German Escape Championship: “You’re Out of Reality”

IThe first “German Escape Championship” ends in Bochum this weekend. Escape games – played online or in real rooms – are about escaping from a locked room as fast as possible by solving puzzles. It’s usually embedded in a story, which could take place in the Harry Potter universe or in a forest, for example.

In the preliminary round, twelve teams from all over Germany made it to the final round. Now they have to prove their skills on a bike puzzle tour through Bochum and into the classic escape room. One of the candidates is the quartet of Dortmund, who are in first place after the preliminary round: sisters Lena Durac and Anna Schreichner as well as twins Sven and Sasha Semanek. Shortly before the final puzzles begin, they have time for a video interview during their lunch break.

Globalism: What is so attractive about escape rooms?

Lina Durak: You are diving into a completely different world. this is funy. Qualification for tournaments included a missing journalist and the need to track down a package containing his research results. It had to be passed on to the editors for the story to emerge.

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Sven Semanek: In addition, there is a sense of accomplishment. The walkie-talkie connects you to the game master outside the room. Supports and gives advice. After all, you can get out of each room again. If necessary, help the emergency exit.

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Anna Schreichner: Some rooms are beautifully furnished, everything is fine. If the story is cohesive and the decoration and props are appropriate, then great. So you’re out of reality for an hour or an hour and a half. Once upon a time we had a mystery that happened in a forest. The key was the front door. Jungle key and door – of course they go together like a glove, which isn’t a lot of fun. It is also stupid to immediately see that all the props in the room are necessary to solve the puzzle. If you know at a glance: Ah, I have to read something from the picture. Aha, I have to find this thing. It is nicer when there are a lot of redundant things.

Sven: If you read a book, you are also out of reality. But only in the imagination. Escape room fantasy and real experience in one.

Globalism: Can you train for such a tournament?

Sasha Semanek: Difficult. You never know what’s coming your way. Our training consists of meeting regularly to play escape games. In the meantime, we should have made about 30 rooms.

Globalism: It seems to be manageable.

Anna Schreichner: It’s not something you do every week. If only because of the price. Booking such a room can cost up to 150 euros. 30 rooms is plenty. And there are not many providers.

lena (Quick search on the internet)There are 370 providers with 954 rooms across Germany.

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Globalism: What talents do you need to get far in the escape game?

I: Curiosity of.

Sasha: stay in power. You have to stay on the ball.

I: and enjoy it.

Globalism: How are roles distributed in your team?

Sven: Girls are responsible for difficult things. puzzle logic. Everything you need for math and to be able to count.

Elena: Guys are very calm and patient when it comes to skill.

Sasha: You have to communicate well with each other. Acting as a solo player will do nothing.

Globalism: Best room you know?

I: the dome. An escape room in Ponchoten, the Netherlands. Sasha stepped forward and suddenly landed down a slide in a dark room. There he had to take instructions from us. A very surprising moment.

Sasha: Absolute world class. The only bad thing is that you can only run it once. Once you solve the puzzle, you can never go back. The only thing left is hope that the solution will be forgotten at some point.

I: Recently, there have been more and more rooms with actors involved in some way in the story. Today they tell you this and tomorrow. This way you can play a room multiple times, each time something different.

Globalism: When you enter a friend’s apartment, the first thing that comes to your mind is: What’s the most elegant way to escape from here? Or: What mysteries shall I think of here?

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Sven: This happens to us sometimes in restaurants.

I: We recently found an old rotary phone at a flea market. We immediately had the idea that this would be a great prop.

Globalism: For some time now, the world has been developing into one escape room one would like to escape from – the key words are Ukraine war, Corona, climate crisis. Are you optimistic as an escape room specialist? Because there is always a solution?

Elena: No, I don’t think so.

Sven: In every escape room there is a perfect way out. If that could be applied to the world, that would be pretty cool.

Globalism: Assuming you win, what would you call yourself? German escape heroes? Escape master room?

Sasha: No idea. But we know what we’re going to use the prize money for. There are 500 euros for first place, 300 euros for second place and 200 euros for third place. We will invest it directly in the next escape room.

Sisters and Brothers – Meet at BVB

The Dortmund squad consists of sisters Lena Durrac, 35, and Anna Schreichner, 32, as well as twins Sven and Sasha Semanek, 32. Schreichner works as a city planner, and her sister, Lena, works in human resources for a company. Sven Semanek is an observer, and his brother Sasha is a management trainee. The four met when they all worked at the Borussia Dortmund stadium for a while. The first visit to the escape room was a birthday present for Sven and Sasha.

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