A random thought about how friendly things are

animal-friendsGratuitous cute shot? There’s a little more to it than that, even if only a little.

Apropos of not much, one pleasing observation relating to the exit game hobby is how little disagreement and rivalry it has seen. It’s not as if – at least so far – there has been a tendency for people to swear allegiance to one brand of exit game and disdain the others, or those who are fans of others. When so many hobbies tend towards the tribal, it’s a pleasure that there has not been a sense of trying to establish commonality through a shared enemy. It’s fine to play some games from one company and have a great time, then play games from another company and enjoy them as well, and nobody makes accusations of a lack of loyalty.

Even the companies’ owners are on good terms with each other, as far as this site has been able to tell. (Some countries have seen occasional malign practices, but no authenticated evidence of them having spread to the UK yet.) This site tends to believe that competition isn’t a zero-sum game and a rising tide lifts all ships. It’s also true that different businesses’ games aim to do slightly different things; it’s cool that different sites emphasise subtly different emotional experiences.

At a guess, there are two reasons for the lack of development of brand… loyalty isn’t the right word, jingoism may come closer. The first is that, broadly, people will only play each game once and develop their skill at exit games in general rather than one exit game in particular, so people don’t need to feel the need to validate themselves by promoting the skill they have developed at their specific game through promoting that game at the expense of others. The second is that exit games tend to attract those with a taste for the thoughtful, possibly at the expense of the self-aggrandising.

The hobby is all the better as a result of it!

Starting tomorrow: an online puzzle hunt from exit game bloggers

Puzzle Hunt logoThis is cool. It’s a sign of how successful exit games have been in the Toronto area, and how popular their blogs have proven, that two of them – Escape Games Review and Escape Room Addict have been able to attract sponsorship from seven exit games in their area to offer a total of nine prizes for an online puzzle hunt that starts tomorrow. The prizes are all credit for the games themselves and so less likely to be of use to people from outside the area, but a cool puzzle is fun by itself and the hunt is open globally even if you’re not going to turn up and take use of the prizes in practice.

The rules set expectations clearly. Any size team can participate, but the prizes dictate what sorts of team sizes are sensible, and the puzzle hunt’s front page suggests what sorts of skills are likely to be tested by the variety of difficult puzzles over the course of the hunt: steganography, involving manipulating both images and audio files to extract messages, cryptography and research (with Board Game Geek a likely frequent starting-point).

Puzzles will be posted daily; teams are required to comment on the first puzzle to register within ten days of starting and then to comment on every puzzle thereafter. The first team to complete all fourteen puzzles gets first choice of the prizes; the remaining prizes will be split by random draw among teams who have completed all fourteen puzzles by the end of the fourteenth day. The difficulty level is likely to be reasonably high, but hints will be posted on Twitter on a schedule, and additional hints are available on request after 24 hours. The whole thing will be wrapped up by the end of the month, no fooling around.

Extremely exciting; good for those hunts who have sponsored – hopefully they will enjoy the extra attention they receive and perhaps this might be a model that could be repeated elsewhere. However it turns out, it’s one to enjoy wherever in the world you are!

Coming soon to London: a door in a wall present “The Life and Death of Paul Marrane”

"The Life and Death of Paul Marrane"This site has previously discussed the work of London interactive theatre company a door in a wall, admiringly previewing their Spring 2014 The Diplomatic Corpse and their Autumn 2014 A Stab In The Dark. Happily, recently the company announced their next big public piece: The Life and Death of Paul Marrane.

The flurry of activity that followed the sudden demise of a perfect stranger was unexpected. There seemed no suggestion of foul play and he had no apparent close friends or family. Even his colleagues were not entirely certain what he did. But from the moment he collapsed on the floor of the bank, Professor Paul Marrane attracted the attention of some powerful figures. Whispered rumours hint at a highly unusual life. Now representatives of four influential organisations are descending upon the area of Poplar in east London, eager to be present at the reading of his will.

Players in teams of three-to-six (by strong recommendation) are required to choose one of these four factions at the start of the game. Will your faction successfully claim Marrane’s estate and use his secrets to your advantage? Each team will need a video-capable smartphone to hand; the story leads teams out into the nearby streets in search of clues and characters. The work of a door in a wall relies on following clues, finding locations, solving puzzles and interacting with characters; they are famed for their pun-heavy sense of humour. This piece aims to have a heavier emphasis on exploration and story than their previous murder mysteries, though there’s still a mystery to piece together and connections to make as you explore the East End.

