Keeping up with the BGNlab
Search the Site
« Scott Nicholson accepting a new position | Main | Video review of The Extraordinaires Design Studio »

What are escape rooms?

Escape rooms are live-action team-based games where players discover clues, solve puzzles, and accomplish tasks in one or more rooms in order to accomplish a specific goal (usually escaping from the room) in a limited amount of time.

I've been studying them since late 2014 and have recently released a white paper where I present the results of a survey of 175 escape room facilities around the world.

Nicholson, S. (2015). Peeking behind the locked door: A survey of escape room facilities. White Paper available at

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

References (43)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.

Reader Comments (1)

Hi Scott,

Thanks for posting this and for making your paper available. Before I stumbled on this, I had never heard of escape rooms. Now, that I have read your paper, I can see I have actually played and experienced the escape room phenomena. Your paper made me think of all the ways I have played or experienced escape rooms. For years, I have been playing a game with my kids, 10 & 7, where I hide puzzles around the house for the kids to solve. One clue leads to another and at the end I always have a small prize. One game involved them finding small pieces of a map of the house with the clue for the next piece on the back. Not exactly an escape room (I think I might been reported if I locked my kids in their room and made them solve puzzles for freedom), but it has the same idea.

Another escape room I have run into is a book called The Martian. It's an escape room in a book form. I believe it would fit into your precursor 5 Adventure Game Shows & Movies. The book is about how a stranded astronaut must use the resources available to him to escape from Mars. It is a fantastic book. It actually inspired me to start writing quizzes based on the escape them. I should mention that I teach chemistry. In one quiz, students had to use rocket fuel to create drinkable water and they were graded based on how close to the maximum amount they could produce. While these are not examples of live-action escape room scenarios, they do have the basic elements. My students really enjoy this type of quiz over the boring traditional ones.

I'm an avid board game player and for years I have wanted to gamify my classroom. This concept of the escape room has really got my gears turning.

I just figured I would share my thoughts. I have many more examples but I must digress. Thanks for listening and thanks for your post and for all of board game reviews over the years.


June 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Dulek

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>