Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta – Room: Cosa Nostra – March 19, 2016


Play if… you were a bootlegger (or a gangster) in a previous life.

Avoid if… guns make you nervous or you are a prohibitionist.


Insomnia Escape DC:

Address: 2300 Wisconsin Ave NW, #200B, Washington, DC 20007 (click address for a Google Map)

Contact and Website: 202-600-0419

The Room – Cosa Nostra:

Description (from the company website): Tucked away in a remote alleyway, behind an unmarked door and camouflaged with a fancy gallery space, there is an urban heaven for booze aficionados. This is the year 1933, under mysterious circumstances, you are transferred to a secret speakeasy, back in the waning days of Prohibition.

Difficulty (1-10): 6/10

Time Limit: 60 minutes

Cost: $29/per person

Identifier: R1

Party Size: 2-7

Staging Area: The staging area was basically a lobby with a couch, coat closet, and a water cooler.

Metro Access/Parking: The nearest Metro stop is either Tenleytown or Woodley Park metro (and then a bus), so it’s likely easier to drive/cab/Lyft in. There is street parking and one or two garages nearby.



Description: Set in a saloon, you walk into the bar. There’s a poker table with several hands showing and a full pot on the table. The empty booze bottles on the shelf, and a pistol. Well decorated and themed, but it did feel a little crammed at first.

Understanding of the Mission: pretty straightforward… We needed to figure out who was killed and where they stashed the goods.

Did We Escape: Indeed we did.

Time Remaining: Just over 5 minutes.

Our Suggested Party Size: We had 7, so the recommended party size of 2-7 was pretty spot on.

Did the room challenge the entire team? Yes, there was plenty for people to work on as smaller teams.

Members of the team (other than the ERG): Stephanie, Chris, Jess and Tom.

Team Disturbed Friends (Jason, Stephanie, Mike, Chris and Jess) conquered Cosa Rostra at Insomnia Escape DC. Photo courtesy of Insomnia Escape DC's Facebook page.
Team Disturbed Friends (Jason, Stephanie, Mike, Chris and Jess) conquered Cosa Nostra at Insomnia Escape DC. Photo courtesy of Insomnia Escape DC’s Facebook page.

Worth the time and money? This location proves the old adage “never judge a book by its cover” since the building and office space is a little unassuming, but the room was really well done. We would do it again if we had to do it all over.

Where to Eat/Drink Before/After:

Our Scoring:

Overall Expectation (Summary)
The closest I’ve gotten to this type of theme in anything I’ve included in my personal life was getting a trivia question correct who’s answer was “Prohibition”, so I had that going for me. I’m a big fan of the Roaring ’20s, speak-easies, F. Scott Fitzgerald and gangster movies. I had high expectations for the room, and they didn’t disappoint.
Story (Rating)
This story was pretty good, but we feel like if we say anything about it, we’d have to put a *SPOILER ALERT* header, so…go do the room.

Rating: 8/10

Because of my high expectations, I thought the backstory was adequate, but it’s the little details that can make it more compelling.

Rating: 7/10

Mission (Rating)
Mission was pretty good. Well crafted alongside the theme of the room and decor and having multiple objectives is always a plus in my book.

Rating: 8/10

The mission was good. I liked having more than one objective (than simply just finding a key to open a door).

Rating: 8/10

Puzzle Diversity (Rating)
This was one of my favorites, clue-wise. Wide variety, well themed.

Rating: 9/10

There were a lot of different types of puzzles to solve and the company really worked to make sure they tied into the theme of the room and the mission, which is – in my opinion – on of the marks of a well-designed room.

Rating: 9/10

Puzzle Complexity (Rating)
Though there was a great variety of clues, as stated above, they were sufficiently increasing in complexity. All the puzzles felt fresh, nothing really duplicated (there weren’t a ton of locks, ya know?), and we all had a good time. Too bad the bottles on the wall were empty, though.

Rating: 8/10

This is one of the few rooms we’ve done where it seemed as if we spent longer on successive clues once we solved the previous ones. A LOT of looking for small details, which can be easily overlooked when you’re under a time crunch.

Rating: 8/10

Flow/Cohesiveness/Uniqueness (Rating)
The flow of puzzles was well thought out and the decor really made the theme and story relevant and linked.

Rating: 9/10

I don’t think we had one puzzle that wasn’t somehow linked to the mission or theme. It really felt like we were in a saloon and trying to solve a mystery and the props helped make that even more “real.” All of the puzzles linked together and worked together to make a really great experience.

Rating: 9/10

Fun/Amusement (Summary)
This one keeps slipping under my radar when people ask us for a top 3 or top 5. I’ll have to keep it in mind and would definitely recommend this one, if for nothing else but the aesthetic appeal. I loved how everything worked together in this room, and would definitely recommend it to groups with a lot of new people. It will be challenging, but an overall great, immersive experience.
Game Master (Summary)
The Game Masters in this location were ok; they offered help when we needed it. The GM was good and not snarky when giving us a hint that we completely misread how to do the puzzle.

The method of communicating with us while in the room was cool and linked to the theme.

How Helpful Were Any Clues Given, if any (Summary)
We got stuck on one, maybe 2 puzzles. Once we got the hints, yeah, it was easy. The clues were good, and helped us find the path again.
Anger Level Score ERG (pronounced URG, as in “we should have known better”) Score
We made a blatant mistake that I should have caught. I literally blame myself for having only 5 minutes to spare. (But we created that rule so it doesn’t happen again.)

Now, history has certainly shown that even the most intuitive criminal investigator can be wrong from time to time.” – Ace Ventura

Rating: 5/5 Fists

On two puzzles, it was obvious as to their solutions and where we made our mistakes. I think I literally groaned once we figured one of them out after spending way longer on it than we should have.

On the other, I looked at it multiple times and didn’t see the correct solution.

Rating:  ?‍♂️ ?‍♂️ ?‍♂️ ?‍♂️ FacePalms – 4/5


This one was fun and not too difficult. A stupid mistake set us back a bit (hence Rule #3 was created), but we recovered quickly. Otherwise, a great room and experience that we’d recommend to teams with more newbies than veterans.