You’re trapped in a room with a group of your closest friends, and the clock is ticking. You can only escape through the right amount of problem solving, communication, and most importantly, teamwork. I expected to have fun at The Escape Game, Pigeon Forge, but I never imagined such a clever and thought-provoking organization of riddles that turned out to be an extremely positive team building experience.
The Escape Game
The Escape Game, voted the #1 “escape room” attraction in Pigeon Forge, has 4 uniquely puzzling interactive experiences: There’s Prison Break, perhaps the most traditional of the “escape” genre, where players must decipher their way out of a containment cell. Another is The Heist, a challenge of “beating a thief at his own game” and recovering a masterful work of art. The objective of Classified involves stopping a major international terrorist attack (no pressure), and the game we got to play was Gold Rush.
On The Hunt For Gold
Gold Rush involves a series of rooms that you have to work your way through in order to find an infamous stash of treasure before the mob does. I grew up on treasure hunt themed birthday parties, so I was pumped. My team was made up of four people including myself and three of my close friends. We’ve all lived with each other at different points and places in the last five years, so we’re an interesting sort of team, but a team nonetheless.
For nearly two centuries, the hope of gold has lured people to the hills of Northern California. No one was captivated more than Clyde Hamilton, a greedy gold prospector who loved to gamble. Clyde made too many bets with the wrong crowd and now he’s missing. You’ve been tipped off to where he stashed his gold… But so has the mob. Finders keepers.
We started in “The Forest” – the setting right outside the cabin we were fated to explore. The area was not very big but contained all kinds of clues, riddles, and locked boxes for us to work our way into. I had never done anything like this before, so I didn’t know what to expect going in. I assumed there would be puzzles and riddles and that we would have to work together to solve them, but I truly thought there would be a little more imbalance when it came to who was doing what.
What I found was that we all sort of fell into our roles as problem solvers and worked as a team without even trying to be one. It started with simple tasks; one person would hold a flashlight while one would fiddle with a lock and another would be calling out number combinations. But as we got deeper into the game there were more specialized tasks where we were able to recognize the person for the job. There was a part of the storyline that involved shooting some targets (the game’s description includes the hint “take aim”), and three of us gladly stepped back to let the markswoman do the job. When there were numbers involved, the industrial engineer of the group took the lead. In the last room especially, we’d really gotten the hang of the game and were spread out doing different tasks and communicating our way through all the riddles.
The game unites a group of people and puts you in a position where you have to build trust to solve problems together. You identify everyone’s individual skills and figure out the most effective way to achieve your goals. As a team-building scenario, it’s such a beneficial way to build respect and grow comfortable working together. By the end of it we were bonding over the anxiety and laughs and goals that we could not have achieved alone.
And we did it! We escaped! And the storyline was so cool. We had about five minutes left on the clock and were getting pretty anxious about solving the final riddle. None of us wanted to be losers. When the last door finally opened up, it was extremely satisfying. You can see in our faces how excited we were after it was over. If you do make it out within the hour, you get an “I Escaped” sticker to show off so everybody knows you’re a real winner.
Overall, my experience at The Escape Game, Pigeon Forge was the most fun I’d had all year, and the challenge to work together as a team was truly beneficial to our group as a whole. I recommend The Escape Game to coworkers, friends, families, and all groups alike looking for an exciting activity to do together. It’s certainly a one-of-a-kind experience that you will never forget. I can’t wait to play the other games.