July 28, 2018 – Grabbing a coffee at Culture Espresso in New York City, I pull out my phone and scan over a map of the northern metro rail. New Haven appears to be the biggest city in Connecticut on the line… but Stamford is a lot closer. I cross-check “Stamford” and “escape room”, and voila: Trap’t!
I call ahead to book my spot at Trap’t once I board the metro and confirm the line is operating at least reasonably close to its schedule. The train drops me off about 1.5 miles from Trap’t, and I have just enough time to spare to walk it instead of grabbing a Lyft. It’s a beautiful day and I get to see a few different parts of the town of Stamford, including a nice quiet riverfront area where I wouldn’t mind relaxing a spell any other day. But I have an appointment to make and push onward to the destination.
The room I sign up for is called Time Chasers. The general premise is to scour the course of history for the answer to an age old riddle that will help cure the president of the United States of a deadly virus. It’s an ambitious premise and well-executed. Each time period has a unique feel, and the way you move from period to period is thematically appropriate.
The room gives us plenty to do. I’m part of a group of seven, and no one is ever left watching and waiting. At several points we break off into micro-teams to tackle different aspects of the room or to sort out elements we think will become relevant for later puzzles. This is one of the first escape room experiences I can recall with a group this size that didn’t have people tripping over each other.
The folks at Trap’t did a great job giving each of the different rooms a different feel, and each set is large enough to practically be a standalone escape room on its own. The kinds of objects you interact with in each room are very fitting for each era, and the final set is appropriately climactic, with even some story-progression elements included. It’s all quite elaborate and makes for a very rewarding experience.
My group worked together and we still were sweating a little toward the end. We saved the president with a comfortable 13:04 on the clock, but the clear stakes inherent in the setting heightened the urgency and kept us moving as quickly as we could. The experience was gripping start to finish, and it was a very good example of how a story, a setting, and puzzles could work seamlessly together.
I also need to give a shout out to the wonderful group I teamed up with. Though I was the odd man out, the outsider, each person in the group treated me like an old friend. Generally I have positive experiences when I join up with strangers, but these guys were the best.
If anyone in that photo reads this and happens to be in the Chicago area (or crosses paths with me elsewhere), I’ll treat them to an escape room.
After solving the room and bidding farewell to my team, I completed the return trip to the train station on foot and said goodbye to Connecticut. 35 states down, 15 to go!