It’s February, Valentine’s Day is approaching, and if you’re in a relationship, you’re probably looking for some way to show your significant other just how special they are. One of the more interesting and memorable dates you can plan is an escape room.
In this special edition of Confessions of a Game Master, our Game Masters have taken on the roles of Relationship Experts with suggestions on how to best approach an escape room date night. Practicing patience, planning ahead, and learning to communicate are just a few of the tips our game masters have to make your date one to remember.
The Fun House is a great game for a double date. Filled with enough puzzles for both couples to divide-and-conquer if they so choose, the game is also filled with enough whimsy to make a magical night you will remember. Plus, Zoltar doesn’t mind being a third- or fifth- wheel. At least, he’s never told us he minded.
If you are looking for a more thrilling date night, The Hex Room is sure to get your pulse racing. After all, everyone knows horror movies are best when there’s a romantic subplot involved. Great for three adventurous couples, the feeling of being thrown into a horror movie will excite every player while the unique design of being separated into individual rooms will fuel the drive to rejoin your loved one and escape the game.
Make sure you’ve caught up on all of our Confessions of a Game Master videos by checking out our YouTube channel. Be sure to subscribe for future confessions videos! Do you have a question for our game masters? Leave a comment on our blog, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Tumblr and you may see your question answered in a future video.
Manager, Game Master, Relationship Guru
Cross Roads Escape Games
Are you the kind of person who wants your dates to be memorable and out-of-the-ordinary? Do you and your date like adventure and puzzle-solving? Have you been on too many bland dates and want something that you will truly enjoy?
With Valentine’s day right around the corner it is a good idea to start thinking about good date night ideas. The only problem is… you’ve already been on all the classic dates. You’ve done the fancy dinners before, you’ve taken your date to the movie, you’ve even gone on long walks and romantic picnics. So now what?
Are you the kind of person who wants your dates to be memorable and out-of-the-ordinary? Do you and your date like adventure and puzzle-solving? Have you been on too many bland dates and want something that you will truly enjoy? With Valentine’s day right around the corner it is a good idea to start thinking about good date night ideas. The only problem is… you’ve already been on all the classic dates. You’ve done the fancy dinners before, you’ve taken your date to the movie, you’ve even gone on long walks and romantic picnics. So now what?
Have you ever taken your date to an escape room?
Escape rooms are immersive experiences that take you on thrilling adventures that require cunning, team work, and communication. You will rely on each other to find clues and solve challenging puzzles in an attempt to escape the room in time. There are so many different themes that you are bound to find a room nearby that offers the experience you are looking for. Whether silly or scary, whacky or intense, you will undoubtedly have an amazing and unforgettable experience.
You might be asking yourself, “what makes escape rooms so ideal for dates?” Well, just sit back and let me explain.
The main focus of any escape room is team work and togetherness. Escape rooms are a bonding experience that forces people to leverage their strengths in order to assist each other in escaping the room. The challenge of the rooms often brings people closer together, uniting them under a common goal… ESCAPE!
If you have done an escape room before, you already know how memorable they are. The entire experience is so thrilling and unique that you and your date will be talking about it for months to come.
One might wonder, but why do escape rooms make memorable dates? Well, that is simple. It is because everyone that participates in an escape room is having an active experience, rather than a passive one such as going to the movies.
Lastly, when you manage to escape an escape room it leaves you with a feeling of accomplishment. You didn’t just sit through your date and enjoy yourself, you worked with your date to solve puzzles and figure out a way to get out of the game!
Any date that emphasizes working together and gives you both a common goal to work towards while simultaneously making you feel thrilled and accomplished will be a date to remember. And if this hasn’t convinced you yet, then just remember this: Any date that leaves you all wondering “when are we going to do another,” surely has to have been a good date.
Manager, Game Master
Cross Roads Escape Games
Prizes! Everyone loves prizes! Did you know that Cross Roads Escape Games is one of the very few escape rooms that gives out prizes? Even if you don’t escape, every group leaves with something.
We are escape room enthusiasts too, and our favorite thing to do after an escape room is to sit down with our team and talk about it over some food and drinks. Next time you visit us, make sure to head to Top Class Pizza or Stereo Brewing afterwards!
