Escape Marianna provides new regional game room challenges

Escape Marianna owners, Marshall Godber, left, and Jade Boyll.

On Aug. 29, 2019, Escape Marianna opened at 2915 Jefferson Street.

Owners Jade Boyll and Marshall Godber were fans of the live-action entertainment sweeping the world, known as escape rooms. In fact, Jade and Marshall travel across the country to experience the excitement of solving a series of puzzles under the pressure of time. They loved the games so much that they decided to open their own challenging rooms, while working other jobs.

Since that time the business has grown, attracting regional gamers. In addition, two new game rooms have been added and Jade is now working full-time at Escape Marianna, which provides additional opportunities for bookings.

Escape Marianna has three rooms with different levels of challenges. The favorite room among customers is Medieval Mishap, which is ranked Level 2 out of 5 in difficulty. According to Jade this is the easiest of the three rooms. Gamers are locked in a room, which has an authentic castle setting and involves a little time travel. Winning requires solving all the puzzles successfully within the 60 minutes, which goes by quickly as intriguing puzzles are solved to open the door.

Jade and Marshall explained, “This is a good place to start with a challenging game that is not overwhelming.”

If you are interested in something a little harder, The Last Transaction room involves the world of banking in an office setting, where your boss has framed you. Failure to successfully solve the room indicates prison time to players who are involved in the scenario.

The newest room, opened only a month ago, is called Project Fusion. If this is your first experience with escape rooms, this room may not be the best choice at a level four in difficulty. The setting is in a lab, where alien and human DNA are being fused. You are the next specimen and must escape. Experienced gamers love traveling to test their skills with this challenge, because it is competitive with the game rooms in larger cities.

While many locals have tested their skills at Escape Marianna, Jade shared, “Eighty percent of our business is not from Jackson County.” Marshall added, “People come from all over,” including Texas, Jacksonville, Mississippi, California, and South Florida to name a few. Many are traveling gamers looking for the next challenge, which provides Marshall and Jade the opportunity to share other game room locations. Others are traveling through the area on vacation.

The other twenty percent of patrons includes birthday parties, family reunions, dates, youth groups and team building opportunities for organizations and businesses, including the Marianna Police Department, Allstate, Captain Ds, and Blue Magic ISP. The Marianna Police Department sent four or five different groups with a competition of which team could solve the room with the best time.

“We want people to come try these rooms,” Jade continued. “We rotate rooms and Marshall is starting to build props for the next rotation.” The owners change out the rooms every six-to-eight months to ensure there is always a new challenge available. “Most people want the scariest room,” Marshall expressed. While it’s unknown which holiday, the owners are already preparing a holiday-themed room.

You need at least two people to participate in a game. All rooms are private, which means that as soon as two people book the room it is closed to outsiders. Don’t worry if you have more people in the party. They can pay upon entry. This is a bargain, because many other locations require all the spaces be booked and paid for making it quite costly for a small team of two to play.

Marshall recommends two-to-eight players per room, ages 8 and up, for playing a game. However, they will allow small children to accompany adults, something often not allowed in other places. The owners watch the rooms carefully during game play, and the rooms are not technically locked for safety reasons. According to Marshall, participants who fail to complete the task within 60 minutes hear the “sad sound” when the door opens. However, winners feel great and become quickly addicted to the games.

Escape Marianna will be closed on weekdays during spring break, but do not fret. Jade and Marshall have something new up their sleeve. There will be a clue hunt, also called Escape Marianna, which is a citywide, phone-based escape game with brain teasers. This is the first of many more clue hunts involving the use of a GPS-based app called Clue Keeper. After signing up, participants will travel from place to place solving escape-room-type questions and brain teasers. “Whoever gets the best time without cheating on the first time of play will win a prize,” Marshall added.

What a great business to have in Marianna and Florida! Follow the Escape Marianna on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with all their changes. Booking online is the best way to ensure the room you want is available. Walk-ins are welcome on Saturdays, between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. Visit www.escapemarianna.com to book an adventure. Jade and Marshall are available by telephone at 850-317-6107. Shop locally and support Marianna businesses.

Kay Dennis, MBA, MPA, A.I.C.P., is the director of Municipal Development for the City of Marianna.

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