There’s no time to waste. Sweat rolls down your back and brow as you glance at the countdown timer. Once again, you rifle through faded pictures and torn newspaper articles, looking for the last clue, but nothing adds up.
Across the table, Pops is hastily working the pigpen cipher. Meanwhile, your sisters are trying their handy safe-cracking skills. Your heart races knowing if your family recovers the key, solves the riddles and cracks the code, you may get out of your house.
What is an Escape Room Board Game?
Thanks to the popularity of real-life escape rooms, escape board games are trending as well. Who can resist challenging puzzles, teamwork, and social interaction wrapped up in an immersive storyline with a cool theme, in a box?
Their variety and diversity make it easy to choose for game nights or theme parties. Several real-life escape room themes carry over to the best escape room board games, from intense spy themes, through historical settings, asylums and hospitals, all the way to detective themes and murder mysteries.
In keeping with the escape room elements, players cooperatively solve puzzles, riddles, and complex ciphers to uncover connected clues in a limited amount of time. Due to the confounding nature of the tasks, there is a mechanic for hints. The players obtain hints through notes in the story, hint cards, website videos, game apps, Alexa audio, or even a from a game master. The key to winning is collaboration and communication. Social activity is essential.
What Are Some Common Types?
There are two styles of escape room board games that you’ll encounter. The most common one is the single-use game. The contents are meant to be torn, written on, and used to solve the puzzles. Once you’ve solved it, there’s no replayability because you know how to decipher everything. Usually, these are less expensive and have a selection of several unconnected scenarios.
The second type of escape room board game is the ongoing series. A couple of the larger board game boxes come with multiple rooms or installments ready to go. Others offer expansions purchased separately, or you receive subscription boxes delivered by mail.
No matter what the occasion or your game night budget, there’s an escape room board game just right for you.
Operation Escape Room: Spy Code
- Players: 2-4
- Duration: 60 minutes
- Ages: Six and up
One of your agents was captured. You discover a locked belt around their waist, and the timer is counting down. Are you up to the mission?
As a team, you have one hour to complete a series of three challenges. To finish the mission and save your agent, your team will need deductive skills, problem-solving talents, and the ability to cooperate.
Operation Escape Room: Spy Code is perfect for introducing children to escape room games filled with riddles and puzzles, and hands-on gadgets for added interactivity. Changing the difficulty level allows various ages to play together.
A few items included with the game are puzzle cards, a timer unit with a strap, a key cage, quiz master unit, rules, and more.
Don’t forget to purchase two AAA batteries that aren’t included in the box. During the first set-up, a couple of gadgets require a little assembly, so younger children need help with directions and small parts. After that, children age six and older may only need assistance with instructions.
Escape the Room: Mystery at Stargazer’s Manor
- Players: 3-8
- Duration: 90 minutes
- Ages: 10 and up
In this ideal family game, you’ll cooperatively solve the escape room crammed with engaging puzzles and hidden clues. Go on a mystery adventure at Stargazer’s Manor and investigate the peculiar events happening since the astronomer’s wife died. Can your team of sleuths decipher the clues before time is up?
Spend an evening with the family diving into Escape the Room: Mystery at Stargazer’s Manor. Use the suggestions included for costumes, setting, props, and music to complete the immersive experience. Use the puzzles, clues, and solution wheel to solve the mystery.
The numerous challenges will keep you entertained while strengthening critical reasoning and logical deduction skills. The instructions are straightforward and easy to understand, so your family can enjoy the game.
Escape Room in a Box: The Werewolf Experiment
- Players: 2-8
- Duration: 60 minutes
- Ages: 13 and up
True to the name, it’s as close to a real-life escape room in a box as you’re going to get. You can use your Alexa device to host the game – she’ll give hints, create a captivating atmosphere with music, and even remind you about the timer. As the game host, you can fully participate in the excitement of the escape room.
Of course, it’s not going to be your average game night. A mad scientist is scheming to turn your group into werewolves unless you crack the codes and make it out alive. Thrilling and immersive, Escape Room in a Box: The Werewolf Experiment is a family-friendly collaborative game. You’ll need to work together using logic and critical thinking to escape.
Without giving away too many secrets, you should expect to break codes, solve puzzles, connect clues to unlock boxes, and find more mysterious items. Remember, you must accomplish your goal in an hour.
If you’re looking for replayability, this game has a “host re-pack.” Just go to their website to reprint all the paper materials in the box. Like a real-life escape room, you get to reset for new players, so you can share it with other friends or host other players.
Escape Room: The Game
- Players: 3-5
- Duration: 60 minutes
- Ages: 16 and up
If you visited a real-life escape room and searching for hands-on adventure, look no further than Escape Room: The Game. In the box, you’ll find sophisticated components and complex puzzles suitable for intermediate players. The elaborate chrono-decoder is substantial with a lighted dial, gears, combination lock, keys, and timer adding to the riveting atmosphere.
