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Indiana Jones, Sherlock Holmes and Prison Break in Athens

27 August 2014 / 16:08:14  GRReporter
5049 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

If you are in Athens and if you are a fan of crime novels, secretly dreaming to become Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple, "Athens Clue" is the right place for you. Five rooms filled with riddles and puzzles that you have to solve in order to be able to "escape" make up the first live game of escape in Greece.

The rooms are located in an old building built in 1930 that have preserved the atmosphere of that era. The entrance only hints at what awaits the players inside. The innovator who has imported and realized the concept is Dionysis Haralambopoulos. Today, some of his first and most passionate customers found their "escape rooms".

"The idea came during a trip with my family abroad. I entered Trip Advisor to find out the options for entertainment available there and found the "escape room" games that were the first on the list. We decided to try them. What impressed me was that I made the reservation two months before the trip and all the rooms were booked during that week with the exception of one hour. When we were there we had such a good time that I immediately started to think if we could do something similar in Athens," he told GRReporter.

Soon after that, Dionysis, for whom this is his first business activity, established contact with foreign companies and bought games from them. "Athens Clue" opened in December 2013 and, after a successful start, 5 new "escape rooms" will open in the heart of Athens, next to Syntagma Square, in less than a month.  

Nine months after the start, with the help of some of the most enthusiastic players, the company is already creating new rooms. "Our latest themed room is Prison Break and it was created entirely here, in Greece. We have five rooms in this building and we will open five more on Amalias Avenue. Thus we will become the largest European company in this business."

Two to five people can enter each room. They have to solve the case that is different in each room in order to escape from it within 50, 60 or 70 minutes. The longer stay is associated with a larger number of puzzles that need to be solved but this does not mean that the difficulty level is higher.

Upon entering the room, the players become detectives. They solve puzzles, look for keys, unlock padlocks, decipher codes with different configurations using clues. In some rooms they have to unlock safe boxes, in others doors and windows. "The game requires a lot of energy and combinatorial thinking above all. It requires no specific mathematical knowledge but an ability to think quickly and logically."

The success percentages of the players are different and depend on this level. "One in three groups of players manages to "escape" from the most "complex" room called "Laboratory" and every second group from the "easier" ones."

The players can press a button at any time to exit the game. "We have not had a case of claustrophobia crisis so far. When the players enter the room, they become so deeply engrossed in the game that they do not think about it. We had 2-3 cases when the panic button was pressed but due to an urgent need for the toilet and only one when a couple had a quarrel and the woman went outside and waited for the others to finish."

Now the challenge before "Athens Clue" is to continue to provide new experiences to its most enthusiastic customers who want even more excitement and a sense of fear in some of the games. In addition, the company has already gone beyond the borders of Greece and its ​​team will travel next month to Mexico, where they will create four rooms in Cancun. "We are negotiating a franchise agreement and in the autumn we will open rooms in Belgium and Egypt. This business is very profitable and the initially invested capital returns very quickly. All that is required is continuous improvement of the offered services."

Tickets start at 12 euro per person and vary according to the number of players in each group. When they are three each pays 12 euro, four 12 euro, five 11 euro. Due to the complexity of the game the minimum age of the players is 15 years. Children over 9 years of age can play too but they must be accompanied by one of their parents.

An interesting fact is that in the ranking of Trip Advisor for the most popular places to visit in Athens, the "escape rooms" are often ranked first, even before the Acropolis. For the organizers of this type of entertainment, however, this is only an incentive to offer the residents and visitors a different and exciting experience. Indeed, who would not like, after visiting the ancient hill, to become an archaeologist and search for "the lost statues of Knossos"!


Tags: EconomyCompaniesLive gameEscape roomsEntertainament
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