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The Puzzle Masters

Local business offers unique challenge

Something strange is happening in Area 51. Book now to find out what it is. Photo credit: The Puzzle Masters

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Escape rooms are like old television detective shows, or modern-day reality dramas, where participants work together through a cluster of clues to solve a puzzle, and thereby escape from the room.

"The experience allows our guests to immerse themselves in an entirely different world," said David Lamb, owner and CEO of The Puzzle Masters. "There is a challenge to finding and using clues to escape a situation."

The challenges began with the ancient Greeks.

In their mythology, the Athenian hero Theseus had to interpret clues in order to move through a labyrinth to kill the Minotaur (part man, part bull), and then find more clues in order to escape.

Over time, labyrinths inspired escape rooms, which made their first appearance in 2001 after the video game The Mystery of Time and Space came out.

This genre of entertainment took off in 2004 after the online game Crimson Room gained worldwide attention.

The plot of the game was simple: The game's hero awakens in a red room; the door is locked.  There are several objects in the room -- a bed, a saucer, a bedside table and a sound system. In order to escape from the room, the hero must find 13 hidden objects and figure out the link between them.

Around 2007, escape rooms made their way from the virtual to the real world.

"Our children told us about these rooms," explained Lamb. "They talked us into going to one. It was a blast!"  

In 2015, Lamb and his family opened The Puzzle Masters, in Spanaway.

The business currently has three escape rooms featuring different themes and various degrees of difficulty.

The Las Vegas room is fun and light-hearted and introduces participants to the concept of escape rooms.

A room for intermediate players, the Book of Secrets provides a challenging set of puzzles to be solved before they can escape.

The greatest challenge is found in Area 51, the most popular of Puzzle Masters' games.

Comprised of several rooms, participants must rely on their senses to work between the rooms in order to solve the puzzles needed to escape.

In all three games, participants solve a sequence of challenging puzzles while simultaneously working together. The clues will be tricky and technical, but no previous skills or knowledge is required. Throughout the game, many items are hidden, locked or inaccessible. The ultimate goal of the game is to open the final door or complete a set of objectives to escape.

"These challenges represent a great deal of fun for families," explained Lamb. "But just as important, this is an opportunity for great team building to improve communication skills and build comradery. And the competition between squads to see who can complete the rooms in the fastest time is great!"

The Puzzle Masters, noon-10 p.m., Monday-Wednesday; noon to midnight, Friday-Saturday; noon-8 p.m., Sunday; closed Thursday, 201 160th St. S., Suite 406, Spanaway, 253.328.5692, 

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