It’s easy to see the appeal of escape rooms—the thrill of finally completing a difficult puzzle, the challenge of thinking creatively in a high-pressure situation, camaraderie through teamwork (and, of course, awesome sets and story). But unlike most other “sports” escape rooms don’t really involve strategy.
Curse of the Bayou would break that mode. We already had two teams competing against each other; what we wanted now were ways to win besides simply “solving puzzles faster”. And inspiration for this solution, again, came from the horror genre itself.
In Curse you play the part of two teams of students from Miskatonic University (go fighting Cephalopods!), who have traveled to Louisiana to solve your professor’s murder. Once there you discover an unstoppable monster. How do you escape? Of course, you could be heroic and sacrifice yourself. But you’re not here to be noble. You’re here to stomp your friends and rub your victory in their faces over post-game drinks. So you’ll have the option to make like Carl in The Walking Dead when he shot Otis in the leg to slow the pursuing zombies down; you’ll send the monster after the other team.
At first I was worried that players would be hesitant to “torture” their friends, even as part of a game. But then I remembered the famous Milgram Shock Experiment that everyone learns in Psych 101—where volunteers ended up shocking a stranger with dangerous levels of electricity. And those people weren’t even competing in an escape game! It’ll be interesting to see how far players will go to make their friends miserable in order to gain a slight advantage.
As to what, exactly, you’ll be doing to the other team? Here’s a hint: