Welcome to the December 2016 edition of the London focused escape rumours post. The good news is that I’m feeling much better and should be back to blogging as usual again. Apologies to those of you who are waiting for the, ahem, 30ish reviews that are backlogged. I’ve been keeping notes, so don’t worry too much and if you’re after an opinion then feel free to drop me an email.
Note that this is about London (and a little further afield), the weekly post about UK news is now published over on exitgames.co.uk – so head on over to that website if you’re interested in all that’s happening in the UK.
So, what have I have been up to in the last couple of months? Well, I didn’t stop escaping entirely – I had several bookings in place and I managed to make it to most of them with just a couple having to be cancelled. Reviews will soon be on their way for Escape London, clueTrace, Do Stuff, Mission Breakout, Trapped In (Ruby Factory and Crazy Clown’s Carnival), CoLab Theatre’s Hunted, a popup escape game at the Senate House, Escape Game Brighton, Bewilder Box, Escape Game Products’ Enigma Files, The Panic Room Harlow (both games) and Clue Adventures. Yep – it could take a while to get caught up and even after that, I still have 17 reviews from Budapest. Good job I won’t be playing any more games in the meantime…
Oh wait, I will… So, what’s on the schedule?
- 4: A Place in Time: Maman le Mot (Immersive Theatre)
- 14: Enigma Escape: The Breakout
- 18: A Great Escape Room: ENIGMA room
I’m particularly excited (and quite sad) about the last one because it will be the last ever game at that venue – the team behind it have decided to focus on other opportunities. After that I’ll be off to the North for Christmas when I’m likely to squeeze in one or two games and January is already starting to take shape!
News and Rumours
October and November have raced by since the last update, so quite a lot to tell you about…
If you’re a die hard escape room fan and don’t mind taking a day off work then Liz Cable of Time Games is running the Escape Game Unconference in January. Tickets have sold out but if you’re interested in attending there’s a waiting list. Unfortunately I won’t be there but there are around 60 attendees from across the UK with enthusiasts and owners making the trip to Kings Cross.
The centre of London is packed with games but it’s always surprised me that more don’t open in the suburbs. If small towns can sustain a room then I don’t see why more of the outer suburbs can’t. Well – that seems to be changing with rooms opening in Bromley and Sutton in the south and now in Romford in the North. Room Lockdown opened just a couple of weeks ago. They’ve opened with Prison Break and the Curse of King Anum but they’ve got a few other games in the pipeline. I’ve built up a bit of a backlog of games to play in London but I’m sure I’ll be there before long!
Blink and you’ll miss it – and sadly I did. End Game had a two week run for Hallowe’en of an immersive theatre, meets escape room, meets laser tag game. With Cannibals. It’s hard to imagine how that would turn out but the photos on the Facebook page suggested players had fun. The good news is that this was them testing the waters and there are plans to find a more permanent venue in the new year. No idea if the cannibals et al will make a return or whether you should expect a more conventional escape room.
News is all well and good but rumours are much more fun. If I stuck to the facts about Modern Fables, I wouldn’t be able to tell you much but, with a name like that, you’ve got to imagine there’s a keen focus on story telling. A brief mention of a location on their website was enough to convince me they’ve secured a venue already, down in South London near Dulwich and Peckham, so hopefully we’ll find out more soon!
Enigma Escape opened their second room, the Breakout. After playing a hundred and… a lot escape games, I still haven’t seen another game that rivals their first offering for realism and, from what I’ve heard, they’ve stuck to that niche, so I’m excited about going along and playing later this month.
The team down at Escape from the Room are obviously full of good ideas so, while they’re waiting to finish off their second full room, they’ve launched a mini escape experience – Murder in the Village. At only half an hour, it’s probably not worth making a trip all the way out to Sutton to take part but perhaps it will tip the balance on making a trip if you haven’t before or encourage you to head down when their next game opens. I certainly enjoyed my visit to their first game so would recommend you check them out.
Those of you who’ve been reading the site will know that I didn’t have the best experiences with Sherlock Unlock. It looks like I wasn’t alone – after a year in London they’ve locked their doors for good and are winding up the business. Speaking of rooms that disappointed me – Escape Games London, the company behind Escape from the Theatre, appear to have stopped taking bookings on both Groupon and their website. It’s not yet clear whether this is a permanent closure or just a hiatus on bookings – time will tell.
Enigma Quests have fully opened Million Pound Heist and I’ve been hearing good things. No booking from me yet, but I’ve backed the project on Kickstarter so it’s just a case of organising a date – watch out for the review in the new year.
Inside Out Escape have opened in Islington, North London with a single game, Finding Sherlock Holmes. If you’re interested in playing, then you’d better get in the queue – they’re booked up for evenings and weekends all the way through till late February! Turns out Groupon can drive quite a lot of business to your site.
If you’ve ever played with Lady Chastity, you’ll know that Handmade Mysteries know how to show people a good time… well, they’re back soon with Poppa Plock – a game that seems to be set in a toy shop. Truth be told, I was expecting to have seen an opening already – that’s not happened yet but I’d be surprised if there wasn’t an announcement in the next month or so.
Time Run have now officially opened the Celestial Chain after a week of previews. Rumours abound but most enthusiasts are waiting for things to settle down before playing and I’m no exception – don’t expect a review till February! It promises to be a very different experience to other escape rooms – let’s hope that’s different in a good way! STOP PRESS: Minkette (of Oubliette fame) seemed to like her visit which fills me with confidence.
Operation Escape opened their game in Bromley, South London. There’s a Groupon offer for some of their slots, so if you’re interested in playing and have flexibility then you should be able to pick up a good deal.
I’ve heard rumours of a couple of pop up games scheduled for January. Dates are always likely to slip but worth keeping a slot or two free if you don’t want to miss out – expect a comment on Twitter if I hear more!
If you’ve read this far down the list then you’re obviously a keen enthusiast, in which case you may be interested in coming along to the London escape room enthusiasts meetup. Every month or two a group of us meet up to talk escape rooms for an evening. If you’re interested in coming along then drop me an email and I’ll get you added to the list.
No update on Escape Rooms plan to open in Aldgate or from Claustrophobia, or Escape Zone London. I’ll let you know if I hear more.
That’s all folks
That’s all I’m aware of. If any of the above is incorrect then let me know via email or in the comments below, or equally if you’re aware of other news, discounts or competitions, and I’ll include updates in the next edition.
Thanks for reading!
Ken, I love your site and the news. I like talking to owners and players about games, ideas and news. Noticed there wasn’t a UK chat or forum I could find for UK Escape Games – So I’ve started one, be great if everyone can get behind it. http://ukescape.forumotion.co.uk/
I tend to hang out on the Enthusiast Slack channel. It’s different from a forum – it’s much less formal and encourages conversation in my experience. It has plenty of drawbacks but it works for me.