Best Escape Room Board Games (Reviews & Rankings)

Best High End

Escape Room in a Box: The Werewolf Experiment

Escape Room in a Box

Best Mid Range

Escape the Room: Mystery at the Stargazer's Manor

Mystery at the Stargazer's Manor

Best Inexpensive

Journal 29: Interactive Book Game

Journal 29: Interactive Book Game

Last Updated: 8th Mar, 2023

2021 is shaping up to be a challenging year to go out. The question is: what kind of activities can we do at home to keep us entertained?

Escape Rooms have been an increasingly popular form of social entertainment in the last several years. Along with the physical escape room venues, there is also a burgeoning escape room board game genre. Better still, there are some fantastic ones out there.

We have compiled a list of the best escape room board games out there in 2023, so you can navigate which ones to choose for your entertainment.

A Note About Escape Room Board Games

This review is a slightly different list. A lot of escape room games on this list, like Unlock and EXIT, produce multiple escape room editions, and we think they happen to create a number of the best escape room games out there. Therefore a number of each will appear on this list, but we've treated them as separate games as they offer unique playing experiences.

Another note of importance is that a lot of these games provide a one-play only style. Most scenarios in EXIT, for instance, requires the destruction of some of the items in the box. 

Also, escape room board games require quite a bit of thinking and often get very complicated. So, such games are more tailored towards adults. That said, we have included a few options for kids and teens.

These games are also very story-driven, with puzzles to progress the game. We avoid spoilers so you can enjoy the game once you get stuck into it.

Our Top Picks for the Best Escape Room Board Games

1. Escape Room in a Box: The Werewolf Experiment

  • Players: 2-8
  • Ages: 13+
  • Playing time: 60 mins
  • Price: under $30

Escape Room in a Box: The Werewolf Experiment

Why we love this game: The back of the box says, '19 puzzles. 3 locks. One hour to save your life.' A mysterious note is also attached:

"As your former colleague, I feel it is my duty to share this exciting breakthrough with you. I must warn you, though, it comes at a price. Intrigued? You should be. This is unlike anything you've experienced before. Open the box and find out for yourself."

It's story-driven and exciting stuff.

For replayability, this game allows you to reprint all the material in the box on their website so that others can play this game after you (you may want to give it to a friend, for instance).

Gameplay: The rules are simple. Solve the puzzles for each room in an hour or less to win. You set the timer, and away you go!

You need to take notes, as in most escape room games, but this game generously provides a pad and pencil for you.

You'll receive letters, strange science materials, and many other clues along the way, including locked boxes with combinations. It's up to your group to go ahead and solve the mystery of The Werewolf Experiment.

Here's an in-depth review with playing instructions:

Verdict: There's plenty to solve, and the contents are quality, adding to the atmosphere. The physical elements in this game make it a stand out to some other escape room games, which can be a bit more cerebral and rely on the imagination. 

2. Escape Room: The Game

  • Players: 3-5
  • Ages: 16+
  • Playing time: 60 mins
  • Price: under $30

Escape Room: The Game

Why we love this game: Escape Room: The Game comes with three individual escape rooms, so you get three games for one. The three scenarios are called 'Secret Agent,' 'The Dentist,' and 'Space Station.' These scenarios have varying difficulty levels for engagement as you progress through them. A lot of solid material and contents make this a visually grounded escape room game.

Gameplay: Escape Room: The game comes with a 'Chrono-decoder,' a device that is a cool-looking, fancy timer. The Chrono-decoder has story elements on it too. Plugging in components into the machine also unlocks further hints and clues to progress the story. Getting the codes wrong, however, reduces your playing time, so don't just be random about it.

There are hint cards for if you get stuck, which you can reveal when the timer runs down to a certain amount.

A rulebook helps you get right into the game, so people who haven't experienced an escape room get an idea right away of how it works.

Verdict: The game does an excellent job of recreating a real-life escape room atmosphere. It's also suitable for those who haven't been in an escape room before, so it caters to all skill levels of the escape room experience. Also, the Chrono-decoder is a unique and fresh gaming element. The puzzles are clear but challenging without being impossible, making a rewarding experience.

