Nova to Lodestar


Nova to Lodestar

Written and Directed by Nathan Allen
Game Design by Sandor Weisz
Production Design by Lee Keenan



RUN DATES: This program is on hiatus during the Illinois Shelter-In-Place. We look forward to hosting you in the future!

PRICES: $39 to $49
TIMES: Thursdays & Fridays at 7:30pm & 9:30pm, Saturdays at 12:30pm, 2:30pm, 4:30pm, 7:30pm & 9:30pm, and Sundays at 12:30pm, 3:30pm & 5:30pm




Set in the outer reaches of the solar system in the distant future, players awaken from cryostasis and embark on a harrowing rescue mission between their two stranded spaceships: Nova and Lodestar.




16 players are split into two separate crews, each on one of two ships, disabled after a disastrous collision. Players need strong Communication and Resource Management skills as they attempt to locate, communicate with, and finally reach each other across the deadly vacuum of space. Watch that fuel tank though! Success is measured in how many of your teammates get home.

Show Dates: Apr 2 2020 Location:

Chicago Board Game Cafe, 1965 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago



Nova to Lodestar is a game. A cooperative game where you, the players, must work together and communicate as a team to succeed. You will do this by gathering and sharing information, solving puzzles, and working as a group to make increasingly difficult decisions.


Where do we play?

The Escapes are in the downstairs level of the Chicago Board Game Cafe

Enter through the cafe at 1965 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago IL 60647.
Proceed downstairs to the lower level via stairs or elevator.

Cross-streets are Western and Armitage.

CTA: Right off the Western Blue Line stop.

PARKING: Metered street parking in all directions


Dining at the Chicago Board Game Cafe

Make reservations to enjoy the cafe before or after your escape game!

Reservations are strongly recommended for parties of all sizes.
Make reservations HERE.

A $55 prix-fixe pre-Escape reservation is available to our players. You'll get a secret link to book a table and that menu once you purchase your tickets.

A post-game drink package is available to our players. You'll get a secret link to book it once you purchase your tickets.

If you booked a dinner reservation with The Cafe, make your escape room reservations for two+ hours before or two+ hours after your table time.

If you have a larger group, we can help make reservations for you over the phone. Call the box office at 773-769-3832 or call the Game Cafe at 224-208-5346.


What ages can play?

The Last Defender and Nova to Lodestar are designed for adults, and is recommended for ages 15 and up.

The nature of the collaboration in the games and the problem-solving skills required mean that this one isn't for younger audience members.


What is the dress code?

Whether its nuclear war or a stranded spaceship, you'll want sensible shoes.

On arrival, each player will receive a standard-issue jumpsuit to be worn over their civilian clothes. We suggest dressing in comfortable clothing to more easily perform your duties in Defender HQ or aboard the ships Nova and Lodestar. Athletic sneakers and pants are preferred.


How long are the games?

Each escape experience lasts 90 minutes.

You should arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled start time.


Wait. Are you a theater company? Are these plays?

The Escapes are not plays, but they are crazy-awesome stories about mutually assured destruction and resource management in a crisis.

Our live-action escape room-style games will make YOU the hero of the tale. There will not be live actors in the room, or an audience watching. Only players (that's you) and a few masked helpers (the black rabbits) to ensure a smooth experience. You will work with the folks you come with, and strangers, to solve puzzles and advance the story. You'll play inside a fully designed set.


Do some people play and some people watch?

NOPE! Everyone who attends steps into the shoes of a Defender or a United MIner, and plays the game.

There is not an audience watching the players. You can participate in as much or as little as you choose. (Though we'll highly recommend getting your brain working on as many challenges as you can; it's a crisis after all!) Only 16 tickets are sold to each showtime, and all 16 people will play.


Can we buy out a whole night?

You bet! There are just 16 players spots at each show.

A group can buy out all the tickets and bring between 8 and 16 people. Buyouts are perfect for birthdays, corporate team building, bachelor/bachelorettes, and more. If you like, you can click through to buy tickets for the date you want, and if all 16 numbered player spots are available, simply buy them all!

We also offer instant booking for 8 to 16 players for a private game experience Mondays through Fridays during the day. And we can schedule custom game times, or set you up for a game not yet on sale to the public when you want all 16 spots.

Buy all 16 spots at a PUBLIC game time.

Choose a weekday-daytime BUYOUT.

Request a CUSTOM game time.


Why am I being assigned a seat number when I buy tickets online?

There are not seats. In fact, you'll be up and moving most of the game.

You'll see the 16 numbered player spots when buying tickets online, so you can see how many spots remain for this game time. (In case you want to invite more friends!) If you wish to buy out a performance, and need help finding a show will all 16 spots available, please call us at 773-769-3832 or email


About Mobility

The Last Defender and Nova to Lodestar are not performances you watch, but rather games you play.

You will need to move around the space among multiple game stations with your fellow players. For a majority of the 90 minute experience, you will choose which station to be engaged in, and how much or little you'd like to move around. Some stations have seats, and some do not. Around the room, small folding portable seats are provided (like at a museum), and you should use these as much as you like, moving them between stations, or staying put.


About Accessibility

The Escapes are in the downstairs level of the Chicago Board Game Cafe and are accessible by elevator or stairs.

Once downstairs, the playing spaces are flat (no steps). Wheelchairs, walkers, and other assistive devices will all work well in the playing spaces.

If you or your guest require accommodation for vision, hearing or mobility please let us know ahead of your attendance, and we'll ensure you are placed on a team where all puzzles will work well for you. Email Maddie Stengel, Audience Services Manager, at