July 2014 Dealwatch: coupons and discounts to play exit games for less

"Sale" graphicSome exit games offer opening discounts, to help fill their rooms early before the word gets far and wide. Some offer opening discounts organically; others offer discounts through social buying schemes. Here’s a quick run-through of the deals that this site could find that are still valid. (Ground rules: terms and conditions doubtless apply and this site takes no responsibility for deals that fall through for whatever reason. These are not exclusive in any shape or form.) This month, there’s one new, one change and a couple of deletions.

  • Keyhunter of Birmingham have a Groupon deal active. £15 for two players, £19 for three, £24 for four or £29 for six. Codes are activated 48 hours after purchase and are valid for 90 days after purchase.
  • NEW! Escape of Edinburgh have a Groupon deal active. £24 for a team of up to five, restricted to new customers only. Codes are valid for 60 days after purchase.
  • Tick Tock Unlock of Leeds have a Groupon deal active. £22.50 for three players, £30 for four or £35 for five, restricted to new customers only. You must book by e-mail, including a contact phone number. Codes expire 90 days after purchase.
  • Cipher Entertainment of Leicester remain closed in preparation for their second season, but they have a Groupon deal active all the same. Deals are only available for the one-hour version of the game. £19 for four players, £24 for six or £29 for eight. You must book by phone and arrive 10 minutes early. Codes expire 90 days after purchase and exclude public holidays.
  • Ex(c)iting Game of Oxford have a Groupon deal active. £24 for five people or £47 for six to nine people, restricted to new customers only. You must book by phone. Coupons listed as valid until 8pm, so presumably are not valid for the 8pm-10pm game available daily, and expire 90 days after purchase.
  • Clue HQ of Warrington officially open a week today, but already have a Groupon deal active already. £29 for three or four people, £32.50 for five or £36 for six. You must book online. Coupons are valid from 28 June-28 September 2014. There’s also a similar deal at Wowcher, though this charges £29 for up to four, £39 for up to six, is valid until 15 October, and terms and conditions are presumably slightly different.

Those are all the active deals, discounts and coupons this site could find; if you know of others, please send them through – and if your site has a offer not listed above, please don’t take it as a deliberate attempt to disrespect and this site will happily spread the good news. (Alternatively, if you would prefer that this site does not list your coupon, that’s fine too and please get in touch.)

In other news, thanks to everyone who filled in our survey a fortnight ago. There weren’t loads of responses, but the ones supplied were appreciated, especially when people left comments as well. Posts on exit games were most popular, then posts on puzzle hunts, then general-interest articles, then ones on puzzle competitions least popular. Good to know!

Remember that there are some good ways to follow articles posted to the blog: subscribing to the syndicated feed in the reader of your choice is probably easiest, but we also post links to new articles to our Twitter account and our Facebook account.

Dealwatch: coupons and discounts to play exit games for less

"Sale" stickerOne frequently-used technique to help brand new exit games to fill their rooms early before the word has got out too far is to offer discounts for a while after the site opens. It’s probably no bad thing for advertising purposes that the coupons are still easy to find online even after the validity deadline has expired, and you can see how many sites that are now booked up almost completely weeks in advance started off by offering social buying deals. Here’s a quick run-through of the deals that this site could find that are still valid. (Ground rules: terms and conditions doubtless apply and this site takes no responsibility for deals that fall through for whatever reason. These are not exclusive in any shape or form.)

  • Keyhunter of Birmingham have a Groupon deal active. £15 for two players, £19 for three, £24 for four or £29 for six. Codes are activated 48 hours after purchase and are valid for 90 days after purchase.
  • Tick Tock Unlock of Leeds have a Groupon deal active. £22.50 for three players, £30 for four or £35 for five, restricted to new customers only. You must book by e-mail, including a contact phone number. Codes expire 90 days after purchase. There’s also a similar deal at Dealmonster where tickets are a flat £30 and expiry is a constant date of 9th January 2015 rather than 90 days after purchase; terms and conditions are presumably different to the Groupon ones.
  • Cipher Entertainment of Leicester are currently closed in preparation for their second season, but they have a Groupon deal active all the same. Deals are only available for the one-hour version of the game. £19 for four players, £24 for six or £29 for eight. You must book by phone and arrive 10 minutes early. Codes expire 90 days after purchase and exclude public holidays.
  • Ex(c)iting Game of Oxford have a Groupon deal active. £24 for five people or £47 for six to nine people, restricted to new customers only. You must book by phone. Coupons listed as valid until 8pm, so presumably are not valid for the 8pm-10pm game available daily, and expire 90 days after purchase.
  • Clue HQ of Warrington officially open a week today, but already have a Groupon deal active already. £29 for three or four people, £32.50 for five or £36 for six. You must book online. Coupons are valid from 28 June-28 September 2014. There’s also a similar deal at kgb deals, though this charges £39 for six and terms and conditions are presumably slightly different.
  • XIT of Dublin have a LivingSocial deal available on their BOXit room. €35 for four people. You must book online. Coupons are valid until 27 October.

Those are all the active deals, discounts and coupons this site could find; if you know of others, please send them through – and if your site has a offer not listed above, please don’t take it as a deliberate attempt to disrespect and this site will happily spread the good news.

Introducing the Timeline


This site is pleased to present the Timeline, a sourced attempt to track the chronological progression of exit room openings and closures in the UK and Ireland. It covers the past and the present of exit rooms, so let’s look to the future and see which sites are likely to be next to be added to the Timeline. There was a big rush of openings around December 2013, give or take a month; there may well be another big rush of openings coming soon.

