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Wacky Wheels - "The Dragon Trail”

Updated: Apr 17


LOCATION:  South England, United Kingdom

Photo above is property of Wacky Wheels


📝  ETR DECODER

  • 🔑 GAME: The Dragon Trail

  • 📅 DATE PLAYED: June 8-10, 2023

  • 🎬 GENRE: Mystery, Escape Road Trip

  • 🧠 DIFFICULTY (Based on 2 ppl): 8/10

  • 👥 TOTAL # OF PLAYERS: 2-4 ppl (other editions are 2-5PPL)

  • 🕒 LENGTH OF TIME: 3 Days

  • 💰 PRICE: €150/Team (plus €50/PP), plus additional charges

  • ☎️ BOOKING TYPE: Public

  • 🔓 ESCAPED/ COMPLETED?: Yes


📖 THE STORY

You have been called to assist a team looking for evidence to solve a long-lasting scientific dispute - Did dragons really exist and roam the earth? Professor Richard Owen would like your help to support his theory that yes, they did. But, there are some shadowy figures moving around who seem to be out to get in your way. Why? Is everything as straightforward as it seems? A journey through stunning landscapes, unique towns, and hidden gems across the UK. Competing with other teams, solving puzzles and driving to various places during the day and socializing in the evenings - be ready to make some amazing finds, wonderful memories and new friends.

Photos above are property of Wacky Wheels


🏹 TAKE A SHOT?

This is an experience like no other - you are given 3 locations in the country where you will be stationed each night, but no idea of the journey you will take to get between them, or what you will be asked to do. All you know is that you have been asked to prove the existence of dragons. Who could possibly turn down an opportunity like that?


We had an absolutely wonderful time. This was a unique event that we thoroughly recommend to anyone to take part in. You really do see some amazing places you may not have visited before, and even if you have done you will see them in a new light. We discovered at least two places we really want to go back to again, and discovered some exciting places an things we would maybe never have seen.


The materials, letters, artefacts etc that you use on your adventure are high quality and very in-keeping with the theme. Lots of letters, photos, notes and maps, a really cool guidebook and some great physical items (which sadly you can’t keep!).


Puzzles wise there are codes to crack, locations and items to find, parts of a puzzle to collect and then solve. Very clever use of architecture, features and items in locations for puzzles or for photo opportunities. Also clever use of technology - websites, email, and some clever offline items that I had not seen before! A LOT of thought has been put into the variety, difficulty and methods for each task. The organisers also got involved, playing various characters at certain points who would provide you with items and information, which was a lovely touch.


There is a lot of driving, so we recommend a team of between 2 and 4 wth at least two drivers who can share the load. But it was worth it to discover the amazing places we did, and to make use of features and findings geographically that bring the story and puzzles to life. We’d love to have spent more time in the places and less time driving, but then this is a road trip, and it was necessary to visit diverse places which had links to the theme, so this made sense.


The organisers were super lovely people and such fun. We also became very good friends with another two competing teams and vowed to stay in touch, and hopefully meet again on a future adventure! We will never forget our journey and what we did. We also had amazing weather (sometimes a little too warm!) - it may not have been as pleasant if it rained solidly!


All three nights had a social element for food an chat, with the final night also including the wrap-up and prize-giving. Whilst we weren’t the top of the leaderboard, or even close to it at any point, we weren’t really in it to win it anyway, preferring to just enjoy the journey, but the drive to score points definitely kicked in! There were very good prizes for the top 3 teams, and lots of fun had by all.


The company also produces really good printed escape room adventure books, which we were able to purchase from them on the final night, so we were able to continue our puzzle hunting after the event, and support their plans to continue making escape hunts! They are planning one in Northern Spain next, which would be a great opportunity to check out somewhere we had never been, as well as the excitement of the hunt and the immersive experience.


We left came home with fantastic memories, a goody bag, more puzzles, wanderlust, a vow to return to some of the places, new friends and a desire to do the whole thing over again!


