Now, we promised not to give up any information about the actual puzzles, so I won't go into detail about that or strategies, but I will talk about some of the other aspects.
So here's what happens. You sign up. The reservations were for no more than 12 people. Much to my socially anxious chagrin, ours filled up with lots of other strangers. We didn't know if it would be couples or small groups or whatever. We only knew that there would be 3 of us and 8 of them!
We showed up at the appointed time and had to turn over all of our electronics (or go quick lock them in our cars). If you left them with the people, they were locked safely away (no worries). Then we signed a wavier and all that junk. Upon entering, though, we met the Scientist who would be leading us through the adventure (and evaluating us). Sadly, I'm terrible with names and I forget all the names of all the people and I only took the generic business card, not the specific business cards. Either way, the guy running it and the zombie woman who was also part of it, were AWESOME and really helped set the mood for the whole experience.
We had to introduce ourselves and meet everyone (yeah, I keep digressing). Turns out the other 8 people all knew each other from work and we had a few REALLY OUTGOING guys in the group. I could feel myself pull away faster and faster and faster; to the point where I was standing back assessing everyone. Not judging, literally assessing. Looking for the strengths, the weakness, and seeing where I might be of the most use.
After learning about the rules of not touching this and making sure to keep moving forward and staying out of corners, we moved into the hallway and prepared to enter the lab! We had already been given the backstory to how the good doctor turned into a zombie and found herself trapped. We were charged with finding the clues to solve the puzzles to get the lock off the door!
The door opened and in we went. I'll stop there and say it was pretty crazy. Everyone seemed to do things that mostly helped, but there was a lot of dead weight. It was also interesting, because I assessed my own value in a group and as someone who has been told they aren't the best in group settings, I was someone who was valuable. I'm just valuable in a way that the loud, outgoing, clear leaders in the group don't realize. I'm in the minority of people willing to listen to others (p.s. Just because I don't do what you recommend, doesn't mean I didn't listen and take it into consideration).
That was the biggest problem, though. The other 8 people showed next to 0 interest in the other three people. I say next to 0, because it wasn't a complete 0. They only had interest when something was shouted or an answer was being stated. I was laughing inside at my own ability to point out how to solve a puzzle, but my own inability to actually solve it. Besides, too many cooks in the kitchen. . . once they swarmed me, I backed away and pulled out. When I was actually confronted by our helpful doctor with solving a puzzle, my anxiety was too high to put solving anything to go use. I couldn't understand his clue to solving it and, to be honest, I'm horrible at those kinds of puzzles.
What I'm trying to say is that sometimes what looks like clear leaders or the loudest in the group, aren't always the cornerstones to success. They also have a tendency to forget about others, because their focus is on their, like, one or two friends and their own agenda. I had my fingers in so many pies in there, I was a jack of all sorts of junk. Calling out the attack, moving people, pointing out clues, recalling important info, setting up for the solving of many of the puzzles. I even became a zombie wrangler, when my other roles were finished. Granted, I think the zombie was getting tired of the guy who took over. No offense, dude, but I would never want to work with you. Please stop saying you're from Wisconsin.
At the end of it all. . . we didn't make it out. According to our guide doctor, we literally needed 10 more seconds. Yeah, we were entering codes into the final lock when the buzzer sounded. But hey, we got way farther than I thought we would! A total rush. So much so that when I exited the room and people were gathering for the final meeting, I had a mild post-event-panic-attack. My head was spinning and the adrenaline had faded and I felt like I was about to cry. On the flipside, that's how intense the whole process is! It's so boss!
After we all congregated in the main area, our lead doctor debriefed with us, telling us our roles. He went through everyone. I remember I was credited with finding many of the puzzles, and immediately latching on to.... oop... a very specific puzzle. Our Friend Jim was really good at repeating people. I loved that and I can't seem to let it go. Makes me laugh, because it just doesn't seem like him. He also sacrificed himself for the group. My husband, though, was an Apocrypha solver. He'd come up with these really off-the-wall connections to solve a puzzle that somehow seemed to work. Of course, that totally fits him as a person and the book he's writing. Loved it!
As we left, another group was getting ready to come in and we did say it was awesome! I would do this again in a heartbeat. It's good, though, knowing your role going into something like this. I am one of those people who slips into the most-needed position. If I don't see it, I'll ask, but that's who I am.
Please attend these (especially the Raleigh one. . . I think they said there's one in DC, too). It was awesome. It was fun! It totally tests your skillZ! I saw a 007 one in Milwaukee that I'm debating over checking out. It was really a worthwhile time, fun, memorable, and a great way to push yourself to interact with people in a positive and productive way.
A great time was had by all! Thanks Raleigh Room Escapes!