The Joke’s On You – Room: Survive the Joker’s Trap – November 17, 2016


Play if… Whips and chains (particularly chains) excite you..

Avoid if… They don’t and you are afraid of clowns.


Room Escape DC:

Address: 3949A University Dr, Fairfax, VA 22030 (click address for Google Map)

Contact and Website: 703-270-0377

The Room – Survive the Joker’s Trap:

Description (from the company website): You and your task force of detectives have spent months chasing the infamous criminal clown known only as Joker. Your investigation has brought you precariously close to capturing this clever crook, and you’ve grown confident: sure that this final chase will land Joker in ‘cuffs and custody. You were right on his tail, and then… It was a trap!

You and your team awake disoriented, in a disturbing basement, chained to chairs. Joker, indulging in the dramatic, has hidden a bomb set to detonate in one hour. The minutes are counting down fast. You and your team will have to rely on collaboration, and your investigative prowess, to free yourselves, disarm the bomb, and escape with your lives.

Harness your courage to decipher this trap… Otherwise, this will be your last blast!

The game begins with you and your team chained to chairs (YES, WE REALLY MEAN IT. IF THIS CONCERNS YOU, CONTACT US) in a creepy basement.

Difficulty (1-10)3 of 3

Time Limit: 60 minutes

Cost: $27 per person, but use ERG15 to take 15% off your price on games booked between Mondays and Thursdays

Identifier: R1

Party Size: 4-8 people

Staging Area: Lobby includes several tables/benches, sign-in counter, vending machines

Metro Access/Parking: No metro nearby, but plenty of parking.



Description of the room: A dingy and DARK basement with chairs and chains and some deranged clown-themed and graffiti artwork.

Understanding of the Mission: You’re kidnapped by the mysterious Joker and locked up in his basement. You have 60 minutes to free yourself from your chains (literally) and escape before the bomb detonates.

Did We Escape: YES

Time Remaining: about 13 minutes

Our Suggested Party Size: 6-8

Did the room challenge the entire team? Absolutely

Members of our team (other than the ERG): Stephanie, Brittany, Corey, Tara and Eric.

Team Disturbed Friends (Mike, Jason, Stephanie, Brittany, Corey, Tara and Eric) escaped the evil clutches of the Joker! Photo courtesy of Room Escape DC's Facebook page.
Team Disturbed Friends (Mike, Jason, Stephanie, Brittany, Corey, Tara and Eric) escaped the evil clutches of the Joker! Photo courtesy of Room Escape DC’s Facebook page.

Worth the time and money? Yes

Where to Eat/Drink Before/After:

Our Scoring:

Overall Expectation (Summary)
After emailing Room Escape to check the story on this whole being chained up, I was intrigued. It adds to the atmosphere, as well as the story, and just made it a little more fun. We got to unleash our inner escape artists! This was a unique part of the room and we had to check it out for the sheer opportunity to make like Houdini.
Story (Rating)
The story was good and there were several things during the room that kept reminding us that we were trapped in a room. Nice little touches like that made this one more worth it.

Rating: 8/10

As with this location, you watch a video as to the backstory and the initial mission. This one was SO WELL DONE that I’m not going to spoil it by telling you about it. (I loved the way they set it up and how they continued it throughout the time we were locked in).

Rating: 9/10

Mission (Rating)
The kidnapping and being chained up definitely added to the mystery with this one. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Rating: 8/10

The mission was simple, yet added a sense of urgency that we normally don’t get in a room… a ticking time bomb!

Rating: 8/10

Puzzle Diversity (Rating)
This room had a little bit of everything, including things we hadn’t seen before. And hell, there was even an actual RIDDLE to solve.

Rating: 10/10

I don’t think there was one type of puzzle that was repeated in this room, so Room Escape gets the highest mark from me on this category (top marks also for showing us some new puzzles as well).

Rating: 10/10

Puzzle Complexity (Rating)
Some were easy, some were tough. One was funny. One thing was basically broken. Couple of tedious smaller puzzles, but again, several things we’d not encountered before. I also ended up bouncing between puzzles in a “too many cooks in the kitchen” type issue (at times).

Rating: 8/10 (includes -1 for the broken one)

There were a number of clues that will appeal to all personality types. I had to stop working on one and give it up to two other team members because I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. I was useful in other areas.

You gotta know when to fold ’em, which may have to become another rule.

I didn’t mind the broken one as much because the GM helped us out pretty quickly when he saw we were having trouble with it (and that we had the right solution).

Rating: 9/10

Flow/Cohesiveness/Uniqueness (Rating)
As good as all the puzzles were, the only thing I was disappointed with was how disconnected most of the puzzles felt from each other.

Um…and Mike? Disconnect and Disjoin are synonyms… Oh and no, no, I’m good.

Rating: 6/10

I thought that all the puzzles were well-connected to the room. I disagree with Jason that the puzzles seemed disconnected from each other. I saw them as being disjointed… just like the deranged mind of the Joker.

(Bet you wish you thought of this before you rated this section, Jason).

There were also a few puzzles that of types that we had never seen before, and you know how that makes my bowtie spin (clown… bowtie… get it?).

Rating: 9/10

Fun/Amusement (Summary)
Definitely had a good time in this one. Actually, this is the room that spawned Rule #5. I felt stupid enough after asking the GM a question that we added it to the rules immediately upon escaping.

What’s that lyric from Rihanna? Sticks and stones may break my bones, but chains and whips excite me.

Absolutely amused and intrigued through the whole time we were in the room. One of my favorite experiences (and not just because chains were involved).
Game Master (Summary)
The GMs in this location are ok. As they have videos that intro you to the room, there’s nothing to get them overly involved as at other locations, other than providing clues. The GM was good and stepped in really quick when he saw we were having trouble with a malfunctioning puzzle.

He also made us feel a bit stupid at one point, which spawned Rule #5.

How Helpful Were Any Clues Given, if any (Summary)
I honestly can’t remember if we asked for a clue or for validation of what we were doing on one of the puzzles. I don’t remember asking for one. I was pretty proud that we moved through this room pretty quickly with no help.
Anger Level Score ERG (pronounced URG, as in “we should have known better”) Score
Well, really enjoyed this room and we didn’t do anything stupid, so…

But Tara with the save on that riddle. It was freakin’ immediate!

Rating: 0/5 Fists

The only score I’ll give on this one is the ridiculousness of one of the puzzles.

I think I actually groaned out loud.

Rating: ?‍♂️?‍♂️ FacePalms – 2/5


Final thoughts: The start to this experience where you are physically restrained is pretty awesome and unique. The room just got better from there, but probably shouldn’t be attempted by a team of newbies. Make sure you have a few veteran Escape Room junkies with you.