Thank you to the whole team for their effort, time and inventiveness and to all the other teams for making it fun and friendly. Truly an awesome experience, never to be forgotten!


You can see the official photo album of the event here on the Wacky Wheels website and sign up for their next adventure in Bibao, Spain.

THE WACKY WHEELS TEAM - EDWIN, KLAUDIA, JOHAN


For the full account, please continue.


BEFORE, AND DAY 1.

The communication before the event was fantastic - lots of updates, reminders, suggestions on places to book to stay and details of what you need to bring and do. There was even some back story and an introductory “phone call” from the protagonist of the story Professor Owen closer to the time. The organisers were very open to questions and providing further clarification too.


Our team name was "Sisudatu" - named after the dragon in the Disney film Raya and the Last Dragon. We thought that was quite apt ;)


We had opted to drive down and stay overnight very close to the starting point (so as not to have to get up and drive very early on the first day) and found a basic but comfortable pub to stay in the night before.


On day 1, after a lovely breakfast at a local cafe, we headed to the starting point. Very pleasingly, they have given you a “window” in which to arrive and start your journey, so you do not have to worry about arriving for a specific time. It also means that those who are early risers and keen to get going can be off and running early, whereas those of us that like a lie-in and a more leisurely day (i.e us) can come a little later. There’s also less chance this way of you running into all the other teams, and seeing or hearing something that gives anything away.


We met with the Professor’s assistant who looked very official with dragon artefacts, paperwork and notes. She gave us some information and an envelope full of useful things, and also a most impressive artefact, and asked us to make sense of it all and get going on our mission. We were also aded to a WhatsApp group in order for the team to stay in touch with us (you’re not allowed to send messages in case of spoilers). We spent a little time reading our letter from Richard, perusing the materials and working out the curious artefact. Could this really have belonged to a dragon?! There was a wonderful aha moment when we did, and that excited us to get going on our journey.


Photos above are property of ESCAPETHEROOMers


Firstly, we needed to login to the Supercomputer at Richard’s office which would allow us to provide him with the information he had asked us to acquire. This is very easily done using a QR code and password and then we were in, and presented with the questions we needed to answer. Most were locked, so you must answer mostly in order. The answer checker for Richard’s computer was very strict! Even a letter out of place could cause a score of 0. However, if the answer is close enough for them to know you were correct, just unfortunate, the team would take an appeal and restore the points. We raced in a bit too quick with our excitement and answered one wrong. But it didn’t matter, we were really there to win though were we… or were we?!! It suddenly seemed like we might want to compete after all!


Each puzzle solved or answer given will trigger an email from Richard with further information and instructions, and each time you should have a clear (or pretty clear) idea of where you need to go next. We made another 3 stops to visit places and locations - each one really fun to explore and cleverly linked to the dragon theme, and also a meeting with someone who seemed very secretive and interested in what we were doing. At each step we submitted answers or fun photos of the team at certain points or with certain things, and unlocked the next questions, receiving emails from Richard at each step in response.


At the arrival of our final destination, we checked into our local hotel, unwound for a short time and then made our way to the arranged meeting point where everyone gathered for a drink, chat and a delicious BBQ put on by the pub. Full, happy and accomplished, despite being bottom of the score table, we made our way to our room to sleep for the next morning.


DAY 2


Today was a similar start - some teams ha been up and off early, we a little later! We again met with Richard’s assistant who gave us some more paraphernalia to help us during the day, and it became clear what our first port of call was. Parking up as close as we could get to where we neded to be, we started to scour the area.


Amusingly, we had started to recognise other teams who we met along the way, either by the fact we had spent time with them the night before, or simply that they were clutching a similar artefact, envelope, or looking lost and confused, or at the same thing we were looking at, with intent!


The first puzzle we found (after some helpful guidance from another team who saw that we were headed the wrong way!) very cleverly used a certain feature in the town which was very attractive and very apt for using in a puzzle. We solved it fairly quickly but we know others needed a little longer on this one.


