Why Retire Escape Rooms? - NM Escape Room | Puzzle Room, Teambuilding in Albuquerque

Why Retire Escape Rooms?

Celebrating 6 Years of Escape Room Excitement
June 3, 2021
Back to School
August 10, 2021

Retiring Escape Rooms at NM Escape Room

At NM Escape Room, we have been fortunate to create a myriad of styles and themes for our escape rooms. Some have withstood the test of time and trials of thousands in their pursuit to escape within the hour. Others have given us a good run with ample teaching, growth opportunities for improving our design and creation game for future rooms. We do not retire rooms lightly as we do put a lot of work, time, and effort into designing and building each of our scenarios. As this past month was our 6 year anniversary, we’d like to take a look back on the three escape room scenarios that we have retired in our existence.

There’s a lot to take into consideration when it comes to retiring an existing escape game that many don’t even realize are factors:



Amount of Bookings

How many bookings is this scenario getting? Do folks enjoy the theme/concept for that particular room or are they likely to pass it over? We look to see whether or not folks are actually playing through the scenario in question or if it’s “run its course.” Some of our scenarios have withstood the test of time, like the Cabin which is almost 6 years old but a crowd favorite, while others have fallen by the wayside, like the Unpublished up for only 1 year.


The Props and Set

How are these holding up in the room? Are repairs taking up more time and energy than what it’s worth and detracting from the experience? Some rooms need tip top condition to work aesthetically and technically while other rooms can be a little rough around the edges, provided it is aligned with the theme and doesn’t inhibit the players’ progress.


What Comes Next

What plans have we got for future rooms? How far along are we in the process of designing and building out the next room? We are constantly seeking out ways to improve our design and build skills, but it takes a great deal of effort and time to design, build, test, and ultimately open a new scenario. When retiring and replacing an existing game, we have to design the replacement around the physical constraints within that space and time the creation of it with the ending of the retired room.


At the end of the day, we want to make sure that the rooms we offer are enticing, exciting, and effective for the purposes they serve. As for future rooms in store, we’re still working on our game plan as we finally are getting back up on our feet after the Pandemic, thanks to your continued support.

Retired Escape Rooms at New Mexico Escape Room

NM Escape Room - Puzzle Rooms

The Unpublished

  • 3rd room built - Replaced with The Family Jewel
  • Open for 1 year - Dec 20, 2015 - Dec 31, 2016
  • Square Footage - 360 Sq Ft
  • Escape Rate - 34%
  • Total Locks - 10
    • Seven 4-digit Locks, One 3-digit Lock, One 4-letter lock & 1 keypad
  • Hidden Areas - 1… of sorts. While there weren’t any secret areas, your group was split into two groups so you would “discover” the other half of the scenario half way through your game as they would “discover” your half.
  • Groups - 1300

The Unpublished Scenario Description:

A colleague of yours is on the run from the Feds. He wrote an article connecting the JFK assassination to the Watergate Scandal, which he left behind in his home study. It’s up to you to find the unpublished article and get it to your publishers before the authorities arrive.

Main Features:

The trickiest but also the most fun aspect of this game was that your group was split into two rooms at the start separated by a conjoining locked door. You had to work together to figure out not only what but how to communicate to the other half of our group as some locks and clues in one space would work in another. Eventually your groups would open the locked door and you could then go back and forth to complete your game. You physically had to have that middle door open to escape the room, bringing an object from one room into the other to place on a scale to open the door to get out.

Iconic Moments

  • Placing a bowling ball bag on a hanging plant to raise a painting in the other room.
  • Unscrewing a vent.
    • Please do not do this in any of our other rooms; we learned our lesson.
  • Using walkie talkies to communicate with the group on the other side.
NM Escape Room - Puzzle Rooms

The Blood Map

  • 1st room for us and the entire state! - The 2nd room retired
  • Location: Carlisle, where it has been replaced with Duel at Dusk
  • Time open: 2 years and 3 months - June 5, 2015 through Sept 10, 2017
  • Square Footage - 250 Sq Ft
  • Escape Rate - 55%
  • Total Locks - 16
    • Five 4-digit locks, Two 5-letter locks, Three 3-digit locks, Four key locks & Two PIN pads
  • Hidden Areas: 1 - Behind the floor to ceiling bookshelf, there was an entrance to a hidden room.
  • Groups - 3466

The Blood Map Scenario Description:

Bob Ford, the man charged with the murder of Jesse James, has found Jesse James' map to some hidden treasure. Before Ford could find the treasure, he was murdered and the map was never seen again. Rumor has it that the map is hidden somewhere inside Ford's Victorian styled home office; however, the building is set to be demolished in 1 hour. You must find the treasure map before the building is destroyed. Unfortunately, you don’t know the whole plan, but luckily there were clues left for you to find that you will just have to figure it out. Do you have what it takes to find the map before time runs out?

Main Features / Puzzles:

This game presented a lot of nonlinear puzzles. There was a door with 8 locks on it (keys, words, codes) with each lock its own series of tasks and puzzles to complete. In the room, it seemed quite plain with not a lot to work with at the start but after completion looked like a tornado had gone through; there were just so many hidden compartments and little pieces for parsing through puzzles.

Iconic Moments

  • “White equals 7!”
  • Opening the door with 8 locks revealing a brick wall, PIN pad, and a key.
  • Recalling the Order of Operations.
  • The crow flies north!
  • Going through a hidden door in the bookshelf.

The Family Jewel

  • 4th Room Built - 3rd Room Retired
  • Time Open: 2 years and 7 months - Feb 16, 2017 through Oct 10, 2019
  • Location: Carlisle, where it has been replaced with Super Secret
  • Square Footage: 360 Sq Ft
  • Escape Rate: 35%
  • Total Locks: 10
    • Two 5-letter locks, Two key locks, One PIN pad, One 4-digit lock, Three 5-digit locks, One 7-digit phone number
    • Hidden Areas: 1 - Through the refrigerator!
    • Groups: 2755

The Family Jewel Scenario Description:

You’ve been informed by the legal representative that your late grandmother has left an item to you in her will listed as “The Family Jewel.” What’s odd is that one has ever heard of it, much less been able to find it. Unfortunately the final sale of her estate will take place in 1 hour. You must make one last attempt at finding this mysterious jewel before it’s lost forever. However, something seems very curious about this person from the attorney’s office…Things are not what they seem!

Main Features / Puzzles:

While inside an unassuming Grandma’s house you discover some clues left behind by the dearly departed that lead you to a secret bunker where you discover Grandma’s secret; she was a spy for the British SIS, and she has tasked you with protecting the secret locations of all of the agents in her care. You must not give the secret documents to the dodgy estate Attorney.

Iconic Moments

  • Mini lesson in Morse Code
  • Calling a number on the phone to unlock the fridge door
  • Finding out that Granny was a bad a$$
  • Finding a key inside the heel of a shoe, which was an actual tactic used by spies during WWII
  • Mouse (a nickname for a WWII era female spy) opens the bread box

Moving Forward

This past year and some change has put a huge pause on our goals and plans for creating future escape games. As a small business, we are doing our best to get back up and running, thanks to incredible support and patronage from you! Escape games take a lot of time, resources, and personnel to create; we’re slowly but steadily working on our future ideas. We appreciate your patience and for standing by us. Keep an eye out for updates on revamping current rooms and creating future rooms. Be sure to follow us on our social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, as well as signing up for our monthly newsletter.