December 2015 Dealwatch: coupons and discounts to play exit games for less

Price tag suggesting deal, sale or bargainDealwatch is an occasional feature which, as the name suggests, looks out for special offers that exit games are promoting. (Very occasional; the last time it happened was January.) Some ground rules apply:

  • Do check voucher companies’ terms, conditions and guarantees and this site takes no responsibility for deals that fall through for whatever reason, which sadly has happened at least once and probably twice;
  • Many of these deals only permit a limited number of vouchers to be purchased and then the deal will expire. It’s quite possible that deals may have expired between being published below and your attempt to use them;
  • This non-commercial site does not attract any commission for promoting these deals, or for you using them;
  • These deals are not exclusive in any manner.
  • Ken found almost all of these; many thanks to him, as ever, for sharing them.

Eyes down for a full house with the details:

  • Escap3d of Belfast have a Groupon deal where a team of up to eight players can take part in “Paulina’s Revenge” for just £36.
  • Clue HQ‘s Sunderland branch are sharing a Groupon deal where six players can play for just £39, though a £10 surcharge is applied for those who want to play on Saturday.
  • Miles away from the Wear to the Tyne, Pirate Escape of Whitley Bay let you buy this Groupon deal where up to six can play their exit game for £45 – or a LivingSocial deal at just £35.
  • At almost the other end of England, Red House Mysteries of Exeter have posted their Groupon deal where a team of up to six can play for a flat fee of £39.
  • On the same coast, Cyantist of Bournemouth have a LivingSocial deal, just for a change, where two can play for £29, three for £36 or four for £45.
  • In the north-west, gamEscape of Liverpool let you buy a Groupon deal (or a LivingSocial deal if you prefer their terms and conditions) where their Golden Cage game, only, can be played by four players for £30 or by two players for just £15.
  • In London, Hidden Rooms have several Groupon deals depending on the number of players. See the deal and choose from a single ticket for £21, two for £27 or three for £31; their LivingSocial deal is a pound or two cheaper still.
  • Staying in London, QuestRoom have a Groupon deal where you can buy a three-player game for £34 or a five-player game for £52.
  • The new Sherlock Unlock also of London’s Groupon deal where up to six players can take part for a flat rate of £49.

((Edited to add:)) Exit Games Scotland also point to an offer by Escape Games Scotland of Glasgow: 20% off not only bookings but also gift vouchers until tomorrow. Thank you! Second post in a row with a similar sort of addition… 🙂

November 2015 Dealwatch: coupons and discounts to play exit games for less

"Special Price" stickerDealwatch is an occasional feature which, as the name suggests, looks out for special offers that exit games are promoting. (Very occasional; the last time it happened was January.) Some ground rules apply:

  • Do check voucher companies’ terms, conditions and guarantees and this site takes no responsibility for deals that fall through for whatever reason, which sadly has happened at least once and probably twice;
  • Many of these deals only permit a limited number of vouchers to be purchased and then the deal will expire. It’s quite possible that deals may have expired between being published below and your attempt to use them;
  • This non-commercial site does not attract any commission for promoting these deals, or for you using them;
  • These deals are not exclusive in any manner.
  • Ken found about half of these and many thanks to him, as ever, for sharing them.

Groupon seems to be the de facto brand leader, or at least the site that more exit games use than any others. There’s no telling when these might expire, but currently it has social buying deals for Code to Exit of Altrincham, ESCAP3D of Belfast, Escape Game Brighton, Hidden Rooms London, Mission Escape of Exeter and Zombie in a Room of Chesterfield. It’s far from the only game in town, though, no pun intended; Dealmonster (to which this site says “monster, monster”) has a deal for Clue HQ in Blackpool with about a week left on the clock. That said, if you want to play Clue HQ in Brentwood, there’s a discount code of uncertain lifespan that was shared on its Facebook group.

