Escape Room Rumours – 30 January 2017

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Another week, another rumour round up… This site is always on the look out for new games or venues that are opening, references in the media or anything else that might be of interest to the readers, so please do send an email if you spot anything of interest. That applies to owner too – feel free to send me your news for inclusion here. Don’t be shy!

On to the news

As January draws to an end, it’s clear the market has properly woken up after its Christmas slumber:

  • General
    • I’ve been remiss in not mentioning this before. For those willing to head to the Netherlands, there’s an upcoming escape room conference called Up The Game. Tickets aren’t cheap but there are plenty of speakers including the David and Lisa from the Room Escape Artist, Fire Hazard, Scott Nicholson and Punchdrunk plus, undoubtedly, many more.
    • Cadbury’s are another company jumping on the Escape Room bandwagon with their Cadbury’s Creme Egg Lodge that’s visiting London, Bristol, Edinburgh and Leeds. It’s not clear how much of an escape room they’re running giving the very short ticket slots and it’s already sold out but still interesting.
    • I came across this article from Cambridge University’s Computer Lab about an attempt to create a virtual escape room.
  • East Midlands
  • West Midlands
    • Escape Stoke got a visit from their local newspaper
    • Escape Live Coventry are opening their doors with Prison Break their first game.
  • Scotland
    • Go Escape are in the process of launching in Dunfermline and were mentioned in a local paper.
  • South West England
    • Trapped Escape Rooms in Gloucester open their doors this week with two games: The Haunted Hotel and Prison Break
  • North East England
    • The Strategy are a new escape room company opening up in Sunderland. Several games in the works but The Box is their first offering.
    • Whitley Bay-based Pirate Escape opened their third room, The Tavern, last week. It’s a little unusual in that it’s aimed at smaller/beginner groups and has a minimum player count of just one…
  • London
    • Breakin’ Escape opens this week with six, yes SIX, rooms. This is a franchise of Breakout Romania (name changed in the UK because of the existing Breakout company). All six games are available immediately after a mammoth build over Christmas.
      • Blackwing’s Cave
      • Sherlock’s Despair
      • The Flying Dutchman
      • War on Horizon Alpha
      • Butcher’s Lair
      • Heist Plan: The Garage
    • Dyson’s popup escape game take place in London next week.
  • Yorkshire and the Humber
  • Ireland
  • North West England
  • East of England

That’s all I’m aware of. If any of the above is incorrect or if you’re aware of other news, discounts or competitions, then let me know via email or in the comments below and I’ll include updates in the next edition.

Thanks for reading!

Rising in the East (Midlands)

eastmidlandsaiport

It’s been a while since this site turned its eyes towards the East Midlands and in the meantime a bunch of new venues have appeared on the exitgames map scattered across the region. If you’re interested in Loughborough, Nottingham, Derby or Corby then read on to find out about all that’s new

1)  Up in Loughborough, Break Escape opened their doors just this week with a single game, Sands of Time, although a second game is listed on their site as opening in March. Teams of 2-5 can take on this Egyptian-themed challenge for £45-80 depending on numbers. No detailed description on the website but they do have a trailer.

2) Hour Escape have been on this site’s radar for a long time but they finally opened up shop in late October with a single game Escape the Gallery. They can accommodate 2-6 players with a price of £38-84 depending on numbers.  In the game, you and your team have been caught stealing a priceless work of art. Security are holding you until the police arrive in 60 minutes.

3) iLocked is a huge Russian brand with tens of games available across various cities in Russia, so it was exciting to see it arrive on these shores in November. A huge amount of investment has gone into their first game which is located in Nottingham, with more to follow in the city and longer term plans for expansion to other locations in the UK. At present, you’ll have to make do with the Mummy which is available for 2-6 people at a cost of £39-95 depending on numbers/day but they plan to add Alien and Battleship to the lineup in the near future.

