The Divide is something very different. Escaping rooms is a good, if expensive, hobby. Escaping a poor financial situation, homelessness, and similar is a lot more serious. Time Trap Escape Rooms sought to take up that challenge.
Another Team Judge trip to Reading took us to the upstairs of a closed barber shop, where Time Trap had built their pop up escape experience. It’s physically separate from the main Time Trap premises, and thematically separate also: their default theme of time travel parked for this one.
Despite the tight space, the team had made an excellent fist of setting up the room. The divide isn’t just a name: it’s also a literal line across the centre. On one side, privilege, luxury, and Tesco Finest. On the other, make do and mend, disrepair, and cans of Tesco value sweetcorn.
The puzzles in most cases needed to combine something from each side of the divide to complete. Most were aimed at focusing on differences between the privileged and the less so. Solving various puzzles led to the revelation of on-theme words to be entered into a tablet, which would release a coin. The game was pretty non-linear with multiple different orders in which the puzzles might be solved.
An unbalanced scales sat visible throughout and by completing the different challenges one could, and we ultimately did, “balance the divide”.
We cleared the game with 23 minutes to spare, 1 hint, and a lot to think about.
This game isn’t as much about setting a tough challenge as handling a tough issue. TimeTrap did this sensitively and well. It wasn’t a difficult game, but the theming was what made it good.
Accessibility: 5 flights of stairs and no lift.
Capacity: The single room takes 2-6 players.
Cost: The room costs £54-120 off-peak (weekdays before 5) and £60-138 peak (any other time). 10% of takings donated to a local homelessness charity.
Photo: Taken afterwards on a phone.
Emergency exit: The room was not locked.
Getting there: This venue is a 10-15 minute walk from Reading station (and is separate from their main location).
Note: This pop-up room finished on 15 August 2018. It had a subsequent run on the south coast; we think this is also finished.
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