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Review: Gem Runner - Lucardo, Rawtenstall

Room Story - from Lucardo

The famous 190 carat Saratov diamond from Russia is being deposited at the central bank in Rawtenstall. Lucardo has hacked the security system, buying your team a one hour window to steal the diamond. Can your team pull off Rawtenstalls biggest ever heist? *note this game is similar to Gem Runner at Manchester.

Key Stats

Room NameGem Runner
LocationRawtenstall, UK
Escape Time46:50
Team Size3
My Recommended Team Size3 - 5


We’ve wanted to visit Lucardo in Manchester for quite some time but we’ve never quite got around to it, however, when we saw a branch was opening about 20 minutes from us in Rawtenstall we knew we’d need to give our closest escape game a try. We always have a mental list of the next games we want to play and decided we’d visit Lucardo Rawtenstall at some point in the future – however, the short distance was too tempting and we ended up going on their first week of opening!

Lucardo is set in two adjoined terraced houses behind Rawtenstall high street, so it’s quite an unusual venue from the outside. But step inside and there’s a decent size reception and waiting area and room for four escape rooms. It was exciting visiting a brand new venue and it was interesting to hear from Simon about how they set it up and their future plans. Simon is a really enthusiastic host, he’s got such a passion for escape games and you can see the genuine excitement he has to welcome people to his venue.

We got our briefing with a very clear mission: break into the bank and steal the Saratov diamond. And with that, we were on our way. You enter into the “customer” area of what feels like a small bank branch, complete with advertising signage, waiting chairs, cash machine and cashier counter that all help to give the room a realistic feeling. There’s also a large vault door that immediately grabs your attention and becomes the central aim of your initial quest.

When we first entered, we didn’t think there would be a lot to do as the room is quite tidy and simply furnished, but as we began to explore we found that there were many things that needed to be unlocked or explored further. There are a few clever observational puzzles hidden in the room that help you find the codes and keys you need to progress.

We only got really stuck on one puzzle and when we eventually found that we simply needed to think about things a different way around we were very annoyed at ourselves!

As we went through the room, we started to gather some mystery objects that left us a little bit puzzled as to their usage. But we eventually reached a part of the game where all became clear and these proved central to progressing to the next part of the game.

Having unlocked the big vault door, we proceeded downstairs to the vault. It’s not often you get an escape room with a couple of different levels so this was quite a novelty. It’s quite a steep staircase with a low roof, so anybody with any sort of mobility issues might struggle a little bit. But height wise, I’m 6’2” and managed okay.

Again, the vault room is well themed with the various elements you’d expect to find in a vault. There’s lots of unlocking involved using clues from the first area of the room and a satisfying sequence to electronically open another part of the room. In this room, there’s also something that you find relatively early on that’s a really clever way of hiding something – you know exactly what you need but can’t reach it without it.

After an Inception like sequence of unlocking (safe within a safe within a safe), we eventually reached the immensely well protected Saratov diamond and ran for the exit.

This was a really fun, well themed and satisfying game with a solid storyline that it stays true to. It wasn’t too easy and it wasn’t too hard, so it meant we could really enjoy the room. I think they’ve done a great job of creating a room with almost universal appeal that will have something for both enthusiasts and beginners. The hosting was excellent with clues delivered via a screen at appropriate moments.

The team were Becky, Daniel and Beth. 


Overall A well executed room with great hosting and some unique puzzles. We had great fun in this room and think it has something for beginners and enthusiasts alike.
Difficulty On the most part, the puzzles are straightforward and logical so it should be a fairly simple escape for enthusiasts and an achievable escape for beginners.
Fun We really enjoyed the game – there was plenty for each of us to do and “theft” type games are usually fun as they have a very defined outcome you’re working towards.
Puzzles There are lots of puzzles in this room involving padlocks and codes, but the real variety came in obtaining the keys and solving the codes. There were lots of clever ways these were hidden around the room.
Immersion This room is nicely themed, it feels like a small bank with realistic features like a cash machine, cashiers counter and big vault door.
Surprises It’s not a game big on surprises or dramatic set pieces, but there’s plenty of discovery to keep you interested.