Date completed: June 2015 (2 players). Succeeded
Creativity: 5; Difficulty: 4; Atmosphere: 6; Fun: 6.
- Fluent English
- 2-5 people
As it is traditional in most Escape Hunt venues in Australia, Escape Hunt Sydney uses historical areas of the city as background. In Extortion at the Dockyard, the captain of a ship named Hercules, docked at Sydney Harbour, is being blackmailed, and you have to find out who’s doing it and why in 60 minutes.
This was the ‘medium difficulty’ room, according to the website, but we actually had an smoother run than in Robbery in the Cottage, their ‘easy’ room, and finished with a fair few minutes to spare. Remember your Geography classes at school? Some basic knowledge in that subject will make you save precious minutes here!
Of the rooms we played on Escape Hunt Sydney, this was the one we thought was the best decorated. We did not encounter issues here with worn out locks (which happened in Robbery in the Cottage, because the venue is so popular and often fully booked). Also, the setting was much brighter. I (Pa) thought it would make the ‘hide and seek’ tasks easier, but I was mistaken – 20 minutes into the room and Trapspringer was laughing at me dealing with heaps of containers, bags and foam-stuffing that should not have been taken out of the bags… Just to find one of the clues which was almost in plain view. I’m not as talented as him at finding things, but I’m the brains!!!
By the way, if you are like me and like pattern analysis, there is a good amount of pattern and association puzzles in this room for you to have fun with! Some basic arithmetic will also be required, and of course, there are the traditional number locks to open.
This is where our quest happens…
(View of Sydney from the Rocks, by John Lancashire, 1803 – State Library of NSW)
One of the strengths in Extortion is that it is very family-friendly and you can easily bring a kid (or two, or three…) along. No hideous crimes, no gory or dark stuff and puzzles that may actually do with a younger hand. In fact there was one puzzle which required a bit of interaction in which kids might be more suited to finding a natural solution rather than adults who just overthink things. If you are an experienced players looking for challenge, you could try to break a personal time record. Or maybe bring along that friend who is curious about escape rooms but mistakenly think they are only for IQ 160+ people.
The only thing that annoyed me a bit about this room on the occasion was that one of the puzzles (an important one) was IDENTICAL to a core puzzle in Murder in the Pub, the hard level room available at the time. Same format, same procedures and almost same answer. On the day we played, it was disappointing to find two rooms with the same ‘big’ puzzle in the same venue. Since January 2016, however, the Murder in the Pub room was replaced by Assassin in the Pub and hopefully that issue was fixed. I’m curious to try the new one!
Do you want to read more about Extortion at the Dockyard? Check the All Access: Guide to Sydney Escape Rooms.
Out of the room
Service: The staff at Escape Hunt Sydney were were friendly and did the best they could in a very busy day – 6 room fully booked and around 30 people. They were still pretty responsive to hints and kept reasonable track of our game.
The venue has a large waiting area with puzzles, lockers for personal belongings outside the rooms and tea.
Communication: Escape Hunt standard, using walkie-talkies to provide hints. Staff were not intrusive and fairly quick to respond. They knew where we were in our game and gave proper hints.
Surroundings: George Street, in Sydney CBD, has plenty of public transport, restaurants and everything else you may need. Excellent location.