And then we were off again, making our way to a very specific location, again bumping into another team when we got there! This was a lovely one as the organisers had set up a scene in the area, and we had to explore this and hunt for clues. This really gave it an authentic feel.


Again, we answered questions into the supercomputer site, submitting answers or photos as requested, and getting communications from Richard.


Our penultimate stop was the amazing and beautiful city of Wells (England’s Smallest City!) - and here we had a wonderful time - there were some things to find and a puzzle to solve using details found in a very unusual and interesting area.

This was also were we used one of the cleverest puzzles of the trip, and the lovely people of Wells helped with that! We will definitely be returning to Wells to visit again.We happened to check the leaderboard on our trip to our final destination, and we were 5th! We were so excited and suddenly it seemed like we had a real chance at this! In our last location, a place we had been before, we discovered some new things we hadn’t known about, and saw some amazing sights.


Photo above is property of ESCAPETHEROOMers


Quite worryingly, the emails from Richard took an unexpected turn by the end of the day, and it seemed worryingly like someone was trying to get in the way of progress. Or are they? A message from them seems to say that they are on the right side, and that we should help them with their cause. Who do you believe though? As well as puzzles, quests and whatnot- now we have a moral dilemma to attend to?!


The social event of Day 2 was a board game evening, but the venue we went to was very busy, loud and the tables very spaced out, so we didn’t really get the chance to mingle and play games as much as we wanted. There was also a limited selection of food available. However, we know that finding venues in a town that will take a booking for 30 people on a Friday and have a suitable space must be fairly hard to come by! We still enjoyed our evening and catching up with the teams and organisers. We were lucky to be able to stay with a friend in the area so also got a chance to catch up with him.


DAY 3


We have come such a long way, literally, since our first day. Many miles from where we started, and many more to go! This morning we met for the last time with Richard’s assistant, but a message had told us to also go to another venue. When we did, a mystery figure handed us a rolled up map and left without so much as a word.

We pored over the map and checked the rest of our materials and questions for the day, and soon we were off to our first location. All 3 places we ended up in were consistently great, including one place I had been to before but saw in a different light.


As before we answered questions, took photos and even spent some time in a pub with another team, poring over a puzzle together, proving just how friendly the competition was. Our position on the leaderboard had been going up and down somewhat, and whilst we knew we weren’t in for a top 3 spot, we were hopeful that those we had grown close to had a chance of the title. Along the way we received news, information, and eventually we had a choice to make too - which side are you on? Who do you trust? The final puzzle is what to do if you finally find the dragon… what do you decide?

Photo above is property of ESCAPETHEROOMers


The final social and debriefing session revealed all. The full story was recapped, decisions made and then it was the moment we had all been waiting for - the big reveal. BUt, I won’t tell you what that was, because that would spoilt the surprise ;) Let’s just say it was a dramatic and impressive finale that had us whooping and clapping.


Competition wise it ended up coming down to an nail-biting tiebreak - with the winners gaining 1 extra point for their correct answer, and grasping victory from the dragon’s claws to come out on top.

Photo above is property of ESCAPETHEROOMers


We finished a very respectful 7th of 11 teams. We weren’t competing really anyway, remember! We were just there for the sheer fun of it all 🙂Prizes were given, and small goody bags for all who played. We had the opportunity to ask questions, buy Wacky Wheels’ adventure books and chat for a little longer. We took photos, swapped contact details and hugs, said our goodbyes, and headed off, full of amazing memories and grinning from the fun of it all!

 

Check out our interview with the creators to understand more on the development side of these game:

Video above is property of ESCAPETHEROOMers

 

*** This road trip happens each year so check out their website to find out when you can sign up for the next one!***



(If you do decide to try this game, give us a shoutout or tag us on social media so we know you heard it from "ESCAPETHEROOMers"!)


Disclosure: We thank Wacky Wheels for providing us with samples of their games. Although a complimentary experience was generously provided, it does not impact our opinion on the review whatsoever.


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