Launched by childhood friends, entrepreneurs and Beavercreek natives Daniel Huiet and Michael Keggan, the escape room attraction is a favorite for corporate outings, birthday parties, family gatherings and group events
Beavercreek – Seconds after entering the Egyptian tomb, the door slams shut behind you. Tasked to retrieve the riches of the Egyptian pharaoh, your group is confronted with the curse that has plagued previous tomb raiders who were never heard from again. By analyzing clues and solving puzzles, you can overcome the curse and escape the tomb with the treasures, but time is critical. You only have an hour, or lest you endure the same fate as those before you.
The aforementioned scenario sounds like the plot of an action thriller or an exhilarating video game, yet childhood friends and entrepreneurs Daniel Huiet and Michael Keggan have brought it to life as one of their featured attractions at the Great Escape Game. The Tomb: Pharaoh’s Revenge is one of four escape rooms at the Beavercreek destination that Huiet and Keggan opened last spring. Interestingly, escape rooms started in the digital realm as online video games. The concept is clear. You are trapped in a room, and you cannot depart until you find objects and solve puzzles to escape. Eventually, escape rooms emerged from the big screen and video games into real-life adventures.
Unlike many escape room concepts, Great Escape Game Dayton is an independent business, and not a chain Great Escape Game Dayton offers guests a simply defined mission that is not so easy to successfully implement. Players have one hour to escape a themed room by following clues and completing puzzles.
“When you enter a room, you have anywhere from 20 to 25 puzzles and tasks you and your group must solve to escape,” Huiet explained. “Each escape game is a real‑life adventure. You work as a team to crack codes and find hidden items to escape the room while the clock is clicking. It’s exciting and quite addictive. We have seen lots of groups return multiple times.”
Huiet and Keggan have known each other since they were Kindergarteners in Beavercreek. They grew up together and graduated from Beavercreek High School in 2003. They were even an entrepreneurial team as kids, collecting golf balls around the Beavercreek Golf Club and selling them by the bag.
“The Escape Game venture is a lot more exciting and has a lot more room for growth and profit,” Keggan said with a laugh. “The golf ball enterprise at least showed that we work well as a team.”
Huiet and Keggan are passionate about their hometown, and when they determined that the escape room concept was bursting with potential for the short term and long term, they were not hesitant about the location.
“This fills an entertainment void in Beavercreek beyond the movies or bowling,” Huiet said. “It is a game of strategy, and anyone can play.”
Along with Pharaoh’s Revenge, Great Escape Game Dayton features The Outbreak, Bank Vault and Area D: Nuclear Facility rooms. Each room can host up to eight participants, and a minimum of four is recommended. Plyers are suggested to arrive 15 minutes before the starting time since the room door cannot be opened after the game has begun.
Great Escape Game Dayton frequently hosts birthday parties for children and adults alike, corporate team building events, bachelor and bachelorette parties, family gatherings, group date nights and girls night out festivities.
“Team building can be mundane, which is why an escape game adds life to corporate retreats,” Huiet said. “It is not only fun, but it also cultivates camaraderie and encourages employees to work together as a group in ways they have never experienced.
“Once you get into the room and you see that hour timeline on the TV, and it starts clicking, your heart starts to race,” Huiet added. “You know it’s coming to an end, and you know you have to get out.”
Huiet and Keggan are adding a fifth room in early 2017. Not every group escapes, which adds to the challenge and leads to return visits. Pharaoh’s Revenge has a 20 percent escape rate, Keggan said. The concepts of the other rooms are:
(25 percent escape rate)
“Your inside source has informed you that a large sum of money have been transferred to the Central Bank. Hence, you and your team have a plan to break into the bank and escape with the loot. You have the blueprints to the bank and access to the vault room, but you will need to crack the safe and to collect as much of the money as possible before the guard returns.”
(15 percent escape rate)
“A deadly virus has taken over the world, wreaking havoc. You are infected, and time to find the cure is dwindling, and you are running out of time to find the cure, which is in the lab. Your group has tripped the alarm, and you are locked in the lab. The only way to save yourself and escape is finding the cure!”
Area D Nuclear Facility
(10 percent escape rate)
“You and your team in the contracts branch have been handcuffed in the top secret room in Area D at Wright-Patt Air Force Base. Also, the terrorists have armed the nuke located in Area D and it will go off in one hour if you do not take action! You’ll have to figure out the codes to disarm the nuke while in the top secret nuclear room. You are the only hope!”
The Vault is ideal for beginners since it has the most basic décor and the highest escape rate, Keggan said. Area D is the most difficult.
“This was a welcomed alternative to seeing a movie. Time flies when you’re under pressure,” Great Escape Game player Carrie Leese said. “We did the easiest level (Vault), and it gave us an adrenaline rush. We left on a high after we solved all the clues and escaped with three minutes on the clock. The next time, we will test ourselves with another room.”
Great Escape Game is $26 per person. Throughout December, there are $20 games on Wednesdays. Players can visit www.greatescapegamedaytoncom and enter the promo code ’20wed’ to book with that special rate.