Sometimes you can find the existence of a site that you didn’t know even existed when you spot a deal for it. The rather wonderfully-named The Bristol Maze, more of which soon, has a deal on Wowcher that expires when Tuesday turns into Wednesday; Lock Down Zone of Rotherham, more of which even sooner, has posted a half-off code, LDZ50Off, that applies in November.

Last, but far from least, EVAC of Glasgow has a LivingSocial deal with two or three days left to go on it. This has been saved for last because EVAC’s manager Graeme writes with a sad tale but sees the funny side:

Evac was full on Saturday ((7th November)), but when I turned up, it had been broken into and trashed which was sad. Made it back open today ((Monday 9th November)) though after extensive work yesterday.

They didn’t nick much however I wish I was there when the thieves opened up their lockboxes to find puzzles :)!

Quite upset they never tried to solve the puzzles and just crowbarred open every lock… ah well.

Late April news

"Daily News" newspaperSo April has 30 days, making the first ten “early”, the second ten “mid-” and the last ten “late”. Seem reasonable enough? Here are some more news stories that have cropped up over recent days.

Many congratulations to Can You Escape? of Edinburgh for winning the Scotland’s Favourite Family Day Out award at the fourth annual Scottish Entertainment & Hospitality Awards on Sunday. (The site’s founder writes about the day.) The masses may have voted them into the final shortlist of five, but it was a visit from the judging panel that propelled them into first place overall! The site has recently launched its second game, Operation Odyssey; looking forward to reading reviews.

Exciting developments at Breakout Liverpool, who have announced their new fourth room: Wanted. The site explains: Wanted is a wild west themed room. Your quest in the room is to escape but you have two choices and ways to escape. Which side will you take, will you save the day as a cowboy or an Indian? Depending on your choice you will face different tasks and puzzles to complete. Which path will you take? Their sister site, Breakout Manchester, already have experience of running a pair of Classified games against each other head-to-head; it’s not clear whether this will have similarities or not. It’s available to book from Friday 15th May.

ESCAP3D of Belfast have a LivingSocial deal available, permitting teams of three to eight players. The vouchers can be used until September 10, 2015, and are available to new ESCAP3D customers only. Terms and conditions, including usual LivingSocial terms and conditions, apply.

Clue HQ Blackpool have also announced an opening date of May 25th for their upcoming second game, Quarantined, with the first 20 groups to book using the special code getting to play for just £50 each, regardless of group size. “With the growing threat of a radiation leak due to the increase in nuclear power, the government seek a solution to radiation poisoning within humans. Deep within a high security facility, a group of scientists work to develop a vaccine to ensure immunity, but to run tests they need subjects. You regain consciousness to find yourself quarantined within the facility. You don’t know how you got here. You don’t know who got you here. Then the screams start. Just when you think your situation cannot get any worse – it does.” Teams of three to six can play; during this game, each team member will be handcuffed, blindfolded, in pitch black darkness and locked in one of three small rooms – so, quite possibly, alone. Not a game for the claustrophobic or those aged under 15.

Lastly, Time Run of London launches its three-and-a-bit-month run on Thursday 23rd April, and already most of the tickets for the first week are gone – and if you want to play in the evening, you’ll need to look rather further down the line. It’s disturbingly easy to develop a slightly untoward crush on the Luna Fox character and even more so on the actress depicting her in the video.

Late March news

"Top News" newspaperSome news stories today, some expanding sites tomorrow.

The most recent episode of the On Board Games podcast has Prof. Scott Nicholson discussing, among other things, the world of exit games and his recent white paper arising from his survey. It’s extremely clear that he’s found out so much that doesn’t fit into the confines of at least his first white paper and plenty more of it comes up in casual conversation. Well worth listening to.

The Kickstarter campaign for Enigma Escape (not to be confused with Enigma Escape Rooms of Colorado or Enigma Escapes, plural, of Winnpeg) is still in progress; as a Staff Pick, it has attracted more attention and is almost 40% funded with two weeks to go. The campaign has recently announced that one of the site’s principals will be livestreaming a webinar at 8:30pm tonight on “Raising Your Limited Life Standards“, with specific reference to the establishment of Enigma Escape.

