Thursday, April 2, 2015

Fun & Games: Trapped in a locked room with strangers!

Looking for a different way to kick off your night out? Try being trapped in a room. I did.  Five engineers and I had one hour to find clues to find the hidden room key to unlock the door. This scenario is the basic premise of Exit Strategy, an escape the room game facility off Clanton Road.

The facility has three themed rooms - Cabin in the Woods, The 70s and Murder Mystery. Participants work together to figure out where the key is hidden. It's hard, but fun.

Owner Mylene Labrie says about 1/3 of their customers come back until they finally figure out how to escape the room. Others have tried every room in the facility. Exit Strategy has exploded since Labrie and her husband Jelani Patterson opened the facility last fall.

The two opened Exit Strategy after a visiting an escape the room game in Germany last spring. Labrie said they experimented with the 70s room concept in their home with friends. Now, they have a 5,500-sq foot facility with three themed rooms and two additional ones, Lost In Space and Bank Heist, planned. Exit Strategy draws everyone from partiers to families to corporations for team building. At least half of their clientele are from out-of-state, she said.

Cellphones and other devices are prohibited in the room. Participants must talk and work together to solve the clues to find the key.

"We help people have fun," she said. "You have to communicate. You have to think. People kind of missed that."

My team and I did Cabin in the Woods. I'm that person who solves the crime on "Law & Order" immediately after the cops find the body. I knew 'ole girl was still alive in "Gone Girl." Yeah, I'm that chick.

Exit Strategy had me stumped. We didn't even know where to begin, and the clock was ticking. I was ready to call for help in the first 20 minutes. Our team got some assistance along the way, but we still couldn't find the key in 60 minutes. I can't tell you anymore about the experience because it will ruin the fun, but I will says it's definitely fun.

Exit Strategy is scheduled to host a spring party April 19. Labrie is still working out the details for the event, but it should offer a cool glimpse of the experience.