In season 3, episode 12, we chat with Lee-Fay Low and Theresa Wagner about the upcoming RECON, the Reality Escape Convention, taking place in person, in Boston, August 21-22, 2022. RECON is a new type of convention, mixing talks from leaders in the immersive gaming industry, games ranging from an ARG to a large-format ballroom game, an included escape room, and visits to Level99 and Boda Borg.
Lee-Fay is the Programming Coordinator. She talks to us about the different talks you can expect at RECON Boston 22, ranging from Caro Murphy, an Immersive Experience Director on Disney’s Star Wars Galactic Starcruise, to the mayor of Malden, Massachusetts, who will talk about working with local government. And of course, RECON will also include speakers from some of the top local escape room companies.
Theresa Wagner is the Games “Executioner,” in charge of organizing the games at RECON. She talks to us about the different games you’ll experience with your RECON ticket, including Level99, an “escape room amusement park.” We also reveal a surprise announcement that Boda Borg will now be part of the convention offerings.
I was really excited to get a sneak peek at the inner workings of RECON, and to learn more about everything offered at this escape room convention. I hope that after listening to this conversation, you’ll be inspired to join us at RECON in Boston this summer.
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Topics Discussed in this Episode
- We’re introduced to Lee-Fay Low, who leads the programming team at RECON Boston 22, the in-person Reality Escape Convention taking place this August 21-22 in Boston, MA. [0:46]
- We also meet Theresa Wagner, the “Executioner of Extra Fun,” otherwise known as the Games Coordinator. [2:04]
- Peih-Gee talks about past RECON events, which were held virtually in 2020 and 2021. [3:03]
- Lee-Fay talks about some special things they have planned for the in-person RECON, and how they’re leaning into the immersion aspect of a live event. She mentions the talk by Haley and Cameron Cooper of Strange Bird Immersive, who will be talking about the magic circle, and how they will create that experience for the audience.[3:40]
- Theresa tells us what Level99 is exactly, and how it’s not quite an escape room. [5:13]
- David talks about two of the speakers at RECON. Matt Duplessie of Level99 and 5 Wits, will give a talk on the future of immersive play, and Victor Hung, the CTO of Level99 and an owner at the escape room company Boxaroo, will give a talk on escape room tech. [8:04]
- David talks about the value structure of RECON tickets and how they’re all-inclusive, with programming specifically created so attendees can experience everything. [9:30]
- David announces a surprise last-minute addition to RECON programming: a trip to Boda Borg, sponsored by the City of Malden, which has created a Gaming District. [10:31]
- Theresa talks to us about Boda Borg and explains how the games there work. [11:51]
- David goes into depth about the opportunity to play both Level99 and Boda Borg. He discusses the differences between the two companies, who have similar large-scale play styles, but different approaches. [12:58]
- Lee-Fay gives a shout out to James Cobalt, another member of the RECON team, who helped obtain the City of Malden sponsorship, and mentions that he will be launching his own escape room in the Malden Gaming District. [14:36]
- Lee-Fay tells us about Caro Murphy, who is an Immersive Experience Director on Disney’s Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser. They will be talking about practical ways of incorporating theatrics and actor interactions. [15:36]
- Theresa mentions that each attendee will be booked into one escape room as part of their RECON ticket. She explains that all of the escape room companies included are experts at telling deep stories. [17:22]
- Theresa goes into depth about the escape room companies featured as part of RECON: Red Fox Escapes, Trapology, and Boxaroo. [18:04]
- Peih-Gee talks about her love of Colby’s Curious Cookoff, a virtual puzzle game created by Boxaroo. She also mentions that she and David will be playing it on their monthly livestream with IndieCade on Twitch. [20:36]
- David talks about all the events included in the RECON ticket, and he also goes into detail about the ballroom game created by Boxaroo. [21:57]
- David talks about his vision for RECON as an inspiration for escape rooms, giving them an opportunity to explore the outer limits of this medium. [23:22]
