Confinement is a Team Building game where the group are locked in a room with 60 minutes to escape. They must use "teamwork" to solve a series of logical, mechanical and maths/word puzzles in order to escape within the 60-minute time limit. This creates an exhilarating environment that challenges the group, a great sense of achievement will be felt by those who escape, and those who don't will be left wanting a rematch. The Confinement rooms have various themes to suit your group.
It's 1916, a few months ago this was a quiet village, but the enemy has invaded and Fighting has broken out. Your own home has been destroyed by the enemy. Chaos is everywhere. You flee out onto the streets.... Gunshots ring out for all directions. You see a home, that is relatively unaffected... the door is opened And you rush inside to take refuge. The door closes behind you and you are locked inside. There is no one here...but as you start to look around, you begin to realise that the choice you made - may not have been the best one..... it seems that You have taken refuge in the home of the leader of the enemy, not just his home but possibly a secret headquarters for the entire force.....obviously he has been living as a spy in your very own village for quite some time. You know you are probably in more danger being in this house than you would be on the street. You must get out before the soldiers return!
The enemy will be back very soon, you must escape otherwise who knows what will happen. If you choose the standard mission you are able to make a quick escape and get out of the enemies lair fast, and they won't even notice you've been there.
Can you escape?
You've got the opportunity to be one step ahead. The enemy will be back soon from their rounds. You have the chance to find out where the next air strike will take place and stop the enemy from invading. Choose the advanced and expose the enemies next plan of attack and be a hero. Do you have what it takes to take on the enemy?
I was so excited when the opportunity popped up to try the Confinement Escape Rooms in Hamilton. To be honest, I didn't even know where they were until I looked online to find out. Perhaps I have had my head too involved with raising children and family life to know about a relatively recent addition to Hamilton's entertainment scene! Prior to the evening, our group had agreed on which room to do. The World War Room was the chosen one. I enjoy history and I thought this one would be right up my alley.
Earlier this year I joined other family members to do something similar in Auckland (a different company). I had enjoyed it very much and this time I had a vague clue as to what would happen during the course of the evening. My nerves weren't quite as concerned as they were the first time! At least I felt confident that I would have something (even if it was small) to offer during the 60 minutes in the room.
Some of us arrived quite a bit before the briefing time (15 minutes prior to the game). I hadn't been to SkyCity Hamilton for some time and the setup had changed a bit. The open area outside the lifts felt a bit awkward as we were standing there waiting for the rest of our team to arrive. Perhaps the idea is that you meet in the neighbouring bar prior to the event. Some seating might have made it a little more welcoming. This issue is nothing to do with the Confinement Escape Rooms setup, but it was my first impression of the evening's activity.
The girl on the front desk was very bubbly and was very good at introducing us to the activity. We had to fill out some basic information on an iPad as we arrived. This was for health and safety and also to add our details to the database if we wanted future information. There was the option in there to tick a box if we wanted to know when the rooms are reset. This is a great idea as it would create a new game every time the room is reset. If you like the theme, you are likely to go back and try a new game. Good for the business and good for the customer.
I liked the bit of humour (and as one of our teammates called it "corny") in the health and safety video. It was funny and meant that important information could be portrayed to us without being too dry. I guess it appealed to me but may not appeal to others!
After the briefing, we were walked down to the locker area. Our team were given a good sized locker with some coat hangers in as well as open space. One of our team members was given the key (along with a timer) to put around his neck. I liked the fact that our gear was put away safely and that we were in possession of the key. I felt safe leaving my handbag etc. This is simple but very important to me.
As soon as we walked inside The World War Room and the door closed, it was time to get serious. The clock was ticking. The area we were in was rather small and quite tight for 6 adults. There were some props which showed us that we had moved back in time to 1916. The whole feel of the area we were in felt right for the theme. I think it would be lots of fun creating the staging and puzzles for these rooms! It would take creativity, skill and research to get it authentic. The creators of the War Room have used a small amount of space in an extremely effective way.
During our time in The World War Room, we had to work together to solve puzzles and each solution led us onto the next part of the game. I don't want to give away too much about the room as you need to experience it for yourself rather than reading my account of the activity. I would prefer to write about my experiences while doing the activities. I found that some of our team were naturals at puzzle solving (even if they didn't think they were contributing as much as they would have liked). I found that I seem to need an extra moment or two to look at a puzzle or clues in order to solve it. Those with a keen sense of observation did well in the the game as they were able to see something in the room, and note it in their heads for future reference. This came in handy on a number of occasions. I think the ideal group would be a combination of people who think quite differently from each other.
There is a point in the game where we had to choose to basic option or the advanced option. At that stage in the game we didn't know how much there was to go. We thought we were doing really well and everyone in the group was up for the challenge so we chose the advanced option. I am glad we did as we solved the game under the 60 minutes and made the most of our time in the room. I think that we would have felt ripped off if we had finished too quickly by doing the basic version.
