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Written by Rob Schultz (human).

Escape Room Reviews: Witchcraft / Room 1313

Company: Escape Hotel Hollywood
Room: Witchcraft
Date Played: 9/11/16
Player Count: 4, just barely!
Success:  Our most severe loss ever.

Premise: I think it’s that the townsfolk assume anyone who stays in hotel room 1313 is a witch, so they show up every ninety minutes or so and burn the occupants alive.

Immersion: I don’t know. It was pretty dark in there, so I guess that’s accurate to being indoors in the 1600s? A lot of the knick-knacks still had price tags on. I think we were expecting a game about witchcraft to feature magical objects pretty heavily, but this room had a ton of regular physical locks.

Highlights: The lobby procedure is the most involved and fancy of any company I’ve visited, and the passports are neat. 

Lowlights: First off, the low light. A ton of this room hinges on not being able to spot things easily because it's not your turn with the 'good' candle.

One piece of tech seemed to not be working. Calling for a hint either allowed the Keeper to bypass it for us, or it coincidentally suddenly started working again at that time. 

Our team suffered a massive failure of communication on this room for some reason. There's a huge red herring that completely snookered 3/4ths of our group, and left me feeling like I was playing alone as I collected a massive amount of other clues. Where I screwed up was in trying to get other members of the team to do the grunt work on one of the  puzzles for me (which made sense to me because it used an item they were familiar with and I had not examined) and instead nobody ever worked on it. 

Does the room have a rock with weird symbols painted on it that the GM later says isn't relevant to the game hidden anywhere: Yes, and it's really out of the way. I bet a lot of people don't find it. 

And Finally:   I think a lot about what it actually means when a company lists the difficulty of a room on their website. Difficult for who? The internet gives me the impression that most players in an escape room are playing their first room. Are the ratings different for "enthusiasts"? Where does ten rooms put me on the bell curve of player experience?  This room was rated ★★★★★ for difficulty on the Escape Hotel website, and maybe it earned that rating by wielding conventions against its players. Setting patterns and then breaking them in a kind of meta-puzzle. Or maybe it's just an overpriced escape room.  I think it will be a long time before I fill my passport with stamps for the other rooms. 

Out of 9 rooms played, I'm ranking this one #8. 

How to book this room yourself: Visit http://www.escapehotelhollywood.com/tracks/6/witchcraft

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