Clockwork Dog: Langstroth’s Last Riddle
Outside the room
When Clockwork Dog appeared on the scene, I can’t say I took much notice. Yes, they were an escape room and yes, they were based in London, but they were creating a pop-up escape room that would be around for three weeks. There were two ways I could see it going: Either it was a ruse to get people to book early and they would extend the run or they would be putting together a cheap and simple game. I waited my time to see which one it was.
And then I saw Dean’s review on Escape Review. Suddenly, this room looked a lot more appealing and, when it became clear that they were unlikely to extend their run, I knew I had to organise a last-minute trip to see for myself. In the end, more people were available to play than the game could accommodate, so we ended up booking back-to-back three-player games.
The hosts greeted us in character and really set the scene for the game well.
Arthur Langstroth recently died and, in his will, he specified that all the items in his antique shop should be bequeathed or sold. All, that is, except one: an object of incredible power. That item is available to whichever person or people can follow the clues and find its hiding place.
Inside the room
I’ll admit that I was dubious about setting up a pop-up escape room in a shop. When you can customise a space, you have lots of options for integrating the theme into the room, whereas Clockwork Dog were going to have to work with what was there. They’d chosen well, though. This was a shop full of character, with enough nooks and crannies to make it interesting but not so many that searching became a chore. That balance had been retained in their set dressing; there were sufficient props to give the feel of an antique dealer with a particular interest in Egypt but they hadn’t gone overboard with red herrings.
Yes: if you like searching, this is definitely a room for you. The finds were sometimes challenging but never left me feeling they were unfair. Both teams came close to needing a hint for a missing item but, on both occasions, some re-searching of the room resulted in the relevant prop being found so we could happily continue along with the game. There’s nothing quite like that sweet satisfaction of the second search paying off. (At least for the person who finds it, and embarrassment for those of us who missed it the first time round!)
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