Printable Escape Rooms: my review of The Murderous Scallywag

I make no secret of the fact that I love an escape room – I always say that my dream date night would be an escape room, a nice dinner, and then a pub quiz. Unfortunately, having young children means that it is hard to get out and make this a reality – not to mention, escape rooms are pricey, especially when doing it as a couple rather than a larger group (typically £25 per person at a minimum). Which is why, when I heard about printable escape rooms, I got excited – no babysitter needed and much cheaper than a traditional escape room. Specifically, I am here to review The Murderous Scallywag by Epic Escapes:

The year is 1902. The city is awash with villainous gangs, pickpockets and thieves. All very small fry, as there is only one big fish you are after.

You and your team of detectives have finally arrested the notorious murderer David “Scallywag” Wallis. Word has it that he has committed around 20 murders.

With the hot glow of a bulb glaring in his eyes, sat in an interview room, you finally make Wallis spill the beans.

He tells you that all the evidence you need to pin the murders on him, is locked in a safe in a hidden location.

Can you find the location of the hidden safe and the code to open it before the murder escapes justice?

If you are not familiar with traditional escape rooms, you are missing out! The premise is that you are locked in a room (or a series of rooms) and you have one hour to find clues and solve puzzles in order to escape. The big difference with a printable escape room is that everything is on paper, so there is no searching around a room – you sit and read the printouts and try and solve the various puzzles.

I purchased The Murderous Scallywag on a whim on a cold Autumnal evening as I wanted to do something with my husband a bit different from our normal night of watching Netflix. It cost £14.97 which I have to say split by two is not particularly cheap, it might be easier to justify the cost if you had a few more people. The purchase and download process was very simple, the three files (instructions, puzzles and solution) were available to download and print instantly.

The instructions were clear and easy to follow. There were also clues included in this file. Cleverly, the clues were coded so you couldn’t accidentally read them, and each clue also had a QR code if you wanted to read the clue quickly without having to decipher it. We ended up having to look at more than half of the clues – make no mistake, the difficulty level of this printable escape rooms was hard. No doubt we wouldn’t have had to use so many clues if we had more participants. The clues however were pitched at the right level – enough to guide you without making you feel like you’d entirely thrown in the towel when it came to solving each puzzle.

There were 15 pages of puzzles. The idea is to complete all the puzzles to find the final answer, which in this case was to figure out the four digit code to a lockbox and also figure out the location of the lockbox. I think for me this was a big difference between printable escape rooms and real life ones – in a real life escape room the puzzles feel quite linear, in that, for example, you decipher a code which then unlocks a box which then gives you another puzzle etc etc. However in the case of The Murderous Scallywag, each puzzle was stand alone, and you then collate the answers at the end to figure out the code. Which is a good or bad thing depending on your perspective. I think if you had a few players this would be a good thing, rather than all looking at the same page, you could divide and conquer.

Overall, I enjoyed the theme of this particular escape room, it was pleasingly challenging which I much prefer over one that is too easy. I would definitely buy another printable escape room from Epic Escapes in the future.


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