The Old Post’s resident designer, artist and creator of our escape games, Tony Hale, reflects on the origins of Escape the Old Post and the Postmaster’s Riddle in this reflective piece.

As things start to open back up and we begin to welcome people back to attempt to solve the Postmaster’s Riddle, Michael and I have had a chance to reflect a bit on the origin of the idea, the construction, and the total process of creating a puzzle room in the attic of the Old Post.

Having never been to an escape room before, it seemed very strange to be 100% certain that it was the perfect solution for what to do with the attic. The idea landed and it was like “Bang!” …this is what we’re doing.

If Michael was hesitant, it sure wasn’t obvious. Construction ideas, puzzle designs, secret hiding spots, game play scenarios, all manner of possibilities instantly began flooding into my head. The excitement of creating a giant puzzle for others to solve felt exactly right for me somehow. The task was daunting to be sure but I never doubted we could pull it off.

My ideas were huge, and once we went and tried a couple escape rooms I realized just how huge. Our puzzle room was not going to be like the others.

The original and compelling architecture of the building instantly afforded me so many advantages. Skylight room, bell tower, a giant clock…I mean c’mon! The space was made for an adventure room!

As construction began I wasn’t too concerned about the finished product. I’ve come to realize that my style of design is an evolution of ideas that just sort of come along during the build process. The space needs to let you know its potential as you work in it. As it turned out, this space had a lot to say.

Puzzle ideas and ways to use some funky spaces would inevitably work themselves into the process. Many crazy discussions with Michael about fairly challenging design ideas resulted in even more challenging build/game aspects. I felt like a kid in a candy store. To be given the opportunity to create such a large design on a truly historic and thought-provoking canvas was a huge deal for me. To have someone who had unwavering confidence that I could pull it off was an even bigger deal.

Thousands of puzzlers have entered the top floor to give the riddle a go and as gamemasters, we’ve been blessed to watch and guide their adventure, with the goal of achieving the best possible experience, solving problems, working together, and creating lasting memories.

Last spring we were well into the construction and design of “Clockworks: McCready’s Epilogue”, our new adventure in the basement. When COVID-19 hit, we switched gears and focused on the Café and the courtyard. We’re ready to turn our attention back to the basement puzzle room.

This room will be a completely different kettle of fish, and in many ways, it will dwarf the Postmaster’s Riddle in scope of design and puzzle concept. The ideas that are in motion are a little mind-boggling, but also very exciting.

I can’t wait for Alexander McCready to welcome our future puzzlers and introduce them to Clockworks. It’s going to be a fun ride, and for me, the journey getting there will be the best part.

Tony Hale

Artist & Designer, Tony Hale Custom Designs & Creations