide that they want to contribute to a safe escape room market. Or get the hell out.

There is an escape room creator who just spent their first night trying to sleep with the lives of 5 girls weighing on their conscience.

There are 5 girls whose parents just spent their first night looking at empty beds.

This shouldn’t have happened and it should never happen again.

Video: 2018 Golden Lock-In Livestream Recording

Livestream and learn.

Lisa and David all dressed up in black and gold.

We had a ton of fun with our first livestream on Wednesday night. We livestreamed the announcement of the 2018 Golden Lock-In Awards.

You can view it below. There were some audio issues in the first few minutes, but we got them sorted out.

That said, the audio isn’t perfect, so be careful with headphones. It gets spontaneously loud. 

Lessons For Next Time

We’re still getting comfortable with the video format. So here are a few things that we learned:

  • Don’t break the link… we accidentally started a new stream instead of activating the one that we had scheduled. Thankfully, some of our intrepid viewers figured out what was going on and filled everyone in via comments. I 💛 escape room players.
  • Turn on the right microphone input. That caused some chaos at the top of the stream. Thankfully I was able to clip that from the video.
  • Be more careful with levels. We sound way too quiet. We had two mics, so in theory we should have had that covered.
Brendan setting up the lights and technology.
  • MOAR LIGHT! Seriously, it felt like our living room had a sun in it… but it didn’t really shine through on camera.
  • Stage it better. While our couch is super comfortable, it didn’t really work as a set.
  • The live audience was so fun. We need to figure out how we’re capturing that audio without blowing out our listeners’ ears.
A large chocolate cake dusted in gold with the outline of the golden lock-in award in the negative space.
Lisa baked an amazing cake. It didn’t survive the party.

Thank You

A lot of folks made last night possible.

Brendan Lutz provided more technology than I am aware of. I literally do not know what we had running. He made all of this happen. He’s amazing.

Our friends all dressed up for the party.

Theresa Piazza, Theresa Wagner, and Ryan Byrne came over early to help with all manner of things. Like with the technology, I don’t exactly know what was going on… but I know that they helped with a lot of it.

Brett Kuehner loaned us the lighting.

Thank you to all of our friends for coming over and adding your energy to this silly project that started out as a joke and then profoundly snowballed… which is pretty much how our lives operate.

Announcing Escape Immerse Explore for 2019… There are two tours!

This summer we will be running two different Escape Immerse Explore Tours to different parts of the United States.

Escape Immerse Explore: The Palace 2019

This tour takes you to San Francisco in early June. Read all the details.

Escape Immerse Explore: New Orleans 2019

This tour takes you to Southern Louisiana in mid July. Read all the details.

Both tours feature some of the most impressive escape rooms we’ve seen to date. Both tours feature 2018 Golden Lock-In Award-winning escape rooms.

We’re looking forward to two incredible weekends with escape room enthusiasts this summer!

If the links above don’t answer all your questions, please contact us.

See you this summer!

We are incredibly excited to host both these events. We hope to see you at The Palace and/or New Orleans this summer!

2018 Golden Lock-In Awards

2018 Golden Lock-In Award features an open REA padlock with a golden ring around it.

We played and reviewed 191 escape rooms in 2018.

This was an invigorating year of escape games.

We throttled down our playing a little bit (255 in 2017) and put an emphasis on hunting down amazing and unusual games in the markets that we visited. As a result of that decision, we have a diverse pool of Golden Lock-In winners that broadly span styles, budgets, and geography.

There is no such thing as the perfect escape room, but these are the ones that we wish we could play again.

There were plenty of other amazing escape rooms, but we can’t honor them all. In the end these 13 rose to the top.

Rules

  1. We only considered games that we both played in 2018.
  2. We both had to agree to award the room the Golden Lock-In.
  3. We established no arbitrary minimum or maximum number of rooms that could appear on the list.
  4. A company could only win once for the year.

2018 Golden Lock-In Winners

Listed chronologically in the order we played them.

The Blind Pig

Murfreesboro Escape Rooms – Murfreesboro, TN

In-game: a boarded up business with a sign out front that says, "Hammer Realty, the secret is in the name."

With its intimate setting, great puzzle flow, and hidden surprises, Murfreesboro Escape Rooms designed a remarkably tight and balanced adventure game. The Blind Pig was a traditional escape room where everything gelled.

Sasquatch

Escape the Netherworld – Stone Mountain, GA

In-game: A wood door chained shut.
Image via Escape The Netherworld.

What began as  a traditional cabin escape room became so much more as Sasquatch’s narrative hiked to a magical finale. Escape the Netherworld told an unusual story that was intense, exciting, and unexpectedly charming.

