What do you have planned for Halloween? Are you going downtown? Maybe having a party with some friends? If you’re looking for something different or a fun alternative, then you should give grab some friends and head down to Escape Room Montana.
What is an Escape Room?
An escape room is a game in which players are left in a room and given an objective to accomplish in a set amount of time through the solving of various puzzles and/or riddles using whatever clues are at hand. Teamwork is essential, as is a healthy amount of out-of-the-box thinking. The creation of any new escape room is a balancing act. The puzzles must be interesting and difficult enough to ensure that the experience is not over too quickly, instead taking its participants as close to their deadline as possible. However, the puzzles can’t be made too difficult or the players might become frustrated or bored with their lack of progress.
In fact, Escape Room Montana seems to have mastered that balancing act in the relatively short amount of time that they have been in operation. The completion rate of their rooms currently sits at roughly 50 percent, with most teams requiring close to the full hour to complete the challenge.
Escape Room Montana
At the end of 2014 there were only 22 escape rooms throughout the entirety of the United States. By the end of 2015 there were over 450, and by the end of 2016 more than 1,000 escape rooms were in operation across the country. Today in Montana, there are five rooms in operation, with at least two more coming soon. Escape Room Montana, located adjacent to Rosa’s Pizza in Belgrade, is one of the oldest escape rooms around, having opened its doors back in June of 2015. As a result, they often receive calls from newer rooms looking for advice.
What are the Different Rooms?
The two rooms currently in operation are Syndrome Scientific and Mermaid’s Malaise. In Mermaid Malaise the players must break a curse cast on their ship before it’s sunk by the Kraken and everyone is dragged into the depths. The team from the Exponent tried their hand at the Syndrome Scientific room, a scenario where a chemical lab has been contaminated and the players have only a single hour to contain the spill before it can spread beyond the confines of the laboratory. The puzzles were challenging, and the separation of the team into two different rooms created an additional test of communication. Without going into any details (if you want those, you’ll have to try the room out for yourself), the Exponent team managed to contain the spill with less than three seconds remaining on the clock.
Opening Oct. 27 is Escape Room Montana’s third option, Jekyll’s Run: a six-hour trek around the Gallatin Valley in search of various clues to prevent the destruction of Bozeman by Mr. Hyde. Players will be chauffeured in a limousine, and live actors will be scattered around the area for the players to find and interact with on their journey. The scavenger hunt takes inspiration from many different horror classics including Dracula, Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. For those of you who will be around for Halloween next year, be on the lookout for a potential return of the Fear Mine, which would combine an escape room with elements of a haunted house.
Meet the Owner
Escape Room Montana was founded by husband and wife Tim and Chiara Schober, both of whom had several years of prior experience working on haunted houses and similar attractions. “We’re in it because we love to do it,” Schober said. “We love people coming through and having a good time with what we’ve created.”
Each room is built entirely by hand, a process that took roughly 80 hours for the creation of Syndrome Scientific, according to Mr. Schober. The passion for their work has certainly been noticed by the community. When the possibility of the Fear Mine established itself, people immediately offered to help turn it into a reality. As a result, there is now a team behind the project as well as a potential location already being examined.
Check it Out
You can find Escape Room Montana at 201 West Madison Avenue in Belgrade, and bookings can be made for each of the individual rooms on their website. Syndrome Scientific can accommodate up to eight players whereas Mermaid’s Malaise accommodates up to six. Pricing is typically around $25 a person, depending on which room is chosen and how many participants there are. For those interested in Jekyll’s Run, and who have a little more money to spend, the experience will run $800 for a group of ten to accommodate the longer game as well as the limo, but allows groups of up to fifteen at the cost of $1,100. If you haven’t tried an escape room before, there’s no time like the present to give it a shot this Halloween weekend.