Gamemaster Spotlight – Roundabout Canada
“Wow!” Is usually the first thing I say when I walk into any of Roundabout’s themes for the first time (other than Butcher’s Basement, I was slightly grossed out). They are a relatively new entry to the city but have some of the most impressive set design and props in the city. Here is the Roundabout Team.
Why did you get involved in the Escape Room business?
Back in 2012, Ken was in Asia when escape games started booming over there. After a couple of games with his friends, he got into it and decided to bring it back to Toronto. Ken shared this idea with his good friend, Harley, and the next thing you know, they set up their first business and started looking for a location. At that time, there was only 1 escape room in the GTA area; after jumping over many, many hurdles, #RoundaboutCanada finally opened for business in late April 2015.
In order to keep their room sets and puzzles original, the business partners refrained themselves from playing too many escape rooms themselves that they would be unknowingly copying other people’s ideas. We strongly believe that participants have the right to unique experiences every new room they step into.
Harley and Ken put together a strong team of diversified individuals, some of them were enthusiasts and have done twenty escape rooms while others have done none at the time they were hired; some of them are students and some of them WERE students not too long ago =P (all of them are in different disciplines). Harley and Ken had no doubt that all of them could make contributions to their new business, and it was proven that the business partners were absolutely correct! We would like to take advantage of this opportunity to show appreciation to BS, JC and JH for managing the business while we are not at the shop; JH, JY and VP for their exceptional artwork; BE and LR for their enthusiasm with customers.
EGR: Yes. The actual room does look like this.
What do you think makes your facility standout in the city?
We have an amazing café and a very spacious reception area for friends to hangout…NOT! We wish we did, but we don’t. Without a big space to work with, we focus on maximizing our competitive advantages in our room sets, props and unique puzzles. We worked with a movie production company to make the scenes as realistic as possible so that the atmosphere will be set the moment you enter the rooms. Mind you, we have an airplane set in one of our game rooms!
We also strive hard to make our puzzles challenging, but fair. We invited beta-testers and reviewers to try our rooms and have made modifications based on the feedback received.
EGR: You might not catch it right away but even the walls has etchings in it.
Do you have any Interesting stories about any players/Teams?
In early May, we had a family came in with their 1 year-old daughter who just learned how to walk. She was just too cute that we could not move our eyes away from the CCTVs! We saw her passing small objects between her parents. A month later, we have a 78 year-old grandpa, bring her grandson and friends in for a fun escape experience.
As with all escape rooms, we too have horror stories to share. We had a group of players climbing our prison cells trying to escape, a group taking our sinks apart trying to look for clues, another group removing the airplane seat covers…however, it was on us, they were new escapees and we should have let them know that it is not supposed to be a scavenger hunt.
A few days ago, we had a big, strong guy came in and did one of our rooms. When we were giving out hints, we saw straight faces. Amongst our staff, we were worried that the group was upset and started drawing out an evacuation plan in case something bad happens. But when the group came out, there were all smiles, we were soooo glad to see they had an enjoyable time in the room even though they were not successful in escaping!
EGR: Did you know “The Prisoner” was used in an actual movie set?
What are some places people are more likely to visit before/after your rooms?
Great question, we actually want to know too! We are right at the heart of Toronto (Yonge and Dundas), just too much going on around here! If we were to guess, it would be #MarbleSlab right below us. Shout-out to Ryan, the owner of Marble Slab, for the 10% discount offered to our escape game participants.
We have also been sending players straight to our friends at #CaptiveEscapeRooms and #Trapped after their visits if they don’t look too exhausted.
Do players have a favourite room?
There is no one favourite room and the booking patterns are somewhat interesting. For a few days, most of the bookings would be for Final Destination, for the next few days, most groups would be going for The Prisoner, etc. etc.. If we were to determine the number of bookings for each room, they would more or less the same.
EGR: A sneak peek at the Diamond Creed Room
Any other cool or interesting things you want your players/potential players to know?
We would like to let escapees know that we are not fond on scavenger hunts, well, not in an escape room type of environment, so whatever you need should be easily found. Don’t waste time taking wraps, seat cushion cases, sinks and other props apart.
Our puzzles are designed in such a way that no or very limited of pre-requisite knowledge is required. So when you are solving our puzzles and you are thinking about this complex math equation or chemistry nomenclature, chances are you are overthinking!
Our fifth room, The Diamond Creed should be ready soon! We want to provide a unique laser room experience to the players and we are trying our best to fine tune every single aspect of the room. It will be something that the escape room industry has never seen before!
If you love immersive set design Roundabout is a must-see. We hope Diamond Creed is just as immersive because we’re interested to see Roundabout’s take on a laser room.
For more information check out:
2nd floor, 330 Yonge Street