Escape Room: Think you can make it out of The Sanctuary?

Since we were only about three seconds past the allotted 75 minutes to finish The Sanctuary at Escape Room Concord, we decided to hold up the signs proudly displaying that we were victorious. TIM GOODWIN / Insider staff
Since we were only about three seconds past the allotted 75 minutes to finish The Sanctuary at Escape Room Concord, we decided to hold up the signs proudly displaying that we were victorious. TIM GOODWIN / Insider staff
Monitor staffer Sarah Pearson is hard at work trying to crack the case of The Sanctuary at Escape Room Concord. TIM GOODWIN / Insider staff
Monitor staffer Sarah Pearson is hard at work trying to crack the case of The Sanctuary at Escape Room Concord. TIM GOODWIN / Insider staff
If you like the first room of The Sanctuary, wait till you get in to the second one. TIM GOODWIN / Insider staff
If you like the first room of The Sanctuary, wait till you get in to the second one. TIM GOODWIN / Insider staff
The Monitor's Hannah Sampadian and Insider Jon Bodell know there's something to do about this thing on the wall, but the question is what. TIM GOODWIN / Insider staff
The Monitor's Hannah Sampadian and Insider Jon Bodell know there's something to do about this thing on the wall, but the question is what. TIM GOODWIN / Insider staff
This has to be important, right? TIM GOODWIN / Insider staff
This has to be important, right? TIM GOODWIN / Insider staff

Three seconds. Three measly seconds is all that stood between us and the ability to say that we got out alive.

We had 75 minutes to complete The Sanctuary at Escape Room Concord, but just as the digital countdown clock reached triple zeroes, we figured out the final clue and made our escape. While it was technically past the allotted hour and 15 minutes, the four of us were rather impressed with our ability to work through the multi-room puzzle/scavenger hunt – considering we were told prior to entering that it’s not all that easy for that few people to complete it.

The Sanctuary is designed for eight people, with six being a good number for your group to work its way through it. Owner Greg Slossar said the success rate goes down the fewer number of people you have, and let’s just say, I wasn’t so confident in our chances walking in there after hearing that.

But in actuality, four I felt was kind of perfect – at least for our combination of myself, Jon (the other Insider), and Monitor staffers Sarah Pearson and Hannah Sampadian. We thought there was going to be a fifth, but one backed out at the last minute (and yes, this is where I publicly shame you Caitlin).

Now I had never been to an escape room before. Always wanted to, but just never have. I missed out when a previous work group completed The Library, the first room opened at the Concord spot, over the summer. Outside of the instructions and a general idea of what an escape room was all about, I was about as green as they come compared to my cohorts.

I’ll admit, it took me a few minutes to collect my bearings and get a feel for what the room was all about. You first start looking around for just about anything that could be a clue. Touch something over here, pick up something over there, see if this particular thing opens or slides.

And once you find something that you believe will ultimately help you escape, it only fuels your search for more clues and to think a little harder about some of the riddles that have been strategically placed. The staff is also watching your every move and offer up clues along the way on the countdown video board – and it’s up to the group if you choose to use them. Some are generic and used for just about every attempt, while other were personalized for something we were specifically struggling with.

When you first step in there, the seconds and minutes begin to slowly tick away. It seems like you have all the time in the world, but as you’re rushing around looking for clues and talking about what you’ve found and what it could mean, every time you glance up at the clock, more time has come off than you expected. Since there are multiple rooms, your top objective is to find your way into the second room as soon as possible because they tell you before you start, you can’t complete all the tasks in the first room until you have access to clues in the second.

Now we got into the second room with a decent amount of time remaining, but with lots to decipher and many unanswered questions remaining. As a half hour dwindled down to 20 minutes and then 15 and 10, the pressure was on. We were so close. It was like the final scene in the Usual Suspects, when the cop figures out exactly who Keyser Soze is; the pieces of the puzzle were just starting to lineup. It was a mad dash, as the minutes turned to seconds, and ultimately, we were just a mili-step too slow.

After the fact, you think about the missteps that could have turned that three seconds over to five seconds early. Like in any sporting event, it’s the last plays of the game that get scrutinized the most and I had a miscue down the stretch that could be considered the difference. I put something down flat that should have been standing up. Rookie mistake that’s a tough pill to swallow. Especially since the fastest time Slossar could remember was in the 45- to 50-minute range. They must have been a little more experienced.

Oh well, there’s always next time. And we don’t have to wait long, as The Enigma is set to open sometime in mid- to late-March

Well, hopefully I have said enough without giving anything away. I don’t want someone to go in there, come across a clue and be like ‘oh, I read about this in the Insider and here’s how to solve it.’ That wouldn’t be cool of us.

But you should definitely check it out. We highly recommend it.

The grouping we had worked great together (see we didn’t even need you Caitlin) and maybe we’ll start a monthly escape room column. If only that could be a real thing. But we’ll go back for another run when Enigma is operational.

The Sanctuary is $30 per person or you can do what’s called the private room for $200 and is perfect if you have a group of eight. It saves each person about $5. If there’s only a couple of you, all you do is pick a time, and you might be paired up with another small group. The Library is $25 a person or $200 for the private option and is for up to 12 people.

Escape Room Concord is open Wednesday through Friday, 3 to 7 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Games begin every two hours, giving the staff time to get everything reset before the next group attempts to escape.

For more information and to book your time slot, visit escaperoomconcordnh.com.

Author: Tim Goodwin

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