The Story So Far
The year is 1893. The Eccentric Scientist was one of the brightest minds of the 1800s. Nearly every invention of modern life, from the automobile to the airship to the computing engine itself, came from his fevered mind. He conducted strange experiments, with lightning and thunder crashing all around his mansion, but this passed with only minor comment, because his inventions were so wonderful.
One year ago, the Eccentric Scientist went into his study, just like he did every night. But this time, he never came out. You are a team of private investigators summoned here on a very important mission. Under the terms of the first half of his rather strange will, you have been called to the Eccentric Scientist’s study by his loyal butler, The Loyal Butler. There, you will have one hour to search the study and recover the Eccentric Scientist's will.
If you are unsuccessful, then the Business Partner will take over the Eccentric Scientist's patents and inventions. It seems likely that, unlike the Eccentric Scientist, who allowed anyone to use his creations for a nominal fee, the Business Partner will charge an exorbitant sum indeed.
It is no exaggeration to say that the future of the world rests in your hands. Can you enter, find the will, and escape the room? To do so, you will have to uncover....the Secret of the Study.
What's an Escape Room?
I'm glad you asked! Escape Rooms are a new entertainment experience that have been sweeping the country in the past few years. The idea is simple; you're locked in a room with some other people and told to find a way to escape the room within a time limit. But, of course, that's easier said than done.
This isn't just a case of finding the spare key under the blotter. No, instead, you're more likely to find a cryptic note under the blotter that can only be decoded using symbols engraved on the masks on the wall, leading to a secret compartment in that ornamental vase over there, with a key to the locked drawer which contains.....well, you get the idea.
But Escape Rooms are more then just a series of puzzles. They require a wide variety of skills, from observational to deductive to creative and back again. Which is why it's a good thing you're not in there alone! Bring your own team, or make some new friends on the spot, bonding over your thrilling escape.
Escape Rooms are a great way to build teamwork skills, and many businesses find them an excellent place to spend some of that pesky "team-building" budget. They're also a great date night activity; there's nothing like the sensation of eyes meeting over an opened Chinese puzzle box. And Escape Rooms are just plain fun, with a hands-on, visceral experience that you can't get with any other form of entertainment.
OK, cool! So, what about them?
I'm glad you asked that too, random person who keeps writing these headers! We want to make one ourselves, and we need your help!
We are Lime Shirt Studios; we're a small group of friends who run Live Action Roleplaying Games, or LARPs. We've been running events for around five years, mostly in the Troy, NY area. And don't get me wrong, we don't plan on stopping anytime soon. But, while running LARPs is a lot of fun and personally rewarding, it doesn't pay very well. (or....at all) So, last year, a few of us went off and played an Escape Room down in New York City, went back home, and said to ourselves, "Why can't we do that?" Lacking a good answer, we decided to go for it, and now, here we are!
We've spent the last eight months planning out the room itself; writing the story, designing the puzzles, all that good stuff. But now it's time to take those ideas and turn them into reality, and that takes something very special indeed: money. Enough money to buy props (if you've watched our video, you can see some examples on the table), rent and renovate a space, file paperwork; all of that messy logistical, bureaucracy stuff.
Well, we pooled our funds, ransacked our piggy banks, and checked under the couch cushions, but we came up a little short. Sort of. We have enough money to open the business, if we enjoy the wonders of ramen for a few months. But what we don't have is much in the way of an advertising budget. And without advertising, we have no players. No players means no money coming back in, and we're back to the eating ramen issue. And that's sad.
Sure it is. So, how much work do you have done?
Most of it, actually; at least, everything we can do without having the actual physical space. We've got the entire room planned out from a puzzle standpoint; every puzzle is ready to go in terms of design, albeit not created in physical space already. (That's what the actual room is for.)
Speaking of which, at the time of writing, we have just acquired our space in the Troy Atrium; our plan is to spend a month setting up and playtesting, and then open up the room to the public in September. Besides being our stomping ground already, Troy has a pretty thriving small business market, and has Russell Sage College and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to provide a pool of players. (Also, we all graduated from RPI, so we know that market pretty well.)
We already have almost all the actual furniture ready to go as well; we've been hitting as many local garage and estate sales as we can to get props, chairs, desks, and what have you.
In other words, at this point, we're set to open up a business. But a successful Kickstarter campaign is the difference between us having to hope we take off right away, and having a chance to pull in some customers who might otherwise never experience the joy of an escape room. So anything you can donate to the cause would be greatly appreciated!
Okay, you're starting to drag on a bit. Anything else?
Sheesh, wonderful, even the header guy is a critic. The only thing I have left to say is that we appreciate everything you can give us. Every little bit helps, and brings us closer to making this crazy dream of ours a functional reality. Without you, we can build the door, but we need your help to get people to walk through it...
.....of course, we'll then lock the door behind them and force them to solve a series of challenging puzzles to earn their escape in under an hour, but that's all just part of the fun, right?
-Stephen and Veronica, Lime Shirt Studios
Risks and challenges
Welp, obviously, we've never run an escape room before. Fortunately, we're not new to the concept of running events; we have been running Lime Shirt Studios (as Lime Shirt LARPing) for years, so there's that. Also, we both studied game design at RPI, so we're theoretically well-educated to do something like this. Still, this is the most structured and official thing we've ever done, so there are likely to be some unexpected challenges.
Fortunately, we've already taken steps to handle the worst of them. We've sat down with people who have run successful businesses before to get the proverbial "Russian judge" opinion on starting up a business, and we're sure we can at least start the business up. That means that no matter what, everyone should get their rewards.
Of course, there's no guarantee in the business world when it comes to financial success. But escape rooms are still a growing and expanding market in America, and they've run successfully in Europe for years, so there's every reason to believe that this is a viable middle to long term business model.
Basically, the risks and challenges for this project are noticeable on our end, but for you, the risks are pretty small. We will open the room, so you will have a chance to play in it. We're stubborn as hell, too; we've never failed to run an event we've guaranteed, and we have no plans of starting now.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)