I’d heard a lot of good things about Lucardo and so when I knew I’d have a Saturday evening free in Manchester it was top of my to-do list. Espionage is a World War II themed room with very little linearity and mostly straightforward puzzles, great for beginners.
Espionage is rated as the least difficult of Lucardo’s five rooms. A new subset of Team Judge was playing, with a total of two games’ worth of experience between everyone other than me, so it seemed a sensible choice. I had hoped to play The Dream on recommendation, but as we booked so late it wasn’t available.
After a well-rehearsed and longer than usual briefing we were taken inside our room. Immediately there was plenty for our six members to divide and conquer on, with a range of keyed locks, word locks, and number locks of different lengths, plus two of the most hateful of devices: directional locks. In this room the premise is a World War II scenario where you act on behalf the British Secret Intelligence Service to recover some stolen documents from an enemy bunker, and the setting and scenery reflected that, down to blacked-out windows and other props.
There were multiples of most types of lock, so when we came across combinations it took a fair amount of time to enter them into all the available locks of the right type, and twice we actually had a correct combination but failed to enter it properly in the right lock, leading to circling back. That was mostly our fault rather than the room’s, but there really were lots of locks.
Lots to do then in terms of finding numbers/letters to slot into things, with most puzzles standalone and one resembling a quick crossword. There were a couple of variations on the theme and things that were a bit different. Nothing much to write home about for an enthusiast, but great for newcomers to the game. I had the opportunity to simply step back and manage for the most part – sliding in and out for the slightly more complex elements.
We escaped with 14 minutes left on the clock and did not use any hints.
A good room for beginners with a lot of puzzles accessible from the get-go, ensuring that there is always something to do. A team of experienced players would knock this out very promptly and we weren’t surprised to learn the record was sub-30 minutes.
Footnote: We think Liam, our host, has left or is just about to leave Lucardo to go travelling. We wish him the best of luck.
Accessibility: Above average. Lift to the 2nd floor and just about enough room for a wheelchair for most of the game.
Alerts: Directional locks.
Capacity: Lucardo has five different rooms, each accommodating 2-6 players.
Cost: We paid £90 for our team of 6 (got to love Northern pricing). A room for 2 starts at £42 and the usual sort of sliding scale applies from there. We booked in person and paid cash.
Photo: Taken afterwards with a DSLR and showed up very promptly on Facebook.
Getting there: Lucardo is on the Manchester ring road, a short walk from Shudehill bus and tram interchange and a bit of a longer walk from Victoria and Piccadilly stations (or get the tram to Shudehill).