This is the twenty-first instalment of a (just about) monthly feature which acts as a status report on the exit games in the UK and Ireland, hopefully acting as part of the basis of a survey of growth over time. It reflects a snapshot of the market as it was, to the best of this site’s knowledge, at the end of 31st December 2015.
|Category||Number in the UK||Number in Ireland|
|Exit game locations known to have opened||107||7|
|Exit game locations known to be open||95||4|
|Exit game locations in various states of temporary closure||4||2|
|Exit game locations known to have closed permanently||8||1|
|Exit game locations showing convincing evidence of being under construction||8||0|
|Exit game locations showing unconvincing evidence of being under construction||8||0|
|Exit game projects abandoned before opening||2||0|
The term opened should be understood to include “sold tickets”, even when it is unclear whether any of those tickets may have been redeemed for played games; the definition of location should be understood to include outdoor locations, pop-up/mobile locations with open-ended time limits and component parts of larger attractions that are played in the same way as conventional exit games. Pop-ups with deliberately very short runs (e.g. Hallowe’en specials, or games run at conventions or festivals) are not counted in this list; games with deliberately finite but longer runs (e.g. Panic!, which awarded a prize to its champion at the end of its sixteen week run) are counted.
This month has seen six additions and three subtractions; Trapped Up North‘s FAQ page said “We open on 1st August and run various dates till the 23rd Dec“, so this looks like a clean fold and a happy ending, but a Trapped Up North 2016 would not come as a surprise and would be a welcome return. The other subtractions are Lock Down Zone of northern South Yorkshire and Zombie in a Room of Chesterfield, both of whose web sites appear to be temporarily suspended and who seem to be making no progress on social media.
The Report Card
|Site name||Number of rooms||The reviews|
|Site name||Total number||Different games||Find reviews|
|A Curious Escape||1||1||(TripAdvisor)|
|Breakout Games Aberdeen||4||3||TripAdvisor|
|Breakout Games Inverness||3||2||TripAdvisor|
|Can You Escape||1||1||TripAdvisor|
|Clue HQ Blackpool||4||3||TripAdvisor|
|Clue HQ Brentwood||2||2||TripAdvisor|
|Clue HQ Sunderland||1||1||TripAdvisor|
|Clue HQ Warrington||5||5||TripAdvisor|
|Code to Exit||2||2||TripAdvisor|
|Crack The Code Sheffield||1||1||TripAdvisor|
|Dr. Knox’s Enigma||2||1||TripAdvisor|
|Escape Game Brighton||2||2||TripAdvisor|
|Escape Plan Live||4||4||TripAdvisor|
|Escape Rooms Durham||1||1||TripAdvisor|
|Escape Rooms Plymouth||2||2||TripAdvisor|
|Escape Rooms Scotland||3||3||TripAdvisor|
|Hell in a Cell||1||1||TripAdvisor|
|Hidden Rooms London||2||2||TripAdvisor|
|House of Enigma||0||0||(TripAdvisor)|
|Instinctive Escape Games||1||1||TripAdvisor|
|Lady Chastity’s Reserve Brighton||1||1||TripAdvisor|
|Lady Chastity’s Reserve East London||1||1||TripAdvisor|
|Lady Chastity’s Reserve South London||1||1||TripAdvisor|
|Lock Down Zone||0||0||TripAdvisor|
|Locked In A Room||4||1||TripAdvisor|
|Locked In Edinburgh||1||1||TripAdvisor|
|Locked In Games||2||2||TripAdvisor|
|Lost & Escape||2||2||TripAdvisor|
|Make A Break||0||0||TripAdvisor|
|Namco Funscape Escape Room||1||1||(TripAdvisor)|
|Noughts and Coffees||1||1||(TripAdvisor)|
|Red House Mysteries||1||1||TripAdvisor|
|Room Escape Adventures||1||1||TripAdvisor|
|Salisbury Escape Room||1||1||TripAdvisor|
|The Bristol Maze||2||2||(TripAdvisor)|
|The Escape Network||1||1||TripAdvisor|
|The Escape Room Manchester||5||5||TripAdvisor|
|The Escape Room Preston||5||5||TripAdvisor|
|The Gr8 Escape||4||4||TripAdvisor|
|The Great Escape Game||4||4||TripAdvisor|
|The Live Escape||1||1||TripAdvisor|
|Tick Tock Unlock Glasgow||2||1||TripAdvisor|
|Tick Tock Unlock Leeds||3||2||TripAdvisor|
|Tick Tock Unlock Liverpool||2||1||TripAdvisor|
|Tick Tock Unlock Manchester||1||1||TripAdvisor|
|Trapped Up North||0||0||TripAdvisor|
|Zombie in a Room||0||0||(TripAdvisor)|
Corrections would be most welcome.
