You don’t quite know what to expect as you descend the stairs into the smoky engine room of the Zorg Ella – but as the door is locked behind and the wonderfully authentic interior of the boat is revealed – it’s clear you have a very unique experience ahead.
The latest addition to the Escape Room phenomenon, the now globally popular multiplayer game where you’re challenged to escape a room using your wits to solve puzzles, is ‘Escape Boats’. It’s a maritime-themed version that takes authenticity to the next level, set on a refitted barge located at the Grand Canal Docks in Dublin.
Picture the Crystal Maze on water and you’ve got a good idea of what to expect but really this is something you have to experience for yourself to fully appreciate.
All the action takes place on the Zorg Ella, an early 20th century Dutch barge that has been refitted and decked out with antique props and objects. Once inside players are given an hour to escape by solving a series of challenging (but doable!) puzzles. As you move through the boat opening locked doors and discovering secret passageways you quickly become fully absorbed in the game.
Having managed to ‘escape the boat’ yesterday – a first experience for us with this kind of fully immersive entertainment – we’ll certainly not include any spoilers here. So much of the fun is in the not knowing and, through clever design that ushers you along, working out for yourself.
The challenge is to escape the boat but the reward is in the piecing together of clues and arriving at the correct solution. There’s an exhilarating rush with each accomplished task. And more than that, you ultimately emerge from the boat as a team feeling you all contributed to the effort. Easy to see why these games have become the first choice for those tasked with organising team-building days.
The Escape room phenomenon has seen a number of games set up around Dublin in the last few years but the team behind this new game at Grand Canal must be praised for its attention to details that truly engage the player in the maritime world. This new and latest high-end entry to the market represents an investment of €220k by the owner operators the games Director Ronan Brady and Capt Sam Field Corbett.
“The game also brings people together, getting them to work in a variety of unusual environments, taking them out of their comfort zone and perhaps helping them learn a bit more about themselves and those they are playing with.” he added.
“So far the reactions from players have been amazing. The players have come out of the experience with a wild mixture of emotions – laughter, gasps, astonishment, amazement, relief – all positive reactions to the game.”
So if you’re looking for a fun distraction and something completely different, we highly recommend checking out Escape boats at Grand Canal Docks!