Ye Olde Dandy’s – THE SLEAZY SPEAKEASY – The Puzzle Campaign

Ye Olde Dandy’s is located on Gerrard in Downtown Toronto on the lower level of a complex.  We teamed up with ERA’s Errol, Manda and Errol’s cousin.  We had heard about them and what intrigued us was they had an Escape Room and Table Flipping.

What is Table Flipping?  Its simple.  They put you infront of a table, load it up with things (boardgame pieces, toy cars, and breakables if you really want to) and flip it over.  We flipped a table with a stacked Jenga tower and it felt satisfying.

We were greeted by Gamemasters Mo and Matty, who walked us through the process.  Given the space at Ye Olde Dandy’s they only have room for a single game, but we were explained that they will have rotating puzzles (and potentially actors).  This would let them have a single setup but essentially a re-playable room (which in a business perspective is clever).  You can tell right off the bat you won’t be getting a high-tech over-the-top experience, but definitely something unique.  Before we started they equip us with fedoras, boas and we were on our way.

*Sidenote: we did The Sleazy Speakeasy on the opening week
*Sidenote 2: if you need to use the washroom its actually IN the escape room (given their limited space)
*Sidenote 3: The mode of the Sleazy Speakeasy we played was The Puzzle Campaign

Creativity and Design (aka its Fancy level): – Was it inventive ? Did it fit the theme?
Score : 4.0 of 5.0

The Sleezy Speakeasy was well furnished for a small bar.  The objective was to solve the murder based that happened at the speakeasy.  Gamemaster Matty played the role of Mr. Black who was in-game with us.  You can tell there was effort and consideration put into building the theme.  I think there was only two minor things that took away from the game.  As we were playing Matty would be resetting parts of the game that weren’t important, which is a personal pet peeve of mine since our time at REA (Trapped in a Room with a Zombie).  Secondly there was quite a bit of searching high and low, and especially on the ‘low’ parts we were slightly grossed out by the positioning of a few clues.

Bells and Whistles: Was it just lockboxes throughout the Room?
Score:  3.5 of 5.0

Long story short there was no tech.  But there were a few inventive puzzles that tied nicely into that era.  We did come to a point where we needed to “open an important box” and we couldn’t quite do it.  We were able to with the assistance of Mr. Black, who quickly jumped in when he saw us struggling.  While we can understand the business aspect of it (not breaking the box), but it was one of those things that put a pause on our experience.

(aka Frustration Level):  Was it solvable? or Did you have to be inside the creators mind to solve it?
Score:  4.0 of 5.0

The puzzles were well thoughtout, but probably at times needed to give more direction.  The end puzzle was sort of a Meta puzzle (a puzzle that requires multiple parts to be solved/collected) and required its own sort of logical leap to complete.  By the end (even with all the pieces together), it felt the conclusion we had to draw was a bit far-fetched (or it could be that I just don’t prefer those kinds of puzzles).  The Hint system included Mr. Black who would (when asked) provide you with a clue.  In our case it was more like a riddle which somewhat added to our confusion.  The room itself on a difficulty scale of 1-10 in (minus the final puzzle) was floating on a 5 to 7,

*Sidenote: If the game really frustrates you, go and flip a table (which could be their secret/not-so-secret business model,,, it was actually pretty fun!)

Staff Support/Price : Were they friendly? Were they helpful? What was the Damage?

Gamemasters Mo and Matty were great.  In the last few weeks we’ve been noticing they have been leaving their mark at other venues in photos and tweets.  That being said they are genuine enthusiasts (or they’re really doing their research).  The Actor/Gamemaster aspect is really what makes Ye Olde Dandy’s unique, and Matty’s acting was a level above what we’ve come across so far.

The price is $20 / person or $15 / person for 4+ people.  Table Flipping is extra

Overall:  Ye Olde Dandy’s brings a slight twist to the norm.  With the in-game actor it seems they are taking a key from some of the bigger companies like Real Escape Games and improving on their formula.  Big budget doesn’t always mean better and Ye Olde Dandy’s has shown us that it can be “the little engine that could”.  We’ll definitely be back to visit to see what else they can bring to the table.

For more information check out:

617 Gerard Street East
Toronto, ON, M4M 1Y2