Top Class Pizza, located at 1026 N Tustin Ave in Anaheim, is less than a mile away from Cross Roads and serves fresh gourmet pizzas, salads, sandwiches, and pasta. Their pizza crust is to die for and their Chicken Alfredo pizza is a Cross Road’s favorite! Just for playing a game at Cross Roads Escape Games, Top Class Pizza offers a 10% off coupon to all players OR a buy-one-get-one-free coupon to the few who manage to successfully escape!
Stereo Brewing, located at 950 S Via Rodeo in Placentia, is .7 miles away from Cross Roads and is the new hip brewery in town. Stereo Brewing has a great selection of beer on tap, fun music, and sometimes food trucks for when you want a bite to eat with your drink. Just for playing, guests receive a 15% off coupon for any beer on tap, OR if they escape they win a 25% off coupon for any beer on tap! Our current favorite is the ‘Wall of Sound’ Oatmeal Stout.
As you probably know, our escape rates are fairly low. On average, 40% of players escape The Fun House and 20% escape The Hex Room. The Hex Room also has an additional challenge to “survive” that only 5% are able to complete and escape. If you are a part of this 5% of survivors, then you also win a free “I survived” sticker! Wear it proud because you are one of the few!
If you play The Fun House KIDS, our alternative kid version of The Fun House for children under the age of 13, there is a bonus challenge inside the game to collect 8 gold coins. If all 8 coins are found, kids get to pick a prize from our treasure chest! Our treasure chest is full of an assortment of toys that change all the time!
Now, this trophy is not free like the other prizes we have, but it is worth bragging about. If you manage to escape either of our games, you are qualified to purchase an “I escaped” t-shirt! We are very strict on our t-shirt sales and will only sell our “I escaped” shirts to those who actually escape. Yes, we have turned down many offers. T-shirts can be purchased in store for $20. We have both men’s crew neck and woman’s V-neck styles in sizes S-XXL.
We know our games are not easy, so that is why we believe everyone deserves a prize! Book your game with us and see what one you will leave with!
Co-Owner and Creative Director
Cross Roads Escape Games
Created by game enthusiasts, for game enthusiasts. Owners Luke and Madison Rhoades come from a theatre and haunt background and found escape rooms to be the perfect backbone for their #1 rated company- Cross Roads Escape Games. Celebrating their 2nd year in business, here is the story of the creators and designers of Cross Roads and how it all came to be.
I graduated the University of Southern California with a B.A. in Fine Art and a Theatre minor. I designed and painted sets all around Los Angeles and was the lead scenic painter for The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor for 3 wonderful years. Luke, my husband, graduated Vanguard University of Southern California with a B.A. in Theatre. He was working as the Master Carpenter at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Hollywood. I would often get set design jobs and hire Luke as my technical director and carpenter for almost all of my sets. We were a great tag team duo. I would design it, he would build it, and then I would paint it.
THE FIRST ESCAPE ROOM
On Oct. 31st 2014, we played our first escape room. We had no idea what we were getting into. I thought I bought tickets for a haunted house, so we were completely shocked when we found out that they were going to put us in a room with 8 other strangers and lock the door. Our group did absolutely terrible. It was chaos trying to get 10 people on the same page, but that was part of the fun. I remember the time being about half way up when I realized we have not opened a single key lock. I yelled at the group, “How have we not found a single key?!?!” The girl right next to me goes, “Oh! I found a few keys!” and starts to remove about 5-10 keys from her pocket that she decided to put there for safe keeping (and not use?).
Afterwards our game master comes in with a look of disappointment and tells us that we only made it about 60% of the way. It didn’t matter to us if we won or lost or how far we got, the experience was unlike anything we have ever done and we were hooked. The idea for The Hex Room came later that same night.
We decided to take a chance. We quit our jobs and used all the savings we have worked 10 years to save up for our future house. It was one of those scenarios where we would always live a life of ‘what if’ if we didn’t give it a shot. And what better time to try and fail then when you are young? So we did. We found a location in Anaheim, California, battled the city for permits, and put ourselves in a hole of loans and credit card dept (we found out quickly the savings we had was not enough). With the help of some amazing family and friends, Cross Roads Escape Games opened one year later.
