#54: Arctic Escape (Tromsø) – The Backroom

Well executed both for theme and puzzles, The Backroom was a highly enjoyable game and while the theme wasn’t one I would naturally be drawn to, this didn’t detract from it being very enjoyable!

Rating:★★★ (Recommended)
Location:Tromsø
Team:Rhubarb Rhubarb
Date:22 December 2019
Hints taken:3
Time:55m33s
URL:Arctic Escape

Front & Briefing

Our GM(s) from Carla’s Secret (#53) sat us down to watch the video introduction for The Backroom, a sequel to John Winter’s Office (#52), before leading us into the room. John Winter has been growing his empire, but a raid at the local bar hosting his illegal gambling has scared him and his associates away for an hour and you must collect the names of those associates before they return.

Theme

The room is atmospheric when you enter and a step up from the first John Winter room in terms of décor and immersion, and, size aside, feels like a real pub.

Puzzles

We missed quite an obvious thing to begin with that we took a clue for immediately, but after that everything flowed fairly well. There was a good mix of puzzles too, including one that I hadn’t come across anything like before (funnily enough, until the very next game I played elsewhere) which was really well executed and relied on a slightly different skill set to the usual escape room fare. It was difficult to fault any of the puzzles, in fact. Arctic Escape also solidified themselves in my mind, after Carla’s Room, as being expert hide-and-seekers with some great moments of inspiration leading to finding an item!

Hint system

As with the other two rooms we played, the GM cued us for hints rather than just dishing them out, except for the Very Obvious Thing we missed right at the start, which was a good judgement call. I think we took a couple of search hints, and one regarding a cultural difference between the UK and Norway which I should absolutely not have needed a hint for, oops!

Finale

No particular finale, but unlike other games where you’ve been collecting items from a list, the list of criminal names didn’t feel like we were just scrambling around for the last item forever, so it was much more satisfying.

Debriefing

We had a really nice chat with the GM and game designer afterwards, who had picked up that we were all experienced players and we exchanged notes about other rooms we’d played. It’s surprising that some venues can be internationally renowned, and at least I’d rated one of them as such here!

Unusually, there wasn’t a photo op for any of our games with Arctic Escape, though their Facebook page shows some group photos, so perhaps it was an oversight when we visited.

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