Maya Angelou said “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel“. Perhaps the role of puzzles in puzzle adventures is slightly overrated, and it’ll be the situations, story, moods and sensations that an adventure generates which you remember, rather than the puzzles themselves. You can play at 6:30pm on most nights in May (not Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Monday 11th/18th) and also at 1:30pm at weekends as well. Tickets are £30/player, but you get a lot for your money, with games expected to last about four hours. The company has an excellent track record of generating memorable, popular and acccessible adventures; bookings opened recently and almost a thousand tickets were sold on the first day.

Sounds very likely to be another hit!

Mechanics Monday: Tutorial Mode

Video game "Tutorial Mode"The excellent Shut Up & Sit Down board games review site sporadically releases podcasts; one of them discussed, among many other things, the question “What can board games learn from video games?” Good question, and the obvious parallel question runs “What can exit games learn from video games?“. Especially because, arguably, the answer could be the same.

Many video games have tutorial modes which briefly introduce the mechanics of the game, often one at a time, often by making players learn through doing them. Not many board games have such a tutorial mode and there is an argument that that could be as good, or better, a way to learn a game’s rules than a rulebook. So the question is: could the same principle be used by exit games? Could an exit game start with a tutorial mode… or, perhaps, a tutorial room?

A tutorial room might have as few as three or four puzzles and be designed to be beaten within low single digits of minutes. It could be extremely small and would be designed to be extremely easy to reset, if work is needed to reset it at all. It would help the less confident teams out so that they might hit the ground running when they go into the “real” room. It could help people learn what they’re required not to do for safety reasons. It would offer a perception of extra value. Lastly, it could be used to… not mislead, but explore design choices that were deliberately not incorporated in the real room.

Yesterday, this site discussed Dr. Scott Nicholson’s white paper, which has been updated since the last post with even more content. One particularly interesting suggestion in it is that hiding information by writing it in ink that might only be seen using a supplied blacklight is something of an exit game cliché in this day and age. Perhaps it might be appropriate to use this mechanic in a tutorial room and not actually in a main room, in that case.

On the other hand, given that exit games have thrived already without needing tutorial rooms, perhaps this is a solution in need of a problem. It may well be that part of the thrill is exploring the possibilities for the first time in your first room, being dropped into it and discovering for yourself what you can do. Perhaps a tutorial room could be an optional extra for the most marginal and least confident participants.

Returning to the overarching question of what might be learnt from video games, Dr. Nicholson also writes: Since escape rooms are hoping to meet the needs of many different player types, they should allow the players the ability to set their game mode. This will provide a way for a group of players to communicate to game staff what kind of game experience they are seeking. ((…)) Facilities with a human gamemaster can easily adjust the difficulty of the game experience by giving more frequent or more cryptic clues. ((…)) Another tip to take from videogames to enable a better player experience is to allow teams to switch to an easier mode while playing the game, so that if they are frustrated, they have a way to resolve that frustration before the game is over. There is some established practice in this regard: De Code Adventures of Canada offers a choice of three levels of difficulty in this regard, though it’s not clear whether the extremely sensible “jump down a difficulty level while the game is in progress” option is possible.

One way for an exit game to conclude, which wouldn’t be appropriate for many themes but could be hard to beat thematically for others which nod more directly at video games, would be for the countdown clock to count down to zero and then display the familiar “GAME OVER” motif. People would expect that. However, if beneath “GAME OVER”, there were to be a secondary message of “CONTINUE?” and then an additional short countdown timer, that would surely play with a few sets of expectations, maybe in just the right way!

An academic approach to exit games

scholarshipOne of the most interesting developments in the world of exit games over the last few months has been the scholarly investigation undertaken, as discussed, by Dr. Scott Nicholson, a Professor at Syracuse University in New York state. Dr. Nicholson has a long history in research with a focus (among others!) into different forms of play in the context of informal learning spaces such as libraries.

Late last year he launched a survey of exit game facilities, discussing the thinking behind his survey at his site Escape Enthusiasts. This has developed into a Google Group for discussion of the genre, with a counterpart Facebook group as well. The highlight has been publication of (at least an early version of) the white paper arising from the survey, which gets this site’s highest recommendation as a must-read for business owners and players who want to see behind the scenes.