Cross Roads… get it? Luke and Madison Rhoades… ok good.
We wanted to create something that felt so real, you forgot it was a game. Imagine being transported to a new world where you can go anywhere and touch anything you want? To desperately try to find clues to help unlock the secrets to your escape? All our games are designed by us and built from the ground up. Not only is the production value outstanding, even the game design is different. As huge horror fans, we would always watch movies and say something along the lines of, “If that was me, I would have never run up the stairs!” or, “If I was in that situation, I would have totally survived.” Now with this new immersive theatre at our fingertips, we decided to create just that: a real-life horror movie scenario where people can find out if they would actually live or die in a horror film.
CREATING THE HEX ROOM
We love games. Board games, card games, video games, and now escape games. Once we were hooked on escape games we played every one that was available to us. Playing escape rooms was a great learning experience. We saw what we liked, and what we didn’t like. Our biggest issue was that no matter where we went, no matter what the “mission” was, the game was the same. We knew we had to change that up with ours.
Unlike traditional escape rooms, The Hex Room takes immersion to the next step and makes players live out a real-life horror movie. Before your game begins, each player takes a quiz to determine which stereotypical horror movie victim they are. You can be cast as the Jock, Rebel, Prom Queen, Virgin, Nerd, or Detective. Once in costume, players are place in a room by themselves. It is their goal to overcome their individual challenges and still work together as a team, although physically divided. If they are successful, they can rejoin their friends and work on escaping. If not, they can be left behind to die.
CREATING THE FUN HOUSE
The Hex Room became a revolutionary game, but maybe a bit too advanced for its time. When we opened, Escape Rooms were still such a new concept, only a handful of people knew what they were, even fewer played one before. People loved The Hex Room, but we were aware that it was a bit overwhelming to a new player, so we also created The Fun House.
The Fun House is the necessary introductory that people needed to escape rooms. People were together for the experience instead of divided at the start. If someone felt uncomfortable doing something “scary”, then we had The Fun House to offer instead. Although the game play is more of a traditional escape room, we still had a lot of new ideas to offer. The game became self aware with lots of fun tricks and jokes along the way, not to mention the amazing Zoltar. Have you met him yet?
We are determined to always bring the next level of interactive entertainment and have many more ideas up our sleeves. We are very excited for our 3rd full-length game, The Psych Ward, coming this year. It has been a long time in the making, but will be well worth it. The experience really shows our theatrical background with a lot of board game influence. The Psych Ward is not an escape room, it’s the future of immersive entertainment.
CEO and Co-owner
Cross Roads Escape Games
Greetings and salutations dearest reader! I am Zoltar the Great, Seer of secrets, and your guide to the funniest thing I have ever seen in the Fun House!
Many people have asked me, “Zoltar, do you enjoy hanging around and laughing with your players all day?” My answer to this question is simple. Yes. Yes, I most certainly do. It would be apt to say that I revel in the shenanigans that my players come up with while under the big top. Oh, I could go on and on about the many laughs shared between myself and my players. But of all the different types of people that have visited me here in the Fun House, there was one that tickles my funny bone to this day. I call him Mr. Literal!
Yes! We all know someone like Mr. Literal. This person takes your word for everything. This person often finds simple instructions to be unintuitive and frustrating. This is the person that when you say, “give me a second”, will count to one out loud and then ask if you are ready yet. Yes, you know exactly who I am talking about, don’t you? One of my fondest memories was created by someone who took everything I said too seriously.
This all started when Mr. Literal asked for a clue to a puzzle that one of his team mates was in the process of solving. My response to Mr. Literal was “If you put your heads together I’m sure you’ll be able to figure it out.” Mr. Literal stared at me with slowly widening eyes as the dawn of realization passed over him. He then turned to his team and demanded a huddle.
“Zoltar says that we need to put our heads together!” He shouted as his team huddled around him. He then stuck his head towards the center of his huddle circle. The other team mates exchanged looks of skepticism as they slowly leaned in and touched their heads together.
Now… I could have said something and put a stop to it right there, but honestly, I was curious to see how far this would go… So, I asked if they had figured it out yet. Of course, there was nothing to figure out, but Mr. Literal immediately replied that they were still working on it.
