‘Fan out! Check behind the pictures! Under the desk! Inside that clock! We need those codes if we’re going to make it out of here…’
I hesitate to add ‘alive’. At my feet, the etched outline of a body lends an eerie feel to the scene, but it’s less worrying than the countdown clock on the wall, ominously ticking away the seconds until our fate is sealed. Will we ever find out who killed private detective John Monroe? Will the team pull together to find the clues we need to unlock the door and make a bid for freedom? And, most importantly, will the bar be open for a nice G&T afterwards?
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?
On the surface, it’s a simple setup – you, a handful of friends, a locked door, a room full of clues and an hour on the clock. Solve the mystery within the allotted time and you’re free. Fail and… well, let’s not even think about it.
But that’s where the simplicity ends, because this is actually one slick, incredibly detailed operation. Hint Hunt is pretty emphatic about teams having a minimum of three players, because it’ll take all of your ingenuity, curiosity and quick thinking to make it out. It’s not about general knowledge or mathematical genius, but teamwork and lateral problem-solving.
There’s a pretty strict no-tech policy. Rather bring your childlike curiosity and beady eyes, as a thorough examination of the room is required if you’re to find all the pieces of the puzzle.
Choose your adventure
Because the setup is so intricate, there are currently only two mysteries to choose from: the John Monroe room and the Zen room. They have an overall success rate of 40% and 15% respectively, so don’t feel too bad if your hour runs out with you still trapped – you are definitely not alone. A third mystery will be added later in 2016, to continue the fun.
As mentioned, three is the advised minimum number of players, with a maximum of six for John Monroe and five for Zen. The minimum age for players is nine when accompanied by adults, and 15 without the grown-ups in tow.
Look, the organisers don’t want to get all rulebook on you, but the above guidelines really ensure fun, fair play. Fewer than three players or participants younger than 9 and things may get difficult to the point of frustration. More than six people crowding into John Monroe’s office and you’re likely to miss half of what’s going on as everyone fights to make their voice heard.
A little help
Don’t worry if you get stuck – you won’t be left to twiddle your thumbs for 45 minutes. Your game master is keeping a watchful eye on you at all times and will send hints to get you back on the right path.
Where A304, The Old Biscuit Mill, 375 Albert Road, Woodstock
When Open 10 am – 8:30 pm daily
Cost From R585 for three players to R995 for six
Good to know You can book online up to 90 days in advance
Photography Courtesy of HintHunt and Dreamstime