Name: Escape Manor & Canadian Museum of Nature Partnership
Launched: 14 November 2016
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Game Specs: 2 separate games 15 players each for 60 minutes length
The game Framed takes place inside the Mammals Gallery of the Canadian Museum of Nature. Framed is a deeply interwoven escape game with 5 separate paths that rely on each other to succeed.
The game Heist takes place inside the Earth Gallery of the Canadian Museum of Nature. Players have been given “insider information” that includes 3 separate blueprints to the Earth Gallery, and some “Thieving Tools” that are used during the course of their robbery.
Important considerations for the games include:
- Durability – Not only players but regular museum guests may interact with game pieces and they need to stand up to wear and tear
- Teamwork – 15 players need to be occupied during the game, and must interact with each other to satisfy the basic understanding of an escape room game
- Museum Satisfaction – Not only was Escape Manor my client, so was the Museum of Nature. I needed to ensure the games were respectful of Museum content and displays
- Enjoyment Factor – Overall the games needed to be fun!
How The Games Work
Each game takes place inside of a different gallery of the Museum and would need to involve 15 different players for the 60-minute time-frame. The chosen galleries, agreed upon by the Museum and Escape Manor, would be the Earth Gallery and the Mammals Gallery. The games were scheduled to begin approximately 2 months later, at the beginning of November 2016.
The games take place when the Museum of Nature is closed, on days that vary each week based on previously booked after-hours events. The games are set up and taken down within a 15-minute time-frame after the Museum closes, and the final game ends at night. Some pieces of the game remain in place semi-permanently, but many pieces are moved into place by staff once Museum hours end.
My responsibility was to design both games, including puzzles and interactive game-play. I was also responsible for sourcing pieces, components, supplies and all manner of strange things to run the game.
The game Framed is a Whodunnit style adventure that incorporates various puzzle styles and interactive tasks and activities. The game also makes use of existing Museum audiovisual displays (including solving pre-existing puzzles inside touchscreen displays) and information placards. Players use the Museum information to solve the mystery and continue along their path.
The Heist is a classic escape room game, in a non-traditional space – or perhaps even more traditional than any other escape company. This game has players taking on the role of jewel thieves trying to steal a valuable “Space Jewel” from the Museum. As I wanted to respect the spirit of the Museum, and acknowledging the existing gems and minerals inside the space, the only logical step was to create a previously unknown item for players to steal.