Samui Wining & Dining
Compulsive, addictive and totally fascinating – immerse yourself in Escape Break!

Compulsive, addictive and totally fascinating – immerse yourself in Escape Break!The idea of ‘game rooms’ first appeared back in the mid ‘90s, in Japan. Instead of using computers, actual, real environments appeared – real people in real rooms, working off their stress and playing against the clock. But the ‘escape room’ concept didn’t really take off until Silicone Valley got hold of it, refined it, modernised it, and turned it loose onto the world. Today there are now around 4,000 escape room venues worldwide. And one of them is on Samui, in Lamai.


For those of you of a certain age, who are wondering what an ‘escape room’ is all about, consider this. You (plus two or three friends) are actually inside a series of rooms. The first room is locked. But there are hidden clues which you have to discover, and you have to use your combined wit and powers of analysis and deduction to unlock the first door and progress on to the next room.


There’s a time limit of one hour per room. And a total of three rooms to defeat before you can achieve your objective. Each set of rooms has a different theme, and a matching task. For example, in Ghost Ship, you are commissioned to salvage the remains of the Mary Celeste that has been spotted floating in the ocean, with its crew mysteriously vanished. You hear noises coming from below deck. You enter the cabin, the door swings shut behind you, and you’re stuck. There’s a storm coming, and you and your shipmates have to work together to unravel the mysteries before it arrives and you perish.


There are locks on chests, cupboards and drawers, plus of course on the first objective, the door to the next room. Some of these locks need a key to open them. Others need a combination of numbers – there are even letter-combination locks. Compulsive, addictive and totally fascinating – immerse yourself in Escape Break!And at least one of the clues needs some lateral thinking, and isn’t at all obvious!


Clues are found in all sorts of places and come in all kinds of ways – sometimes from a detail on a map, or perhaps connecting the code found in a journal with a chart found elsewhere. And it’s also non-linear – meaning that maybe you have open other rooms first to find further clues that are still hidden back where you started!


There are four different theme rooms – Outbreak, Relic Rush, Ghost Ship and Kowloon Captive. And some are notably harder than others. The advice here is simple: unless you’ve played this kind of escape game before, begin with the simplest! There is a parallel here with crossword puzzles. To a novice, some of the clues will make no sense at all. But once you’ve got your head around the way they’re put together, it all becomes easier.


One of the most excellent things is that there are a team of ‘gamemasters’ (in this case game ladies!) who are on hand to monitor your progress. They stay unobtrusively behind the scenes, but each room has a CCTV monitor. And if your gamemaster sees you’re having trouble or seem to have got stuck, then you’ll hear a helpful tip or word of advice coming mysteriously from the ceiling!Compulsive, addictive and totally fascinating – immerse yourself in Escape Break!


The whole thing really is addictive, and the rooms bear an uncanny resemblance to a real computer game, somehow making it even more realistic (work that one out!). To begin with you’ll all be searching for clues, shouting out discoveries and getting in each other’s way. And you’ll spend the first 20 minutes getting frustrated. Then you’ll realise that even seemingly meaningless items can hold the key to your freedom. And then, suddenly, there’s only 10 minutes to go, and you still haven’t opened the door – you’re on the last clue . . .


Khun Tat is the smiling and outgoing manager here, and she told me that nobody has ever yet actually ‘died’ inside their room. And also that it’s actually rare for a group to come just the one time – the rush is so compelling that most come back again at least once, and with many groups compelled to return to complete the last and hardest of the challenges.


This is all very popular with companies (and even local schools) engaged in team-building. And it’s also a great hit with wedding parties, with fierce completion between the sexes making life amusing for the gamemasters.


You’ll find Escape Break tucked away as a part of the popular Beach Republic resort and beach club, so simply Google that and follow the map – it’s easy enough to find. And a booking is a must if you want to end up ‘breaking good’ from one of those fascinating rooms!


Rob De Wet


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