Games in Paddock Wood by TimeQuest
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Will always hold a special place in my heart as it was my first room. Puzzles are a combination of logic, search and a couple of physical. The scenery is good but the story (about meddlers in time) isn't really used or referenced. This is a good room for beginners.
The Quest to Save Camelot at TimeQuest at the Hop Farm at Paddock Wood was my 23rd room.
Living in Kent, we seem to be pretty spoilt for choice when it comes to escape rooms, however TimeQuest is a company that we’d heard very little about and seems to have gone under our radar. We decided only that morning to look for a room for that evening and TimeQuest not only had a choice of rooms, but the themes were appealing to us too.
We had no problems finding TimeQuest, following both the instructions on the website and the numerous signs when we got there. Being located in the actual Hop Farm is a unique setting and something I appreciated much more once I was actually in the room.
We arrived incredibly early for our room, but there was a large comfortable waiting area with some puzzles on the table, and the family owner, Michael, made us feel very welcomed and spent time talking with us about the history of the company, how he came to find the building and escape rooms in general. It’s the kind of talk that enthusiasts appreciate - sharing stories and reviewing rooms kind of thing.
We were given the brief on our room - entities known as sniglets are causing havoc to periods of history and it’s our job to restore order - as well as two pieces of advice: search and use the table to put the items on until you think you need them and think Crystal Maze. This was exactly what we did and I think both helped us.
Once in the room, there was plenty for our team of four to be getting on with. Everyone had plenty to be doing and the room definitely promoted team work and communication. The puzzles were in line with the theme of the room - think medieval wood as opposed to tech - and all were new to us even as ‘experienced’ players. We never looked at one and said “you need to do x” as has happened to us in rooms we’ve previously done elsewhere as we’ve come across that sort of puzzle before. We have a teenager on our team who is considered to be ‘the finder’ but this room proved a challenge even for her. We found ourselves looking and re-looking and each time we seemed to find something else. The room was a good size and easily accommodated our team. It would easily suit a larger team too. I would recommend taking a minute to appreciate the setting of the room. About half way through I stepped back and looked up and actually then only realised we were in one of the actual oast houses (as opposed to ‘just a room’) and that in itself is round and so fitting with the theme of Camelot. How lovely too, that a room that holds so much of its own history is now being transported back in time to a different period of history to create new history. If only walls could talk as they say!
The puzzles flowed well together and the solving of one led to the solving of the next etc. Some we clicked with instantly, and just got how to do them; one in particular definitely took a bit longer to work out and two of us worked on it separately, each coming up with a different solution, both of which could be tried. It was good to know mine was the correct one! One puzzle was ‘cracked’ by luck as opposed to working it out - one of our team did it just as the rest of us were about to work on solving it.
Clues were given to us via a screen that displayed our time. These were only done so when we specifically asked for one, as is our preferred method, but we were given the option of having nudges along the way.
We escaped in 48:31 and were assured this is a good time. Two of us were working on what we thought was a puzzle (but turned out not to be!) while the other two completed the quest and escaped. This may frustrate some people - to miss out on the finale so to speak - but our seemingly obsession to find a puzzle in anything made us laugh. Sometimes things just need to be taken for what they are!
Once we got out, Michael explained the ending to the two of us who had missed it as well as talking us through the puzzle solved by luck as opposed to being worked out. He also explained how other teams have solved some of the puzzles as opposed to how we did and also how some of the puzzles have evolved from what they started off as, to what they are now.
The workings of one of the puzzles was also explained to us and although on the face of it, it appeared no-tech and very simplistic (medieval!) the work that had gone into making it that way was incredible and it certainly increased my own appreciation of the room.
Three small things that I personally really liked (and these may be linked to my middle age!):
- Lighting - a bright, well lit room. No need for torches. It was so nice to be able to see everything.
- Music - no loud, over bearing background music that means you struggle to hear each other or the GM when you are being spoken to. I know in some rooms this is used to create tension, getting louder as the time ticks down, but it was nice not to have to shout or ask people to repeat themselves.
- Heating - as a woman of a certain age, I am always cold. Being in an old oast house, this room could easily have been uncomfortably cold, but care had been taken to heat the room meaning you were solely focused on solving the room rather than worrying about the temperature!
TimeQuest have two more rooms, with another in production. Enthusiasts could easily make a day of doing all the rooms, or if you are doing other rooms in Kent, I’d highly recommend making a stop here. We’ll definitely be heading back to do all of what they have to offer and certainly hope to see them more on our radar so to speak. Thank you TimeQuest (and Michael!) for a really enjoyable room.