The Nashville Escape Game is based on a popular video game concept: you’re locked in a room and must find clues to solve a series of puzzles that lead, eventually, to the four-digit code that will unlock the door and allow you to escape.
The catch? You only have 60 minutes to complete the task. As one clue leads to the next, the clock is always ticking.
That’s all we needed to hear.
After picking a date to play, my friends and I selected the game room that best fit our differing schedules and weighed our interest in each of the game’s four rooms against our willingness to potentially be locked one of those rooms with strangers.
For the six of us, that ruled out the easiest of the rooms – the Underground Playground, which accommodates up to 12 people.
Now, when I say “easiest” I’m speaking comparatively. The Underground Playground has the highest completion rate, but still only 46 percent of players manage to escape that room.
Of the remaining rooms – The Heist (27 percent completion), Nashville Escape (37 percent) and Classified (35 percent) – we chose the last.
In the Classified room our team, working for an international anti-terrorist organization, would be tasked with stopping a major international threat by gathering details on the impeding attack.
We arrived at the unassuming game office in Berry Hill to find the photographed faces of the recently-escaped smiling at us from the lobby monitor. This bolstered our confidence. We were a motley crew, but not short on collective intelligence. Surely, we could do this, we thought.
We were wrong.
Once in the locked room, we naturally broke into smaller groups to decipher the clues that best fit our skill sets. As we solved them, we were monitored by our Game Guide, Spencer.
Having an overseer to keep the game on track proves helpful when, working independently, your team has gathered all the necessary clues to solve one of the games many puzzles. If your guide notes that your team is wasting valuable time retracing steps, he may hint that you need to confer.
However, if your guide notes that your team is losing time chasing a red herring….
Sorry, Charlie. There you’re on your own.
Fortunately, teams are allowed to ask their guide for three clues without it affecting their completion time (those who escape vie for position on the game’s best-time leaderboard).
Unfortunately, our ever-competitive group failed to take advantage of those lifelines until we were desperately racing against the countdown clock.
We’d waited too long. The clock ran out before we’d completed the last clue.
When our game guide unlocked the door to present us with stickers that read “I Almost Escaped,” he explained the clue that we’d found too late.
We’d come close, he told us, but we knew that close wasn’t good enough. We immediately began planning our return trip.
And it’s that plan to return that gave us our most heartening realization: not every team that completes an escape room does it on their first try.
There is no limit to how many times you can return to play – though management frowns on players who have already completed an escape returning to skew the leaderboard results by posting a faster time.
Don’t be that guy.
The game takes 60 minutes to play, but plan to spend at least 90 minutes on your adventure.
Arrive early for a 15-minute briefing before the countdown clock starts and stay for a 15-minute debriefing and photo session afterward.
If you win, your team might be smiling at new players in the lobby next week.
If You Go:
Nashville Escape Game
510 East Iris Drive Unit D
Tickets: $28 per player
Free parking on site
Book tickets online at: www.nashvilleescape.com
Book early: voted Trip Advisor’s top attraction in Nashville, rooms fill quickly.
Note: Though leaving the room will disqualify your team, all rooms can be exited safely at any time.