Enigma Escape Rooms bring technology-free problem-solving to Fort Collins

Megan Fischer

When visiting the Enigma Escape Rooms, participants are locked in a room with nine other people with 60 minutes to escape — all without the use of technology. Communication and teamwork are essential to beat the clock and escape before time runs out.

The Enigma Escape Rooms, located at 151 S. College Ave., directly under the Drunken Monkey restaurant, bring brain games and a scenario that includes problem-solving, teamwork and interactive puzzles to a life-sized game. All technology stays outside the room and visitors are forced to use their own knowledge and brains to escape.

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Nicole Henchenski, Fort Collins Enigma Escape Rooms manager fiddles with a lock inside one of the Enigma Escape Rooms spaces. The small room is where 10 people spend one hour trying to escape. (Photo By: Megan Fischer)
Nicole Henchenski, Fort Collins Enigma Escape Rooms manager, fiddles with a lock inside one of the Enigma Escape Rooms spaces. The small room is where 10 people spend one hour trying to escape. (Photo by Megan Fischer.)

Escape rooms are a very popular trend in Europe, according to Nicole Henchenski, the manager for the Fort Collins location.  She said the trend moved to the US about three years ago with locations opening in New York. In the last year alone, three more have opened between Fort Collins and Loveland.

“It’s kind of like an adult playground,” Henchenski said. “You’re locked in a room with 10 people for 60 minutes and you have to go through puzzles and clues and obstacles that all require team communication and cooperation.”

The Enigma Escape Rooms were created by Matthew Sisson and Thomas West, who spent time creating the theme and building all the puzzles for the rooms, opening their first location in Boulder, Colorado.

“We wanted to think about and design every little detail,” Sisson said. “We spent three to six months just on the concept and build of our puzzle rooms.”

The Boulder location opened in October 2014, and the location in Fort Collins has been open since March 2015, according to Henchenski. The escape room in Fort Collins features “The Missing Scientist: Part 1,” a 1950s theme about a professor that was working on top-secret schematics that have to be found by participants, according to Henchenski. The Fort Collins location is hoping to add “The Missing Scientist: Part 2” within the first half of 2016.

According to Henchenski, the company has done team-building events with companies such as Otter Products. Henchenski said that teamwork and communication is critical to successfully escaping the room, even when participants are all strangers to each other. She said even when participants do not know each other, it still yields successful results.

“It’s a big team event,” Henchenski said. “If you don’t work together and you’re not communicating with each other, you’re not never going to be able to figure everything out and be able to escape the room.”

Scattered clues around the Enigma Escape Room lead visitors to the exit. (Photo Courtesy of Enigma Escape Room)
Scattered clues around the Enigma Escape Room lead visitors to the exit. (Photo courtesy of Enigma Escape Room.)

Henchenski said technology is not allowed inside the room because it is not necessary and could lead to spoilers for first-timers.

“You can’t Google any of the answers inside the room, so your phone is not a help to you,” Henchenski said. “It’s also just very distracting inside the room. We also don’t want to spoil what’s inside the room or give out any clues or hints in some way.”

Tickets for entrance are $26 and there are only 10 people allowed for each session due to fire and safety regulations. The Fort Collins location is open Thursday-Sunday for sessions.

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The record time to beat for the Fort Collins location is 27 minutes and 19 seconds, which was made in May 2015.

Collegian Reporter Megan Fischer can be reached at news@collegian.com or via Twitter @MegFischer04.