- David talks about the value RECON has to offer for enthusiasts versus escape room owners. [24:16]
- Lee-Fay talks about Marie Huber of Red Fox Escapes, who will be running a workshop on game design, focusing on practical aspects like budgets, floorspace, and durability. [26:53]
- Lee-Fay talks about Stuart Bogaty of trap’t Escape Room Adventures, who will be running a workshop on cohesive branding and marketing for your escape room. [28:04]
- David mentions that he and Lisa filmed a CBS Sunday Morning episode at Stuart’s escape room. [28:51]
- David talks about the theme for this year’s RECON: The Journey. [30:12]
- Lee-Fay talks about speaker Gary Christenson, Mayor of Malden, and Kevin Duffy, Strategy and Business Development Officer for the Mayor’s office. They will be talking about strategies for working with your local government officials. [31:39]
- We talk about the Malden Gaming District, a commercial district in the city of Malden with a focus on experiential entertainment retail shops. [32:31]
- Peih-Gee talks about the future of immersive gaming centers, and how things like the Gaming District can potentially improve business relationships with landlords. [35:04]
- David talks about other opportunities at RECON, including the Birds of a Feather discussion groups and meetings with the sponsors. [36:02]
- David talks about the scheduling of RECON and how they’ve arranged the programming so attendees will get to experience as much of the event as possible without counter-programming. [39:57]
- Theresa talks a little more about the scheduling and arrangement of the included escape room. [42:04]
- David mentions the pre-event on Saturday for VIP ticket holders, with an exclusive meet-n-greet, along with other socializing opportunities. [43:13]
- Peih-Gee talks about the RECON Discord and recommends it as a place to introduce yourself before the event. [43:54]
- Theresa suggests the channels in the RECON server for finding other players to play escape rooms with in Boston. [44:41]
- Theresa says they’ll be sending out a recommendation guide for Boston area games, and also mentions that attendees will get a 20% off coupon code for local games, good for a week before and a week after the event. [44:55]
- Lee-Fay and David give some advice on how to get the most out of the RECON experience. [46:38]
- David gives special thanks to the RECON team who has helped create something very special. [49:09]
- Peih-Gee talks about the energy and passion of escape room creators and enthusiasts, and how they’re hoping to bring that energy to RECON. [51:44]
- Lee-Fay talks about what she hopes attendees will take away from RECON. [52:41]
- David reminds listeners to get their tickets while early bird pricing is still available, using code “EARLYDUCKY22”. This deal ends May 10. [53:10]
- David and Peih-Gee reflect back on the third season of REPOD. [55:42]
Resources Mentioned in this Episode
- Strange Bird Immersive
- 5 Wits
- Boda Borg
- Malden Gaming District
- Red Fox Escapes
- Trapology Boston
- Colby’s Curious Cookoff
- IndieCade Beyond Screens Live stream
- Beyond Screens Twitch
- trap’t Escape Room Adventures
- RECON team
About Lee-Fay Low
Lee-Fay is coordinating the Boston talks, workshops, and discussion program. She spends a lot of time thinking about how people experience things, and how to improve that experience. Her day job is as a psychologist and researcher.
You can find her simultaneously on the Escape Room Discord, walking the coast of Sydney, baking, knitting and helping with the Escape Room Enthusiasts Survey.
About Theresa Wagner
Theresa is a chaotic neutral goblin from Washington, DC, who has trusted strangers to lock her in rooms 328 times. When not trying the same code 8 times in a directional lock (of course the combo is right!), she can be found playing Warhammer, video games, board games, Magic the Gathering, or looking up videos of Mariachi bands playing for beluga whales. She used to compete in Super Smash Brothers Melee and Rainbow 6 Siege, but now focuses her video game energy on speedrunning, including Portal 2 and Sly Cooper. She also writes reviews for Room Escape Artist. Oh, and she also has a bird named Wally.
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Escape This Podcast is a show that’s a mix between tabletop roleplaying and escape room puzzles.
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