“Are you sure you are standing in the right spot?” I asked. The words popped out of my mouth unbidden and drenched in sarcasm. Most people would have realized in that moment that literally putting their heads together couldn’t possibly solve a puzzle… But this wasn’t most people; This was Mr. Literal!
And do you know what he did next? He told everyone to move to the center of the room and everyone in the group began to move their feet together shuffling towards the center of the room with their heads pressed together.
I… was… breathless. They stood together with their heads pressed together for what had to be a full minute before someone in the group finally spoke. “What exactly did Zoltar say to you?”
“He said that if we put our heads together we should be able to figure out our puzzle.” In that moment, his entire team groaned audibly and pushed away from the huddle. Mr. Literal stood there with a confused look on his face as his team walked away to go back to solving puzzles and I laughed harder than I have ever laughed in my life.
This was indeed one of the funniest moments I have ever experienced in all my time in The Fun House. Perhaps, dear readers, I shall reveal more of my favorite stories from the big top in the future. Make sure to keep an eye out for more of Zoltar’s Premonitions! Of course, not literally.
Manager, Game Master
Cross Roads Escape Games
Happy New Year, everybody! It’s that time again; Time for resolutions, new outlooks, new plans, and of course new adventures. If you are looking for something new to shake up your everyday routine, perhaps you should join the hundreds of thousands of people who are turning to escape rooms as their number one choice for interactive fun.
If you’ve never played before, you probably have some questions about what an escape room is. If you have played before, then you already know how difficult it is to explain an escape room without giving away any spoilers. Well don’t worry, I’m here to help. In this blog, I will be explaining what an escape room is as well as providing hints to help beginners approach their first escape game.
So… what is an escape room? An escape room is an interactive adventure where you must find clues and solve puzzles to escape a room within a set time limit.
Of course, this is a very broad description of an escape room. As all enthusiasts discover, each escape room is a little different; with different themes, puzzles, requirements, or strategies. For example, here at Cross Roads we currently have two different games with two very different themes. The Fun House is a kooky, zany circus-themed non-linear room, while The Hex Room is an intense horror-themed room where you are separated into individual rooms and must work together to escape. No matter the theme, each escape room is designed around the same ideas: the players are going to need to find clues, connect them (sometimes physically, sometimes not), and use them to solve a series of puzzles.
Why would I choose to play an escape room? An escape room is a way to get out of the house and have fun with your family and friends of all ages.
Instead of being stuck in a movie theatre for a few hours, unable to interact with the rest of your group, escape rooms provide the opportunity to talk, joke, interact, and socialize with your team mates. If you have kids with you, no problem! Some rooms, like Fun House for KIDS, are designed to provide fun for the whole family! If you want to read a more in-depth post on how to choose the best escape room for your family, check our earlier blog post.
And finally, in a special edition of Confessions of a Game Master, our game masters provide some tips on how to optimize your game while playing an escape room. These tips come directly from watching many players struggle in our rooms and make the same mistakes over and over.
I hope this blog has helped you to understand escape rooms a little better. If you’ve been thinking about trying an escape room, want help convincing someone to join you on your next escape room adventure, or are looking for tips on how to improve your games, I hope this has been a good start.
And of course, if you like our Confessions of a Game Master video, you can find them all on our YouTube Page. Have a question for our Game Master? Leave a comment on our blog below or on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube pages and you may see the answer in a future video.
Wishing you all a great and exciting New Year. Have fun escaping!
Manager, Game Master
Cross Roads Escape Games
Welcome back to Confessions of a Game Master, your inside look at the minds of the men and women running your games. This month, we ask our game masters to tell us about a time they played an escape room with their family.
If you are looking for something out of the ordinary to do with your family, taking them to an escape room is a great idea! It’s a way to get people of all ages to have fun, interact, and use their minds. It is an interactive experience that will keep the group active, but at the same time not be physically demanding (depending on the game, of course) and nobody will spend the whole time with their eyes glued to a cellphone screen. It’s a time to be present, together. To read a little more and for tips on how to choose the best escape room for your family, check out my previous blog here.