In the Mummy you’re transported to the hot sands of the Egyptian desert, wher eanother pyramid has been discovered, and intrepid researchers are descending for the first time into the burial chambers, which no one has seen for nearly 3,000 years. The ancient Egyptians took care to defend their tombs against raiders, setting numerous traps and riddles. Players get the chance to be adventurers, trying to unravel the secrets of Egyptian papyri, escape the curse of an ancient pharaoh, and avoid being crushed by the pyramid’s moving walls.

4) The Escape Room Guys launched in Derby in October with a single room, A Rough Trade, based around corporate corruption. The game is for 2-5 players for which you’ll pay £40-70.

According to the website, you’ll need to break into the office of the CEO to reveal the history and secrets of a company with a scandalous past. With just 60 minutes to unlock the truth, does your team have what it takes to bring the company to justice?

5) Trapp’d have been on the list for an article longer than almost any other company, having opened way back in September of last year. In that time, they’ve launched two games, Area 51 and Maine St Prison, with another, Motel, due out next month. Games take 2-6 people and cost from £39 to £79 depending on numbers.

In Area 51 you and your team of ufologists have been receiving unknown communication regarding Area 51 via a certain Agent Peters, with precise details of how to bypass the extreme security and gain access into the site. Your mission is to get into Agent Peters’ laboratory and download all the government files before they are destroyed. Peters has guided you this far, the rest is down to you.

According to the website, Maine State Prison is a fearsome place from which to escape. With armed guards at every corner of the prison, only two people have ever managed to escape; the other 424 who tried were executed. Legend has it that the two heroes who escaped Maine State left a cryptic code in their cell which no-one has ever managed to crack. Solving this code holds the only key to any hope of escape. 

6) Unescapable opened a couple of weeks ago also in Derby with a time travel theme to their games. Their first outing, Tommy, sees you thrown back to 1917 but others promise to take you to different eras. Games are designed for 2-6 players with the cost ranging from £15-25 per person depending on numbers.

According to their website, Tommy has established itself in 1917, somewhere in the midst of the Western Front. Early reports suggest that Tommy is situated within an allied forces military bunker on the front lines. There is a very significant chance the slight possibility that the portal may malfunction once you have made your crossing, in which case, you’ll need to work together to repair the portal whilst also ensuring your safety from impending German forces.

So there you have it – six new venues spread across the East Midlands. It may have started out a bit slow but over the last year the region has been going from strength to strength. And as for 2017 – who knows?

Escape Room Rumours – 23 January 2017

news-spiral

Welcome to another escape room rumour roundup. This site is always on the look out for new games or venues that are opening, references in the media or anything else that might be of interest to the readers, so please do send an email if you spot anything of interest. That applies to owner too – feel free to send me your news for inclusion here. Don’t be shy!

On to the news

The new year appears to finally be getting going!

  • East Midlands
  • West Midlands
  • South East England
    • Bournemouth already has five rooms across three venues but that’s obviously not enough as Ouija Bournemouth have now joined the fray. By the looks of it, they’ve managed to sneak under the radar and open before this site even noticed.
    • Margate is no stranger to escape rooms, but they’ll soon have a permanent one as Escapology Kent are set to launch in the town. No details on rooms or opening dates yet – watch this space.
  • London
    • The poup escape room at the Vault Festival, Houdini’s Last Trick by Escapemobile, is opening this week.
  • Yorkshire and the Humber
    • Project Breakout, a new escape room based in Brighouse near Huddersfield, launched their site with plans to open their doors next month.
    • The Great Escape (Sheffield and now Leeds) appeared in the Sunday Times talking about the perils of outside investment and their desire to make their own way.
  • Ireland
    • Across the UK, a few locations are starting to open up VR escape rooms. Well, over in Ireland they’re opening up the first dedicated example with Escape VR Dublin which launched at the weekend.
    • But that isn’t the most unusual thing to happen in the Dublin scene recently. Escape Boats were featured across the media last week. They’ve bought an old Dutch barge which they’re planning on converting into escape rooms. Escape rooms in a van are so passé.
  • East of England
    • Escape Peterborough is opening its doors this week with three new games. Taken is an Escape stalwart, while 221B Baker Street has only appeared in Hull before.  The really exciting part is Witchcraft and Wizardry – a brand new game from the Escape franchise.
  • Other
    • Xscape Now in Telford launch this week with their first game being Baker Street Mystery.

