Escape Room Games, Judging Harshly, Manchester

Judging Harshly – Madchester, Breakout Manchester

We ended up doing a couple of rooms last bank holiday at quite short notice – and in two different locations. I went and did Madchester at Breakout Manchester, while Emma went attempted escaping from the Secret Lab at Escape Room Manchester, which I’m sure she’ll blog about soon.

 

We’ve done a Breakout room in the past, Classified, where we raced against each other (they had two identical rooms) which we weren’t overly keen on – the room felt very functional, with few distractions and a lot of the equipment didn’t work which was a shame. Had we done the rooms earlier it might have been different, but as they were due to shut the week after we left (the lease was up) I think they didn’t see the point in replacing the equipment.

 

Anyway, the Classified rooms have gone now, and we went to try Madchester, Breakout’s hardest room. We were greeted and taken into the room, which I found a bit strange. I prefer being briefed outside the room, so that the escape starts once you’re inside. All of us were in the room looking around for clues before the intro started.

 

From their website:

Zack is a passionate collector of anything Manchester related. As a group of thieves, you wondered in his bedroom and find yourselves trapped. You have 60 minutes to steal Zack’s valuable collectables and escape before he comes back.

 

The room was bigger than I expected, and decorated well, reminding me slightly of my room while at Manchester University (although the Madchester room was much, much cleaner. And bigger. Without any damp) The props were good, and everything that should work did work. There were 3 of us in the team and we were all kept pretty occupied for the duration of the game. We managed to escape with just 1:12 left on the clock, having been distracted by something silly for far too long. We were just happy to escape, as one of our friends had done the room with his 4 workmates and not managed to get out. Not that we’re competitive or anything…

 

Breakout Mcr Madchester

 

I’d definitely recommend the room if you’re up for a challenge – we thought it was pretty well done and will probably try the other Breakout rooms soon.

 

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Events, Health, Manchester, Passing Judgement

Color Run Manchester 2015

It seems like aaaaages ago when we signed up for the Manchester Color Run. Don’t panic, I’ve not gone all American, that’s the way they spell it, even in the UK!

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Having never done anything like this, neither of us knew what to expect. We’d seen the pictures and videos and it all looked fun – but could it really be as fun as it looked? Or had they hired some fantastic actors for the videos and promo shots?

The actual event was so much more fun than I had expected. It’s amazing how quickly 5km goes when you’re getting covered in paint every so often.

The idea is pretty simple – a 5km route to walk/run/roll/hoop around (yes, we saw somebody hooping the course!) with 4 stations of colour in powdered form. Volunteers at each of the four stations throw paint at people as they pass through, covering the runners/walkers/rollers/hoopers in colour. At the end of the course the participants can stay for the afterparty, and get covered in even more coloured powder. The event raises money for charity, with the 2015 charity being NSPCC.

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A couple of weeks before the event we were sent our entry packs, which contained a white Tshirt, a headband, some temporary tattoo transfers, running number and safety pins and some vouchers from the sponsors, Ocean Spray and Original Source. The packs were also supposed to contain glittery face paint, but neither mine nor Emma’s packs did, which was a bit disappointing. We didn’t let it stop us though, and Emma’s face makeup was particularly stunning!

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We walked to the event, and were met with lots of other people wearing the white Color Run T-shirts. I was amazed at how many people were there, and recognised a few familiar faces. We lined up near the starting area, and after a little bit of waiting, we were off!

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The first paint area seemed to come along very quickly, and we enjoyed getting covered in yellow paint. It was a bit longer to the next area, which was blue, followed by pink and finally orange near the finish line. Water was distributed about halfway round the course which was great as it was quite a warm day. We may have stopped for a quick selfie after each of the colour stations… #don’tjudgeus!

IMG_4428At the finish line we were handed some more water and a packet of paint. There was a stage with loads of people bouncing around to the music so we headed in that direction, waiting for the fabled Color Burst from the stage, when everyone opens their paint packets and gets even more colourful! After this, we wandered around a bit more, and found the Original Source and Ocean Spray tents which were handing out free samples. After a delicious cranberry juice we found the metro tent who were taking photos and printing them out, which was a lovely souvenir.

They say the Colour Run is the happiest 5k on the planet – it certainly was a fun experience! I’d probably have to try another few 5ks before I could say for sure if it’s the happiest on the planet or not though. I had a great time and came away saying that I wanted to sign up for next year. Definitely an experience I would recommend to others – there’s no pressure to run it, lots of people take their time and go at their own pace. Everyone seems cheerful, and the paint makes the course seem to go quickly!

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Where’s the finish line?!

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Finished!!!

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Escape Room Games, Manchester, Passing Judgement

Breakout Manchester – Classified

Time for another escape room review, which again will be kept a little bit vague as I don’t want to spoil it for others by being too specific!

When I heard that there was an escape room called Breakout in Manchester which had 2 identical rooms that could be played at the same time I knew that we had to play them. I’m not saying that we’re a competitive group, but when the first question when doing the escape rooms is “did you make it and what time did you get out” before someone says hello to you… well, there may be a slightly competitive element.

There were 9 of us doing the rooms, so we split into a 4 and a 5, with Emma and I on different teams. We were all briefed together by Daniel, who was friendly and funny, putting us at ease. The theme of the room, Classified, is that it is the final exam of a secret agent. My group went upstairs while Emma’s went downstairs. Due to how the unit is, we could hear what they were shouting and vice versa. It was really difficult remembering not to shout when you solved some of the puzzles! Daniel told us at the start that as it was a bit of a competition if they gave one team a clue, the other team would automatically get a clue which I thought was really good and would keep the playing field level.

The room itself was quite bare, with almost everything in the room having a purpose. This meant that some of the time one or two of us were standing around waiting/doing nothing as there wasn’t anything to do (near the end for example) Compared to other games we have played where there are extra objects in the room that aren’t part of the game and are there to throw you off, this made the game feel quite linear. The bare room may have been a reflection on the theme of the game, as it was supposed to be an exam. The time went quickly, as usual during these rooms, although it did drag a bit near the end when a piece of equipment wasn’t working the way it should have done for us!

So, to sum up – much better than Make a Break in Manchester, but not as good as Escape Quest in Macclesfield or Clue HQ in Warrington! I believe that the lease for the Classified units is up soon, but the premise of being able to compete against friends is a good one that I hope is done well in the future. Breakout Manchester also have several other rooms with different themes, and hopefully we’ll be trying out some of those soon.

Just to be clear – if we’d had a vital piece of equipment working properly, then we would definitely have made it out first. As it was, our team of 4 (with one new player) were very close behind the team of 5 (who have all played 2 games previously!) so we feel the victory would have been ours had things been fair!

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Chocolate, Classes/ Lessons, Events, Food, Manchester, Passing Judgement

Chocolate Making Class

Firstly a big thank you to Laura who arranged for me to spend an evening doing a chocolate making class in Salford a few weeks ago. It was great and I thought everyone involved was very friendly and helpful.

The room was all set up when I arrived and everything looked lovely. We were offered a glass of Prosecco and some nibbles before the class started which allowed some get-to-know-you time on the table.

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