Silver Springs, MD: Big Escape Rooms – Outbreak

July 30, 2018 – I opened the day on a somewhat tight timetable, with goals to tackle escape rooms in Maryland, Virginia, and DC on the 30th, as well as to explore many of Washington’s incredible museums and monuments. The train to Silver Springs was out of commission, but thankfully it was easy enough to get to Silver Springs on a bus and walk to Big Escape Rooms.

No one else was booked at my time slot, so I had the opportunity to try any of the rooms by myself. I settled on the most difficult room, Outbreak. Having successfully completed at least one escape room in each state I visited thus far, it was a big risk, but at the same time, life is all about the challenges we have to overcome. As they say, go big or go home.

My game master, Steve, was one of the most interesting people I met on my travels in 2018. Steve was a master of trivia, studying every kind of fact you can think of while competing regularly in tournaments and game shows with a lot of success. As someone who dabbles in trivia here and there, I was fascinated by all of Steve’s stories and how much goes into being one of the top trivia players in the country.

After a quick introduction, I was able to jump right into the room. One detail I noticed at the very start was the high production quality of the introductory video. It’s not a make-or-break part of the experience, but it’s a touch that’s appreciated.

There was one part which couldn’t be done with just one person, but given the unique circumstances of my journey, Steve was able to find a way to equip me to solve the room by myself. In general I’m not a fan of attempting rooms solo (the communications challenges are more than half the fun!), but we made it work without having to interrupt the experience.

The set designers at Big Escape Rooms did a good job of evolving the environment to match the heightening tension as players progress through the room. The game starts off simply enough but soon a few twists and turns defied my expectations and made me question my ability to complete the game within the hour limit.

The theme was well-integrated into the puzzles, and each area of the game felt natural. As I worked toward solving the challenge of the outbreak, the puzzles became increasingly oriented around chemistry and biology, both with props and challenges.

I finished the game with only moments to spare. It was a thrilling conclusion and one minor flub would have lost me the game. Thankfully, I kept my act together and finished strong.

It was a shame that I didn’t have more time to stick around and try another room- I really enjoyed the games at Big Escape. I’d definitely recommend a visit to anyone in Washington DC; I typically don’t pick favorites, but Big Escape Rooms was my best all-around escape room experience in the Washington DC area. From start to finish it was a remarkable experience and well worth the short transit ride to the north of DC.

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