Clue Finders of Liverpool recently earnt a mention as item number 44 of 50 fantastic family ideas for Easter, an article within the Event supplement of the Mail on Sunday. Exit games aren’t just for Easter, or for families with teenagers, but certainly it’s one of the many different good fits that exist. This site was delighted to read that the mention has attracted a lot of attention!

Can You Escape of Edinburgh recently earnt a place as one of the five finalists for the Scotland’s Favourite Family Day Out category of the Scottish Entertainment & Hospitality Awards for 2015! It’s up against well-established competition, but it was tough to get to the final five. Fingers crossed that this, too, attracts more attention as well.

Tomorrow’s post will concern a number of sites growing from one game to two, but here’s news of a site which has refreshed its single game: ESCAP3D of Belfast, one of the very earliest sites of them all, has a new room, Paulina’s Revenge. The site suggests the game now caters for parties of three two eight, and suggests you might usefully brush up on your basic chemistry knowledge. Sounds like a plan if you don’t want your trip to their room to end with a BOOM!

Going head-to-head

"Head to head" graphicA part of the exit game experience that some people particularly like is the ability for your team to compete against another team. This survey only considers sites where two teams can play (practically) identical copies of the same room at the same time; there are several other sites with two or more rooms where two teams can start different games at the same time, though the result must always be in doubt as the “our room was harder” excuse can always be in play. In alphabetical order:

  • Agent November of London: the FAQ suggests that two teams of up to seven can play the Rainbow Syndicate game against each other.
  • Breakout Games Aberdeen: this brand new site has two identical units of Lock and Key.
  • Breakout Manchester: two identical Classified rooms have very recently been opened.
  • clueQuest of London: there are currently two Operation Blacksheep rooms and three PLAN52 rooms. One exciting development is that this famous site is moving in early March to a new location near King’s Cross St. Pancras; the new location will open with two of each of the games, but who knows how this might change over time?
  • Escape of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle: each location has two copies of their classic Live Escape Game room. The booking page might suggest that games start with a 15-minute stagger, but the sites are happy to set both teams going at the same time.
  • Escape Hour of Edinburgh: there are two identical Major Plott’s Revenge rooms. The man evidently gets around.
  • The Escape Hunt Experience of London: this site takes this to another level, permitting head-to-head-to-head-to-head play for Kidnapping in the Living Room and Murder in the Artist’s Bedroom, and head-to-head play for Theft from the Lab.
  • ESCAP3D of Dublin: the Dublin location has two identical rooms, though the Belfast location has only a single room.
  • HintHunt of London: here there are John Monroe’s Office games (one of which has a slightly staggered start time) and two Zen Room games for you to compete on.

Errors and omissions excepted, as ever, and corrections and additions are most welcome. It’s tempting to wonder whether rooms might ever be able to customise head-to-head rooms’ contents to something brand new to try to create some sort of elimination tournament, though it’s difficult to be surprised by the contents of the same room more than once!

Early November 2014 Dealwatch: coupons and discounts to play escape games for less

Price tag suggesting deal, sale or bargainThe usual Dealwatch rules remain in operation:

  • Do check voucher companies’ terms, conditions and guarantees and this site takes no responsibility for deals that fall through for whatever reason, which sadly did happen once;
  • Many of these deals only permit a limited number of vouchers to be purchased and then the deal will expire. It’s quite possible that deals may have expired between being published below and your attempt to use them;
  • This non-commercial site does not attract any commission for promoting these deals, or for you using them;
  • These deals are not exclusive in any manner.

ESCAP3D‘s Dublin location have a LivingSocial deal available for another week, or until all the vouchers sell out. Teams of six can play for €39 rather than the full price of €80. The voucher is only valid for new customers, and between 1:30pm and 6pm on Mondays to Saturdays. A cancellation/re-scheduling policy of 48 hours applies. How do you pronounce ESCAP3D, by the way? This site always thought it was a stylistic form of “escaped”, but it could just as easily be “escape-three-d”.

