It’s about time to touch base on this calendar again and update it. I’ve moved all past (passed? completed?) escape room events to the end, and included links to some blog posts or articles that talk about them.
Click here to see events that have already passed
2018 Escape Room Events – A Complete List
As far as I can tell
Criteria: A large event intended for the education, awareness-building, and/or promotion of escape room games and owners. May include trade shows, conferences, special events, or just related events that may be of interest to owners of escape rooms.
June 13-17, 2018 – Columbus, Ohio
Where Gaming Begins!
Our theme for this year’s show is Mystery—but you don’t have to be a detective to find the fun and excitement happening
around the convention center! Games, cosplay, anime, art and more. For the next five days, you and thousands of people will
have access to over 6,000 events, a sold-out exhibit hall, entertainment, and a whole lot of gaming.
Similar, but different, to/from GenCon, this event is focused on Game Manufacturers and Game Enthusiasts. That’s tabletop, board, card, miniatures, LARPs, RPGs, and much more.
There’s likely to be some interest in escape room games here, and definitely lots to learn about game mechanics and design.
It’s happening well, right now so if you’re not already there I suppose only residents of Ohio are likely to make it over there.
But it sounds like it will be lots of fun!
Plus look at that mascot. There better be someone dressed up as the Crit.
June 22-23, 2018 – Ulster Park, New York
Not much is yet planned for this event, but you can expect the same quality from Transworld as they deliver at their other events. This one focuses on the Haunt industry again and includes some private tours and seminars. It does not appear to have a trade show component.
Tickets are not yet available.
July 27-29, 2018 – Nashville, Tennessee
The third show put on by Transworld, this focuses entirely on the escape room game industry. There will be seminars and workshops, alongside a large trade show floor. Expect some private tours of local escape rooms as well.
It’s not totally clear if tickets are up for sale yet… But buy in advance and save! As usual…
August 2-5, Indianapolis, Indiana
“The largest consumer hobby, fantasy, science fiction, and adventure game convention”, Gen Con is spoken of in awed whispers and excited proclamations of attendance.
While escape rooms lay on the edges of several of those categories, with lots of overlap, the escape room board games and cross-over of designers and enthusiasts is bringing Gen Con into the escape industry.
“Attend Gen Con to check out the massive vendor selection, try out incredible games, listen to authors, and so much more.
Gen Con is the quintessential “battleground” for all types of gaming for all ages. Attendees come to participate in RPGs, TCGs, card games, board games, live-action role-playing games (LARPs), True Dungeon, miniatures, video games and other computer games. There are also plenty of hobby-related events to enjoy, such as: The Family Fun Pavilion, a Costume Contest, game auction, the largest sci-fi and fantasy art show in the country, over 300 exhibitor booths, Authors’ Avenue, anime, SPA events, seminars, panels, and workshops, Training Grounds (an area dedicated for children), films, and more.”
From the Gen Con FAQ
Doesn’t that sound like fun? Escape room industry professionals (and enthusiasts) have lots to learn from this convention.
Badge Registration for Gen Con opens January 14th 2018.
November 12-16, 2018 – Orlando, Florida
This is the big deal in the attractions, amusements world. IAAPA (International Attractions and Amusement Parks Association) holds an annual Attractions Expo in Orlando that has a 40,000 sq feet trade show, tons of informative seminars and networking events, plus incredible private tours of local attractions. Yeah that’s right. Private tours of Disney World, Universal Studios and more.
IAAPA doesn’t currently cater specifically to the escape room industry, but attention is growing and more and more vendors are offering products tied to escapes. You’ll also find information and vendors about operations, immersion, technology, insurance, and so much more.
Plus you might get to test out some inflatables, or a roller coaster or two.
I HIGHLY recommend checking out IAAPA at least once.
Registration for the event has not yet opened.
Other Escape Room Events
This event took place in 2017 and I’ve heard rumours that another will be held in 2018 but there is no evidence at this time. If you know anything, let me know!