One particular highlight of the white paper is the very neat way that it handles the claim that exit games date back to Silicon Valley in 2006. Additionally, it presents remarkably comparable prior art dating back at least a decade further to (as discussed) a series of games run at the LARP-themed International Fantasy Gaming Society’s “Once Upon A Con” events, which created a series of temporary rooms through hanging up tarpaulins and challenged teams to make their way through within time limits. It’s always an exciting possibility that there are other, similar games from decades ago that time has forgotten and that might present themselves again some day.

The demographic information that the white paper presents is fascinating, with the most robust attempt yet to compare self-reported practices in exit games around the world, with the best corpus of data yet collected from English-speaking Asia, as well as Australia, Europe and the Americas. This will inspire and inform those looking to set up their own new business, as well as those looking to develop their existing one. There’s plenty of information collected, too, about what might be found inside these rooms as well as who might be playing them, and about what just might be possible and practicable inside a room.

This site has always deliberately erred on the side of being relatively liberal in its focus with discussion of near-topic games such as True Dungeon, but did so on a vague sense of it being hand-wavily interesting. The white paper takes the scholarly approach that these things are not just interesting, but they are relevant because they have identifiable influence, even if at a remove or two, on the way in which the world knows exit games today and how it might know exit games in the years to come. Six different influences are identified and it takes a real breadth of ludic knowledge to pull them all together.

Jumping from the start to the end, the notion in the white paper that most excited this site is the counterpart way that exit games are put in context as a subset of live-action adventures. Look at it another way: if you look up an exit game on TripAdvisor, it’ll be ranked in the context of “Fun Activities and Games”, and it’ll compete against – for instance – paintball, go-karting, casinos, laser tag and soft play. Is this a rag-bag assortment or are there lessons to be learned for exit games from some of them? Not so much from casinos and probably only tangentially (in the briefing-with-instructions, activity, debriefing schedule) from go-karting – but, as for the others, maybe there’s more in common than you think. If people like laser tag because they want to be inside a video game like Halo, perhaps they like exit games because they want to be inside a video game like Myst.

This site enjoys reading about live-action adventures, though sometimes hiding behind the sofa. This site isn’t going to become a live-action adventure blog, though. (Laser tag, although it will always be cool, is moving in a direction that this site does not appreciate so much; it’s becoming much less Half-Life and much more Call of Duty. No thanks.) Additionally, this site has always considered interactive theatre to be on the border of its remit, with playable theatre (if that’s a term anybody else uses, noting the many meanings of the word “play”…) definitely on-topic.

Putting it all together, this site loves puzzle adventures; they might involve being in a room, they might involve being in a puzzle hunt (whether online or in person), they might involve being part of a competition. However, it’s much easier for a puzzle competition to feel like an adventure in your head if there is some structure, context and persistence to them, rather than just being one-off tests – for instance, the adventure of being part of a team and helping your team advance through your progress. If this breadth of approach isn’t to your taste, other blogs are available. You should start your own; this site would link to it!

Looking forwards, Dr. Nicholson will be the keynote speaker at an upcoming “escape room Game Jam” held at MIT in greater Boston. Teams will have (nearly) 48 hours to “create puzzles and games to be played within a pop-up escape room (…) based around a moment in an upcoming film“. (It’s not clear which film; a film will be screened at the start of the event, so that would seem likely to be the inspiration.) Intriguingly, this is being held in association with Red Bull and winning participants get an expenses-paid trip to Comic-Con 2016. Not bad! The event has sold out, but will be filmed and the material generated will be made available under a Creative Commons licence.

Perhaps, in time, the world at large might get to play the winning, or a composite, pop-up exit game when the film gets a wider release; it wouldn’t be the first film to have a pop-up exit game associated with it – the one associated with The Purge: Breakout showed what might be possible. It’ll be extremely interesting to see if anything ever develops as a consequence of this Game Jam and to follow additional developments as they arise.

Exit games have taken off so rapidly that the world can hope to attract attention from all sorts of different sources and to be intepreted in all sorts of different ways. The exit game world should be very grateful to have someone who has professional academic expertise casting an eye over it, as well as us amateurs; that might sound dismissive, but it’s intended as a compliment – remember, an amateur is someone who does something for the love of it.

(Unrelatedly, if you haven’t done so already, please would you consider filling out this site’s survey? Thank you!)