My family loves to play games and put together puzzles when we get together for the holidays, so it was only natural that we should graduate to playing escape rooms as well. I know that we’ve all made lasting memories while getting to be active and use our minds. This holiday season, I hope you get to do something memorable and extraordinary with your family.
Tell us about a time you’ve played an escape room with your family! Why do you think playing an escape room is great idea for a night out? We’d love to hear from you here or on Facebook!
Do you have a question for our Game Masters? Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr! If you haven’t seen our other Confessions of a Game Master blogs, you can check them out here, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel!
Manager, Game Master
Cross Roads Escape Games
Every escape room has a varying skill set that is needed to complete each mission. When gathering your team, make sure to get a diversity of creative thinkers so you have all your bases covered. Here is our list of the 6 types of people every great escape room team needs! Which one are you?
O’ Captain my captain! Every good group needs a fearless leader! Someone to help settle time wasting disputes and support their team mates when they need an extra set of hands. The Leader is usually elected into the role, either consciously or by habit, and others react and respond to the Leaders suggestions with little to no argument. The Leader doesn’t stick to any one puzzle though and can often be seen running about the room checking in with the rest of the team.
This is the person you call when you lose the T.V. remote and need help finding it. This person is the one that pops up every three seconds while in the room and shouts “I found something!” The Finder is usually the one who finds most of the clues and puzzles and helps to figure out what things goes with what. They are also normally the keeper of keys and the knower of clues. They will sometimes also act as a courier running their new clues back and forth between team mates to trying to figure out if it can help solve any active clues.
The brains of the group. Usually this player is a natural puzzler. Often, they are referred to as the smart one and they derive the most enjoyment from being the one to crack the puzzle’s code! However, Thinkers do tend to have a really bad habit; The Thinker likes to focus on one puzzle until it is solved and hates it when they need to leave a puzzle half solved to try and solve a different puzzle. In extreme cases, this can lead to the Thinker being that one player who spends half the game in a corner by themselves working on a single puzzle.
Do you have to look through several volumes of an encyclopedia? No problem! Bag full of puzzle pieces? No problem! Other process of elimination puzzles? No problem! This tireless worker doesn’t get frustrated by meticulous tasks and can finish up the busy work on puzzles that have already been “solved” while their team mates move on to other tasks!
Oh Leaper… What can we say about the Leaper other than this: every group has one and every group needs one. The Leaper is that one person on the team that chooses to ignore clues and make huge leaps in logic when trying to find a solution to a problem. The Leaper embodies the age old saying that “there is no such thing as a dumb idea.” They will leap to strange and confusing conclusions that often end up being wrong. However, whenever the thinker gets stumped, it becomes the leapers job to attempt to find new out-of-the-box ideas for the Challenger to work with. When the clock is ticking down and everyone else starts panicking, the leaper is always there with another solution.
The Challenger works in tandem with the Thinker and the Leaper and acts as a grounding force for their brainstorming. Simply put, the challenger challenges the solutions put forth by the Thinker and the Leaper to help them come up with solutions that actually makes sense. The Challenger’s role is not to shoot down ideas, but rather to prioritize ideas with highest chance of success. They are the ones saying things like “We can try that, but first let’s see if this works instead…” They also help the Leaper turn their crazy idea into a plausible one by working through the Leapers thought process and forcing them to think about certain ideas in greater depth. If the team is a factory that produces ideas, then the Challenger’s role is quality control.
You also may have some team mates that can take on multiple roles, but it is fun to figure out which habits fit your team mates and friends. Let us know what roles each of your team mates fill in the comment section below! Also, make sure to play The Hex Room and put your teamwork to the test!
Game Master and Manager
Cross Roads Escape Games
The Holiday season is fast approaching, and for many people that means family gatherings. There’s always a lot of fuss during these next few months, dealing with travel schedules, cleaning, lodging, dining, and most importantly, entertaining. Though I cannot help you with everything, allow me to suggest some entertainment that can include the entire family and leave a lasting impression.
Last Christmas I got to visit my parents in San Antonio, Texas. My brother, my cousin, and his wife joined us for an early Christmas Eve dinner. After we finished eating, we were looking for something fun to do as a family. My brother suggested trying a local escape room, so we set off to solve a mystery aboard a pirate ship. We had a great time.