The box comes loaded with four individual escape rooms, plus all the materials for each stage of the adventure. The scenarios included are:
- Prison break
- Nuclear countdown
- Temple of the Aztec
Each escape room has a different difficulty level for your team to overcome as you progress through them.
Overall, Escape Room: The Game is well-designed, with tangible pieces and involved puzzles that are guaranteed to challenge and entertain your game group. Due to the troublesome obstacles, the Escape Room board game is not recommended for younger players. Should your group become frustrated during a session, remember to read, look, and communicate. As the game suggests, take time to reread clues and steps together, you might just find your mistake.
Exit: The Forbidden Castle
- Players: 1-4
- Duration: 60-120 minutes
- Ages: 12 and up
Are you ready for an escape room quest? Sharpen your wits and prepare to enter a magnificent medieval castle. Unfortunately for your band of travelers, you’ve stumbled into The Forbidden Castle.
Before you can make your hasty retreat, the hefty wooden door locks behind you. You are trapped in a castle full of riddles and puzzles. Can you escape before it’s too late?
Exit: The Forbidden Castle is one of several imaginative installments from an award-winning series of escape room games by Exit: The Game. They provide real-life escape room excitement for your game night. Players collaborate by solving puzzles and collecting clues to escape treacherous situations.
It’s always a race against time to figure a way out. Each new expansion includes destructible items you’ll write on, fold up, and tear to crack the codes. Luckily, Exit: The Game escape room installments are relatively inexpensive since they are consumables.
Exit: The Game offers various storylines to choose from; however, The Forbidden Castle is particularly tricky. Reviews conclude that it’s fabulous for fans, but not for the uninitiated, due to the complicated puzzles. If your group is new to escape room board games, try one of the more accessible titles such as Exit: The House of Riddles. After you gain some experience, don’t forget to come back and try Exit: The Forbidden Castle.
Escape the Crate: Monthly Subscription
- Players: 2-6
- Duration: 60-90 minutes
- Ages: 10 and up
As escape room board games gain notoriety, they become a passion for enthusiasts. Thrilling games using mysterious clues to solve enigmatic riddles and complex puzzles is a compelling hobby. If you’re looking for a novel escape room adventure each month for your game group, then Escape the Crate: Monthly Subscription is your answer.
Join E.M.I.T., the first organized time-travel institution. Help E.M.I.T. or Emergency Mediation in Time, with their overflowing caseload, and save history. Issues abound when time travel is involved. These issues cause time ripples that eventually lead to paradoxes. Does your game group have what it takes to stop time from unraveling? Time-traveling crates are shipping now, and missions are always available. By the way, E.M.I.T. is time backward since the institution goes back in time.
In each monthly crate you will receive all relevant documents and artifacts necessary:
- Notes, ciphers, and puzzles connected to your current mission.
- You may receive tools such as a magnifying glass or a blacklight to aid your investigation.
- For successfully solving a puzzle or escaping the mission, you may earn rewards or compelling objects. Hold on to these valuable items; they help you advance further through the adventure.
If you are curious, Escape the Crate offers two online-only games, and you can play them for free. The first revolves around one of their retired missions, Escape the Mothman. The second is also based on an older mission, Escape: The Midnight Express.
Bucket of Doom: The Death-Dodging Party Game
- Players: 3-10
- Duration: 60-90 minutes
- Ages: 17 and up
Welcome to a rowdy card-based escape room game. You’ll forget all about social distancing as you and your friends attempt to evade death from harrowing situations using worthless objects. While not your typical escape room board game, Bucket of Doom is a party game that’s easy to learn, replayable, and instigates laughter about all sorts of escape plans. Once you open Bucket of Doom: The Death-Dodging Party Game, ingenuity is your only strategy.
Your scenario goes something like this:
- First, read out a doom card to discover what disaster is happening. You may be trapped on a plane with a bunch of poisonous snakes. How will you escape?
- Next, look at your eight useless object cards. These are anything, from an angry beaver to Kim Jong-Un’s phone number. Choose one to help your group escape.
- Now, devise an ingenious plan and share it with your group. It’s crucial to sell your escape plan. Everyone is counting on you, so be persuasive.
- Lastly, vote on who has the best plan, the one with the most votes wins!
It may not meet the standard definition of an escape room board game, but it’s worth mentioning for all the MacGyver-ing out of deadly scenarios necessary to win.
The Perfect Way to Escape Boredom
Playing a boxed escape room has its advantages. It’s more personal since you chose the players, location, and time. If your team doesn’t solve the game, you can complete it. No matter which of the mentioned titles you decide to go with, they all offer a dose of fun and excitement for the whole family and are guaranteed to make your next game night or a casual gathering with friends an absolute blast.