Escape Manor – The Outlaw Saloon

Escape Manor is located in downtown Ottawa just steps away from the Parliament buildings.  It was our 7th and final escape room of the Ottawa Escape trip and we were exhausted.  We were lucky to have Manda, Errol and his family as part of the team, because we needed a fresh team.  We were greeted by the GM Meaghen (sporting some blue hair) who gave us our briefing.

<bias>We are not fans of electronic safes</bias>

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

The room was well-decorated with appropriate set design and props, which included an upright piano, bar and Saloon doors.  Our only complaint is that the room was full of electronic safes, which definitely didn’t fit the theme (even lockboxes might have been a better fit).  GM  Meaghen also made the effort to stay in character (with the theme), but we asked her to turn it down a notch.

Bells and Whistles: Was it just lockboxes throughout the Room?
Score:  4.5 of 5.0

There were some interesting tech elements that tied into puzzles and immersion nicely.    Again the big sore spot was the electronic safes which also doubled our frustration (as we’ll cover shortly).

Intuitive (aka Frustration Level):  Did you have to be in the designers mind to escape?
Score:  3.5 of 5.0

One common problem we’ve had with Escape Manor is they never provide enough direction with their locks (usually opting in for a series of 4 digit locks).  Thankfully in this case, even though they used electronic safes, it did leave breadcrumbs onto which safe related to specific puzzles.  The only frustrating part was at times we didn’t know how many digits we needed to enter (which is 1 of 3 reasons why electronic safes are not fun in escape rooms).  The safes also had timeouts which in a GMs point of view means less bruting, but in a players pov its a time sink.  Otherwise the puzzles were mostly straightforward with no major leaps in logic.

The hint system continues the Escape Manor tradition of finding your walkie-talkie before asking for a hint.  You are allowed 1 hint (before it isn’t counted as a win).

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

Gamemaster Meaghen was nice to chat with, but frankly we wanted head back to our hotel.  The Outlaw Saloon concept came from a contest Escape Manor ran a few months ago (for people to design a room).

The price is $20.00 (plus tax) / person and they run on a ticket system (which means that you can potentially play with randoms).  You definitely have to book at least a week in advance or be prepared to play at obscure hours.

 The Outlaw Saloon is decent room that could get much better with some minor tweaks (mainly getting rid of the electronic safes).  If Escape Manor (downtown) keep improving their games, we might need another trip to Ottawa.

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Ottawa, ON