Escape rooms are a great idea for families getting together during the holidays. They provide an opportunity for groups of all ages to interact, to share, to laugh.
Unlike going out to see a movie, you are not confined to a seat in the dark, unable to talk with everyone else. In an escape room, you are free to move around. You can talk to each other, joke to each other, and sometimes even act silly together. For those who have trouble striking up conversations, the puzzles in the room provide an easy starting point.
To plan the perfect escape room outing with family, I have a few tips:
Find a game with a medium difficulty rating. With a medium difficulty, first-timers and enthusiasts alike can contribute. The first-timers will be able to understand and solve puzzles, while at the same time the enthusiasts can still find the game challenging and engaging.
Try finding a non-linear game. Non-linear games hold many puzzles that can be worked on simultaneously. This means that your group can split into smaller teams, giving everyone something to do.
Find a theme that appeals to everyone. There are plenty of silly, kooky, fun games that you can play, just be sure to check the age limits for the rooms. Also pay attention to limits on group size. Find one that can hold your entire group, and see if you qualify for a private room.
Include others. If you consider yourself an escape room master, sometimes it can be frustrating playing a room with those who have no idea what they’re doing. Just remember that you, too, were once a first-timer. Try guiding your family members in the right path. If an answer seems obvious to you, try helping your family come to the same conclusion as you instead of simply answering the puzzle. If you have a family member standing in the back not participating, even something as simple as “try this combination on this lock” could be enough to get them involved.
Adjust your goal for fun. Working as a Game Master, I have had many groups whose only goal is to escape. We all love winning, but we can’t win 100% of the time. Approach your game with your number one goal being to have fun with your family. If you focus more on including everyone and having a great time, you’re going to come out on top. Escaping would just be a bonus. Especially if you are playing with a large group of first-timers, there’s the possibility of tensions running high. Take a step back, breathe, and look at the room as a bonding experience.
If you are in the Anaheim area during the holidays and need something fun to do with your family, The Fun House is the perfect game for you. Your group will enter a wacky carnival to prove yourself as worthy magicians before time runs out. As a non-linear game with a medium difficulty, there are plenty of puzzles for everyone with any sort of experience. If your group has kids 13 and under, we even have a special version of the game with puzzles designed for younger players.
This holiday season, you can relieve a bit of stress by planning an escape room outing for your family.
Game Master and Manager
Cross Roads Escape Games
Are you looking for a unique gift for your friends and family this Holidays? Well you’re in luck! Cross Roads Escape Games has what you’re looking for!
Whether your friend is someone who has always wanted to play an escape room but needs an extra push; or someone who can’t stop talking about escape rooms; or if they are just someone who is always down to go do something fun and adventurous, then our gifts are perfect for them!
Gift Card in complementary puzzle case: $35- $350
Love Cross Roads and want your family and friends to come experience the fun? Then get them a gift card! Any gift cards with at least two tickets on it comes in a complementary puzzle case that must be solved to retrieve the card! You can order one on our website, or pick one up at our location in Anaheim.
SoCal Escape Room Passport: $10
The SoCal Escape Room Passport is like an interactive discount book. 8 SoCal escape rooms have their own page in the passport and on that page, is a puzzle. Players must solve the puzzle on each of the pages to receive the exclusive discount code for that company! There is well over $10 worth of discounts in the passport. Once you play a game in the book you can have it stamped with specialty-designed logo of each of the games. If you successfully escape the game you get the stamp in green, if you are unable to make it out in time, you receive the stamp in red. Once players get 10 green ‘escaped’ stamps in their passport, they win a free “Escape Room Master” t-shirt! There are 8 participating escape room companies in the passport but over 25 games to choose from!
Hex Room T-shirt- $20
Have your friends and family already played The Hex Room and LOVED it? Get them an exclusive Hex Room t-shirt sold only in store! Designed by the talented pop artist, Dan Litzinger, these fun shirts show that you have played our award winning ‘Hex Room’ game and lived to tell the tale.
For a limited time, buy a gift card and t-shirt in store and get an escape room passport for free! Grab your gift card online, or additional merchandise in store while supplies last!
CEO, Co-Owner, and Creative Director
Cross Roads Escape Games