A List of All Escape Room Conventions and Conferences

The escape room industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world – from an estimated 3,000 escape rooms globally in 2016, there’s currently well over 50,000 in 2021! With great escape rooms, come fantastic conventions and conferences to mix, mingle, and most importantly learn from the best designers and enthusiasts out there.

Here’s a list of some of the biggest escape room conventions and conferences taking place around the world:

Escape Room Conventions & Conferences

TransWorld’s Room Escape Conference

When: April
Where: USA (City Subject to Change)
Attendance Size: Unknown

Transworld’s Room Escape Conference takes place in St. Louis, MO each year and is estimated to be the largest dedicated escape room convention out there. It features seminars, exhibitions, new technology, parties and mixers, and several hands-on demos.

Photo (c) TransWorld

Up The Game

When: May
Where: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Attendance Size: Unknown

In recent years, thanks to the global panini (yes, we really just called it that!), Up the Game has gone fully digital. But pre-pandemic the convention saw great success after it’s foundation in 2016. Primarily, Up the Game is focused on the owner rather than the enthusiast. Topics of discussion and seminars include collaboration, business, innovation, technology, marketing and so on.

Up the Game

Reality Escape Con

When: August
Where: Boston, USA
Attendance Size: 900 approx

Hosted by bloggers, Room Escape Artist, RECON is one of the newer escape room conventions but gaining traction and popularity quickly! With headliners like Neil Patrick Harris during the digital RECON in 2021, RECON’s focus is on creating a convention for enthusiasts and owners alike. Expect workshops, games, immersive experiences, and lectures.

Graphic (c) RECON

ERIC – Escape Room Industry Convention

When: October
Where: United Kingdom
Attendance Size: 500-1,000 approx

Whilst technically closed since the world went into lockdown, ERIC gets a special place on this list as it’s UK based (as we are) and we hope it will return in full force just as soon as the world reopens. ERIC is geared towards owners and creators, showcasing new technology and innovation alongside a series of talks focused on topics like business ownership, management, and collaboration. It pulls in a wide range of expects and speakers from all over Europe.

Image (c) ERIC UK

Immersive Theatre Experience Conventions

Immersive theatre is theatre production in which the audience plays a crucial role. We’ve seen a lot of blurred lined between escape rooms and high quality immersive productions recently, such as events like The Drop, or audio adventures like Morpheus Show. As escape rooms become even more innovative there’ll likely be no distinction in the future. But for now, check out the following conventions to see the very cutting edge in escape room innovation:

The Next Stage

When: January
Where:
Los Angelus, USA
Attendance Size: Unknown

The Next Stage has an honorary place on this list because… Thanks to you know what… It’s premier show has been cancelled in 2022! We’re not sure exactly what to expect from The Next Stage onwards, but we’re sure that when it is safe to launch, it’ll be something special!

Electric Dreams Festival

When: July
Where:
United Kingdom
Attendance Size: Unknown

A self-proclaimed festival of storytelling through cyberspace, and somewhere where you’ll see fantastic immersive escape room media such as Swamp Motel’s Plymouth Point really come out. Each year every title in the digital show and every talk in the roster sends us down a rabbit hole of mystery and intrigue. Fans of the immersive, genre defying experiences, do not miss this!

Immersive Home Coming Summit

When: August
Where:
Las Vegas, USA
Attendance Size: Unknown

The Immersive Industry Homecoming Summit is a gathering of creators within the immersive world- yep, that includes escape rooms too! With features like Disney, Meow Wolf, AREA15, Broadway, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and many more, this summit is sure to impress each year. Shut up and take my money!

Image (c) Immersive Homecoming Summit

Tabletop Gaming Conventions and Expos

In these tabletop gaming conventions, recent innovations from escape room companies who have turned their hand to creating immersive, tabletop puzzle adventures can be discovered. For fans of the escape room industry – these expos are not to be missed!

UK Games Expo

When: June
Where:
Birmingham, UK
Attendance Size: 50,000 approx

The UK Games Expo punches well above it’s weight and pulls in a huge amount of visitors from the UK and Europe. But the most important part? It’s very well represented in the escape room industry. From local escape room exhibits, to popular tabletop puzzle makers like The Detective Society, Escape Plan, and 404 Escape there’s something for everyone at the UKGE.

Photo (c) Ben Broomfield

Origins Game Fair

When: June
Where:
Columbus, USA
Attendance Size: 20,000 approx

One of the oldest conventions on this list, the Origins Game Fair was first held in 1975. Today it’s grown to a large size and serves all manner of tabletop games – from escape room games, to board games, to wargaming and miniature gaming.

Image (c) Dicebreaker

Gen Con Indy

When: August
Where: Indiana, USA
Attendance Size: 70,000 approx

Part of the Gen Con group, Gen Con Indy is the live convention for tabletop games. Arguably the largest in the United States, Gen Con Indy is home to a range of tabletop games including escape room games – but also pen and paper, roleplaying, wargames, collectable cards, and even live action roleplay. It’s a fantastic haven for all things geeky – not just escape rooms and puzzle games.

Photo (c) Jeff Vrabel in Indianapolis Monthly

Essen Spiel

When: October
Where: Essen, Germany
Attendance Size: 210,000 approx

Taking place every October in Germany, Essen Spiel is the convention for board game enthusiasts and an excellent place to pick up a brand new boxed escape game and meet likeminded enthusiasts. It boasts the highest attendance numbers in all of Europe and is a platform for many exciting talks, workshops, and play tests.

Photo (c) Essen Spiel

PAX Unplugged

When: December
Where: USA (City Subject to Change)
Attendance Size: 40,000 approx

PAX Unplugged is part of the PAX group of expos, but this one specifically focuses on tabletop games. It features an enormous hall filled with tabletop gaming curated from decades of PAX shows, and plenty of panels and presentations. Escape room enthusiasts will enjoy big releases from the likes of Thames & Kosmos, Unlocked! and other publishers.

Photo (c) Dicebreakers

Have we missed your favourite convention or conference? Let us know in the comments below.

Author

  • Mairi is the editor-in-chief of The Escape Roomer and covers escape room news and reviews across the UK's South.

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