There was really only one point where we had major difficulty to progress onward. We found that our timing on a machine near the end was off and we were unable to get it to work. We had to get a bit of staff intervention. We are a proud bunch and probably spent more time than we should have on it before asking for help. Luckily we still managed to finish before the 60 minutes was up. I understand that one of our team spoke to the organisers and they were looking at how to make that particular part of the game work better for how different people might use the machine. It is great that they are open to suggestions to improve the experience for their patrons.
I think that this is a fabulous activity for a wide range of people to try out. It could be a lot of fun for a family to do together. From what I can see on the website, it is a flat rate of $29 per person. It is something that I would be more likely to consider doing with a group of friends or workmates simply because the cost for our family would soon mount up. This could also be a fun date night activity. It would sure beat going to the movies and sitting watching a screen for a couple of hours! It would mean that you would have to work with each other and talk to each other! I would highly recommend trying out The World War Room (and/or other rooms at The Confinement Escape Rooms).
Over the past year or so I have seen a few friends post photos of their escape from a confinement room. I have often wondered what it would be like and if it was my sort of thing. When I was given the opportunity to try out The War Room at Conefinement in Hamilton's Sky City I couldn't pass it up. My mind was full of questions. I wasn't sure what to wear so I opted for comfortable clothes and shoes. It turns out as long as you can stand for a period in your shoes and crouch in your clothes it didn't really matter. I was also a bit concerned that I might panic about being confined or need to go to the toilet and was reassured that we are able to freely leave the room if needed.
When we first arrived we signed a Health and Safety form and watched a cheesey safety video which helped me to relax and know that nothing bad was going to happen. When we had discussed the outing as a group The War Room hadn't appealed to me as I am not a history buff or into weaponry but was open minded. The War Room turned out to actually be a series of rooms and each one had a few challenges for us to solve. These challenges would give us the combinations to open a variety of locks.
As with any group, the individuals are all different some solved the things very quickly and others (like me) had the odd thing to contribute. At one stage I took the role of scribe as there were so many ideas being thrown around that someone needed to keep track of them. Thankfully there was a blackboard to help us. Our group had six people ranging from a teenager through to someone in there sixties, two males and six females. I am not sure how it would have worked with the maximum of six as the space was limited and there was only one folder of codes.
We started off very well so opted to do the advanced mission. We were stumped at one particular spot and had to ask over the radio for a staff member to assist us. (We had it right but our timing was off.) I am pleased to say we escaped in 55 minutes so under the hour allowed. I am sure each of us will do better in another confinement room as it was the first time for five of us and will have a better idea of what is expected. I think this is the sort of thing that both young and old can enjoy and have something to contribute. My biggest hint is to be observant.
I have heard about these escape rooms but had not had a chance to try one, or even look into it too much. Therefore when I volunteered to go and try the war room out the other night, I really wasn't sure what I was getting myself into! After filling in the details of everyone in the team onto a touch screen, we watched a very cheesy video (but it was effective to cover most of our questions) and then it was time to get started...
We had to store away all our belongings, including our phones... so don't do these rooms if you can't bear to be apart from social media for an hour! We were told we could take our jackets in just in case, but it turned out the rooms (although air-conditioned) were reasonably warm ... although comfortable. We were then taken to our room and sort-of-locked in (safety actually means you can get out if you need to, so no cause to panic) and left alone to work out what to do.
We had 6 of us in there and luckily we got through the first door fairly quickly as we were all in a fairly narrow space... and then we had several other things to find, decode and unlock. The maximum group size is 8, and I can imagine that would feel a bit crowded at times! I was with a group of people that I either didn't know at all, or that I'd known only a little, and this was a concern going in as I wasn't sure if the rooms are geared towards groups that work together well already. I can report though, that this wasn't an issue at all and in fact we all brought our own strengths to the group and could contribute in some way... even myself that can be quiet in new surroundings. I often found myself jumping in with ideas and managing to solve some tricky things along the way... even though I'm of fairly average intelligence! Different parts of the puzzle required different skills, so there really is something for everyone.
I loved the look of the room - there was a lot of old-time memorabilia, which of course some was part of the puzzle, but other parts just added to the overall theme and it really did give the effect of being immersed in war times. You are constantly studying details, picking things up, and inspecting things closely, so you don't miss anything!
We had an hour to get out of the room and having chosen the advanced option, we only just made it at 55 minutes - whew! And that required a call for help to the front desk on one part that we had the right code, but we just couldn't advance past. Yes, you are connected by walkie-talkie and they encourage you to call if need be, as they don't want you to waste your whole hour on one section and not get to enjoy the rest of the puzzles.