Escape Room Events Earlier in the Year
Articles, press releases and blog posts about the events added after the listings.
January 12-15, 2018 – New Orleans, Louisiana
Mentioned by a commenter below, this conference is coming up soon. The “Haunted Attraction National Tradeshow and Convention” looks like a great show and at a great price!
There’s a post on the site that mentions the event was purchased by a Halloween and Party Supplies store, so there will be some interesting products available here.
“HAuNTcon and Halloween & Party Expo will co-locate beginning with the 2018 event, January 12th – 15th, in New Orleans, Louisiana offering buyers an unrivaled one-stop access to the most comprehensive range of products and services to serve the needs of its customers, including Haunted Attractions, Costume Stores, Party Stores, Amusement & Theme Parks, Family Entertainment Centers, Grocers, Drug Stores and Gift Stores.”
It looks like they’re going to be building a crypt from scratch on the trade show floor! This looks pretty cool : New Crypt Creation
February 27-March 1, 2018 – Las Vegas, Nevada
One I’ve never heard of before, Amusement Expo has a Menu Item titled “Virtual Reality” so take that as you will.
With 1 day of conference/seminars – February 27th, and 2 days of trade show – February 28th and March 1st, Amusement Expo may be worth your time simply for the location.
Their online presence is weak, and based on the quality of website I won’t be making a trip, but that shouldn’t stop you!
“The 2018 Amusement Expo International is the annual event for the coin-op and revenue-generating amusement, music and family entertainment industry.”
It looks like a weaker version of IAAPA so if you were deciding between the two, definitely go for IAAPA.
- Amusement Today: News Release Amusement Expo International in Las Vegas Welcomes Growing VR Arcade Segment
March 19-23, 2018 – San Francisco, California
GDC is the world’s largest professional game industry event. You’ll find international experts in all kinds of areas of game development, and while the focus is more towards video games you will still find inspiration and education from this event.
With a huge expo, tons of seminars, workshops and special speakers, your days at GDC will be packed. Not to mention all the networking events they offer.
- Vicon Press Release: Vicon Introduces Shōgun 1.2 at GDC 2018 with a Virtual Escape Room
March 22-25, 2018 – St.Louis, Missouri
Transworld is a massive trade show that also includes seminars, private tours, and networking events. Exhibitors specialize in incredible items for Halloween, haunted attractions, and the escape room game industry.
“A trade show inside a trade show, dedicated exclusively to Escape Rooms”
Transworld has brought together some of the most creative Halloween/Haunt vendors who have moved into the escape room industry. You’ll find brand new technology, amazing props, and much more. They also have some dedicated seminars from escape experts.
The list of current escape room seminars can be found here: http://www.haashow.com/escape-room-seminars/
May 8-9, 2018 – Breda, The Netherlands
The 2nd year this conference is running, Up The Game is the European offering to escape industry gatherings. The event features seminars and networking opportunities, plus some vendors showing off their stuffs.
- Room Escape Artist – Up The Game 2018 – 7 Thoughts
- Manda Whitney – An Escape Enthusiast Abroad: The Netherlands Day 1
- Manda Whitney – An Escape Enthusiast Abroad: The Netherlands Day 2
- Manda Whitney – An Escape Enthusiast Abroad- Day 3
- Manda Whitney – An Escape Enthusiast Abroad: The Netherlands Day 4
- Manda Whitney – An Escape Enthusiast Abroad: The Netherlands Day 5 & 6
- Manda Whitney – An Escape Enthusiast Abroad: Netherlands Summary
May 25-27, 2018 – Columbus Ohio
Similar to the larger Transworld show, it’s run by the same people, this convention focuses only on Haunted Houses and Halloween attractions. Escape room industry folks may still be interested in attending as this audience knows their stuff. We can learn a lot from the Haunt world about props, durability, immersion, and so much more.
That’s all the 2018 escape room events I can find right now!
If you know of any more that should be added, let me know in the comments or shoot me a Tweet!