Last Dealwatch, this site described a Groupon deal placed by The Gr8 Escape of Belfast. While that’s history now, the site has a Facebook offer available for another month, offering 25% off if you’re booking either of its two Christmas-themed rooms to play after 5pm. The site has also revealed its future plans: “Winter wonderland – a froz3n surprise will hopefully be available in mid December, it will be a two room challenge designed to be easy enough for 7-11 year olds to complete within 45 minutes.” That’s extremely distinctive and very, very cool. If a major chunk of the long-term future of exit games is to cater for the birthday market, which it might well be, this seems like the state of the art.

Puzzlair of Bristol recently posted about their latest discount, supporting Bristol Handball. Follow the Bristol Handball Twitter account and book using the HANDBALL code for 10% off. (Handball is a fine game; much more fun to watch handball on Eurosport 2 than basketball on Eurosport, er, 1.) Puzzlair also have a a Christmas coupon scheme going, where you can exactly personalise the wording on your gift to whatever you think its recipients would most enjoy. No lunar porcine involvement is required.

Escape Hunt of London are promoting the Escape Hunt Challenge; book to play all three of its rooms and get a 20% discount. Beat all three rooms and win a limited edition T-shirt as well!

There are still some deals announced last time that are ongoing. GR8escape York have a code letting the first 30 teams to book play for just £30, and Escape Quest of Macclesfield’s social media competition is running for just a few more days, finishing well before (and announcing the winner of a free game in good time for) the site’s big launch on November 19th. Locked In Games of Leeds have two unsettling rooms, an even creepier new teaser video and a code of lockedinnovember to be entered at the checkout stage for £30/team games all through November… if you dare!

Now open in Belfast: Escap3d @ the MAC, popping up at the MADE festival

MADE festival logo complete with emergency exit signHere’s another exciting and logical way for the exit game to develop: the UK’s first pop-up exit game. (Surely not the world’s first, though; compare with, for instance, the The Purge: Breakout attraction, as discussed back in May.)

The Metropolitan Arts Centre is an arts venue (think combination gallery, theatre and so on) that opened in Belfast two years ago. This has a dedicated space called The Den where young creatives meet weekly; the Den collective put on the MADE Festival, “Belfast’s only arts festival produced by and for 14-18 year olds“, MADE standing for Music, Art, Dance and Everything. Pretty cool. Even cooler, and more relevant to this site, is one of the events that the collective have featured as part of this year’s event: Escap3d @ the Mac. However, as it’s only running from Monday 6th October (er, yesterday) through to Sunday 12th October, you’ll need to move quickly to get to take part. There are five slots per day from Tuesday to Sunday, two in the afternoon and three in the evening.

You are in a room. The door is locked. You have 60 minutes to get out.

Think you can make it out?

Can you bring your A-Game and assemble a team who can solve puzzles and think outside of the box? No more point’n’click pixel hunting at home as you sit in front of your monitor in a superhero onesie. Things just got real!

£4 per person and maximum of 6 per team.

So it’s an exit game, with a name revealed on Facebook to be “The Revenge Of The Alchemist”, at a theatre as part of an arts festival. Escap3d, quoted in the title of the event and presumably responsible for the content, is one of the oldest exit games going – second in the UK only to HintHunt, this site believes – so there’s a fine pedigree.

The price and context are about as neat as it gets. The island of Ireland, on both sides of the border, is very much punching above its weight in terms of having exciting (if sometimes short-lived) games going on. Kudos to the Den collective for having the creativity to schedule the event. It should deliver great results all round: good for the festival, good for Escap3d and certainly good for everyone who gets the chance to play.

This site loves exit games, but it also loves interesting public games, particularly if they strongly have the puzzle nature. This initiative brings exit games and interactive theatre closer together than ever before, and this site hopes that it will be the first example of many.

