Today, I am sharing the best escape room board games.
My youngest loves escape rooms, so much so that he requested an escape room instead of a birthday party one year. There’s something extraordinary about being “trapped” in a room with a bunch of your favorite humans, and working together to escape captivity. And while in-person escape rooms are a worthwhile experience, they aren’t something you can do every day. That’s why I want to share the very best escape room board games for your next family night in!
The 40 Best Escape Room Board Games
Why Escape Rooms Are So Popular
They are fun!
Let’s start with the obvious. They are fun! Escape rooms are a type of game and games are fun. Play is good for our bodies, minds, and souls.
Escape Rooms challenge our minds and encourage us to think creatively.
Escape rooms provide an intellectual challenge. Players must find clues, solve riddles, break codes, and complete puzzles.
Escape rooms help us to connect and collaborate with others.
Escape rooms work well for friends and families, and team-building among colleagues. When we participate in an escape room with others, we are connecting, collaborating, and making memories.
While the goal of an escape room is to escape, escape rooms offer us an escape from daily life.
Escape rooms allow us to enter another world for a while. We can escape from daily life and its stressors and get lost in an engaging experience with others.
Escape Rooms From Your Own Home
You might be wondering whether escape rooms translate well into a board game format. I think they do, especially if you research the game to make sure it is a good fit for your group and if you set the stage for success. What do I mean by that? Well, if you go to an in-person escape room outside of your home you will notice that it feels like you enter a different world. You can make your escape room come to life, too!
Yes, in-person escape room events are ridiculously fun. Your at-home escape room can be super fun, too!
Do you want to make your escape room come to life? Here are some factors to consider:
- Themed snacks
Several years ago, our family played a Mardi-Gras-themed escape room game that someone had given to us as a gift. What a perfect excuse to make masks, don beads, and eat King Cake!
Are you playing a seasonal-themed escape room game? Decorate! Make your “set” come to life!
Are you playing an escape room game set in the 1950s? Why not make a playlist featuring songs from the era?
- Play the role
Do a little research (no spoilers!) about your escape room game. Can you get to know your character ahead of time? Act the part!
- Dress the part
If you find yourself at a speakeasy in the 1920s, dress the part!
How to Choose the Best Escape Room Game
There are some considerations to keep in mind when choosing an escape room board game for your next game night.
When it comes to escape room games, If you are playing with children, I recommend focusing more on complexity and content. You want to be sure the game is age-appropriate and that it won’t be too frustrating for your kiddos.
Escape room games take longer than many traditional board games, and timing can vary depending on how long it takes your group to complete required puzzles/tasks.
I always tell people that the board game world is as varied as the book world; there are so many genres to explore! The escape room game world is no different. You can find escape rooms and escape room board games in a variety of themes including:
- Science Fiction/Futuristic
- And more!
Number of Players
When it comes to the number of players, sometimes, the number of players listed on escape room games tends to be more of a suggestion than a firm requirement. In many cases, you can add a few more players to what is listed on the box.
The 40 Best Escape Room Board Games
Coded Chronicles: Escape with One-Eyed Willy’s Rich Stuff [Coded Chronicles]
Goonies never say die! Yes, it’s true. There is an escape room board game for Goonies fans! Coded Chronicles: Escape with One-Eyed Willy’s Rich Stuff will take you to Astoria, Oregon where you, Mikey, Brand, Mouth, Data, Chunk, Sloth, Andy, and Stef will search for One-Eyed Willy’s treasure. Watch out for the Fratellis!
Scooby-Doo: Escape The Haunted Mansion [Coded Chronicles]
I am starting with some escape room games that are full of nostalgia. Random fun fact about Cait: I didn’t love the show Scooby-Doo, but we had a Scooby-Doo kiddie pool back in the ’80s and I loved that thing. I loved it so much, I can still smell what it smelled like when it was a hot summer day and you were waiting for the hose to fill ‘er up.
Scooby-Doo: Escape The Haunted Mansion is a game for 1-99 players. In this game, players work together to solve the mystery of Lady Fairmont’s ghost. Together, players solve over 50 clues and escape from the haunted mansion.
