News reporters take on Mindset - the portable escape room proving popular in Portsmouth - REVIEW

It’s Wednesday afternoon and the office is seriously suffering from the mid-week slump.

Thursday, 30th May 2019, 5:08 pm
Updated Thursday, 6th June 2019, 5:20 pm
Business editor Kimberley Barber, with news reporters Richard Lemmer and Matt Mohan Hickson, and Highbury College student Sophie Adler take on Mindset, the portable escape room from The Real Escape

But we’ve got a treat in store - something to get that grey matter working again. Something to fire up the engines.

The Real Escape, an escape room in Portsmouth city centre, has created a mobile version of its

mind-bending, team-bonding, head-scratching puzzle - and its owner Andras Szabo brought it in to test the team at The News.

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Business editor Kimberley Barber, with news reporters Richard Lemmer and Matt Mohan Hickson, and Highbury College student Sophie Adler take on Mindset, the portable escape room from The Real Escape

Persuading people to leave their desks and give it a go was enough of a challenge in itself. However, a couple of teams assembled - and news reporters Matt Mohan-Hickson and Richard Lemmer, joined me and Highbury College journalism student Sophie Adler for the first session.

The game, called MindSet, can be transported to anywhere. We’ve got it set up in the conference room, but it could be played outside, at a function, wedding, party, in a corridor, you get the picture. The company can cater for teams of any number up to 250.

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The game set, which can be tailored according to size and budget, gives players an insight into how well they fare with problem solving, time management, leadership and teamwork.

Puzzled: Mohammed Hassan and Annie Lewis trying to figure out the 'box'. Picture: Habibur Rahman

It all revolves around a series of black boxes. The timer starts and the team has to work out the clues to break in.

And it’s not easy. The first one had us stumped for a long time. There was a cryptic code to decipher, which certainly needed some thinking outside the box - excuse the pun.

Eventually we crack it, to discover another layer, and then another level, and so on, until we finish the first box in 17 minutes.

Not bad - but now we were hooked. Bring on the next box. More clues, more teamwork, more head-scratching, and we complete the second one - in 17 minutes.

15/5/19 CATCH LINE: Escape Newsroom STORY: Escape rooms have come to the Portsmouth News office at Lakeside, challenging staff to escape from the Newsroom. Pictured: Puzzled: Mizanoor Rahman and Aiden Robinson trying to figure out the 'box'. Picture: Habibur Rahman

We are well and truly in the game now. So we ask for the third box. The work at our desks that seemed so pressing just 40 minutes ago can wait for another 20 minutes. We need to beat our time.

More codes, more cryptic thinking, and some obscure references later and we crack the third box - in 17 minutes. Well, at least we were consistent.

Our games masters tell us that some people can crack the boxes in 10 minutes while others take a whole hour.

We emerge from the conference room recharged and enthusing about the game, which sparks interest from others in the office.

The lads from finance are keen to show their mathematical muscle, so they are next in, along with features writer Annie Lewis and photographer Habibur Rahman.

They play the game slightly different to us, with two teams working simultaneously on two different boxes, but they also have a great time.

It’s a great team-building experience, and something different for a workplace to offer. It’d also be a fantastic way to fill time at a function, or a great talking point for any event.

Whatever or wherever you chose to use it, it certainly solved our mid-week slump.

Prices start from £25 per person. Go to therealescape.co.uk.