The Alchemist’s Chamber: Taking On Prague’s Mind Maze

One of my favourite activities in Prague is something that I actually can’t tell you very much about because it would simply spoil the game; yet it’s something I enjoyed so much that I can’t keep it all to myself because I think everyone passing through the city should try it out! So in the interest of introducing you to one of the city’s best kept secrets, I will try my best to explain Prague’s Mind Maze while still sounding really ambiguous and not giving any clues away…

The Alchemist's Chamber, Prague's Mind Maze, Prague

Did you ever watch “Fort Boyard” as a child? It was a French game show from the 90s that was filmed in a fortification out at sea off the coast of France. The whole premise of the game was that each team had to solve riddles, find keys, unlock clues, and use their minds to solve the task in front of them in order to win the gold and escape this scary fort located out in the Pertuis d’Antioche Straits. This was one of my favourite TV shows as a child and even though it didn’t come on until 10:00 p.m., I would stay up past my bedtime to watch the teams get locked in cells, decipher obscure riddles, piece clues together, win gold, and ultimately escape! Now doesn’t that sound like a fun game?

If you didn’t grow up watching this show, did you ever play Encyclopaedia Encarta MindMaze on the computer? Again taking you back to the 90s, this was a digital multimedia game set in an old castle, where you had to go from room to room – picture creepy looking dungeons and stone-walled chambers filled with treasure chests – and answer trivia questions in order to get past each door.

Well, Prague’s Mind Maze is a combination of these two games, except that YOU get to be the player, and YOU have to use your mind to find your way out!

Located on a quiet little backstreet, you press the buzzer on a purple door and enter a dimly lit building where the signs lead towards the basement. You descend the spiralling stairs and are met by someone who takes you into a room, sits you down on a sofa, and explains the goal of the game:

“You have 60 minutes to find the Philosopher’s Stone and use it to escape the Alchemist’s Chamber.”

That’s it.

You and your team enter the Alchemist’s Chamber where the door locks behind you.

Inside it feels like you’ve travelled back in time several centuries. There are stone walls, mysterious manuscripts, and bottles filled with colourful potions. You are surrounded by wooden chests, writing desks and little boxes, all of which are locked!

You start picking things up, turning them around, flipping through books in search of clues. You try pushing furniture to see if it will unlock a secret trap door. You shake sculptures, pick up glass balls, sift through pebbles – are any of them the Philosopher’s Stone?

The Alchemist's Chamber, Prague's Mind Maze, Prague

You’re in a live game and it’s kind of surreal. You and your teammate work your way around the room. You are looking for something, but at the same time you don’t really know what you’re looking for so you don’t want to discard any clues. What seems useless now may come in handy once you’re further in the game. But right now, you’re just looking for the first clue to get things rolling.

You open a leather folder and pull out sheets – drawings of the human body, botanical studies, cryptic astronomical symbols – what do they all mean?

You feel your way around walls. Stare at paintings. Will this candle come in handy? What’s this giant key for? Where are the missing puzzle pieces?

A black raven stares down at you and a hooting owl signals that you have already spent 15 minutes trying to piece together the clues that will ultimately help you get out of this room. You need to sort through the objects that are there to help you versus those that are there to distract you.

You find the first key and unlock a series of locks which get you one step closer, but you get stuck again. You need something to move forward, but what?

You look behind curtains, pick up magnifying glasses, find more keys than you know what to do with. What is the walking stick for? Dare I stick my finger in the bubbling cauldron? What’s the meaning behind the colours on the pentagram? So many numbers. So many locks. There must be another key!

It’s been half an hour. How much further do you have to go? Are you any closer to finding a way to escape the Alchemist’s Chamber?

You unlock something which opens a whole slew of possibilities. This could change the game. Things are colour coded, and there are more numbers. You try to recall the roman numerals you learned in elementary school. Are you supposed to be using the numbers now or later?

You tear through the room again to see if you’ve somehow missed something. Clues. Clues. You are looking for clues.

You start to think you’re just over-analyzing everything you see in the room, but no, it must be there for a reason! It must serve a purpose.

You manage to unlock the trap door and find yourself in another chamber. There are more mysteries to unravel, but you’re running out of time! The bells are ringing signalling that you only have 15 minutes left in the game. If only you had another 30 minutes you could surely figure this all out! There is so much to look at. So many objects to pick up and analyze; they could all mean something!

The Alchemist's Chamber, Prague's Mind Maze, Prague

You go back to that astronomical clock – you know it’s important. But why? Are those planetary symbols or zodiac symbols? And which is it that you need to move forward?

Aghhh, you need more time! You know you can do this!!

And then, it’s over.

