A Kamloops man will transform his Batchelor Heights home into a pirate-themed escape room this weekend.
And he’s looking for 30 guests to join him — for free.
Josh Hoggan, a computer programmer by trade, has planned various social events over the last eight years.
“My job is very isolating. Without scheduling my own fun, I don’t meet a lot of people,” he tells KamloopsMatters.
Before moving to the River City late last year, Hoggan lived in Kelowna. He started a hiking club there and organized 300 events.
“I like building community. When I was very young, I didn’t have many friends, I was a total introvert. When I started coming out of my shell, all the social circles were already established. I like providing a forum to people to meet new people,” he explains, adding some people went on to get married after meeting at one of his events.
When he moved to Kamloops, Hoggan launched Adventure Kamloops on Facebook and began hosting gatherings inside his home (again, all for free). His house has been the site of murder mysteries, cook-offs (all groceries are provided) and art nights.
When it comes to escape rooms, Hoggan has quite a few under his belt. He’s travelled to 30 countries in the last five years and tries to hit one up if it works with his schedule. He’s done rooms in San Francisco (done with live actors), Bangkok and Vancouver.
“It’s so easy just to invent new puzzles,” Hoggan says of creating his own, noting he’s designed at least three different themes.
He adds his Bachelor Heights home is three levels; however, this weekend's game will only be played on the main level and upper floor (he has tenants in the basement). That equates to 2,000 square feet of escape room fun.
“We’ve got a ship’s wheel, a telescope, an hourglass, a map. They’re not cheap decorations,” Hoggan says with a laugh. “I think I spent $400 at Value Village on brassware.”
Participants can expect a difficulty level of four stars out of five.
“Every 10 minutes, I give people the opportunity to get a free hint. Everyone did beat it last time, in about one hour to one hour and a half.”
The group of 30 will be divided into smaller groups of four to six people.
“The bigger your team, the harder it can get, but the more eyes you have around.”
The escape room runs Saturday, Jan. 19. It starts at 7:30 p.m. It is a 19+ event, notes Hoggan. A parent must accompany anyone under the age of 19, he says.
To sign up, message Hoggan directly on Facebook (click HERE). Costumes are welcomed.