Expert Escapers – The Skeleton Keys
We first met the Skeleton Keys through Noelle who shared our love for Captive and their rooms. As the Keys made their way through the city, they have tried some of Toronto’s best and a few of the worst (Most notably we remember when they crushed our record at Escape From the 6). What is this trio’s secret to success? Find out below.
1. What’s your team name?
The Skeleton Keys. Fun fact: Each one of us has our own antique skeleton key. We’re committed to the cause.
2. Who’s on your team? What skills do they bring to the table?
Noelle: Team captain, manager, generally the lady in charge (and the only person capable) of keeping everyone else in line. The Fred Jones of our gang.
Andrew: Logical thinker, clue analyzer, and usually the smartest person in the room. Our personal Velma Dinkley.
Ben: Absract, out of the box thinker who more often than not finds himself nominated to be the one to get chained to a wall, venture into creepy hidden passages first, or brave a room full of lasers. The quintessential Shaggy Rogers.
The Skeleton Keys: Selfie edition
3. How/Where was your first escape experience?
Ben: Underwhelming. It was a room called “serial killer’s garage” at a place in North York. It was sparsely decorated, the puzzles had little to nothing to do with the room’s plot. It’s been swapped out for another room now that I heard is better. Similar story for my second room actually. It wasn’t until I did Claustrophobia at Trapped! that I experienced a truly great room.
Noelle & Andrew: Our first experience was Escape Zone’s Biohazard Room. We had a group of six, which was a lot for how small the room was, and it resulted in some miscommunication and repeating of tasks. We were still hooked though, and branched off that weekend to do Dracula’s Library at Captive and Pandemic at Trapped! Those two venues remain some of our favourites.
4. What kind of tips would you give to a first time escaper?
Ben: Start with a good room. Anything by Captive, Trapped! or Escape Games Canada will do you right. Also proper communication and division of labour. You can’t have 5 people working on one puzzle, but you also can’t have two groups working too independently of each other.
Andrew: Don’t be afraid to let another person look at your puzzle. Fresh eyes can help solve things. Just like our team, every team will have different people with different strengths, it’s important to utilize them.
Noelle: There’s nothing wrong with asking for a clue if you’re stuck! Most places don’t reward you for not using your clues, so you might as well take a little nudge in the right direction. It could easily save you some time. Also I find it helps if you keep pieces of puzzles close to where you found them. Don’t let the room get too unorganized.
Diamonds are great, but an awesome team is priceless.
5. What are the first three things you do when you get into an escape room?
Take stock of the surroundings – this includes what kind of locks and how many are in the room.
Find a starting point.
Don’t panic. Keep looking for a starting point.
6. What kind of rooms impress you guys the most?
Andrew: The ones that have impressed me the most are the ones that are the most immersive. When puzzles are seamlessly integrated into the theme and, if there was any tech at all, it worked so well that it didn’t ruin the moment.
Ben: Any room that does what it set out to do. I like intuitive immersion, where all of the puzzles and decor fit the theme, the backstory makes sense, and the puzzles have a logical placement for being in the room and why they have to be solved to reach the objective.
Noelle: I’m still a sucker for the surprise extra room. It doesn’t matter how many rooms I’ve done, I feel like a kid on Christmas morning when we walk through a wardrobe and it leads to another room. But to echo the other sentiments, as long as all the components of the room fit the theme, I’m not very particular as to whether it’s high tech or not.
7. Do you guys have an all-time favourite room?
Andrew: Noelle and I always say that it’s like comparing apples to oranges. It’s hard to compare a fantastic tech room like Syndicate: Relic Heist to an awesome low-tech room like Captive’s Charlotte’s Attic. Furthermore, it would be unfair to compare any of them to the amazing experience we had at Casa Loma’s room escape. It was on such a big scale, but it was done so well.
Ben: Diamond Heist at Trapped!
Noelle: As Captive’s resident number one fangirl, I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t say Dracula’s Library. That being said, I also loved Claustrophobia at Trapped!
The Keys strutting their stuff at Riddle Room.
8. Brute forcing locks, yay or nay?
Ben: Nay to brute forcing anything, yay to having a fresh set of eyes try the combination or key. If a lock doesn’t work like you think it should, you either have the wrong key, the wrong lock, or you’re doing it wrong.
Noelle & Andrew: That being said, if you have 3 of 4 numbers that you’re certain of, sometimes it’s faster and easier to spin through the remaining number options on a combination lock. Would we rather solve the puzzle for the answer? Sure. But in the end, we’d rather get out of the room on time.
9. Playing with randoms, yay or nay?
We work well together and we know it. We have outside friends that tag along to escapes sometimes and they’re invaluable, but generally speaking, The Skeleton Keys like to stick together.
10. Where is your team off to next?
Noelle: Hard to say! I’m the traitor who abandoned the team to join a crime syndicate. (Or I moved away from Toronto.) We still have quite a few rooms we want to do. I just came up for a recent visit where we did a room at Looking Glass Adventures on the Danforth, and Roundabout’s Diamond Creed. I’ll hopefully be tackling the two new facilities that Windsor, Ontario has to offer. But I’m sure there will be a lot of weekend escape adventures to come.
Polaroids: the christening of new and elite teams alike.
The Skeleton Keys are a prime example that team synergy trumps a larger group. If you find yourself looking at the leaderboard and saying “I would have gotten on the board, if it weren’t for you meddling keys’!”, then you have been Skeleton Key’ed (copyright on that phrase pending).
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Follow @TeamSkeletonKey on Twitter.