Shooting Through: the escape room that comes to you

MADAM ALCHEMIST is now running in Canberra.

THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING ROOM will be made available again in future. 

What is the permanent location like?

The permanent location is in Macgregor, within sight of the Kippax MacDonald’s and Vet. It is a room of my house that happens to also have hundreds of books in it (many of them steampunk). It feels crowded if more than 3-4 players are present.

Everything on the green bookshelf is part of the game; everything on the other bookshelves is not.

How much space do I need to be able to run the escape room at my home/school/office?

You need a dining table suitable for six people (whether you have six people or not), and enough space for players to move around at least a little. The round table in the permanent location is not big enough for the whole game.

You can run the game outside if the weather is good.

Here are some gorgeous pics of MADAM ALCHEMIST as set up in our backyard, all taken by my daughter Lizzie!

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Zipper investigates.

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Zipper cheats her way out.

Naturally, Lizzie focused on the lollies (literally).

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Price list:

$25 per person when I am running it at a fair or festival. It is usually available at the Goulburn Waterworks Steampunk & Victoriana Fair, Nimmitabel’s Steampunk @ Altitude Fair, and the Conflux Speculative Fiction Conference in Canberra. Bookings are very important as time is limited!

$100 minimum if it’s in Macgregor.

(It should be noted that my cat will almost certainly come and glare at you. If you’re very lucky, she may let you give her a pat.)

$150 elsewhere in Canberra. If you have a dining table and enough room to walk around it, you have a suitable venue for MADAM ALCHEMIST.

How to book/ask questions:

Call Chief Minion Carol (0404 188 138) and ask if she’s free at the time you have in mind. Set up and pack up takes about an hour each, or you can play on site at Macgregor.

Or call or email Felicity ( 0402 548 978).

How long does it take:

Theoretically 1 hour, but usually closer to 2 as people want to talk about it afterwards, and it can’t begin until everyone is present and had signed disclaimers. Allow 2.5 hours if you can, and advise me/Carol if anyone in your team has specific time restrictions.

Physical restrictions:

It’s great for wheelchair users (because you can play sitting at a table—although your team members will need to cooperate to pass things close enough for you to examine).

I think most physical or mental restrictions can be balanced by having a range of ability in the group (in much the same way that there’s bound to be ONE person who can add a string of numbers without screwing them up… right?)

There are no physical challenges.

Is it scary?

You will be operating under a threat of (fictional…) monsters, competing against a clock, in near darkness. So the level of scariness depends on your imagination. But it’s definitely rated G, and safe for kids of virtually any age BUT escape rooms are intrinsically frustrating and some items are fragile or sharp. Use your discretion. Kids 10+ should be genuinely useful in places; kids 4+ should be okay IF they’re very well behaved and calm.

Published by Felicity Banks Books

I write books (mainly adventure fantasy for kids and young adults), real-time twittertales, and a blog of Daily Awesomeness. @Louise_Curtis_ and My fantasy ebook is on sale at

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