I’m often asked where the “best” games in Europe are. Obviously, there’s not really an answer (I’ve not played all the games, our preferences are almost certainly different, you may be going as a team of two or five… and anyway, it’s hard for me to truly compare all the games I’ve played). In spite of all that, I still keep getting asked the question, so I thought I’d go ahead and write a post that sets out what I consider to be the crème de la crème of European games. To be on this list, you have to have the whole package: good quality puzzles with a good set and GM-ing, and you probably have to excel in at least one of those areas.
Obviously, there’s a bias towards UK games (which make up approximately half of my experience) and European capitals, but I think it’s a good starting point. If you want a more general insight into Europe, Toby has put together an excellent article here that’s become my starting point for most trips! I’ll freely admit that there are likely more games that deserve a place on this list in Moscow, the Baltics, Athens, Barcelona and probably a few more in the Netherlands. Some day, I hope to get to experience them.
Note: this only covers games that are still open and is based on the games I’d played before September 2018. For those of you who prefer a map to a list, I’ve put one at the end of this article.
- Bewilder Box (Brighton) – The Bewilder Box Initiative. A fun sci-fi romp with a great GM system.
- clueQuest (London) – Revenge of the Sheep. The best game in the best venue in London. Different people like different games but this is almost universally loved.
- Co-Decode (Swindon) – Professor Dunstan and the search for the Ancient Statuette. A game full of marvellous mechanisms.
- Extremescape (Disley, Stockport) – Lost Tomb. A rural diamond – 90 minutes of amazing set.
- Escapologic (Nottingham) – Curio. A game so good that I rarely discuss it for fear of accidental spoilers.
- Locked in Edinburgh – Secret Lab. A cool venue, a funny story and puzzles galore.
- Marvo Mysteries (Bournemouth) – M.A.R.V.O. Induction. The reception is impressive, the waiting area amazing but the game still manages to be even better.
- Hungary (all Budapest)
- Hidden in Hamburg – Masters of Time, The Forbidden Game, The Golden Skull. No venue has the right to have this many amazing games. And it’s on a ship!
- Skurrilum (Hamburg) – Ernie Hudson Ghost Hunter and the Crying Lady, Ernie Hudson Ghost Hunter and the Zoo of Death. My favourite two games. Ever.
- THE ROOM (Berlin) – Go West and The Lost Treasure of Alexander von Humboldt. A game that draws on local history like no other, and a game that puts you in the middle of an adventure.
- Project Escape (Nijmegen) – Ramkraak (Ram Raid). Exactly what it says on the tin – you’ll feel like you’re on a real mission.
- Sherlocked Escape Rooms (Amsterdam) – The Architect, The Vault. The first game is pretty impressive, but the Vault is something special – almost like you’re the star of a film.
- Zagadkownia (Warsaw) – Changing Reality. A game that takes a great idea and implements it beautifully.
- The Game (Paris) – The Plane. Warning – might make you scared of flying… (Metro is also said to be stunning.)
- Czech Republic
- The Chamber Escape Game (Prague) – Medieval Dungeon, Haunted House. Sets like films with amazing puzzles, a scary vibe and a moment in Haunted House that blew me away. (Poltergeist is also raved about by enthusiasts. EDIT: I’ve since played Poltergeist and it absolutely belongs on the list)