REPOD Special Release: RECON Remote 23 Recap

We brought together escape room industry professionals and enthusiasts from all around the world for a 2-day virtual event in August. If you’re still coming down off the high of RECON Remote 23, we’ve got you covered. In this pre-season special release, we break down all the happenings at RECON, with a special behind-the-scenes look from Brendan Lutz, Room Escape Artist’s CTO, and the Head of Technology for RECON.

Hero image for REPOD special release Recon '23 recap with Brendan Lutz, Head of Technology for RECON. Image of man with neatly combed hair smiling in a dark blue button down shirt. Image of man in glasses and goatee looking to the right, underneath him is a blonde woman smiling and looking to the right. They are peeking out from behind a door. Image of a smiling asian woman with long dark hair and a white shirt. All images are surrounded with ornate gold frames.

We kick things off by reflecting on mistakes made in previous events and how it helped craft the program for this year’s RECON. We touch on the different talks, from the financial talk to decoding the social media marketing puzzle. Puzzle design enthusiasts won’t be disappointed either, with deep dives into the creative process. Along the way, we share the challenges faced in ticket sales and staffing predictions, offering a glimpse into what the future might hold.

This year’s event was further testimony to David and Lisa’s dedication to building a kind and thoughtful community in the escape room industry. Stay tuned until the end to witness Peih-Gee’s annual quest to make David shed a tear on-air.

Thank You to Our Sponsors

We are immensely grateful to our sponsors this season: Morty App, and RECON: The Reality Escape Convention. We truly appreciate your support of our mission to promote and improve the immersive gaming community.


Morty is a free app for discovering, planning, tracking, and reviewing your escape rooms and other immersive social outings.

Special Badge for REPOD listeners:

You can learn more at to sign up and get a special badge for our listeners (works for existing users also).

RECON - Reality Escape Convention logo features a penrose triangle and and a blue eye.

RECON: The Reality Escape Convention

Escape room conventions should be as fun, collaborative, and immersive as the games we celebrate.

RECON is our very own escape room and immersive gaming convention. Whether you’re an owner, creator, player, or you’re escape room curious, you are invited learn, connect, and play with our wonderful community.

RECON Remote 23 will take place August 19 – 20, 2023, online.

RECON 24 will be in person.

Get your ticket at now.

Topics Discussed in this Episode

  • [3:20] Peih-Gee, David and Brendan chat about RECON Global 21 and how, in hindsight, they packed way too much into the event, plus what led to that decision.
  • [11:53] We discuss the financial talk The Business of Fun: Operations & Financials by Dino Paulo and Gary Kelly from HintHunt Africa.
  • [16:13] We discuss the social media talk The Social Media Marketing Puzzle by Brittney Coleman of Hour to Exit and Anna Lysova of Scarlet Envelope.
  • [19:34] David discusses why they don’t release the RECON talks immediately after the event. It is because RECON is designed to be a communal live event.
  • [21:43] We talk about Not Another Puzzle Design Talk: Evolving Through Designing 200+ Games by Lee Ballan and Gai Bosco from Israel.
  • [24:02] We discuss 6 Mindsets to Overcome As a Puzzle Designer by Errol Elumir.
  • [25:51] We chat about Adaptive Difficulty: Strategies For Making Games That Both Newbies & Enthusiasts Will Love by Anne and Chris Lukeman of CU Adventures.
  • [28:19] We chat about Players & Owners: Improving Together, the talk from David and Lisa Spira.
  • [38:27] We talk about the improved virtual exhibit hall and sponsorships.
  • [42:06] Morty hosted a Weirdest Experiences Found on Morty contest, and we pick the winners here.
  • [46:19] Brendan tells us about RECON’s Pro Day.
  • [47:32] David says the Business Assets discussion on Pro Day was inspired by the Cool Tools Podcast he was on. He wanted to share business tools with escape room owners.
  • [49:51] David talks about an unexpected struggle, which was selling out of tickets last minute. Predicting staffing and facilitator needs was more difficult.
  • [52:27] Brendan predicts that we’ll be selling out sooner in the future and explains why.
  • [53:42] Peih-Gee and David talk about the accessibility and benefits of virtual RECON over in-person RECON.
  • [56:42] David gives a shout out to Shop of Theseus and Peih-Gee announces that they will be hosting a live playthough on REPOD with special guests.
  • [58:16] David thanks members of the RECON team.
  • [1:01:38] Peih-Gee talks about experiencing a hurricane warning and an earthquake during RECON and David talks about disaster planning.
  • [1:04:12] The group shares their favorite moments from RECON.
  • [1:06:13] Peih-Gee gives a heartfelt thank you to David and Lisa for RECON, accomplishing her yearly goal of making David cry onstage or on-air.
Reality Escape Pod mission patch logo depicts a spaceship puncturing through the walls of reality.

Leave us a voicemail

Got a question or thought for the podcast? You can submit a voice recording by calling the Room Escape Artist not-so-hotline that always goes straight to voicemail (551-227-7273).

Resources Mentioned in this Episode

About Brendan Lutz

Headshot of Brendan Lutz

Brendan is the invisible support and structure behind RECON. He has led 50+ person technology teams to success in various industries by continually pushing boundaries. He is a professional technology generalist who is passionate about bringing cutting edge tech into people’s day to day lives.

Brendan has been an escape room player since 2014, and he is a 2-time Great Gotham Challenge Champion & Runner Up. He loves the thrill of a good search and discovery escape room. He also loves being a part of growing companies, events, communities and is a bit of a startup junkie.

Support REPOD

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There are lots of ways to support Room Escape Artist, like buying from Amazon, Etsy, or Art of Play after clicking into the links included in this post or backing us on Patreon.

The money that we make from these helps us to grow the site and continue to add more value to the community that we love so much.

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