Catacombs

Logic Locks – Amsterdam, The Netherlands

In-game: a wall of human skulls lit by a lantern.
Image via Logic Locks

In the depths of a church, we unearthed Logic Locks’ theatrical story of crypts and demons. As the puzzles built tension and the scenes became more dire, win or lose, Catacombs careened towards a commanding conclusion.

The Experiment

The Great Escape – Zwolle, The Netherlands

In-game: the lobby with a magazine wrack, chairs, and a stack of in-take forms.

Intimidating yet funny, The Experiment made us feel like we were truly escaping, more so than in any other game in our memory. The Great Escape designed around character building, both theirs and our own, which added depth to the experience.

Honeymoon Hotel

Escape Challenge – Zoetermeer, The Netherlands

In-game: A wooden bellhop's desk with a bell and a note.

Escape Challenge builds games that feel alive, haunted, and out to get you. Honeymoon Hotel transformed from mundane to insane as it pushed us through an exquisitely detailed reimagining of the H.H. Holmes “murder castle” story.

Cutthroat Cavern

13th Gate Escape – Baton Rouge, LA

In-game: a large stone wall with a massive skull carved into it. The skull's eyes glow with fire.
Image via 13th Gate Escape

With towering ceiling and wet depths, Cutthroat Cavern was breathtaking. For 60 minutes we frolicked in our own Goonies adventure. The scale of this escape room is unrivaled. 13th Gate Escape’s latest creation is in a class of its own.

Playground

The Escape Game – Nashville, TN

In-game: a bright and colorful jungle gym on green turf.

Who would have guessed that returning to the classroom would be as joyful as it was at The Escape Game? With a playful premise, whimsical setting, and well-rounded gameplay, Playground had us frolicking through school.

The Edison Escape Room

Palace Games – San Francisco, CA

In-game: an unusual room lined with lights, wheels, and gauges.

The invisible adaptive intelligence within The Edison Escape Room floored us. Palace Games took ambitious design to another level by hybridizing escape rooms and video games into something  beautiful and new.

Lab Rat

Hatch Escapes – Los Angeles, CA

In-game: a massive hamster water dispenser, lit purple.

As we ventured through Lab Rat’s whimsical yet imposing world, we journeyed through a story. Hatch Escapes put narrative in the driver’s seat with gameplay that supported it… humorously, intensely, and ridiculously.

Stash House: A Los Angeles Crime Story

Stash House – Los Angeles, CA

In-game: the Stash House apartment.

Story-driven and puzzle-focused, expansive and intimate, challenging and fair, Stash House achieved a balance that few escape rooms deliver. Through these oppositions, we were immersed within its imaginative and cohesive world.

Over the Falls

Escape City Buffalo – Tonawanda, NY

In-game: a rusty and weathered sit of dials and gauges.

With an over-the-top build, Over the Falls was light on puzzles and high on adventure. We were engaged and enthralled with Escape City Buffalo’s vessel and its seafaring woes.

The Grand Parlor

13th Hour Escape Rooms – Wharton, NJ

In-game: The two story grand parlor featuring a door chained shut under a a large balcony.

In the vast expanses and the tight nooks of The Grand Parlor, we played a challenging puzzle game with a beautiful set that continually surprised us. Plus we  met 13th Hour Escape Rooms’ delightfully rambunctious actors (who only roam when the haunt is operating).

The Observatory

The Gate Escape – Leominster, MA

In-game: The number "2 5 8" mounted to the floor.

Marvelously eccentric, The Observatory taught us how to unravel its mysteries through the act of playing. The Gate Escape crafted a fair and challenging game for experienced escape room players, with great  interactions to boot.

Congratulations to the 2018 Golden Lock-In Winners!

Past Golden Lock-In Awards

About Room Escape Artist

Room Escape Artist is supported by our generous Patrons. Their contributions make the blog and its events – like livestreaming awards – possible. Please consider visiting our Patreon page to learn more.

2019 Escape Games Wishlist

As we approach our 700th escape game and 4th Golden Lock-In Awards (to be announced live tomorrow), we’ve been looking over the list of games that people keep recommending to us, but we haven’t had the opportunity to play.

We cannot yet review or elect to honor these games, but we want to call out some of the recurring recommendations that we receive.

A dandelion being blown to make a wish.

New Games, Familiar Companies:

These include some games that have been running for quite some time and others whose opening we eagerly await:

We keep detailed notes, but we’re definitely forgetting some…

Unfamiliar Companies

Then there are the companies that we haven’t ever visited, but we’ve heard a lot about and they’ve caught our attention.

