To celebrate the end of a successful 2019 work year, the sister teams of Touchwork (Yay!), Hypenica, RegNow, African Agri Council, and Cape Business News all gathered together at The Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock, ready to forgo last year’s wine tasting in exchange for some mental gymnastics instead. Hello HintHunt.
I won’t lie, when I heard that we were doing HintHunt this year I was pretty excited. The escape room concept is brilliant – basically they lock a small group of you in a staged room, start a timer on the wall to mark your 60 minutes, and then every so gently nudge you to use all of your mental abilities and powers of observation to try and unearth an incredibly intricate chain of clues, hints, locks and keys that will eventually unlock the door and stop the timer.
It is an absolutely brilliant experience. The incredible stress that comes from the relentless timer countdown, the thrill of finding hidden drawers, pockets and containers in just about every inconceivable location, the frustration at bashing your head against a combination lock one to many times – it is an absolute intense bit of intellectual fun.
Our group was split up into four teams and each given their own room, two of the teams heading off for the hardboiled detective themed JM’s Office game, and other two to the Japanese-themed Zen Room game.
As it so happened, I was drawn into a team with Jason, Wendy and Beryl, with the four of us getting whisked off to the delightfully themed, but devilishly difficult Zen Room, where we were confronted by not just intricate puzzles (include a splash of Sudoku), but also the need to do on the fly Japanese translations!
(For reference, the Zen Room’s scenario is as follows: “A recently orphaned Japanese girl has requested your help in retrieving her priceless family heirlooms. Latest intel suggests that the heirlooms are hidden within one of the culprit’s safe houses, you don’t have much time till they are sold in the black market and completely lost forever. This mission will require your teams cooperation and fine eye for detail if you intend to succeed in the recovery of the heirlooms. Act now, you don’t have much time!”)
It was incredibly tricky, incredibly frustrating, incredibly fun – but I literally won’t say anything more so as not to spoil it for anyone still to play. In the end the escape room proved to be too challenging for our quartet, with the timer running out with a few locks still lying in wait for us. Nevertheless, I think we did a damn fine job anyway. (In fact, as far as what I can remember, none of our four groups actually managed to escape – so there is some solace in that! :P)
Having all taken the bus from our Westlake office to Woodstock, the next leg of our year-end function required us to bundle into some Ubers and head down to the always vibrant V&A Waterfront, where lunch at the Mozambique-themed Mozambik restaurant awaited us.
It was good, very good. And the plenitude of wine certainly didn’t hurt either.