June 23, 2018 – If I’m ever asking myself if it’s worth it to travel ten hours from home for a one hour event, I can think back to my time at Morgantown Escape Room and answer with a definitive “YES!” One of my favorite things about escape rooms is getting to see the designers’ unique and clever thought processes, and the Excalibur: Saving Camelot room and the folks at Morgantown Escape room truly delivered.
Immediately after finishing in Pittsburgh, my parents and I hit the road heading south. I booked an open time slot at Morgantown Escape Room and we were ready to roll.
The span between Pittsburgh and Morgantown had some great sites- lots of interesting terrain like mountains and big rivers. Being from Illinois, I appreciate that kind of thing.
On the way down, I got a phone call from an owner of Morgantown Escape Room, Bob. Bob warned me that the room would be very tough for a group of two. Usually when I hear something like that I take it as a challenge and it just gets me more energized. After confirming with the owner that the challenge was due to the difficulty and amount of puzzles, and not things like time drains or busy work, my eagerness was at its maximum. The room is designed for 6+, but I was ready to give it my all.
Arriving at Morgantown Escape Room, we were greeted by another of the owners, Dorothy. Dorothy, Bob, and the two game masters were running the room and were tremendously welcoming to a few travelers looking for a challenge. We even got to stick pins in a map of the US representing our hometowns (Arlington Heights, IL for me and Zion, IL for my dad)!
After a quick intro, we were ready to dive into the room. The premise of the room is that Camelot is in crisis after Excalibur has gone missing. As a player, my job was to locate and collect Excalibur to reunite the kingdom. Without spoiling anything, I will mention that the room’s reveal regarding Excalibur was very cool, both fun from a puzzle perspective and fittingly designed based on the mythology.
As we progressed through the room, I’m happy to say that there were a TON of puzzles to work through. My dad and I split up as much as we could to cover the most ground, teaming up to work together to solve the most difficult ones. We needed a few hints here and there to keep us moving, but I’d consider the difficulty level perfect. Challenging and rewarding but accessible, which is really what all escape rooms should shoot for.
The puzzles were well-themed and many of them tied together with story elements to continue progressing through the challenge. The room works well as an adventure, not just a series of puzzles, and it really kept our excitement level high. The puzzles felt very unique, which is something I always appreciate in an escape room.
I’m happy to say that we successfully recovered Excalibur and saved Camelot. It was a very satisfying challenge to tackle, and it was well worth the journey from Chicago to experience it. I could really feel how much thought went into every individual puzzle, and the team at Morgantown Escape Room really did an excellent job putting together a set of challenges that matched the theme so well.
After completing the room, we chatted with both owners and learned a little bit about their next room, Time Chasers, which we arrived just ONE WEEK too early to try. With as much as we enjoyed Excalibur, we definitely would have tried doing a back to back session, but we settled on a sneak peek. The new room looks remarkable. I’m not sure how much I can share without getting in trouble, but the room revolves around a very clever new technology I’ve never seen used anywhere else. There promises to be a lot of exploration of different time periods and a very neat way to move between one and another, and I wish I could have tried out the room then and there. I’ll have to settle with paying a visit the next time I’m in the area.
Bob also shared with me that his original escape room design was set up not far away, perhaps an hour, at Wisp Resort in Maryland! This was a huge discovery for me since it’d not only give me a chance to play another excellent escape room but also complete my 34th state of the year. Unfortunately, after calling the resort, they didn’t have enough spaces available for both my dad and me, so I had to pass. I’m already thinking of how I can plan a trip to spend time at a place that has both mountain adventures and an escape room the next time I’m in that part of the country!
One of the game masters at Morgantown Escape Room recommended we check out the campus of West Virginia University, which looks to be featured in the highly anticipated video game Fallout 76. Though it was rainy, we went and checked it out. The campus was mostly shut down for the summer but we got to see a lot of neat architecture and find a Geocache located on the main parking garage on campus. I snapped a few pictures around campus, and we got back in the car to begin the long trip back to Chicago.
This was truly an exceptional experience. The people at Morgantown Escape Room really went out of their ways to make sure my family and I had the best experience possible, and it’s going to remain a highlight of my 2018 adventure.