News

Published on May 26th, 2016 | by Dean Love

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News round-up: “Enter, stranger”

First news post for the site, and I’m going to start by directing you to the excellent UK escape room news round-ups on The Logic Escapes Me. They do a great job at covering nearly everything in the UK scene and I’ve no interest in even trying to compete. Instead I’ll just be running through stories and news that’s caught my eye, and maybe occasionally going off on a rant about why it’s interesting.

Bewilder Box launch Kickstarter
Bewilder Box is a game planned for Brighton later this year. We don’t know much about it, but Hugo Myatt from Knightmare is in it, which is exciting all on its own. You can now give them money for things on Kickstarter. Top tip: if you’re into escape rooms but don’t want to risk an advance booking, considering backing projects like this for just £1. You’ll then get updates on the progress and often access to launch deals when the thing actually happens.

Enter The Oubliette to close
Previous Kickstarter-funded game, Enter The Oubliette is to close down. I’ve not played it yet, but it had such good reviews I went into a mild panic when I read it was closing (it was meant to be a permanent attraction, but they’ve not been able to extend their lease) as it’s one of the best reviewed games in London. But needing five people for a private game (down from the eight you needed on launch) we hadn’t been able to work out the logistics of booking it. I was convinced that even trying to get things together over the next few days, with just a month left the remaining slots would go quickly. They didn’t. There are still slots now. By all accounts you should go.

But between that and the announcement that basically said “yes, we could relocate, but fit-out is expensive and we’re not sure it’s worth it” it does seem like it’s not been a huge success. Which is weird. Why has a game with great reviews, a relatively good location (Brixton may not be pretty but it’s on a busy street and spitting distance from the tube station) not manage to fill out four slots a day in a single room, while other far less renowned games are booked up weeks in advance? Player count? The weird name? I noted at the time that the creators of the game have a background in video games (and hence for a couple of days, video games sites acknowledged that escape rooms existed) – I’d love to see a Gamasutra-esque postmortem on this once it’s done.

Escape Live coming to Coventry
The popular Birmingham site Escape Live got its first franchise in Essex recently, and one will be opening in Coventry later in the year. I know nothing else about it, but it’s exciting news because that’s where I live.

Cliffhanger Rooms coming to the Lake District
One of the more rural places to see an escape room opening, Cliffhanger Rooms are down to open soon. Again, this is exciting because it’s where my family live.

Clockwork Dog launch Langstroth’s Last Riddle
We reviewed this yesterday, but Langstroth’s Last Riddle is the first game from Clockwork Dog. It’s open for just three weeks. Why? Well their entire concept is to basically find cool spaces and borrow them for a few weeks to run escape games in them. As our review covered, playing in a real rather than constructed space adds a lot, so will be interesting to see what they do next. I hope they’re successful enough to do another one, but not so successful they can keep running the same game in the same space! We’re greedy like that.

clueQuest every bloody place
clueQuest created a short escape room as part of a themed Alice Through the Looking Glass interactive experience thing. This sold out before they even told anyone, then more tickets were released and they sold out, so then there was a lottery to win tickets and now they’re running the game at London ComicCon this weekend where there will probably be a queue. They’re also considering running it as a pop-up elsewhere. I think all we’ve learned from this debacle is that clueQuest make games far that are far too awesome. We already knew that, though still have their latest room to try.


About the Author

Dean is a professional writer who has worked for The Mail On Sunday, The Digital Fix, MicroMart and others.



One Response to News round-up: “Enter, stranger”

  1. My theory on Oubliette is that their ticketing model was the issue. Brits don’t like sharing rooms and at £30 per ticket it wasn’t very appealing to book out the whole game unless you had 7-8. Like most escape games, they were best suited to a smaller number (probably six), which put it out of most people’s price range.

    Since they changed over to the new model, I think they’ve had more success, but I don’t know how much. I really hope they get things sorted out and find a new place. There are elements that I don’t think are justifiable costwise, so if I were them I’d probably cut the game back and make it a 3-5 player game. Maybe they can sell a version of the game like that, but for the small amount of money I can imagine them receiving, I’m not convinced they’ll take the risk to their reputations.

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