For those that enjoy a good group puzzling session, community escape rooms and mystery themed games provide an immersive and interactive experience. Corvallis is home to three businesses offering unique group experiences that combine live-action game play, solving mysteries or puzzles, and storytelling. Escape Corvallis, Spiritopia, and The Conundrum House have each created team-oriented challenges for two or more participants.
Teammates have 60 minutes to escape a themed room. Teams of two to 10 participants search for clues and original puzzles to solve.
Escape Corvallis opened three years ago and currently offers three original themed escape rooms. They range in difficulty from a beginner-friendly scenario with a completion rate close to 83 percent, to a fast-paced, 40-minute challenge with only a 40 percent success rate on the first attempt.
Escape Master Michael McCusker develops a series of puzzles that work well together, leading the escapees to a satisfying conclusion. He is currently working on developing two more escape room challenges to expand into five rooms.
McCusker mentioned that sometimes new participants have concerns about being locked in. He explained that the rooms are not actually locked and doing so would be against Oregon law, and that an Escape Master monitors each game and offers clues at the participant’s request.
For newcomers, McCusker warns, “Don’t trust anything,” explaining that even familiar objects often work differently than expected.
He also suggests checking everything two to three times, communicating clearly with group members, and finishing clues before moving on. “When all else fails, ask for a clue,” he says.
Costs range from $15 to $25 per person depending on the room and the day of the week. Most rooms require a minimum of four participants.
For more details or to reserve a room, visit www.escapecorvallis.com. They are located in downtown Corvallis at 301 SW 4th St., Suite 280.
Spiritopia Puzzle Room
You and your crew have 60 minutes to stop industrial spies from stealing the recipe for Spiritopia’s famous ginger liqueur. Time is ticking to keep the thieves from transmitting the secret formula to their headquarters.
Participants 21 and older may sample or drink Spiritopia products while solving the case, since the puzzle room is located within Spiritopia’s tasting room. The puzzle sessions run by appointment only, on Saturdays 12 to 5 p.m. – outside of normal tasting room hours.
“People enjoy the uniqueness of the clues and the intimacy of the setting,” said Chris Beatty, Spiritopia’s founder and Spirit Chemist. “The room was designed and built by me and my daughter, who was 13 at the time. Our family is very into puzzles!”
Appointments are required. The puzzle accommodates two to eight participants, ideally four or five. Minors aged 10 and older must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The cost is $12 per person.
Visit www.spiritopia.com/puzzleroom for details and booking instructions. Spiritopia’s Tasting Room and Puzzle Room are located at 720 NE Granger Avenue, Building B, Corvallis.
The Conundrum House
The Conundrum House isn’t exactly an escape or puzzle room. Instead, they host murder mystery dinner parties, serial mysteries, a mystery game library, and other events. Founders Adrienne Fritze and Mark van der Pol write and produce each original mystery, and often customize them to the participants.
“We are intent on engaging you and your mind in play and discovery,” explained van der Pol. “It is not about entertainment, passing the time, or zoning out – although that can be done at Conundrum House. We are about fostering and allowing you to re-discover play like we all did as children and youngsters.”
According to van der Pol, the Conundrum House is open to ages eight and older, Wednesday and Thursday 12 to 6 p.m., and Friday and Saturday 12 to 8 p.m. Some events run at specific times and dates, so check the venue calendar for details.
Pricing varies depending on the event and membership. Memberships cost $40 for an individual, $70 for a duo, and $120 for a family of up to 6. They also have day passes available.
To learn more, visit conundrumhouse.com or their downtown location at 460 SW Madison Avenue, 2nd Floor, Suite 16, Corvallis.