That’s all I’m aware of. If any of the above is incorrect or if you’re aware of other news, discounts or competitions, then let me know via email or in the comments below and I’ll include updates in the next edition.

Thanks for reading!

Escape Room Rumours – 16 January 2017

news-spiral

Welcome to another escape room rumour roundup. This site is always on the look out for new games or venues that are opening, references in the media or anything else that might be of interest to the readers, so please do send an email if you spot anything of interest. That applies to owner too – feel free to send me your news for inclusion here. Don’t be shy!

On to the news

An exceedingly quiet week with only a couple of pieces of news:

  • National
    • The Great Escape Unconference took place last week in London. No blog on the events but you can see what was up for discussion here.
    • Confirmation that Exit: The Game will be being released in the UK. Watch out for more new after the London toy fair.
  • East of England
    • Escape Peterborough have appeared on the internet with games opening in late January.
    • Looks like Escape Ipswich is coming online with a planning application being submitted and an article in the local paper.

That’s all I’m aware of. If any of the above is incorrect or if you’re aware of other news, discounts or competitions, then let me know via email or in the comments below and I’ll include updates in the next edition.

Thanks for reading!

Looking ahead to 2017: predictions for the year

Peering into a Crystal Ball

This site ran prediction features over the last three years, albeit penned (so to speak) by a different author, with varying levels of success. Time for this new author to put a stake in the ground so that in a year’s time we can look back and laugh at his naivety. It’s always hard to predict the future and even harder to put some level of certainty on those predictions but the following predictions are based on things that fall somewhere in the 50-75% likelihood range.

Prediction: Escape rooms will appear in more than half of the following locations:

  • In Scotland: Falkirk, Stirling.
  • In England: Basingstoke, Bolton, Carlisle, Cheltenham, Colchester, Luton, Northampton, Shrewsbury, Stratford-upon-Avon.
  • In Wales: Bridgend.
  • In NI: Derry.
  • In Ireland: Limerick

At this stage, there are very, very few obvious gaps in the UK market. This site is aware of possible companies starting up in three of the above locations, but the rest have no activity.

Prediction: Escape rooms will appear on a UK made soap opera or equivalent.

We’ve seen them appear on The Big Bang Theory, The Middle and various other US shows but it feels like they’ve become mainstream enough in the UK that they’ll appear in some context on a nationally-aired soap.

Prediction: Escape rooms will appear on a UK made nationally broadcast reality TV show.

There are plenty of UK escape room companies looking to expand rapidly and what better way than to get themselves into the limelight via reality TV? There are any numbers of ways that could happen but a few that spring to mind:

  • The Apprentice: Creating their own pop up escape room would be a great set of property/production/marketing challenges with the opportunity to laugh at contestants for coming up with outlandish ideas or not understanding the solution to simple puzzles.
  • Dragon’s Den: Plenty of companies are looking to expand rapidly so perhaps one of the smaller players in the market will look for seed funding and a fair amount of exposure?
  • TOWIE or similar: Want to see human interactions at their worst? Then throw people who don’t get on well into an escape room.

Prediction: A new escape-room-like venue will be announced in the UK similar to Boda Borg, the Crystal Maze or GoQuest.

Boda Borg’s recent expansion to Boston is proving popular while the Crystal Maze has shot to success in London and has a new location opening in Manchester. It seems almost inevitable that a company such as Boda Borg will attempt to expand into the UK.

Prediction: At least four overseas franchises not currently in the UK and Ireland will open a room.

