News / Ottawa

Hey Ottawa, can you make it out of Escape Manor?

Gamers tired of getting their fantasy fix online now have an even more twisted and bizarre alternative.

Playing with real live friends.

Escape Manor is a live interactive role-playing game for two-to-six players who are locked in a creepy, sinister room and given 45 minutes to collect enough clues to unlock the door and escape a horrible fate.

Based on the popular online game, Escape Manor is the brainchild of four Ottawa friends, Billy Rogers, Chris Bisson, Steve Wilson and Neil Schwartz, who first experienced an interactive version of the game on a trip to Toronto last year.

Convinced they could do a better job here, Rogers and his friends rented 2,100 square feet of office space at Queen and Bank streets and are turning it into an old mansion where players will get to choose between four themed rooms.

The first two rooms - Prison Break, in which players are falsely accused of murder and have to solve the crime before they're executed, and Wine Cellar, where contestants become private investigators trying to solve a murder of a winemaker who made his red wine out of blood - will be ready for beta testing this weekend, with an official public opening set for Thursday, Nov. 27. The remaining rooms won't be ready until January 2015. Rogers won't say what the storylines will be.

Getting out, Rogers says, isn't easy. It requires teamwork, spatial and deductive reasoning worthy of Sherlock Holmes to succeed. But don't count on it. Barely 20 per cent of those playing Escape Manor escape in time.

“It's a battle of wits and minds,” says Rogers. “People are hungry for something different, a live experience. They want to dive into something bigger than clicking buttons on your smartphone. They want to be challenged.”

Admission for Escape Manor is $21 plus HST. The Manor will be open Thursday to Saturday, 5 – 11 p.m. To book your escape, go to escapemanor.com.

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