Players must think inside the box to find the escape

  • Article by: KAREN ZAMORA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 1, 2014 - 9:08 AM

In the newest game in town, players are locked in a life-size puzzle and must riddle their way out.

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With a faint slam, the door closes behind Rachel Larson.

The St. Paul woman inches forward as her eyes adjust to the dark. Slowly, she can make out her friends, then some of the details of the eerie room: a chessboard, a toy rifle, a large crate.

She hears the door lock and turns to see a man in black-rimmed glasses standing guard at the door. He holds a small timer.

“Did we already start?” she asks. The man doesn’t answer.

Larson and her friends are trapped.

And that’s exactly what they signed up for.

Each player has paid $25 ($26.87 with the service fee) to be imprisoned for an hour in Minneapolis’ first Riddle Room.

In this live-action game, titled “Escape From the Bunker,” players have 60 minutes to find clues scattered around the black-lit room and solve a series of riddles that will lead them to the key — and freedom.

“It’s this new thing that’s sprouting up around America, and I thought it sounded like too much fun to not do,” said Art Allen, the game’s organizer. “You are throwing yourself into a real-life video game that’s unlike anything.”

• • •

Larson heads straight for the bookcase and starts to sift quickly through the piles of books as the other players disperse around the cavernous room.

Megan Lotz, from Mounds View, searches the empty soda cans on the floor. Tom Kuehn, from Anoka, plays a record player on the other side of the room as his wife, Alia, starts to piece together a broken puzzle.

Although they’re moving quickly, the players are focused, calm and crafty.

They pepper the man in the black-rimmed glasses, their “host,” with questions. He says nothing.

• • •

Alex Davy knows all the clues that lead to the players’ freedom.

  • related content

  • A group worked on the various clues presented to them in an effort to find passage out of the Riddle Room Bunker in Minneapolis.

  • A chessboard played a role in the game.

  • More than 150 players have tackled the Riddle Room since it opened in May.

  • An old vinyl record held some of the clues.

  • A lock on a large crate held the last clue.

  • Riddle Room

    Riddle Room

    What: A timed game in which players are locked in a room and must solve riddles to escape. • Where: 720 Central Av. NE., No. 102, Mpls. • Cost: $25. Contact: • For more info:

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