It’s hard to predict which companies might find these shores attractive, but it feels like that at least a couple of the Russian franchises will choose to target the UK and Escape Hunt making a reappearance seems almost inevitable given its recent acquisition by a UK-based holding company. Perhaps SCRAP will see fit to bring one of their games across from the US or one of the other major US players will put some feelers out on this side of the Atlantic (where Escapology from Florida seems like a good bet).

Prediction: At least one theme park operator will open a permanent escape room

We’ve had a couple of Hallowe’en escape rooms open in the past in Alton Towers and Thorpe Park but this year feels like the one where they’ll go mainstream enough to open a permanent attraction.

Prediction: At least one company will have 50 rooms running across the UK and Ireland by the end of the year

Escape currently have 30, Clue HQ are on 28, Locked in a Room have 21 and The Escape Room have 19. It seems just possible that one of those (or maybe as a long shot, Escape Reality?) will open enough venues to pull themselves across the line.

Prediction: At least 50 venues will close in 2016

It can’t all be happy news, not that all closures are necessarily unhappy. We’ve seen around 20 venues shut their doors in 2016 but as the market hots up and the big players start throwing their weight around, this site expects to see a few companies decide to close the doors. Some will be sudden closures but I expect a fair number to just see out the end of their leases and then call it a day.

Prediction: At least ten new play-at-home escape rooms will launch and be available in the UK

With ThinkFun’s offerings proving reasonably successful and various other companies getting in on the act in 2016, it feels likely that the trend will expand in 2017 with new versions from the existing companies but also brand new companies piggy backing off the existing success.

Prediction: At least 100 people will gather for an escape game industry related event

Specifically, not an escape room experience but some sort of event that is aimed at owners and enthusiasts – a conference or unconference or just some sort of fun meet up. The UK unconference in London in July of last year saw around 50 people gather and next week’s looks likely to have around 70 so, assuming expansion continues and a suitable venue can be found, it seems reasonable to assume the industry can bring together 100 people.

And finally the big one:

Prediction: At some point during 2017, 1000 escape rooms will be open across the UK and Ireland.

1000 escape rooms across the UK and Ireland. Yes, One thousand. Last year saw the market more than double. I think we’ll see a similar level of new rooms opening but I think we’ll also see a huge number of rooms closing with the result that we’ll just scrape over the line in the last quarter. I don’t think the market will quite have peaked and I certainly don’t expect the bubble to burst. Sadly, for enthusiasts, I suspect a significant proportion of those games will be franchises expanding across the countries so there won’t be anything like as many as 1000 experiences. Perhaps “just” 700?

Escape Room Rumours – 9 January 2017

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Happy New Year and welcome to the first 2017 installment of the UK and Irish escape game rumours. This site is always on the look out for new games or venues that are opening, references in the media or anything else that might be of interest to the readers, so please do send an email if you spot anything of interest. That applies to owner too – feel free to send me your news for inclusion here. Don’t be shy!

On to the news

Things have understandably been quiet over Christmas but they’re just starting to wake up again:

  • National/International
    • In case you haven’t heard, President Obama played an escape room in Hawaii on Christmas Eve.
    • I came across this interesting blog post from the University of Southampton about creating an escape room in an educational setting.
    • No idea where in the country but the Escape Legends site popped on to my radar. Anyone know more?
    • Escape rooms in another educational setting as part of a medical conference in Gloucester.
  • West Midlands
    • Escape Stoke are launching on 27 January with two copies of the brand’s Da Vinci game. That’s just the beginning – in the next few months they plan to bring EMCU Trials, Area 51 and Taken to the area.
  • South East England
    • Escape Hub‘s website popped very briefly on the web.  Long enough to find out that it’s due to be opening in Maidstone, Kent.
  • South West England
  • North West England
  • East of England

That’s all folks

That’s all I’m aware of. If any of the above is incorrect or if you’re aware of other news, discounts or competitions, then let me know via email or in the comments below and I’ll include updates in the next edition.

Thanks for reading!