I have to admit, that part of the reason I haven't tried the puzzle rooms before is the cost as it's quite a lot per person at $29 each for only an hour (or less) entertainment. However now having tried a room, I can see a lot of work, time and value have been put into making up these rooms and I do understand why the cost is justified. Before coming, I wondered if these would only have value as a team-building exercise, but I see these as an enjoyable outing for something a bit different to do with friends, and I certainly recommend trying one out... and you never know - you might end up wanting to try them all! And as they change the themes and puzzles regularly, you'll never run out of new puzzle rooms to try! I had a blast in this room, and would definitely try other rooms out in the future.
I am a person who usually prefers to work alone and figure things out in my own way. In fact, I get annoyed when other people try to work with me as I am not by choice a team player. However, there are times when you have to work with other people in order to complete a challenge - and our Confinement Room experience really brought this home to me.
We had an hour to "escape" and this is where the group problem-solving skills really came to the fore. We were six people of various ages and life experiences, which proved to be our biggest strength. Each of us went about approaching the problems from different perspectives which was far more effective than if we had all gone it alone. Being people who all like a challenge, we chose unanimously to pursue the Advanced Mission. Some of the problems were easily sorted while a couple of others were fiendishly difficult, but we managed to get through them and escape with five minutes to spare.
The venue is set out rather like the levels in a computer game. In fact, there were times when I thought I was in a computer game and was reminding myself there was no use in trying to click on objects to make them reveal their secrets: old-fashioned methods like physically opening and reading and turning over were essential. There were clues hidden everywhere, sometimes in places that we would never have suspected, but we soon learned to take nothing on face value and to double and triple check everything
It was great fun, forgetting about all the "important" things we had to do for an hour and just immerse ourselves in the game. It was mentally rather than physically challenging, so would be suitable for most people to negotiate. Although it was mainly for teenagers and adults, a younger child with a good imagination plus a familiarity with the world of computer gaming might well be an asset on a team as well. There is nothing unsuitable for a child of primary school age although many under-eights might find they lost interest if they could not read the instructions.
The one reservation I had was the difficulty we encountered in reading the instructions quickly. This was due mainly to the physical layout of the rooms: because they were quite small, it was not possible for all six of us to read a new clue at the same time. This problem could be very simply avoided if there were two, or even three, copies of the clues in each hiding-place so that everyone could read them at the same time. We were held up twice (to the extent that we started to think we would not complete the escape in the allotted one-hour time frame), once when one of the clues proved to be more challenging than we had expected - but that was down to our own ineptitude! - and once when we had a set of instructions that had to be passed back and forth as they were so complicated.
So would I recommend this experience? Definitely! It was with a real sense of achievement that we all emerged within the time limit, and not one of us had failed to have a great time. It is expensive, but no more so than a theatre ticket, and a lot more interesting: you get to do things for yourself rather than watching other people do them. I can't wait for the opportunity to try out another of the theme rooms.
I have always been aware that I see the world slightly differently to most - a consequence of my particular flavour of Aspergers. I once found myself casually rebuilding and rewiring a damaged trailer electrical plug that had torn free from the car in transit, using only a crumpled cola can found on the side of the road. That car provided me with everything I needed - tools and raw materials - to keep the plug functional during the final 300km leg of my journey. So a puzzle room sounded like my kind of thing alright!
Upon entry, we were greeted by a smiling face, a disclaimer to sign, and a quick safety video that was a little corny but served to rub the edge off our nervousness, while also informing us of certain key aspects of the game room that proved to be vital. We were then led to our locker - to stow away any personal and proscribed items such as cell phones, cameras, snacks, etc. - then into the room itself. The timer was started, and our first clue was found almost immediately. This set the pace, and we were very pleased to find that we rapidly reached the first major milestone - the point where we choose to complete the basic scenario for a quick escape or opt for the advanced scenario which would require us to solve some extra, fiendishly clever, puzzles. Naturally, since our group consisted mainly of teachers of one form or another, we opted to go the long route and solve more puzzles.
One particular "lock" stumped us, and it later turned out that we were assuming it was geared for the average Joe - so we took it too slow. Once we were given a helping hand and saw our mistake, the rest of the clue-solving progressed very quickly. We "escaped" in 55 minutes on the dot - a full 5 minutes ahead of our deadline - so we were quite happy. Looking back on it, it now appears that we could have been out of the room a good 10 minutes earlier if not for that hiccup, and there were a couple of places we over-solved the puzzles, with the answers being quite obvious well before the puzzles were fully solved.
Overall, this was a great way to pass an hour in good company. Everyone contributed to some degree, and many casual insights and comments led to rapid solutions. Unusually, many of our team were self-admitted lone-wolves when it comes to problem-solving, yet the event kept us all so involved that none of us seemed to get 'rubbed the wrong way' and we all walked away smiling. This is certainly something I want to do again, and with three other rooms to solve, plus rooms getting revamped regularly, I can see myself coming back time after time.
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