Overall, the game is fairly complex and is best suited for adult players only.

3. Journal 29: Interactive Book Game

  • Players: 1+
  • Ages: 14+
  • Playing time: 120 mins
  • Price: under $20

Journal 29: Interactive Book Game

Why we love this game: This is a slight variation on the escape room theme in that it is a book only. Essentially it is an escape room book. It's great for one or more players - we included it for those solo-minded game adventurers and for those looking for a twist in their escape room games.

Gameplay: Jornal 29 an 'interactive book game.' There are sixty-three puzzles within. You'll need a pencil for writing in the book and paper for scribbling notes down.

Journal 29 requires an interactive experience online as well, so you'll be trawling for online clues to solve some of your riddles. There is a 'how to play' in the beginning to get you on the right path.

Once you answer a mystery, you enter it on the website online that will then provide you with a keyword to progress the interactive story.

Verdict: A fun solo challenge, or to do with a group if you wish. It's about as simple a game as you can get with a bit of a story, and it's challenging without being impossible. Choose this for a variation on the escape room puzzle game or some solo activity for a splendid price.

4. Room 25: Escape Room

  • Players: 1-8
  • Playing time: 45-60 mins
  • Ages: 10+
  • Price: Game around $50; expansion around $25

Room 25: Escape Room

Why we love this game: You and your fellow players are trapped in a deadly maze and must escape! In essence, Room 25 is an escape room board game where players cooperate or compete to exit the dangerous maze safely.

Gameplay: Mysterious tiles (the maze) surround the players, and they must move through them to escape. Each player can take various actions, such as the 'peek' action, to decide whether to move to a hidden spot.

Players are looking to find 'Room 25' to exit and win the game.

Rooms can shift, like a conveyor belt, which adds a level of unpredictability to the game and causes confusion if you've peeked at a previous tile that has since shifted its place.

Rooms may also be safe (the video room lets you look at one tile anywhere), present obstacles (like the vortex room), or be dangerous (the acid bathroom needs no explanation), making for a treacherous path as you progress to Room 25.

The expansion 'Escape Room' adds puzzles and problem-solving elements, just like a real-life escape room, for an added dimension to the game.

Verdict: Room 25 is a board game escape room. It's different from our other entries on this list in that regard. It is a bit more expensive than our other offerings, but if you want a board-type game with an escape room storyline and elements, Room 25 with the expansion 'Escape Room' is for you.

5. Unlock! Squeek & Sausage

  • Players: 1-6
  • Playing time: 45-75 mins
  • Ages: 10+
  • Price: around $15

Unlock! Squeek & Sausage

Why we love this game: Squeek & Sausage is a cartoon-themed escape room game, which adds some animated fun to your escape game as you try to defeat the mad Professor Noside's plot.

Gameplay: Like other Unlock! games, Squeek & Sausage comes with a rule book but also a quick tutorial for those who wish to get stuck in right away. You'll need to download a dedicated Unlock! app, which you interact with throughout your escape room adventures. Amongst other things, this adds your countdown timer.

Cards will also point you towards the kind of puzzle you need to solve to progress in the game, which also uses the app.

Solution cards are numbered and combine to tell you which number card to proceed to next in your escape challenge.

For example, a red puzzle number '9' and blue puzzle '18' added together will tell you to go to puzzle '27' card next.

Once you finish a room, it will award you points based on the time it took you to solve the room, plus the mistakes made along the way, if any.

The simple card mechanic, combined with the app, makes the game easy to play and allows you to focus on the puzzles to escape the room.

Here's an in-depth review of the game:

Verdict: A fun storyline and theme make this a treat for the younger escape room crowd, or fans of cartoons in general.

6. Unlock! House on the Hill

  • Players: 1-6
  • Playing time: 60 mins
  • Ages: 10+
  • Price: around $15

Unlock! House on the Hill

Why we love this game: House on the Hill is an atmospheric and spooky mystery adventure as you try to escape from the haunted mansion.