Sam and I didn’t manage to escape the Alchemists’s Chamber, but what an exhilarating hour it was.

We saw the Philosopher’s Stone – we gazed at its mysterious beauty with our eyes and it was within our reach! – but we ultimately ran out of time trying to decipher a much needed equation.

I really can’t tell you anymore because I don’t want to give away any secrets, however, if you do find yourself in Prague and are up for a mind challenge, then you can’t skip out on the Mind Maze.

All you need is some logic, imagination, and a team with good problem-solving skills.

This was seriously one of the highlights of my visit!

More details:

To experience Mind Maze Prague, you must make your booking online ahead of time. This escape room game is quite popular with the underground gaming crowd and a few curious minds, so it’s best to make your reservation a few days in advance.

You need between 2-4 people to play the game, and the price is 1200 CZK for the group, regardless of whether there are 2 or 4 of you.

You have 60 minutes to solve the game and you will be armed with a walkie-talkie should you get stuck and need help at any point during the game. Someone will be watching you through webcam so if you hit the wall, you can ask for clues!

Have you ever played a ‘room escape game’ anywhere else around the world?

If so, let me know in the comments below. I’m hooked and I can’t wait to try this somewhere else!

Join the Conversation

44 Comments

  1. says: Kiara Gallop

    Wow, why have I not heard of this? I’ve been to Prague twice and no amount of research returned this little gem. It sounds amazing and 100% something I’d enjoy 🙂 It’s going on the travel hit list right now!

  2. says: Caitlyn

    Wow! I have been to Prague over a dozen times and I never knew that this place even existed! Definitely another reason to return, it sounds brilliant!

    1. says: Audrey

      It’s a fairly new game and it’s also hidden on a little unassuming street, so it’s really easy to miss unless you know about it. I highly HIGHLY recommend it if you’re ever back in town! It was a blast!! 🙂

  3. says: Renuka

    This is something new! The dimly-lit room looks interesting and even the game sounds fun. I’ll check out the mindmaze link and understand it better.

  4. Very cool! I did something similar in Chicago except it was called Trapped in a Room With a Zombie. You’re locked in a room with a team and have one hour to figure out the clues and get out, all while not trying to be “killed” by the zombie. 🙂

    1. says: Audrey

      Ohhh, that’s awesome! I’m planning to swing through Chicago this summer so I am definitely putting ‘escape a room full of zombies’ on my list! This will be fun…. 😀

  5. says: Dan Thompson

    Cool!! I’ve been to Prague twice and have managed to never hear of this place. If I ever make it back there I’ll have to try this out; sounds right up our alley!

    Thanks for sharing!
    Dan

  6. says: Jesse

    This sounds so cool! I defiantly want to try this! I didn’t even know things like this existed. Well something to add to the to do list.

  7. says: Rachel of Hippie in Heels

    THAT IS SO FREAKIN COOL. I have got to try that! Shame you guys didn’t make it through the end, but next time you surely will.

    1. says: Audrey

      Even if you don’t manage to escape the Alchemist’s Chamber within the hour, it’s still kind of cool because they walk you through the rest of the game at the very end so you can see what you were missing. It’s a good thing they do because otherwise I would have been mulling the puzzles in my head for days wondering where I had wrong! Haha 😉

  8. says: Mark

    That’s awesome, I will have to put it on my Prague bucket list. Do you think it would have helped if you had one more person to help you?

    1. says: Audrey

      Yes, if you can gather a few more friends and make it 4 it might mean you work through the clues a bit quicker. You need lots of brain power to solve the puzzles and riddles in there. 😉

  9. says: Mike of Mapless Mike

    Wow! This is really cool! Prague is on my list of places to visit next year, and this is going to be on my to-do list there. Thanks for sharing, Audrey!

  10. says: Maria Falvey

    Excellent way to make new friends if you’re traveling solo – run an add for cohorts or I’m sure the management would be happy to help you find others to make that deuce or foursome.

  11. says: Vanessa

    Encarta Encyclopedia Castle Map game… YES! When my family got our first computer, I was in 6th grade and nerded out on Encarta’s map game with my sister. How cool to do this in real life! Prague just doubled in coolness points in my mind.

  12. Oh wow this looks like so much nerdy fun. I love it! My husband plays a game on his iPad constantly that is all about trying to get form room to room like this. He thinks he is really good at it but I would love to take him to something like this and see how good he really is. Yet another reason I need to get back to Prague soon.

  13. says: Franca

    That is what I call something different. I’d love to take part to it too, I might just return to Prague for this alone 🙂 Thanks for sharing Audrey

  14. says: Julio Moreno

    I gotta admit that I didn’t read the whole article because I am afraid you gave away the solution. So…
    1) Can I safely read this and still be able to do it?
    2) How many different puzzles are there? This sounds pretty awesome, I love mazes and puzzles.

