Xcapade: Laboratorium [Review]

xcapade_logoLocation: Xcapade, Fairfield, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Date completed:  November 2016 (2 players). Succeeded escaping!

Creativity: 8; Difficulty: 7; Atmosphere: 8.5; Fun: 8.5.

Requirements:

  • Fluent English
  • One team member not colour blind
  • 2-6 players

Two hundred years ago, when a 18 year old Mary Shelley wrote the first drafts of Frankenstein, she could never have imagined that it would become canon for gothic horror literature (not to mention becoming one of the first science fiction novels).  She also probably couldn’t have realised that this masterpiece would inspire plays, songs, movies, and….. escape rooms. Xcapade’s Laboratorium gorges in references from the novel and will be especially interesting for those who appreciate the story of Dr. Victor’s creation.

However, Laboratorium is not a room about Frankenstein. As we mentioned before, all rooms in Xcapade belong in the same universe and follow a story. In this escape room, we infiltrated the Laboratorium of Dr. Frank in search of our friend and journalist, Sherlock, who was kidnapped from his home in Apartment 73. Sherlock was on the trail of suspicious activity related to the theft of corpses at the time. Is he in the lab? What is Dr. Frank actually researching, and how does it connect with Sherlock’s investigation? Why is the scientist so interested in the works of his Gothic namesake? We were really curious to find out.

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The GCHQ Puzzle Book [Review]

logo-4Publisher: Penguin
Genre: Cryptic puzzles, decryption.
Year released: 2016
Difficulty: 7 to 10.

The British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) is UK’s signals intelligence agency. They are also the proud inheritors of a legacy spanning all the way back to World War 2 when their predecessors from the Government Code & Cypher School, then located in Bletchley Park, spearheaded Allied efforts to break German military encryption enabled by Enigma machines.

img_9309The people in this field, as exemplified by those such as Alan Turing, were intelligent, driven, determined and sometimes considered misfits of their time. They certainly provided a juxtaposed archetype of the British Spy, who is normally stereotyped as a suave action hero (martinis shaken not stirred). It should perhaps be no surprise then that GCHQ would launch a puzzle book. Apparently their workforce loves solving puzzles. Who would’ve thought?

Last Christmas, Pa and I bought a copy to try out and see just how the brains of these people tick.

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