Location: Smithfield, NC
Players: 1-8 (We recommend 3-5)
Price: $23 per person
Time to Escape: 60 minutes
Can the world’s worst board game become a great escape room?
Your boss is an enormous fan of board games, but he likes none more than Monopoly! You’ve been tasked with breaking into his most recent Monopoly night, and escaping with whatever cash you can find! Just hope it isn’t Monopoly money.
Monopoly is my mortal enemy, a blight upon the world which is banned from my game table, but escape rooms are the purest form of entertainment, a light in the darkness. It’s not that dramatic, but you get my point. How would these two opposing forces meet? Pretty fantastically, actually.
Funnily enough, despite my disdain for Monopoly, this was my personal favorite room at Ready Set Escape! There were a lot of cool ideas overall in this first generation escape room that incorporated many different types of board games, some of which were very original! The game flow wove non-linearly around, giving us all a good amount to puzzle through and keeping us all engaged for the whole adventure. The items for the meta-puzzle were fun finds, tying into the Monopoly theme well, and providing a enjoyable climax to the room. Scavenging was present, but was presented in an intuitive way, keeping certain things well hidden, but not in such a way as to become frustrating to discover. A few favorite puzzles were hand crafted well, and created some great tactile interactions to enjoy. The whole flow of the game tied back into the theme, and nothing felt out of place at any point. Overall, Monopoly Mania was an excellently challenging room as well, but never felt unfair to work through. All puzzles remained intuitive and the moments of revelation were highly satisfying.
For the fun of Monopoly Mania’s game flow, the set is rather basic. It does fit the theme of your boss’s office, but it isn’t too stunning to behold overall. The scenery does pick up in the second half, but the puzzles are definitely the star here, which I don’t mind. There are a couple of points of lockception, in which locked boxes are all to be discovered when solving a puzzle, which is disappointing due to the sense of stunted progression, but it isn’t especially egregious like other examples we’ve seen. Story wise, it seemed like we were robbing the boss, but I wasn’t sure of the impetus behind our heist. I would’ve liked to see a little more about the why, but I’m happy to assume it is because as enormous fans of cooperative gaming, a Monopoly lover is our mortal enemy.
For a room themed after a highly divisive game, Ready Set Escape has created an experience that encourages teamwork and engaging puzzling. I had a lot of fun with this one, and recommend anyone who enjoys a good game flow try it out. Though it doesn’t offer as much for scenery enthusiasts, this room remains really good fun for those looking to give their little gray cells a workout. Newcomers will still have an enjoyable time as well, as although this room is challenging, it is never obtuse, and the great game masters at Ready Set Escape can always provide a choice hint if needed. Book your time in Monopoly Mania here, and don’t forget to try out the Free Parking!
Full Disclosure: Ready Set Escape provided our team with comped tickets.