RED VEIN Escape – Escape from 20,000 Leagues [Review]

We all live in a steampunk submarine

Location:  Ashland, VA

Date Played:  October 2, 2021

Team Size: 4-8; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25 per player, with a 4-player minimum

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: Uneven ground to get into the game.

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

RED VEIN’s Escape from 20,000 Leagues was a beautifully designed submarine game with fun interactions and flawless tech. With their background in haunt design, RED VEIN took the fabrication of their set to the next level, creating a remarkable stage for Escape from 20,000 Leagues. The room was bursting its seams with character, including weathering on every inch of the ceiling tiles.

While the puzzles were well integrated with the set and made sense on a submarine, the game could have used a few more puzzles and interactions to truly be a 60-minute experience. Our team of three left the room in a record time of 19 minutes, surprised to be greeted by our gamemaster instead of another area of the submarine. Although short, we still truly enjoyed the time we spent exploring the depths and meeting some of our deep-sea neighbors.

Wide view of a steampunk submarine interior. The walls are heavily weathered.

RED VEIN was able to pull off what felt like a much larger set by using interesting spatial mapping to their advantage. The game was fairly non-linear to begin, lacking any on-ramping or obvious starting puzzle.

If you’re driving through Ashland and looking for a fun room to share with new players, RED VEIN’s Escape from 20,000 Leagues is a great choice!

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Exit the Game – Kidnapped in Fortune City [Hivemind Review]

Kidnapped in Fortune City is a tabletop escape game created by Exit: The Game.

Looking for holiday gifts? Find Kidnapped in Fortune City and other great games in the Room Escape Artist Holiday Gift Guide – 2021.

Exit: Kidnapped in Fortune City box depicts the old west. A sheriff's badge laying on the ground.


Style of Play: tabletop escape game

Who is it For?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Any experience level

Required Equipment: pen & paper

No scissors were needed, which is unusual for this series.

It is helpful to take notes in this game, as you collect information from the locations and characters.

Recommended Team Size: 1-3

Play Time: 1.5-2 hours

Price: about $15

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure


The sheriff of Fortune City disappeared after a gold robbery, and it was our job to search the town, interview witnesses, solve the crime, and find the sheriff. We had more materials to help us than in other Exit: The Game installments: a map of the city, the sheriff’s notebook, clue cards, a set of “strange items,” several location pamphlets to explore one at a time, and a decoder wheel for entering the solutions to puzzles. Because this was a higher difficulty game, the puzzles were not presented linearly, and we had to determine what game pieces to use for each puzzle. As in all Exit: The Game installments, we had to use game pieces in unexpected ways, but there was not as much destruction in this game as in others.

Game contents include a number of old west themed items.
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Operation Escape – Gold Rush [Review]

Let’s blow this joint

Location:  Williamsburg, VA

Date Played: October 1, 2021

Team Size: 2-8; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Gold Rush was a solid game in every aspect, including polished game flow, satisfying solves, neat set design, and an exciting end sequence.

With Operation Escape’s bland office building exterior, they were able to transform the space that Gold Rush was set in to transport players back to 1887. While the rooms the game mainly took place in were polished and thematic, there was a hallway players were required to traverse that felt like an afterthought, lacking decoration and the small details we loved in the other game spaces. 

Including twists on some classic escape room puzzles along with a plethora of fun, tangible interactions, Gold Rush was a charming experience that would be fun for the whole family. 

Ramshackle, wooden, old west, mining building labeled, "Danger. Tunnel Closed."
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Headlocked Escape Rooms – The Keeper & the Fungus Among Us [Hivemind Review]

The Keeper & the Fungus Among Us is an unusual, avatar-led, live streamed escape game created by Headlocked Escape Rooms in the UK.

A puppet with evil eyes, closed captioned, "I put the fun in fungi."


Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Avatar controlled by the players
  • Video-based experience

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 2-5

Play Time: 90 minutes

Price: £75 for up to 6 players

Booking: book online for a specific time slot


This is a Zoom-based game with standard avatar-led gameplay… except your avatar is a hand puppet and the game area is a series of changing miniature dioramas. It also includes videos and a bangin’ soundtrack.

A large turtle puppet in a diorama beside a bule spider puppet.

ThinkFun – Cold Case: A Pinch of Murder [Hivemind Review]

Cold Case: Pinch of Murder is a tabletop mystery game created by ThinkFun.

An assortment of crime evidence. In the center of the frame are two photos of an old kitchen.


Style of Play:

  • Tabletop mystery game
  • Play on demand

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, pen and paper

Recommended Team Size: 1-3

Play Time: about 1-2 hours, maybe more with all the reading

Price: ~$15

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure


Your job is to solve an old murder case and some related crimes. To do so, you examine all the evidence in the case file and answer three questions about the crimes. When you have your answers, you input them into a website for confirmation.

There were no “puzzles” along the way to the solution, just reading and comparing evidence.

An assortment of crime evidence. In the center of the frame is a photo of a collection of jewelry with a watch circled in red.