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What does it take to create 'Escape Helena?'

Andrew Elford.JPG
Posted at 10:52 AM, Jul 09, 2024

HELENA — Escape Helena has been in production for seven years and runs indoor and outdoor games. The majority of these missions are not so much escape-oriented as they are mission-oriented - completing the puzzles to get to the end of a storyline.

“It’s where you and a group of people work together to solve a series of puzzles and challenges within a themed room within a set amount of time,” says Andrew Elford, owner of Escape Helena.

After concocting a story, working backward from the end goal, and creating puzzles, Andrew Elford and his wife spend countless hours bringing set pieces to life in their garage.

When MTN met up with him, Elford was working on his new steampunk-themed room called The Traveller’s Study. They began creating this room in about November and Elford says they hope to be done by sometime in August.

“Building an escape room is kind of like flying an airplane whilst building it,” says Elford.

He uses his tools, 3D printer, and imagination to bring a set to life. Before opening Escape Helena, Elford created an escape room for his family in his home. Elford also visited an escape room in Belgrade that has since closed. They spoke with the owner for hours and decided to bring the concept back home to Helena.

“It was just so inspiring that, we decided, man, Helena really needs something like this because there's just not enough stuff to do here in Helena, especially that doesn't involve alcohol. We wanted to do something that was family-friendly where people could bring their kids. We kind of built them for adults, but kids get to play because there's not a lot of sober fun for adults. So, that's why we actually opened our doors,” says Elford.

Escape Helena is at 23 South Last Chance Gulch; click here to visit the website.