On the move

moving-houseThis site isn’t going anywhere, but there are a few exit games moving and shaking at the moment:

  • The justifiably renowned clueQuest have completed their move to a new location, half a mile or so up the road from King’s Cross station. (According to the lower half of this blog entry, they reopened on March 11th.) Their new location is in what seems to be a safe and pleasant neighbourhood in south Islington. This site popped by a couple of days ago and work was well and truly in progress, particularly on the outside – but looking through the open front door down the smart-looking corridor suggests that the building has as much depth, and as many hidden depths as you would hope.
  • Tick Tock Unlock have been massively busy with their new Liverpool location, but their first site in Leeds has been very difficult to book with its single room and would likely have sold many more spaces if it possibly could have done. Accordingly, this Tweet suggesting we are looking forward to moving to our new venue next week sounds like a great step forwards. This site hopes that every site relocation is a positive one!
  • Over in the north-west, Clue HQ have launched their Blackpool location, with a brand new game entitled Detonation. (This site understands it’s about the Greek financial crisis… now there’s a beta-minus joke.) In truth, the new room sees teams on the trail of a criminal notorious for blowing up anyone who attempts to track him down. The game is intended to have a slightly lower difficulty level than their famously fiendish tests in Warrington, but early reviews point to another winner.

Some other matters arising:

1) The ninth weekly episode of online play-along-at-home-on-an-app game Quiz The Nation takes place at 8pm on Sunday night; it’ll be the last one for now, and the last chance to play for free in order to earn money prizes and further playing tokens for when it returns in a month and a half. The tech has improved (though do make sure the app has access to your device’s microphone) and the operators have earnt a good reputation for paying out the advertised prizes quickly. Not in this direction, yet, though that’s not exactly their fault.

2) As previously discussed, Engima Escape are crowdfunding through a Kickstarter appeal. They’re making more progress than other UK exit game Kickstarters of previous years, and at least one unsuccessful crowdfunding project has nevertheless turned into a very successful live site. Nevertheless, their appeal could surely do with some more love if you’re in a position to give, whether you’re in a position to play the game or not.

3) Mark at QMSM should be either very proud or very ashamed of his most recent post, and this site is only 96% sure it’s the former.

Exit games in the news

"Daily News" newspaperThere have been several more interesting news stories recently about exit games, well worth a round-up:

  • Most recently, The Guardian had an overview of the genre, with a focus on the games available in Toronto. The article claims that there are 37 facilities, so clearly it was written quite some while before it was published, but it’s enthusiastic (if slightly spoiler-y) and in the right spirit.
  • Living North magazine’s edition relating to the north-east of England had a really enthusiastic piece about their trip to Escape Newcastle, with four different perspectives showing how much the game can be enjoyed whether you might consider yourself a natural puzzle fan or not.
  • From the north-east of England to the north-east of Scotland, the Evening Express of Aberdeen had one of the better-informed preview articles that this site has seen about the then-upcoming Breakout Games Aberdeen, which seems to have got off to an excellent start. Good to find out a little about the story that inspired the couple to start their site.
  • Towards the other end of the country, the Salisbury Journal had a preview piece for the upcoming Salisbury Escape Rooms, set to launch towards the end of the month. As the piece says, The attraction in Salisbury is believed to be the only one set up by real detectives who have spent their careers investigating crime as Wiltshire Police officers – now that is quite a distinctive claim to fame!
  • Further afield, the ARGNet web site approach the genre from a different starting-point and take a very broad perspective of not just exit games but other related puzzling pursuits and associated adventures that came beforehand.
  • The famous CNET tech site also have an introduction to the genre, but emphasise one particular site in Sydney’s particular approaches to hinting that help people stay in-character and go into detail over way that site integrates digital and physical gameplay. Lots to think about!

Sites’ preview articles and more general overviews of the genre are two of the more common formats for mass media coverage, so this site won’t attempt to list them all; however, these were some of the most interesting examples of their type, as well as offering good examples of how sites can get their names around quickly.

Spring 2015: where are the gaps in the UK market?

Regions of the UKAward yourself some smugness if you can recognise the (admittedly out-of-date, so no need to be pedantic) approximate way in which the countries have been divided above.

Every six months or so, this site looks at a snapshot of the UK market for exit games and analyses where the gaps are at that time. (See the older versions from September 2014 and March 2014.) Six months is practically the duration of a geological era considering how quickly the exit game market moves.