  • Champaign-Urbana Adventures in Time and Space, Urbana, IL
  • Edge of Escape, Zion, IL
  • Enchambered, Sacramento, CA
  • Enter The Imaginarium, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Enter/Locked, Jackson, Mississippi (specifically The Temple)
  • Escaparium, Montreal, Canada
  • Locked In Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  • Kamer 237, Volkel, Netherlands
  • Nick of Time Escapes, Swain, NY (We tried to fit them in on our last western New York trip, but couldn’t make the logistics work.)
  • Ravenchase Adventures, Richmond, VA
  • Skurrilum, Hamburg, Germany
  • The Chamber, Prague, Czech Republic
  • The Sanctuary, Oklahoma City, OK
  • Xscapes, Binghamton, NY (I want to play their licensed Twilight Zone room!)

And also a more general escape room travel wish list:

  • Beijing, China
  • Moscow, Russia
  • Spain
  • Taipei, Taiwan

We know that this list isn’t comprehensive. And for as much as we play, we realize we won’t be able to visit most of these places in 2019. The point is, however, that there is a ton of wonderful creation happening in this industry. It comes in all shapes, sizes, budgets, and styles… and all over the world.

If you try these out or find other gems we might not know about, please report back.

See you tomorrow for the live broadcast of the 2018 Golden Lock-In announcements.

Master Lock 1590D – All Possible 3 Letter Words

The Master Lock 1590D isn’t an overwhelmingly common escape room lock. (That’s probably a good thing for reasons that I discuss below). That said, it is a strange and interesting device that does show up from time to time.

Blue alphanumeric locker-style padlock.

Since it is commercially available and does show up, I decided to run an analysis against it. In doing so, I learned some nifty things.

The results of the analysis are here. I encourage you, however, to continue reading, as this analysis turned out a bit different from previous ones (this one and this one.)

Letter Distribution

Unlike the previous letter locks that we’ve analyzed, the Master Lock 1590D does not have multiple disks with individual letter distributions. Instead, the 1590D functions like a traditional locker lock. All of its letters are available at once.

The distribution is:

A D E H J L N R S T and the numbers 0 through 10.

There is one interesting thing to note about this lock before reviewing the word permutations.

Letters may be repeated:

There was nothing in the lock’s documentation, nor did I find anything online… but when I attempted to input repeat letters into the lock, it accepted them. “AAA” was a valid combination.

This was a relief because I was pretty certain that I was going to break the lock when I tried it.

Blue alphanumeric locker-style padlock open with a reset key sitting beside it.
Once opened, the lock may be reset by inserting this plastic key into the shackle hole.

What Words Can This Distribution Generate?

We ran two separate analyses.

Analysis 1: Letters Only (Tab 1)

This analysis only used the actual letters on the lock: A D E H J L N R S T

The results generated 59 high-value words.

Analysis 2: Letters & Number Substitutions (Tab 2)

This analysis used the actual letters , plus O, I, Z, G, B (as represented by the letters 0, 1, 2, 6, 8).

The results generated 207 high value words.

Blue alphanumeric locker-style padlock open with a reset key inserted.
It can be reset to a 3-digit permutation.

Analysis Methodology

Once again, Rich Bragg (of Guinness Record, Enthusiast Choice Awards, & ClueKeeper fame) helped conduct this analysis. The mechanics of the analysis were explained in the original lock analysis post… so I’m not going to rehash them here. 

There was one significant differences from the first analysis:

I asked Rich to run the analysis twice, once using only the actual letters, and a second time substituting letters that look like numbers. These tabs are running across the bottom of the spreadsheet.

5 Observations

1. The fact that the 1590D accepts repeated letters really surprised me. This greatly opened up opportunities for making words.

2. Word options at 3 letters are minimal. This isn’t really a surprise.

3. The addition of a few extra numbers as letter substitutions expanded the word pool dramatically.

4. If you look in the right two columns, you’ll find a ton of 3-letter abbreviations. Government agencies (DOJ), stock symbols (JNJ), nicknames (J Lo), and fictional organizations (JLA) seemed interesting and potentially useful. The right most column is far more useful for this lock than for some of the larger locks that we’ve previously analyzed.

5. Master Lock’s commitment to including the letter “J” in their word locks continues to bewilder me as it is not useful for making words. The only reason that I can think of is for making people’s initials, as “J” is a common first letter in names.

Caution

I have found that players are generally confused about how to operate this lock.

In my opinion, locker-style locks are a less-than-stellar option for escape rooms. I think they should be avoided most of the time. The same goes for the 1590D.

My opinions notwithstanding, I know that this lock will get used in escape rooms and in classroom games, so I offer this analysis.