Now open in Dublin: ESCAP3D

ESCAP3D banner showing two locationsCongratulations to the first exit game site to open a second location, Escap3d, which launched in Dublin on Friday 1st August. The achievement is all the more impressive for being international; Belfast is in Northern Ireland, Dublin is in Ireland. Different currencies, different laws, doubtless many other differences as well. The site is launching with a single hour-long game, charging teams of 2-6 €80 per game. The site is available over lunchtime and in the evening, Wednesdays to Sundays.

A very short-lived Groupon deal sold 78 vouchers extremely quickly; as the vouchers have sold out, there’s no point in going into detail, but those lucky enough to grab the vouchers while they were going have until the end of October to go and play. The Groupon deal also reveals the location of the site, which has been added to the map: it’s at Unit 2, Avonbeg Industrial Estate, Longmile Road, Dublin 12, which is within a mile or so of XIT, Ireland’s first site.

Escap3d in Belfast and XIT both seem to be proving popular, so this suggests that the people behind the Belfast site should be able to put their experience to good use and come up with another hit!

Changing Rooms

"Changing Rooms" TV show logo and hostsTime for a round-up of exit game news.

The biggest and happiest news is that Clue HQ of Warrington have opened, and thus their dot on the map has turned from coming-soon red to open-now yellow. Their first week has some private bookings and availability over the first month or two is already rather spotty, reflecting both success at selling early slots and also relatively restricted opening hours, following the lead of concentrating opening towards the weekend. This site wishes Clue HQ good fortune and great success and hopes to hear from its players before long.

Excusing the post’s title, Ex(c)iting Game of Oxford have a temporary closure from Monday 4th August to Thursday 7th August, before reopening on Friday 8th August, having changed their original two games, “The Auction” and “Stop The Assassin” for two new ones, “The Warehouse” and “The Mad Scientist”, each of which is set up to take 3-5 players. The site seems popular, especially at weekends, and this will give good reason for people who have played its two games already to go back and enjoy the two new ones.

More good news is that other sites are talking about expansion; Breakout Manchester of Ashby de la Zouch Manchester have announced on Facebook that their third room, Madchester, is set to open on July 12th. There’s also a corking interview with owner Ed Roberts on Gamasutra about the design process. This site likes the way he thinks.

Another expansion announcement on Facebook comes from Escape of Edinburgh, who have announced their third room will be entitled Contagion. Evidently Escape really has brought exit game fever north of the border.

Finally, Escap3d of Belfast have announced a second location, with a teasing “Play in Dublin” page and a map of their presumptive second site. Very exciting, and more news on this as it becomes available!

That’s all the news that this site has permission to publish, for now.

All the news from the exit games

7segmentsIn some browsers, the up- and down- arrows above will take you from zero to twelve and back…

Here’s a quick round-up of exit game news:

  • Escape in Edinburgh are holding their “The Escape Games” promotion between Friday (er, tomorrow) and Sunday. Teams of 3 or 4 can pay just £30/team (half price!) to try to escape either of the two identically-dressed rooms. The fastest teams win free games plus T-shirts or mouse mats.
  • Whether you win or not, Escape have posted a teaser for their Dark Room set to open soon, with another message suggesting there may be a prison theme.
  • In other “new room” news, Breakout Manchester (who are struggling with their web site right now, but are taking bookings by e-mail) posted a tweet saying that they will open their second room, Virus, from Friday 6th June. Looking forward to catching the bug!
  • Escap3d of Belfast say that “Our Great Challenge is back! If you get through the puzzles with your own work and open the door within the allocated 60 minutes, you can invite a team of friends for free or we pay you back the admission.” Sounds like exactly the right sort of fighting talk aimed towards purists with a no-clue disposition.
  • Clue HQ of Warrington have posted rather a fun teaser video, an early construction photo and job ads. The site says “We’re currently gearing up for opening towards the end of June 2014” so not long to wait now.
  • The site has previously pointed to discussion of exit games on episode 41 of the The Cultures podcast; the topic is discussed again at the start of the new episode 45 as another member of the team tries a game and reports their experiences. I won’t spoil whether they had a good time or not but you can guess!