Legend Quests describes itself like so: “Legend Quests is a storytelling family theatre game where you get to meet and interact with some fantastical characters and experience a thrilling adventure. Using moving sets, actors, puppets & magic, the audience of around twenty will have to work out how to complete the quest together by solving puzzles, gathering treasure, talking to characters and outwitting monsters.”
It takes place in a studio in Rye in east Sussex, so far east that it’s practically in Kent, that has a long history of photo shoots with a particular specialism in fantasy portraits. If you ever wanted to see yourself as a wizard, knight, mermaid or fairy, or something esoteric and multiclass, they have the costumes and sets to do so, and the samples on the site are gorgeous, illustrating why they have such good TripAdvisor reviews. (Which do seem to be for the photo services, not for Legend Quests as such, but are still a very promising start.)
Being honest, I have a half a suspicion this feels near-topic rather than on-topic, but I’ve certainly covered things in the past which turned out to have less puzzle content than this. It’s very interesting in that it takes a stab at asking a number of occasionally-asked questions: could there be something escape-room-like for kids, could there be something escape-room-like for a group of more than a dozen or so and could there be something that attempts to cross the gap between an escape room and a role-playing game. If this were outdoors and wandered all over London, we’d be all over it, so it’s definitely close enough for jazz for me. It’s not at all beyond the realms of possibility to consider the alternate universe where this has taken off like trampoline parks and there is a single escape room somewhere in the UK as a curio.
Legend Quests really intrigues because of what it was intended to be… and, implicitly, what it might yet be at some point in the future. The original Kickstarter appeal was for a “theatrical fantasy dungeon crawl adventure game“, and attracted a lot of impressive names who had agreed to work on a fully-funded project. The game here would have had a series of acted scenes, with the action frozen in time by a narrator, and members of the audience determining what the protagonists did next. (An alternative would have had more in common with conventional role-playing, with players adopting their own characters, but the default game was deliberately a step abstracted from that for greater accessibility.) The Kickstarter didn’t get too far in the end; the subsequent GoFundMe appeal made some progress.
The most recent attempt to bring at least something of the principle of the project to the people was another very interesting try where the crowdfunding campaign didn’t get a great deal of traction. This would have seen the production of physical kits for people to attempt to approximate the experience at home, through the use of evocative soundtracks and players at home acting out the roles using elaborate masks within candlelight, as opposed to full costumes. (Ingenious!)
There’s definitely something there. The designer put out a number of episodes of a fantasy-themed interview podcast, which are well worth listening to, even if they have dried up recently, and comes across very well in his interviews. Fingers crossed that Legend Quests really catches people’s attention somehow before long