I volunteer as our church youth minister in the same town in which I live and teach. It is fun to be with a lot of my students outside the classroom. Last night, we had our mystery all-nighter. We have the kids sign up to go out to 2 unknown sites and then come back to the church and stay up until 6 am. This year we started with glow bowling and a pizza dinner. It was candlepin which I remembered I am not a fan of. I prefer 10 pin (big ball). I stunk at candlepin. With the first throw I was surprised to see the bumpers were up for everyone, but good thing, because even with them I got one pin at a time. Very frustrating, but the kids had fun.
Then, I was so excited to move onto our second site, Boda Borg Boston. We came up with the idea of doing an escape room but they usually only fit like 8 people. We had 45 kids and 7 adults, so I googled and found Boda Borg. I asked where they had others and was surprised to learn this is the only one in the US and they started in Sweden. Think IKEA, very sleek and minimalist. A fascinating concept of quests.
(I didn't take any pictures. I could have brought my camera in but didn't want to drop it.)
On the website, it says there are 17 quests and you should be prepared to fail. Most people do not figure it out the first time through. Okay, how hard can it be? Well, so hard - no - challenging.
The building itself is so cool. There are two floors. The main floor is the lobby with a big area of tables and a taco bar. It wasn't open for us. We did it 9pm - midnight. There are 2 quests on this floor and 15 quests down stairs. They sat us down for some instructions and the most important thing was to be aware of doors. There are lots of doors and people will be coming out of them all the time. This is a very accurate warning, so many doors! The doors to enter the quest are painted green for a mental quest, red for a physical quest, and black for both mental and physical. Outside each door is a little frame with the name of the room and sometimes a brief description that may or may not be helpful. Above the door is a small tv/computer screen with a green triangle on it. If it is flashing, then somebody is using the room or the room is being reset. Just the technology was so cool. Once you enter, you begin. You don't know if it is just that one room you have to figure out or it might lead to another room. When you enter the room, it is very simple looking. Sometimes it seems way too simple and you have no idea what to do and then the buzzer goes off, a red circle appears on the computer screen above the door and you have failed. You have to exit and then enter again.
I was on a team with 2 other chaperones. We tried and tried and tried. We would try a room like 10 times and then decide if we wanted to move on, which we usually did. You aren't supposed to give others hints, but it is so fun and exciting, it can be hard not to. We would be waiting in the hall and see other groups of our kids and kept checking in to see if they completed any rooms. When you complete a room, you get to stamp your passport. We made it a competition among all of us, but in a fun, encouraging way. They were excited to give us clues which we needed and gladly took. It was fun to hear the excitement as they explained what you had to turn or look for or be careful of. They did better than us, but we stuck with it.
We went into one quest called Rats and a group of our boys were in line behind us. They asked if we had been in and we said no. They said they had. They made it to the third room and there were 5 rooms, but they were figuring it out. We walked in and looked around and then the buzzer went off and we failed. We didn't even have time to do anything. We could hear the boys laughing at us through the walls. All in good fun.
The students started to feel for us as we hadn't completed any yet. They said go upstairs and try the farm one, that is the easiest one. It took us 3 times and we did it!
But, man, talk about failure. It was really humbling. You think are a smart, capable adult who stinks at candlepin bowling and then you go here. Phew! In three hours, we successfully completed 3 out of 17 quests. I don't even think we tried them all. You get stuck on one and keep failing but keep trying. You exit and you think about what you need to do and then you try that and it doesn't work, so you rethink. There is so much strategizing!
We did figure out the quiz show room. It was three rooms and took us about 25 times. I'm not kidding, but we were determined.
And, the other one we completed was called Tough, Tougher, and Toughest. This room was a little different in that when you completed one room, you got a Tough stamp and then next room you would get the Tougher stamp. It was a physical room with the ground painted red like lava and you had to use monkey bars and mountain climbing knob things to work your way through the room without touching the floor. We finished the first room and got the Tough stamp.
I am surprised more people aren't talking about it. It has been here for 2 years. I think it will grow in the US. It is so fun! Did I say that already?!