    1. says: Audrey

      Don’t worry, I didn’t give away any details! I wouldn’t want to ruin the experience for those coming after me. 🙂 And there is only one maze, however, once you’re in there you’ll have to overcome several different obstacles.

  15. says: Pauline

    I’ve never been to the Escape rooms before, but there are a few popping up around Toronto. My friends have gone and they seem to enjoy the experience too!

  16. says: Katrina

    Fantastic!!! I’ve been to Prague, but have never heard of this place (or any of the shows you mentioned). What a cool experience!

  17. says: Shelley

    This is so amazing, and might justify a trip to Prague all by itself!! 😉 Thanks for sharing. How did you not go back in try again? I think I might get completely addicted and want to keep trying over and over again!!

    1. says: Audrey

      The thing is that they show you ‘the answer’ if you fail, so there’s no point in trying it again once you know where the clues are… However, I am going to try the experience in a few other cities that also have room escape games. 😉

  18. says: Nathan

    Sound like your having a great time in Prague!
    When I get to Prague I will definitely go into the maze. It sounds like a really good hours fun and mystery.
    In June I am heading of to Spain for 3 months backpacking, you can check out my blog;
    rtwbackpacker.net

  19. says: Sam

    Wow, this looks so cool! I’ve been to Prague a bunch of times in the last 4 years, but never heard about this. Definitely something for next time. I didn’t grow up with the TV show you mention, but it does remind me of the Crystal Maze, which was on British television in the 90s. That takes me back!

    1. says: Audrey

      I like the sound of Crystal Maze! I didn’t grow up watching it, but if it involved riddles, puzzles, and clues, it would’ve been right up my alley. 😉

  20. says: Heather

    OOH! This is right up my alley! I did Operation Spy at the Spy Museum in Washington, DC, where your group has a “mission” to accomplish. We cracked safes, decrypted conversations and did all sorts of spy-like things. It was so much fun! Will be returning to Prague later this year and will definitely give this a go.

  21. says: Kuchenundkakao

    I have been in prague over the weekend and did this.

    I can’t tell how awesome this is. Me and my wife managed to escape after 58 minutes – pretty close, but we did it! You have to have felt the sudden rush of adrenaline when some mysterious symbols appear suddenly after you did something or the “aha” effect. Must-See when going to prague – but be sure to make a reservation 3 Weeks ahead!

    They have added another room “The Enigma Puzzle” which is set in a WW2 setting which i couldn’t do, but it too looks pretty great.

    Have fun!

    1. says: Audrey

      I’m happy to hear you and your wife got to experience the Mind Maze! 🙂 I loved the game. If I’m ever back in Prague I’ll be checking out their new Enigma Puzzle.

  22. Yes, I did, and it was in Prague. For the first time of my life in my 30 I’ve tried it and without help of my GF I couldn’t get out of there. 🙂 We’ve tried the Magic Room at Questerland in Prague, but as far as I know, they offer even more.

  23. says: Ken

    Came across your site when looking for reviews of some of the Prague escape rooms – I hope you continued to enjoy escape rooms and found them elsewhere. The Alchemist still holds up well against modern escape rooms but there are now a bunch of even more exciting games in the Czech capital.

    I’d recommend the Chamber and Questerland if people want to play some more although Alchemist is a fun entry point to the genre. If you want more recommendations, I wrote up my thoughts on the 25 games I’ve played in Prague: http://thelogicescapesme.com/tourism/a-tourists-review-of-prague-escape-rooms/

  24. says: Allyson

    This sounds fantastic. We are traveling to Prague in November and trying to find some fun things to do. By chance is there an English option? We are curious about what language the clues will be in. Thanks for any assistance you can provide!

  25. says: Prachee

    There are quite a few of these in Busan and Seoul, South Korea. They are really amazing, you should give them a try if you ever go there 🙂

  26. says: Stanislav

    Hi, I was in Prague last week with my family. We were on all these interesting and tourist places but we wanted something more. We went to the pubs and clubs with my wife and wanted to go somewhere with kids, so we played this escape room or how it is called. It was somewhere around Zizkov area, it is not so far from the main railway station. The Harry Potter themed room was fun! I think everybody with families should try this type of activity. We were here if you are interested – https://questerland.cz/

  27. says: Stacey Dale

    Is this place still there? I’ll be in Prague next month and would like to play. In Las Vegas, NV, USA, we call these “escape rooms” one of the more fun places to play, Escapology, has several different adventures to choose from. And the group I play with is 8 people.

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