8D Room Escapes and Board Games

8D Room Escape and Board Games opened on Pleasant Street in Malden on June 1st with food and games galore. The co-owners, Duo Zhao, and Mo Liang got the idea from their past experience in China. Both of them grew up in China where they enjoyed going to room escapes. Zhao stated that “[Room Escapes] were very popular at the time” and after moving to the United States in 2011, they wanted to bring that with them because Liang wanted to continue working in a room escape.

A poster for one of the 8D room escapes drawn by Zhao's wife.

Another key factor that created 8D is the game called “Werewolf”. Both men intended on putting the idea to board games such as “Werewolf”, and room escapes together. As for the name, 8D, it was intended to signify “the 8th dimension” though Zhao and Liang noticed it looked much like a smiley face and decided to keep it as 8D for this reason.

Now, to Maldonians who know of Boda Borg on the other side of the building, 8D is not the same thing. To non-Maldonians, Boda Borg is a Swedish originated fun house. It’s is a collection of 18 different quests all based upon physicality with two to four rooms wherein you have to “do the right thing,” as many quest guides will tell you, to pass into the next room and complete the quest. You can go in and out of many quests and try to complete as many as possible in hopes to be deemed “Quest Master”. Quests can range from extremely physical such as “Tough, Tougher, Toughest” or the least physical quests such as “Infra”.

8D is much different. While the concept of “doing the right thing” remains, as you go through the room escape, you stay in the quest for an hour unless you solve all three rooms before the time runs out. You also do a lot more mental work, as each room needs you to solve a puzzle rather a physical exercise in order for you to move on. Instead of 18 different room escapes, 8D had three main ones: Secret Chamber, The Half Treasure Map, and Mission Z. Zhao explained that Mission Z is still a work in progress and will be opening soon because they liked the idea but some of the puzzles had to be changed.

The Secret Chamber is an Egyptian themed room, while The Half Treasure Map is a pirate themed room. One of the workers usually enter the room with you to give you hints when your group or group leader asks for one. In the rooms you must look for things you need and interact with a lot of the area around you. After an hour runs out, or after you escape, you can take a picture in front of the mass of board games the place owns and spend the rest of your day playing games with your friends and the co-workers who will gladly teach you how to play a new game.

Zhao, being the owner, finds that working at 8D is fulfilling and fun; “[he] plays games every day and connects different people and keep in touch with different people” although he also likes watching “how people react to puzzles that [they] designed”.

Now, Zhao and Liang created all three rooms themselves, and spent a long time designing them, testing them, and redoing them. Zhao says that his favorite part of creating these things is “discussing it with Mo,” because they are the ones that are in charge of what they put out.

Zhao and Liang plan to use 8D as a place to bring people together. They believe that at 8D, many people can make memories. People will remember trying to beat the rooms, finding out how to defeat a traitor in “Betrayal”, or what people mean when they say “The Truman Show” when playing “Dixit”.

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