January 12, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

The games began the moment we walked in.

As my friends and I waited for our adventure to begin, we played with old-fashioned brain-teaser games in the lobby, such as a pair of horseshoes chained together with a ring in the middle.

My friend Jill Cuff and I tried to solve a tangram. We stood at the counter and placed the triangles in every conceivable manner until suddenly the space for the trapezoid appeared.

Thus began our trial of teamwork, and a bit of magic, at Entrap Games. We, along with our spouses, Jeremy Rodman and John Wade, entered a tale of roguery and numbers.

“Which one are you doing?” a lady standing next to me asked as the counter clerk checked my reservation.

“We’re doing The Heist.”

“Oh, geez!” the lady said. “Be prepared to do math!”

The concept of Entrap Games is not new, but the specific business is. Operations Manager Daniel Dittmeyer helped launch this business after opening similar sites in Des Moines and Milwaukee.

“When I first started about 12 months ago, these games were not well known. Now, there are two to three in every major city.” Dittmeyer said.

Entrap Games offers multiple rooms into which teammates can be locked for an hour and try to escape. The story of “The Heist” is that you and your fellow thieves cheated at poker and won a large sum of money. Now you have to find the DVR security footage and remove the hard drive so you don’t get caught.

The Heist has a success rate of 21%. Nothing is as it seems in this game. It takes effective communication, collaboration, and time management to solve the puzzle, making Entrap Games an ideal corporate event for teams of two to six players. A game room for up to 12 players is in the works.

The employee walked us into the room and explained the details. We needed to find a canister of CO2 and the DVR, remove the DVR’s hard drive, and find the code for the door…all in one hour. Good luck!

The room contained a baby monitor and a television screen that we could use to communicate with the clerk. We received two clues automatically, and after that, we could ask for clues. We could not move anything labeled “do not move.” Everything else was fair game. The game relied on patterns—primarily numbers and colors. Coded padlocks abounded.

We were given two minutes to plan, during which time we looked around the room to see what we had to use, but should have used those moments to define our roles in the game.

When the clock began to count down, we ran. I looked at a deck of cards sitting on a table, Jeremy looked at the shelving unit, John began to look under the cushions of a couch, and Jill looked at the artwork on the wall.

Jeremy found the CO2 canister. John found the hole where you use the CO2 canister within 15 minutes. With 45 minutes left, we continued to search for clues.

The biggest lesson learned was trust nothing. Locked compartments opened on their own; sometimes black meant black, other times black meant white. In the end, we became one of the 79% who did not solve the puzzle in one hour, but with better teamwork and communication, we will crack the code next time.

Visit entrapgames.com to learn more.

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