Unusual paranormal activity has encouraged a team of investigators to go and explore this mysterious house on the hill.

Gameplay: This is rated an easy escape room game by the box's own reckoning (1 out of three difficulty rating). As with all Unlock! games, combining blue and red puzzle cards reveal the next step of the game.

Verdict: A good entry-level escape room game for those who want to try it out before stepping up to some more challenging escape room games. The downloadable atmospheric music makes it a fun story-based and eeeeeeery game!

7. Unlock! Timeless Adventures

  • Players: 1-6
  • Playing time: 60-90 mins
  • Ages: 10+
  • Price: around $30

Unlock! Timeless Adventures

Why we love this game: This Unlock! game has three adventures in one, making for three times the fun.

Gameplay: As Unlock! plays the same across different versions, we'll focus on the stories, which should help you decide which one you'd like to play next.

These are the three games in Timeless Adventures:

'The Noside Show': Professor Noside returns (from Squeek & Sausage) with a nefarious plot to sabotage the circus when it comes to town. It's up to the players to stop him.

In 'Arsene Lupin and the Great White Diamond,' players are in Paris of the early 1900s as they take on the challenge of a jewel race.

'Lost in the Time Warp,' takes you on a time-bending adventure as you attempt to return time back to normal within the time limit.

Verdict: Unlock! Timeless Adventures is a good deal. It has three games of varying challenge levels and will be a treat if you want to immerse yourself in escape room gaming.

8. Unlock! Exotic Adventures

  • Players: 1-6
  • Playing time: 60-90 mins
  • Ages: 10+
  • Price: around $30

Unlock! Exotic Adventures

Why we love this game: Like the Unlock! above, there are three games in this set, making for a delightfully long and diverse escape room adventure. This Unlock! makes new and innovative uses of the app, with music and interactive challenges.

The three games in Unlock! Exotic Adventures are:

'Night of the Boogeymen' is the most straightforward challenge and also a light-hearted adventure with some humor. It's great if you're going to play an escape room with the family, and you have some younger players involved.

'Scheherazade's Last Tale' is the mid-level challenge in this set. It makes more extensive use of the in-game app, so if you enjoy the board game-interactive dynamic, you might want to look at this one.

'Expedition: Challenger' takes you on a rescue challenge in a valley full of dinosaurs. You must save people in the valley before the time runs out. This plays more like a puzzle adventure quest and is very cool.

Other Unlock! games

If you enjoy the Unlock games, you can find different adventures here at their website:

Verdict: Again, three games for one makes this a steal. More innovative use of the in-game app makes this good for the more tech-minded board gamers. Exotic Adventures has a mix of challenges to keep you entertained.

9. Escape the Room: Mystery at the Stargazer's Manor

  • Players: 3-8
  • Playing time: 90 mins
  • Ages: 10+
  • Price: under $25

Escape the Room: Mystery at the Stargazer's Manor

Why we love this game: Escape the Room: Mystery at the Stargazer's Manor is a good old family game. Unlike some of the other games on this list, it is purely a board game adventure; there are no fancy bells or whistles such as an in-game app.

Gameplay: Mystery at Stargazer's Manor takes place in 1869. Strange goings-on has been happening at the astronomer's manor since his wife died. A group from the local town decides to investigate - that, of course, is you.

The game itself has five envelopes, each representing something within the astronomer's manor that you can look at, such as the dressing table and the bookshelf. Just like a real-life escape room, it is up to you to find clues and solve puzzles that are scattered amongst the items.

A solution wheel will tell you if you have answered each problem correctly to progress, using an easy symbol reading device.

There are plenty of challenges to keep you entertained, and the difficulty of each varies so that it will keep you on your toes.

Verdict: This is an escape room board game and just that, with no added features, just an atmospheric story, and a load of puzzles, which is very refreshing. It's a solid recommendation for a family gaming night.

