Escape Hunt Brisbane: Treachery at the Racetrack [Review]

Logos-for-website_0017_ESCAPE_HUNT_BRISBANE_LOGOLocation: Escape Hunt Brisbane, South Bank, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

Date completed:  October 2017 (2 players). Succeeded escaping!

Creativity: 7; Difficulty: 7.5; Atmosphere: 6.5; Fun: 7

Requirements:

  • Native/Fluent English
  • 2-5 players
  • Acute senses

Guests and gamblers were shocked when a jockey died during a race in Brisbane. The tragedy was quickly ruled an assassination by the police: his horse riding equipment had been tampered and his fall was not accidental. An arrest was made, but rumours have arisen that a local crime syndicate have done a frame job on an innocent person. In this game by Escape Hunt Brisbane, players need to find the evidence to figure out who the actual murderer was and what in happening behind the scenes in this Treachery at the Racecourse.

This was the hardest of the three games we’ve played at Escape Hunt Brisbane. It was especially challenging for my foreign ears, so have your senses at spider level when attempting it!

Treachery at the Racecourse was indeed challenging to the senses, and we highly recommend having fluent English speakers in the group, as well as at least one player not colourblind and one with good hearing. Good searchers will also be useful, as the early game involves a fair bit of search around the setting.

The initial room resembled the stables area, where we encountered many racing and equestrian props, such as blinkers, saddles, stirrups… Knowing them was not necessary to solve the game, but could have sped some tasks up. The setting for this area was interesting and differed from the traditional “room with locked boxes to open”, as the items and details to unlock actually matched the story. It also had a good transition between the ‘outside area’ (the racetrack and stables) and the offices. At some point there is even a ‘race’ happening!

horseBesides the skills mentioned above, the puzzles in this game required association, logic, arithmetic and basic decryption. Players were also required to do some basic assembling of devices and tackle mechanical puzzles. One notable puzzle mixed association, deductive logic and was designed so that dexterity would be useful as well to make sense of things – all of it happening at speed.  It was a pretty creative (and difficult) take for what could have just as easily been a traditional slow puzzle.

The first half of the game has a larger variety of puzzles, and it is at this part that players are exposed to most of the characters suspected of being involved with the crime syndicate. The second half of the game required mostly logic, and was focused in solving the crime.  The designers put a lot of effort into writing this plot, because there were a lot of people involved in the racing, gambling and horse trading business! To exit the room,  players are not required to map 100% of the criminal web, but it was possible to actually pin down where each character fits in the story. We opted to spend a few more minutes and get everything done, as we were curious to see how deep it went.

We also ran into the same issue pointed out by Andrew, a reviewer from Gotta Get a Room: at a certain moment in the end game, we did not see when one of the puzzles actually got solved and asked for a help from the gamemster. She told us what we should look at – it had changed, but we hadn’t noticed it at all. To communicate with the gamemaster, we had to hit a buzzer. Hints were unlimited and there are no time penalties.

When we got out, there were still 8 minutes left on the clock. This was a complicated room for Escape Hunt standards, and although the setting is nice and nothing gory goes on, it may be a bit too complex for teams with small kids. We would suggest this game for teams that have already been introduced to escape games before.

Treachery at the Racecourse presented a few elements that were quite distinct and different from the traditional Escape Hunt format, although it still had the ‘whodunnit’ plot. We realized that the designers working in this branch of the franchise put some effort in incorporating innovative elements, and it became even more evident on the game we played after this one – their newest room at the time, The Jewel Thief. In Escape Hunt Brisbane we also played Bomb in the Government House earlier in the day.

 

Out of the room

Service: Our GM Ashley was very nice and enthusiastic. Escape Hunt Brisbane has a spacious waiting area, with water available. There are lockers for players belongings outside each room and toilets. Drinks other than water can be purchased at the reception desk.

Communication: There was a buzzer to press and talk to the GM in case we needed a hint. Hints are unlimited and there is no time penalty.

Surroundings: Escape Hunt Brisbane is easily accessible by public transport, being close to both South Brisbane and South Bank stations. If you are a sports fan, SunCorp Stadium is only 2.5km away and often hosts big events in Brisbane such as the Rugby League, Soccerroos games and international music shows.

Treachery at the Racetrack was also reviewed by Gotta Get a Room.

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