An escape room, also known as an escape game, puzzle room or exit game, is a game in which a team of players discover clues, solve puzzles, and accomplish tasks in one or more rooms to achieve a specific goal in a limited amount of time. The goal is to ‘escape’ from the site of the game.
The participants in an escape room normally play as a cooperative team consisting of two-to-ten players. Games are set in a variety of fictional locations, such as prison cells, dungeons, and space stations, and the players’ goals and the challenges they encounter will align with the theme of the room.
The game begins with a brief introduction to the rules of the game and how to win. This can be delivered in the form of video, audio, or (in the case of Major Mindgames) a live gamemaster. Players enter a room or area wherein a clock is started, and they have a limited time to complete the game, typically 60 minutes. During this time, players explore, find clues, and solve puzzles that allow them to progress further in the game.
Challenges in an escape room generally are more mental than physical, and it is usually not necessary to be physically fit or dextrous. Different skills are required for different types of puzzles, ranging from science to mathematics, geography, and a basic understanding of other subjects. Well-designed escape room puzzles don’t require players to have any prior knowledge in any field; any specialised or little-known information required to solve a puzzle should be obtainable within the room itself.
If players get stuck, there will be a mechanism in place by which they can ask for hints. Hints may be delivered in written, video, or audio form, or by a live gamemaster or actor present in the room. The players ‘fail’ the room if they are unable to complete all the puzzles within the allotted time, but most escape room operators strive to ensure that their customers have fun even if they don’t win. If players achieve the goal within the time limit, they win the game.
Importantly, players are never actually locked inside the room – this element of the game is symbolic, and they are free to enter and leave the game at any time should they wish… though they do so in the knowledge that the clock is always ticking!
The benefits of an escape room launch in Horsham
Horsham is a growing town – the expectation is there will be many more new homes and families moving into the town within 5-10 years. There is a thriving and growing entertainment movement within the town.
Horsham is easily accessible via public transport and by car from London, Brighton, Gatwick, Guildford, Chichester, and the South Coast – and more activities within the town will attract footfall from further afield. The addition of an escape room will also add a wealth of benefits to the local community, business ecosystem and surrounding area.
Our strategy is heavily focused on creating a ‘halo effect’ to add to the number of attractions within the town, encourage people to visit the centre for their shopping, and an experience day, as opposed to ordering online, and leaving the town for a ‘day out’.
Our business case is predicated on working in collaboration with as many businesses as possible, to devise new and innovative campaigns and initiatives to highlight the high street and encourage footfall from the community – and from further afield – into our town.
Benefits to the local community
Major Mindgames would offer an alternative source of entertainment to Horsham’s c55,000 town residents; as well as the c156,000 residents of the surrounding Horsham district, in addition to those willing and able to travel to the town to participate in the company’s uniquely-designed escape rooms (including the ever-growing group known collectively as ‘escape room enthusiasts’).
Launching with three escape rooms and planning to increase to five/six rooms by year three, the venue would be themed to suit all ages and abilities including families, groups of friends, corporates, social groups, and membership bodies, as well as couples.
Retail behaviour has changed in the 21st century, and consumers travel to towns for activities (a ‘day out’) as well as shopping and eating, so an escape room concept, with opportunities to return and generate repeat business, would enable locals to ‘make a day of it’ in Horsham.
With an abundance of restaurants, café’s, bars, and cinema and theatrical entertainment, an escape room complex would represent an additional piece of the puzzle for residents to have a great day out in their own town as well as contributing to a halo effect to attract new custom, new business, new engagement in the town centre.
At the moment, Horsham residents wishing to complete an Escape Room need to travel out of the town to do so. We want to put Horsham on the map as a destination for a great Escape Room experience. As such, Major Mindgames plans to offer significant discounted rates to residents of Horsham district, and even more incentives to those who wish to visit the venue more than once.
Benefits to the local business ecosystem
Major Mindgames’s business plan hinges on working with and for established and growing businesses within the town of Horsham, as well as other escape rooms in the surrounding area. Our vision is to work with other businesses to attract growing footfall to the town and make the consumer ‘pie’ bigger for everyone.
The marketing strategy comprises outreach to local businesses, with which we would propose to broker contra-deals.
- Discounts for those that visit local restaurants, theatres, and cinemas, with fliers that we would ask the restaurants to provide to customers
- Pre-theatre / pre-cinema discounts
- Competitions with local retailers – free entry to prize draws if customers spend certain amounts with local retailers
- Deals with salons and nail bars, to offer discounts to groups of ‘hens’ as part of weekend packages
- Deals with local B&B / accommodation providers for contra-deal discounts and flier distribution
- Discounts to staff at local businesses – or discounts to corporate clients that visit again with their families or friends
- Recommend a friend incentives for local businesses
- ‘Blue light’ discount to local members of the emergency services
We are also passionate about supporting local business where we can and would be committed to working with Horsham-based trades for the building and development of the complex.
Directors: Christopher Hale
Christopher Hale could be described as a ‘professional gamesmaster’.
Having enjoyed a 15-year career in the game show industry producing and developing much-loved television programmes including Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Pointless, Tipping Point, The Question Jury, Golden Balls, Lingo, Moneybags, The Great British Culture Quiz, and Two Tribes, Christopher has firmly made his mark in the sector and is known for innovative quiz and game design, as well as proving that ‘the rules help us control the fun’ ;).
Bringing a raft of original ideas and concepts – as well as an enviable little black book of connections in set design, game development, and puzzle logic – Christopher will spearhead the development and delivery of the rooms, as well as manage the ongoing production and growth.
Directors: David Woods
David Woods has worked in marketing, PR, and business development for the past 10 years, having previously been a multi-award-winning journalist and editor.
He brings extensive experience in corporate and media relations, website design, business innovation and development, e-commerce, and mass marketing. Latterly David has worked in event management, conference production, and podcasting.
David is a creative business strategist and will be responsible predominantly for the business development, and tactical execution of Major Mindgames, initially in terms of branding, launch, communications, and marketing.