Eight Under the Arch

This past Saturday, I topped my personal best number of escape rooms in a single day, changing that number from seven to eight. It’s a coincidence that both of those runs happened in St. Louis, but a fun coincidence.

Christina, my dad, and I teamed up with Kurt and Tiffany from What the Lock? (Manitowoc, WI) to tackle a gauntlet of rooms. Kurt and Tiffany were in town for the TransWorld escape room conference, while the rest of our gang showed up in town late Friday night just to play through some rooms on Saturday.

I’m not going to get too detailed about our experiences right now- eight escape rooms is a lot to summarize. For now I’ll be hastily touching on the high level notes from the adventure.

The full team met at Gateway Escape shortly after 10AM. We played the Art Gallery room and hit the ground running. Though we’ve never worked together as a team before, our group cleared the room in about 31 minutes. We divided, conquered, and communicated to stay organized and steadily progress without ever slowing down.

After the first room, we headed across town and played all three games at Escape From St. Louis. We originally scheduled two of the games, but our group was on fire and cleared the first two with time enough to spare to fit in a third without setting back our timetable. Strangely, our group performed inversely to the difficulty level of the room, plowing through the hardest room (Carnival of the Cosmos) and setting the record, and struggling comparatively in the easiest room (Wizard Quest) and missing the leaderboard, though our time still wasn’t shabby (sub 40 minutes).

We visited a place called Pieces Board Game Bar and Restaurant for a late lunch. The restaurant had an impressive collection of board games (I believe they said 1000+) and a great variety of food & drink. I’m delinquent in my responsibility as a keeper-of-blog to have not taken a picture of it.

After Pieces, we walked 450 feet (thanks Google, for that measurement!) to St. Louis Escape for our final four nee five games of the night. We successfully played through Frankenstein, Pirate’s Curse, Dracula, and Oz, but a rowdy group broke the fifth game we had scheduled (Mummy) and we were sent home early, hence my “nee five” comment.

It was a bit of a bummer to not be able to move my personal record for escape rooms in a day up to nine, but at least this happened now rather than, say, when I’m trying to tackle 27 in one day and break the Guinness record (still holding out hope that I’ll find a way to make that work).

Eight games still made for a great experience, and the whole trip was wonderful, both because I liked the rooms and because I really enjoyed spending time with our new teammates. Kurt and Tiffany were dynamite to work with- the best teammates I can imagine. I already knew they were both brilliant (the games they designed at What the Lock? are phenomenal) and they communicated extremely well throughout, so even though I had never solved a room with them before, it felt like we had been doing this forever. Teaming up with them made for a really special weekend.

Sunday morning we met a few others we knew were in town for the TransWorld show for breakfast before hitting the road. We got back to the Chicago area in time to pay some Mother’s Day visits and call it a complete weekend.

One last random note- eight escape rooms is the new record for Christina and my dad as well. Their previous records were seven and six respectively, both from the same trip in which I got my seven in St. Louis for my birthday in 2019.

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