The Shining: Escape from the Overlook Hotel [Coded Chronicles]
The Shining: Escape from the Overlook Hotel is a game for 2-99 players. In this game, players must work together to escape from the Overlook Hotel by solving puzzles, unlocking clues, and trying to avoid the wrath of Jack Torrence.
ThinkFun Escape The Room (Series)
Our family has enjoyed ThinkFun games for many years. ThinkFun Escape The Room games work well for families as they are not super complex compared to many other games in this genre. We have thoroughly enjoyed every escape room game in their series, especially Cursed Dollhouse, which we played during Halloween week of last year.
Secret of Dr. Gravely’s Retreat
Secret of Dr. Gravely’s Retreat is a game for 3-8 players set in the year 1913. Players have been selected for a stay at an esteemed retreat, but when they arrive the doors lock behind them. Together, players must solve clues, crack codes, and decipher the mystery of Dr. Gravely’s Retreat.
Stargazer’s Manor is a game for 3-8 players set in the year 1869. The town’s local astronomer’s wife recently passed away and he has not been seen since her death. Players must work to unravel the mystery of Stargazer’s Manor before the clock runs out.
Cursed Dollhouse is a really neat game because players construct a three-dimensional dollhouse to use during play and from which they must escape. This game is for 1-4 players and is designed for the more advanced escape room enthusiasts and playtime is between 2-3 hours.
Murder in the Mafia
This year, we added Murder in the Mafia to our collection. This cooperative escape room game is for 1-3 players. Mikey Malone, the chief enforcer of the local mafia, has been murdered. Who committed the crime? Players must explore the crime scene, find clues, and solve puzzles to prove their innocence.
Escape Room in a Box (Series)
Escape Room in a Box: The Walking Dead
Escape Room in a Box: The Walking Dead is for 4-8 Walking Dead fans. This game will transport you to the world of the Walking Dead where you must solve puzzles, riddles, and codes within 90 minutes.
Escape Room in a Box: Flashback
Escape Room in a Box: Flashback is designed for 2-8 players and, unlike many escape room games, can be played up to three times. In this game, players are working together to escape a mad scientist werewolf.
Escape Room: The Game (Series)
This series offers escape rooms in the following areas: family, puzzle adventures, 2-players, and original. There are also expansion packs available. The components included are excellent.
Escape Room: The Game
The Escape Room series is fantastic. Escape Room: The Game is designed for 3-5 players and contains three different one-hour escape room games: The Present, The Past, and The Future.
Escape Room in a Box: The Werewolf Experiment
Escape Room in a Box: The Werewolf Experiment is designed for 3-8 players. In this game, players must solve nineteen puzzles within an hour, or a mad scientist will turn them into werewolves!
Deckscape: Behind the Curtain
Deckscape: Behind the Curtain is designed for 1-6 players. The game takes place at a magic show, but an unexpected thing happens and players must work to escape the magic through puzzles.
Deckscape: Test Time
Deckscape: Test Time is designed for 1-6 players. In this game, players have been selected by their teacher, Dr. Thyme, to participate in a special project. If players are successful, they can help him with his next invention.
Escape From Iron Gate
Escape from Iron Gate is designed for 3-8 players. In this game, players have been wrongfully accused of crimes and must escape from prison before time runs out.
Escape Tales (series)
The Escape Tales series is a story-based escape room series and is a good match for people who like more story development in their escape room games. In addition, online many other escape room games, Escape Tales games do not have time limits.
Escape Tales: The Awakening
Escape Tales: The Awakening is designed for 2-4 players. In this game, players take on the role of Sam. Sam’s otherwise healthy daughter is in a coma and medical doctors cannot explain why. In desperation, Sam finds Mark, who had a similar situation years ago. Mark gives Sam a creepy book called The Awakening. And that’s where it gets interesting!