It’s possible that some of the first exit game room proprietors might have started business in the closest big city to where they happened to already live. However, if you had a choice as to where to set up business, where are the most obvious gaps in the market? Alternatively, where might people expect to see exit rooms coming soon? In early 2015, now that some of the most successful operations have started second or even third locations in different towns, where remains up for grabs?

The Brookings Institution analysed 300 of the largest metropolitan economies in late 2012 and identified 15 of them as being in the UK. At time of writing, here are the 15 largest metropolitan economies in the UK, alongside the number of exit rooms featured in each one. If there’s a large metropolitan economy without an exit room, there’s arguably a gap in the market there.

1. London: nine sites operating (HintHunt, clueQuest, Escape Land, Escape Rooms, Agent November, Escape Hunt, Room Escape Adventures, Mystery Cube and Lock’d) and at least three sites under construction (Enigma Escape, Mystery Squad and Quest Room) with rumours of at least a couple more
2. Birmingham: two sites operating (Keyhunter and Escape Live) and at least one site under construction (Panic!) with rumour of at least one more
3. Manchester: four sites operating (Make A Break, Breakout Manchester, Lockin Escape and The Escape Room) and two sites operating nearby (Clue HQ in Warrington and Escape Quest in Macclesfield)
4. Leeds-Bradford: two sites operating (Tick Tock Unlock and Locked In Games) and two sites operating nearby (The Live Escape in Huddersfield and GR8escape York in York)
5. Liverpool: four sites operating (Clue Finders, Tick Tock Unlock, Breakout Liverpool and Exit Strategy) and one site operating nearby (Clue HQ in Warrington)
6. Glasgow: one site operating (Escape) and one site under construction (The Room)
7. Nottingham-Derby: one site operating (Logiclock)
8. Portsmouth-Southampton: no sites operating or under construction known but one site operating nearby (Cyantist in Bournemouth)
9. Bristol: one site operating (Puzzlair) and one site operating nearby (Bath Escape in Bath)
10. Newcastle: three sites operating (Escape, Lost and Escape and Exit Newcastle)
11. Sheffield: two sites operating (The Great Escape Game and Crack The Code Sheffield)
12. Cardiff-Newport: no sites operating or under construction known
13. Edinburgh: three sites operating (Escape, Escape Hour and Can You Escape?) and one site under construction (Dr. Knox’s Enigma)
14. Leicester: one site temporarily closed (Cipher)
15. Brighton: no sites operating and only unconfirmed rumours of sites under construction

For comparison, the Dublin metro area (where XIT and ESCAP3D are in operation and Escape Dublin is under construction) would come just below number three in the above list.

Six months ago, this pointed to Merseyside, the East Midlands, Tyneside and South Yorkshire as being big gaps that have been filled extremely successfully over time. (Arguably Liverpool going from zero sites to four in the space of about four weeks might be filling the city more quickly than some of the proprietors would like.)

The updated data now points to South Hampshire and Wales as being the biggest gaps in the market at the moment, and Wales is such a popular tourist destination that it’s the place that this site keeps checking and checking to see whether there’s been a launch – but there’s really no evidence in either North Wales or South Wales. This site is convinced that someone could really clean up in Cardiff at the very least, but probably wouldn’t want to run the fourth site to open there.

Other than that, Brighton surely has the feel of somewhere really promising because of the number of tourists it gets and the extent to which it is famous for its creativity (though at least one major global brand lists it as “coming soon”) and there are Home Counties towns that have serious money (Reading and maybe Watford) and/or serious numbers of tourists (Southend) which might well sustain good business from people who don’t want to spend the transport costs to go to central London to play. Further afield, Stoke, Derby, Leicester and even Hull are all surely big enough to support a site each, and there’s evidence to suggest that other relatively small locations can support a “boutique” site which has such an elaborate and enticing game as to draw enthusiasts from further away.

Exciting times, though not without a note of hesitation. With forty-some sites up and running and likely at least another ten or twelve to come, this site would be somewhat more cautious than it would have been even six months ago about new sites’ prospects. That said, there are still very many (probably millions, certainly many hundreds of thousands) people who might only ever play an exit game once who are yet to play their one game, as well as those who might enjoy their first game enough to come back to play more, and those – who this site salutes! – who know the genre’s capability to thrill and devote themselves to seeing all there is to see.

Coming soon to Glasgow: The Room

The Room logoGlasgow has been the biggest urban area in the UK with only one exit game for some time; Escape Glasgow has been top of the Fun Activities & Games list there for some time, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that others see the area as ripe for further development of the genre.

