Escape Room in a Box vs. Real Life Escape Games

Owners frequently tell us, “I don’t have time to play escape rooms from other companies because I’m busy running mine…” Or, “Everything you see in my room is totally original because I’ve never played an escape room.”

I find these statements distressing. The owners are telling me that they don’t have any idea how their games stack up against the rest of the market.

You cannot adequately run a business without market intelligence.

Escape Rooms in a Box

We’ve reviewed two separate escape room in a box play at home games. One was funded on Kickstarter, the other was published by ThinkFun.

In both reviews, we noted that these games were better than much of the escape room market, at a fraction of the price, and playable from home.

Both of these fun games offer different takes on escape rooms in a crunched-down format.

Every single owner should play them. Every single potential owner should play them.


They’re a fun way to spend an hour.

Also, market research. If your game isn’t considerably better than these play at home games, then you are screwing up.

Watercolor of two letter locks intertwined. One lock reads, "DO NOT" the other reads, "SUCK."

The video game arcade died because at-home video game consoles rendered irrelevant the trips to a physical video game location.

If your physical room isn’t a whole lot better than ThinkFun’s $22 paper escape room, then reflect on your business goals. Why are you in this market?

If ThinkFun’s game has you beat, the 3 Mysterious Cases from the Armchair Detective Co. should worry you. I haven’t played these games yet so I cannot speak to their quality, but they look impressive.

A moment of reflection

I wrote my first escape room review because I loved these games so much and I had just played one that was so bad that had it been my first, it would have been my last.

Since that first review over two years ago, the escape room industry has grown in a lot of ways, but many companies still produce terrible games.

Some of these games are produced by cash-grabby cynics who deserve every bit of the failure that is ultimately coming to them.

Some of these games are produced by well-intentioned people who haven’t done their research, don’t know what a high quality game looks like, and will ultimately fail because they cannot compete. I’d feel sorry for these people if they weren’t doing so much damage to the perception of escape rooms.

All it takes is one bad first experience for a player to never go back for a second attempt. This industry needs repeat players if it is going to survive and thrive.

Every single physical escape room should blow away every single escape room in a box. Go play ThinkFun’s Escape The Room: Mystery at the Stargazer’s Manor, and see how you stack up.

Escape Room in a Box isn’t currently available for purchase (however you can preorder it).

ThinkFun’s Escape The Room: Mystery at the Stargazer’s Manor (Amazon – If you purchase via this link, you will help support Room Escape Artist as we will get a very small percentage of the sale).


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