Escape Tales: Low Memory
Escape Tales: Low Memory is designed for 1-4 players. As in the previously mentioned game, this one is big on the storyline. In addition, this game has three stories with one plot, so players can experience the story from three different perspectives.
Escape Tales: Children of Wyrmwoods
Escape Tales: Children of Wyrmwoods is a game for 1-4 players. This dark, fantasy game has a twisty storyline filled with plot twists, evil, and challenging decisions.
More Escape Room Games in the Escape Tales Series:
- Escape Room: The Game Murder Mystery
- Escape Room: The Game Welcome to Funland
- Escape Room: The Game Puzzle Adventures: Secret of The Scientist
- And many more!
This series of Escape Room games is perhaps the easiest to start with. You can open and go without much prep. In addition, there are a ton of games to choose from in the series, with more added all the time. And I find the puzzles to be engaging in this series.
Exit: The Abandoned Cabin
Exit: The Abandoned Cabin is possibly the most popular game in the Exit series. It has a follow-up version called Exit: The Return to the Abandoned Cabin, which my kids want to play! This game is for 1-4 players. In this game, players discover an abandoned cabin after their car breaks down one night. When they wake up, the door to the cabin is locked and players must work together to get out!
Exit: Dead Man on the Orient Express
Exit: Dead Man on the Orient Express is for 1-4 players. In this game, a murder occurs on the Orient Express and the murderer is still on the train. Players must work together to solve the case before the train reaches its destination so that the killer cannot escape.
Exit: The Pharoh’s Tomb
Exit: The Pharoh’s Tomb is designed for 1-4 players. In this game, players are vacationing in Egypt. While exploring a tomb, a giant boulder door closes, trapping the players. Players must work together to escape from the tomb.
More Escape Room Games in the Exit Series:
- Exit: The Secret Lab
- Exit: The Forgotten Island
- Exit: The Forbidden Castle
- Exit: The Polar Station
- And many more!
The Unlock! series stands out because you can reuse the games. You can’t play them again because you’ll know all of the answers, but you can pass them along to friends. Bonus: the artwork is stellar. Unlock! also offers a companion app.
Unlock! Escape Adventures
Unlock! Escape Adventures is designed for 1-6 players. This game includes three different scenarios for you to play your way through:
- The Formula
- Squeak and Sausage
- The Island of Doctor Goorse
Unlock! Heroic Adventures
Unlock! Heroic Adventures is intended for 1-6 players. This game includes the following three scenarios:
- Sherlock Holmes
- In Pursuit of the White Rabbit
- Insert Coin
Unlock! Mystery Adventures
Unlock! Mystery Adventures is designed for 1-6 players and includes the following three scenarios:
- The House on the Hill
- The Nautilus’ Traps
- The Tonipal’s Treasure
More Escape Room Games in the Unlock! Series:
- Unlock! Timeless Adventures
- Unlock! Secret Adventures
- Unlock! Exotic Adventures
- Unlock! Epic Adventures
- And many more!
If You Love Escape Room Board Games, You’ll Love These Mystery Games
I’m guessing that if you love escape room games, you’ll adore the following mystery games. In no particular order, here they are!
Hunt a Killer: Death at the Dive Bar is a murder mystery experience for 1-6 players. Each player is an investigator working to discover who killed the owner of a local dive bar. Piece together clues, interview suspects, and crack codes to find the killer.
Echoes is a series of audio mystery games (so unique!) that require one player to download a free app to play. Games are for 1-6 players. In Echoes: The Microchip, players must listen to the audio (via the aforementioned app) and discover all the audio clues, working together to solve the mystery. Other games in the series include:
Cold Case (series) by ThinkFun
Our family has loved these Cold Case mystery games from ThinkFun. This series is a set of cooperative mystery games for 1-4 players. In the past we have played (and enjoyed) the following:
This year, we added Murder with Interest to our gameschool collection. This cold case takes place in Ireland, where Dave Connelly celebrated his 25th birthday… but it was his last birthday. Together, players must solve this cold case. Who poisoned Dave and his bank manager? (We haven’t played it yet; we are waiting until it gets closer to Halloween!)