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

Newspaper iconThe site has been a little quieter than usual recently due to a combination of relatively little news and real life. This site never promised to be an every-day-something-new site, though there has been a reasonably long run of daily posts, and longer gaps before this. Contributions from readers would be welcome.

Here’s the news that we do know, though:

  • Escape of Edinburgh have a tremendous write-up in the Edinburgh Evening News, reinforcing the power of connecting with the local media.
  • There has been previous mention of Can You Escape? of Edinburgh. While their Indiegogo didn’t get as far as their goal, it’s very encouraging to see continued signs of progress, not least a new logo. Their Twitter comment of Lots going on behind the scenes at the minute to open in time for the @edinburghfest[…] also sounds extremely positive. This site wishes them well and hopes for more good news before long.
  • There has also been previous mention of A Door In A Wall‘s The Diplomatic Corpse. Sadly the run finishes very soon; a recent tweet of theirs says We’re sold out tonight and through the weekend! Tomorrow is your last chance to unravel the murder of Emilio Ninkash, so if you want to act, act quickly.
  • Clue HQ of Warrington are now taking bookings, though the opening date has been pushed back ever so slightly to Wednesday 2nd July. It’s a cute coincidence to see their use of the “one hour of oxygen left” motif also being used in SCRAP America’s seventh pop-up exit game in San Francisco, Escape From The Moon Base. They had 451 teams of six over five days, of which 16 won – not even a 4% success record. Gulp.

That’s all for now; more news as it arrives.

All the news, including the strange case of Brighton

Brighton Escape Room logoA quick couple of news stories:

1) Clue HQ of Warrington have announced an opening date of June 28th, and the theme of their first room, Bunker 38. After being locked in an underground bunker following a radiation leak, it’s now time to leave as you’ve limited oxygen left. Only 60 minutes of breathable air remains – will you escape in time? Sounds good! The site expects to start to take bookings from Monday 9th June.

2) Escape of Edinburgh, after their The Escape Games promotion last weekend, have a different promo on their Facebook page this weekend. Share this post of theirs by midnight on Sunday 8th (and, at a guess, this probably refers to the 23:59 sort of Sunday-to-Monday midnight, not the 00:01 sort of Saturday-to-Sunday midnight) to be in with a chance of winning a free game. Cute gimmick and looks like it’s doing well at getting the word out. Escape are running very active social media campaigns which seem to be getting results.

3) The coming soon page for Live Escape Game of Brighton is older than most of the exit games that have actually made it to business, to the point where it might be considered more mythical than not. However, the case of Brighton Escape Room is almost stranger; an address has been announced and a practically complete web site has been up for weeks, suggesting a May launch.

However, the site’s Twitter has been silent since late March, the “latest news” section is, more or less, a placeholder, and there are links to a Facebook account that hasn’t started. Attempts to contact the site have been unproductive. It’s hard to know what has happened here; it looks like the site has got most of the way to making it, then… stopped. Exit Games UK hopes that everyone involved remain in good health, that nothing worse than an inconvenient financial crisis got in the way, and that the site can make it to real life play some day.

Perhaps Brighton’s just jinxed!

(Right of reply is available to representatives of either site; we’d like nothing better than to have some good news to post about them.)

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!

Weekend round-up

US Sudoku Team logoTechnically this is the US Sudoku Championship logo rather than the US Puzzle Championship one, but it’s always been a beauty. This weekend’s highlight is the US Puzzle Championship, a 2½-hour online language-free culture-neutral puzzle contest, where participation is open to entrants around the world. You can still register to take part; once you’ve logged in, the instruction booklet is available. Download the puzzles in advance; the password will be revealed at 6pm UK time on Saturday 17th and you have until 8:30pm UK time to submit your answers in order to score as many points as possible.

It’s worth reflecting at this point that as recently as 2010, the UK puzzle season was the US Puzzle Championship – and, if you didn’t qualify for the World Championship, that was it. 2010 was a pivotal year with the launch of the UK Puzzle Association and also Logic Masters India bringing frequent tests; 2011 saw the start of the UK Puzzle Championship and so much has followed since. The US Puzzle Championship is quite a traditional event, what with its fixed timeslot; it is clearly aimed to find the best competitors for the phenomenally successful US team for the WPC and sets its difficulty accordingly. If you’d like to know more, this site recommends Dr. Thomas Snyder’s nine-part Better Know the USPC series from 2011.

Let’s round up the latest exit game news as well:

  • In Edinburgh, Escape opened today, and this site has the joy of turning their red “opening soon!” map dot to a glorious yellow.
  • In Manchester, Make A Break have announced good news: they have proved popular enough to extend their opening hours at weekends.
  • In London, HintHunt also have good news to announce: they are opening a second Zen Room from 1st June; they will be able to host five games at once, making them the biggest single site at the moment. They are fully booked up at weekends until mid-July, other than for this second Zen Room, so this is a very rare weekend opportunity to play.
  • However, unfortunately, it’s not all good news; Escape Hunt have announced that their London opening will be delayed until late August. Good things come to those who wait!

Coming soon to Edinburgh: Escape

Escape logoDespite recently looking forward to future exit game launches, this one came as a surprise! Two weeks ago, this site reported on the Can You Escape? Indiegogo project to open a room in Edinburgh. That Indiegogo is continuing apace, but one of the dangers of a crowdfunded project is that other projects can beat them to the punch, and Can You Escape? clearly will not be the first exit game to launch in Edinbugh; a site called Escape will beat them to it, by opening on Friday 16th May.

The location is only a few hundred metres from Edinburgh’s famous Princes Street; when Edinburgh’s trams open at the end of the month, the “West End – Princes Street” stop will probably be the closest. The exit game’s web site was launched on Thursday and I would describe the ambiance as elegant. (The lower-case-“e”-as-a-maze logo is particularly smart.) There’s a heavier focus on corporate team building than is the case for several other sites; it’s a distinctive angle to take and may well work out well, particularly in such a business-focused city as Edinburgh. Even the location of the game itself is within the Citibase building.

However, it’s not just a game for businesses; families and groups of friends are as welcome here as they are at every other exit game up and down the land. Edinburgh is a great tourist destination as well and the timing is very good, giving a couple of months to bed down before festival season starts. There are two one-hour games, referred to as “The Light Room” and “The Dark Room”; the pricing is simple, a flat £60 per team of two-to-five, plus a £2 booking fee.

The list of exit games and timeline have been updated; it has also been a delight to change the size of the map so that it stretches further north. This site wishes Escape well and looks forward to having more to report from it soon!