This site supports all the exit games that exist and will not make claims that any particular one is superior to any other particular one. You’ve probably noticed that this table has removed the review summaries; this site has pages with the review summaries for every site in the United Kingdom and, separately, for every site in Ireland.
This site takes the view that if you’re interested in review summaries, you probably care (at least to some extent) about the question of which site probably has the best popular reviews. Accordingly, you might be interested in the TripAdvisor’s “Fun and Games” rankings lists in (picking only cities with multiple exit games listed) Belfast, Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Dublin, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Inverness, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham or Sheffield.
Additionally, TripAdvisor now has pages entitled Top Escape Games in United Kingdom and Top Escape Games in Ireland. No obvious changes to the ranking algorithm from the previous month, and not much change to the national rankings; congratulations to the site which remains top of the national list for a fourth consecutive month. Numbers three and four on the chart swap places, one site rises from number ten to number eight and numbers nine and ten are re-entries.
You might also be interested in listings at Play Exit Games, a few of which contain ratings and from which rankings might be derived, or ranking lists from other bloggers. Looking at London sites, The Logic Escapes Me have provided recommendations and detailed comparisons; see also this piece at Bravofly and thinking bob‘s comparisons. In the North-West, there are rhe QMSM room comparisons and Geek Girl Up North site comparions as well. If you have your own UK ranking list, please speak up and it shall be included in future months. The next step could be some sort of exit game Metacritic, comparing the reviews and opinions of those who have played a great number of such games; hopefully, this would corroborate the popular reviews, or perhaps point out some inconsistencies.
It’s more laborious than difficult to estimate the number of people who play an exit game over the course of a month, though there are limits as to how accurate it can be. This site uses data available to the public from sites’ booking systems, the number of rooms at each site, any data supplied by the site (either to the public or in private correspondence), and bears in mind trends in the numbers of Facebook likes, TripAdvisor reviews, photos posted and team sizes per site according to team photos. This site won’t necessarily take owners’ claims at face value, but there’s nothing to be gained from turning business away and saying you’re sold out when in fact you aren’t.
This site was uncertain just how busy December would be – after all, it’s Bank Holiday season and people have all manner of parties and other demands on their time. The second half of the month was particularly busy; maybe it’s the “school’s broken up” effect, maybe it’s people taking holiday time from work, travelling to see family and friends and then wanting to take part in leisure activities with them. One notable trend is that this site has revised down the average team size estimate for some games. Some games are built for large teams, some for smaller teams; some games seem to being played by slightly smaller teams than once they were.
With all this in mind, this site makes its best estimate that the number of people who have played at least one exit game in the UK or Ireland, at any point in time up to the end of December 2015, is 470,000. (This estimate is quoted to the nearest 10,000, but the site would not like to claim more confidence than “between 200,000 and 1,200,000”.) As ever, if someone plays more than one game at the same site, this figure still only counts them once, and this number is only really meaningful in the context of this site’s previous estimates. The other usual caveat is that this figure may exclude data from locations about which this site is ignorant – and, as ever, this site keeps discovering new locations that perhaps it might have found out about earlier!