  • Tick Tock Unlock in Leeds has probably got to be considered the favourite to be next to be added to the Timeline. The first date on which books available has been pushed back at least twice, from April 29th to May 12th to the current date of May 19th, but the social media campaign remains active. Perhaps this could be interpreted as a sign of the site being very close to opening.
  • Can’t see anything on the Cipher web site or social media about when they are due to reopen for their second season, but the suggestion is that bookings are not being taken only for May. Fingers crossed that a reopening may only be a few weeks away.
  • Not much obviously happening around Escape Live in Birmingham, but the team may well be hard at work on the physical site and they may well hit their June target.
  • Likewise, our coverage of Clue HQ in Warrington was only very recent. The web site continues to be updated and suggests an opening date of late June.
  • The Escape Hunt London site has nothing obviously new – most notably, still no location yet, which points to the previous estimate of “June or July” remaining active. A little searching through Facebook and LinkedIn reveals the addition of the London branch’s Facebook page. Seven five-star reviews before the site has opened is a little cheeky.
  • The Can You Escape? Indiegogo for a site in Edinburgh has gone a little quiet, but this site remains on the case and the campaign mentions plans in case the Indiegogo does not reach its target, so nothing too worrying there.
  • Moving towards the back burner, the silence from QuestRoom of London is possibly bigger cause for concern; still nothing from the long-term hope at Live Escape Game of Brighton and Puzzlescape is now getting quite cold.

Welcome to readers from Larry Hosken’s blog

"Welcome" sign boardSo Larry Hosken recently linked to this blog! If you followed his link and clicked through, welcome. There is a moderately heavy UK emphasis, but not completely so; most of the online competitions I mention are global, and I like to write about especially interesting or relevant non-UK matters. Larry is one of the foremost documentors of puzzle hunts, with plenty of evidence to back up his long-held contention that Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere. (And everywhen!) I always appreciate his research into exit game history from a knowledgeable source.

There is a focus on exit games, because they’re making quite an impact over here, with both the flourishing number of them and the extent of their popularity as measured by towns’ Tripadvisor attraction rankings acting as evidence of this. (Jumping outside the UK for a moment, I was delighted to see that a new site has opened in Chennai, India featuring four games, the most delightfully unusual theme of which is “90 degrees cricket fantasy”.) However, over the last month or so, I’ve discussed puzzle hunts such as the upcoming DASH in London and the “Top Secret” hunt in Essex, online puzzle competitions such as the World Puzzle Federation’s Puzzle Grand Prix, the Armchair Treasure Hunt’s free online competition (the start time of which has been put back to 11pm BST tonight) and even some April Fool’s Day silliness.

A couple of news items: the World Puzzle Federation’s Sudoku Grand Prix contest’s fourth round, set by Russian authors, is now in progress until Monday evening; you can read the Instruction Booklet and see whether you want to spend 90 minutes on it, wherever you are in the world.

In UK exit game news, Cipher Entertainment of Leicester’s Facebook page has an offer of half price for kids until they close on April 26th for renovations to launch their brand new “season two” – though look down to their March 31st entry for a discount that applies on weekdays for full teams of eight. I was also rather delighted to see on Cryptopia of Bristol’s Facebook page that Puzzlair of Bristol came to visit. Sounds like both site representatives had a good time!

Why not leave a comment here if you’ve surfed on in from Larry’s blog? Sadly the spam-to-actual-comments ratio is literally thousands to one, so it’s possible that the spam trap has been over-zealous, but I’d love to hear from you!

All the news: from the exit games

news3To conclude our round-up of news, let’s check the ten known exit game sites in the UK and Ireland for their news:

The biggest news comes from Cipher Entertainment in Leicester, who will be temporarily closing their Chamber Escape game from 26th April in preparation for what they call season two. “We hope you adventurers are ready for the new game, with new tricks, new decorations, new ways of gaming and so on! So be ready, Champions! For we defy you all, you will not escape that easily again.” There are still a few spaces available for April, though none yet for May. Their new pricing structure reveals one-third off discounts for booking for weekdays, and one-eighth off discounts for booking for parties of 6+. More news about the reopening when it becomes available.

Make A Break of Manchester have extended their opening offers until 20th April; three-player teams earn £5 off per player, four- and five- player teams earn £3 off per player. Only a couple of TripAdvisor reviews so far, but they look very promising.

Similarly, Puzzlair of Bristol have an Easter Egg discount promotion offering 15% off for parties of three or more, if you book before Easter Monday, which I reckon is 21st April.

Over the Irish Sea, XIT of Dublin recently used their Facebook page to announce the opening of their fourth different game. “Imagine a world where every sin is an illusion of a virtue that guides you through logical steps to get hold of the Philosophers’ Stone. Is seeing really believing?” I like the theme – and while I know of another site where four teams can play at once, I believe XIT is unique in having four different games to play. An unusual and delightful theme and the two photos they have revealed look rather gorgeous.

Also news from Escap3d of Belfast: they are currently number one attraction out of 137 in Belfast; very intrigued to see a review mentioning the development of a second room at some point. The admission fee is now £45/team, with soft drinks included, but the site is open seven days a week and can accept teams of six as well as 2-5.

Lastly, very interesting to see this Indiegogo project to crowd-fund another exit game, QuestRoom, set to open in London. A couple of weeks in, it doesn’t appear to have got too far towards its goal, but the “flexible funding” option means that all the donations will go towards funding the site, with the campaign saying “Our goal is to reach £15,000 which would cover the start up the game and the first couple of months’ essential costs. The plan is flexible; we’ll find a bank loan for the missing amount if we need to.” The perks for donating include vouchers for play. There doesn’t seem to be much to go on, but there is a Facebook page and you could try asking questions there.

If you know something I don’t, please send the news through!