The Room is set to open shortly in Glasgow, taking bookings from their opening weekend of 3rd-5th April onwards. They will be opening with four rooms: the Spy Room, the Identity Room, the Mansion Room and a Party Room. The extremely attractive and modern-looking (though, deliberately, not futuristic-looking) web site suggests that the Spy Room and Identity Room are both 60-minute games for ideal team sizes of 3-6, whereas the Mansion Room is a 75-minute game with a claimed ideal team size of 8-12 and the Party Room‘s 75-minute game is set up to host 10-16 bright sparks, aged ten and up.

The Spy Room sees you as MI6 agents, tasked to sneak into the office of a powerful and rich businessman, who is suspected of financing criminals. The pressure is now on you to find the hard evidence to nail the bad guys. ((…)) find the evidence and the spare key to the office (as it accidentally locked behind you when you entered) to accomplish the mission. National security depends on you!

Perhaps you prefer the Identity Room, where The owner of the apartment has gone missing for a year. Concerned neighbours have alerted the police and they have sent their best team – you – to investigate the case. Searching the apartment makes it clear that there are dark secrets beneath the surface. What do those reoccurring signs mean? Who is the mysterious tenant? Where is he now? This one is aimed at those who like devious plots in films (and who doesn’t?) and those who like to test their logical abilities.

The sheer size and scale of the Mansion Room catches the eye. Sir Riddles, the late lord of Fort Ardreck died in complete solitude, as he had decided to escape society and turn his back to the world decades before. His home castle at the edge of lands stood still forgotten until one day you and your friends sliding slightly off beaten tracks arrived at its once magnificent doors. Inspired by tales of ghosts and treasures, you entered and made your way to the main Hall, closing the heavy door behind you… This tale of plunder sounds particularly exciting if you have a large team who always fancied themselves as Scooby’s meddling kids.

The standard price of the 60-minute games is £65 between the team of probably 3-6, and that of the 75-minute game is £149 between the team of probably 8-12. That said, there are a number of opening discounts available for those who can act quickly. Book before 5th April and those prices are cut by 30% to £46 and £104 respectively. The site’s flyer suggests that if you can book before 20th March, then on top of your discount, each team member will also receive a gift as well. If you book for the opening weekend (3rd-5th April, though the Mansion Room opens a little later) then your team gets another gift on top – and these do stack, so a very early booking for the opening weekend looks like about as big a bargain as it gets.

A generous start and ambitious plans; ambition is to be celebrated and rewarded. Big games might just mean big fun!

All the news: Enigma Escape Kickstarter, Breakout Manchester charity day, new rooms and more

breaking-newsA quick round-up of news stories from the UK’s exit games:

  • Enigma Escape of London have a Kickstarter campaign in progress which offers a fascinating look behind the scenes of the budget for a high-end exit game in London. They’re planning to sink their life savings in to making their dream happen, but an extra £5,000 is necessary – ideally from the crowdfunding campaign, but they have other (slower!) plans in mind if it doesn’t happen. The site looks distinctive for, among other reasons, the potential for multiple conclusions to the game depending on the degree of success you had playing it. Extremely intriguing, and if you know you’re going to play the game then the best possible prices to play it are available by booking in advance through the campaign. Kickstarter campaigns for exit games have not had the best track record in the UK so far but this one looks so detailed that it’s clear how much thought has gone into it. Tell your friends! (Tip of the hat to Ken for the link.)
  • Breakout Manchester are holding a charity day today where all the proceeds – not just profits, but every single penny – are being split among four local charities. Heck of a gesture, and it’s such a popular site that it’ll raise a chunky sum.
  • Escape Quest of Macclesfield have opened booking for their second room, Amazon Escape, from April 1st. If it gets as good a reaction as this review of their first room, it sounds spectacular. Plans for Escape Quest‘s third room, a timed mini-game challenge, also seem exciting; its success or failure would seem to depend on the (quite possibly very considerable!) quality, quantity of variety of content on offer. The prospect of a room with replay value is also noteworthy.
  • Cyantist of Bournemouth have also opened booking for their second room, Clockwork Orange; you’ll only have to wait as long as Monday to play this. This hints of dystopia and the Nadsat argot, so get your droogs together. There’s currently a 25% discount for those who book and places are going quickly!