Calling All Sherlocks! A New Game in Town

Calling All Sherlocks! A New Game in Town
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HintHunt is a new live escape game, the first of its kind in Paris, the city of medieval mystery and... baguettes. Exported from England after its immense success there, the game was created over 30 years ago in Asia, then travelled to Hungary, and ended up in London where two Hungarians immigrated with the idea.

Apparently, in the UK capital the clues game is the number two attraction mentioned on the travel site of Trip Advisor, out of over a thousand activities to do in London, before other tourist favorites such as Big Ben or Buckingham Palace. Go figure. And it is now the number one attraction for things to do in the French capital as well.

The enigma-laden game takes place in a room of roughly 215 square feet, locked from the outside, with a team of five people (your friends or not) where the goal is to solve a murder mystery and get out of the room in 60 minutes or less, thanks to the clues left around the space. Baptized The Office of John Monroe, a fictitious detective, the room is a copy of a private eye secret lair, complete with desk and sofa. You have one hour of concentration, search, deduction, sleuthering and team work, to escape with no outside help.

No one says what happens if you do not succeed. My kind of game. No advertising has kept the game under the radar, but word-of-mouth is now effectively creating a buzz among friends, co-workers and family members of all ages. Only one theme has been created so far, but this will change in the near future, as more people will have already solved the current one.

Started in December in Paris, the game now requires advance reservation for any of its three similar rooms, located at 62 rue Beaubourg, in the 3rd arrondissement, on the same street as the modern Pompidou Art Center, in the center of the city; Métro stop Arts & Métiers. The puzzle is usually solved in the nick-of-time, most frequently in 53 to 58 minutes, but the unlucky ones do get freed from the room by the staff, but then they are losers.

Only 50 percent of players have solved the challenge so far. A team of four players from Time Out Magazine Paris was able to complete the game just one second before the last minute was over. It is not recommended to play with less than four members, or the game becomes too difficult. For the same reason, it is not meant to include more than one child per team.

The three game rooms are open to anyone over the age of 9, if accompanied by an adult. No team can be made of five children; at least one adult must be present. This is not a kids' game. The session is 60 minutes inside the room, plus 15 minutes prior and 15 minutes after, for... debriefing (lol). If your forté is solving puzzles, deduction and logic, this is for you. It's meant to be fun, nothing scary.

So far the game has been attended by 5,000 people, since its debut in December 2013. Tickets range from 19 to 30 Euros per person (about $27 to $42), depending on the day and time requested, available everyday, from 10 a.m. to midnight. The game can be played in French or in English, the staff is bilingual, and the website is also in both languages.

One of the French creators, David Musset, age 26, announced a second clues room for very soon, adding "We are keeping the topic secret for the moment."