It’s a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, inside a riddle room

Fri, 01/12/2018 - 11:30am

Three Block Island friends traveled to the mainland to solve a mystery, and submitted the following report:

On the last weekend of October, a couple of us went to visit a friend on the mainland. As soon as we got on the boat, Mac pulled out three Monster Energy Drinks. “Mac, it’s 8:00 in the morning!” we practically said in unison. Reluctantly, André and I drank half a Monster in preparation for The Riddle Room. The boat came into Point Judith later than expected. And so we met our friend a little way from the freight shed.

We had about an hour to kill before we had to be in East Greenwich for The Riddle Room. We stopped in at Dunkin’ Donuts right before Route 1. All of us ordered a variety of pastries and drinks. 

A “Riddle Room” is an interactive room that you are “locked in” — rooms are not actually locked for fire safety reasons — and have to solve puzzles to escape. 

We arrived at the Riddle Room around 11 a.m., a half hour before our time slot. The place was located in a low-key area by the docks in East Greenwich. A small white door led us into a building with two flights of stairs. We were greeted by the man who ran the place, who asked us if we were excited. None of us had ever been in a riddle/escape room, so the suspense was building and the Monster drinks started kicking in. Nevertheless, we were excited and ready to solve the puzzles and escape.

After we got the rundown of rules and regulations, we got the background of the room’s mystery. This is the story we had to solve: A doctor who experimented on his patients fled the country after faking his death. He was supposed to meet up with his lover in Switzerland, but when she arrived he was dead. We stepped into a room that had caution tape on the door and saw a computer monitor with our time limit: 60 minutes. The room was littered with science equipment and boxes upon boxes of stuff that were locked. Mac was good at solving a lot of the lock combinations and riddles, while our mainland friend, Coral, helped us look for hints around the room. 

We were a little bit past the halfway mark when we unlocked a box attached to the wall. When we opened this wooden box, it had a steel string with a note above it saying, “pull.” All of a sudden a piece of the wall swung open and led to a hidden room that had more locked boxes! We bolted around the room scrambling for clues. We had managed to solve the mystery but we could not crack the code for the last safe. We ran out of time, but the manager was nice enough to let us finish the last code because we were so close. It took us about one hour and five minutes to solve the riddle. 

The Riddle Room in East Greenwich was the perfect day trip for our friends. It was something novel that we had never done before. We liked the challenge aspect of it. Very rarely have we been forced to use problem-solving, outside-of-the-box thinking, teamwork, and communication to solve puzzles under a time crunch. It was an ordeal that strengthened the bond between us, although, tensions ran pretty high during the last 10 minutes as we realized that we were destined for failure. It was humbling to be beaten by a series of word puzzles and scrambled numbers but, really, all it made us want to do was come back again and solve it more quickly.

It would be interesting if the school, Historical Society, or Island Free library came up with a Block Island-themed Riddle Room during the winter because there is very little to do and something like the Riddle Room is fun but a relatively costly and time consuming trip.

Miller and Douglas are seniors at the Block Island School.