10. EXIT: The Game - The Abandoned Cabin

  • Players: 1-6
  • Playing time: 60-120 mins
  • Ages: 12+
  • Price: around $30

EXIT: The Game - The Abandoned Cabin

Why we love this game: The Abandoned Cabin is eery and atmospheric. Play it with the lights turned down. Being locked in a remote cabin in the middle of nowhere, trying to find a way to get out, with a time limit, is bound to be a good night.

Gripping storyline along well-thought-of riddles makes 'The Abandoned Cabin' one of the best escape room board games in the Exit lineup. 

Gameplay: The players spend the night in an isolated cabin in a forest. They awake to find the door is locked, the windows barred, and no way to escape.

The game has a scenario book called 'Welcome Guests.' It takes you through the story and prompts you when a puzzle comes up. Players read the challenges from riddle cards.

Answer cards reveal if you're right or not. As in 'Escape the Room' above, there is a solution wheel device that prompts you to find the appropriate answer card if you solve the riddle correctly.

The riddles in this EXIT game are satisfying and non-linear, meaning you'll have to park a puzzle and come back to it when you have more information.

Clue cards reveal hints if you get stuck, but you'll be penalized at the game's end for the amount of clues you choose to take.

The team achieves a score between 1-10 stars according to the time it took to play and the number of hints used to assist them. The star system is a simple device that keeps some pressure on the group as they play, and is common to the EXIT games.

Verdict: EXIT uses a simple system that lets you focus on the puzzles and the story. Choose the EXIT games if you want the riddle-solving joy of an escape room without the gimmicks.

11. EXIT: The Game - The Dead Man on the Orient Express

  • Players: 1-4
  • Playing time: 45-90 mins
  • Ages: 12+
  • Price: around $15

EXIT: The Game - The Dead Man on the Orient Express

Why we love this game: This is a challenging escape room game. We love it because it will stretch your brain muscle in a frustrating but fun way. Also, it's an escape room about a murder on the Orient Express, which is cool.

Gameplay: Like all EXIT games, The Dead Man on the Orient Express uses cards for riddles and answers, which is a simple game mechanic that allows you to focus on the game and story.

This EXIT game has a murder mystery in it as the title suggests, and if you solve it, you'll gain bonus points on finishing.

For added atmosphere, the game allows you to explore the Orient Express cars. The cars make the players feel as if they are really exploring the train and immerses you in the storyline.

If you like the sound of EXIT games, you can find more storylines and editions of it here.

Verdict: If you want to combine a murder mystery with an escape room, go for this game. If you desire one of the more challenging escape room games out there, this is your game.

12. MacGyver: The Escape Room Game

  • Players: 1-4
  • Playing time: 60 mins
  • Ages: 12+
  • Price: under $25

MacGyver: The Escape Room Game

Why we love this game: This is a game based on the 80's hit television show MacGyver. Need we say more? It is actually a lot of fun and serious escape room game contender.

Gameplay: This game contains five scenarios to play. They are linear, so they must be completed in order, as you'll need solutions gathered from previous scenes to solve the next one. The game has a (very loose) story to keep you immersed in the mullet-wearing, paper-clip wielding MacGyver's world, so following the story in order makes sense.

A time limit ticks down to solve each scenario, and you can go to the MacGyver Escape Room website to use a countdown clock on there. The internet wasn't around in the '80s, so you'll need to suspend your disbelief here.

Guessing the puzzles wrong will make your time tick down faster, so you need to be sure before you solve, which adds more pressure along with the time limit.

Verdict: This is a fun '80s nostalgia game. Players not familiar with MacGyver might not get the most out of it, but the escape room scenarios themselves are uninterrupted fun, so it's not essential to be a die-hard fan.

Escape Room Solved!

There is our list for the best Escape Room board games to play in 2020. Some of these games can be played solo, but generally with two to four player groups you enjoy the most. We hope it gives you some inspiration to get out there and try a few. 

We sincerely hope you liked our recommendations, and if we missed any, please feel free to comment below.

Happy gaming!

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