Why and where did it come from?

About CryptX - its a personal thing


In summer 2016 I went on a family holiday to Barcelona, and I've not looked back.

The children were 8, 11, and 16 and at some point we should have anticipated the inevitable comment "we're bored. what can we do". In the heart of what I consider the most amazing city, with sun, sand, sea, and culture, we booked an Escape Room.


Like with so many others even now, we'd heard of them and just never got round to playing one. So off we went.


Over the next 2 weeks we played 8 rooms in and around Barcelona. That was it, I'd caught the bug.


The request from the kids - would I build one in the garage at home? We got home, played some more in the UK and that was it - why just play them when I'd love to build and run one?


There were games I loved, ideas I thought were terrific, and theming that was immersive. After only c. 15 rooms I knew what I liked and didn't like, knew where I felt things could be better, and a business plan was forming.


My past - banking. Even worse, derivatives in banking. Don't hold it against me! I was at HBOS during the crash, was a "whistleblower" thereafter, and the disgust at how many businesses (inlcuding banks) work in the financial market has never left me. I saw a way to enjoy work, enjoy what I do, and have fun with others sharing Escape Rooms. CryptX was born.


The above may be too personal, too emotional, but that's me, and that's why and how the love and passion is put in to CryptX Escape Rooms.


The industry as a whole in the UK is relatively new, and as such I'm hoping to help form it, hoping to help players engage and understand rooms, hoping to push boundaries and design and build the most enjoayble rooms in the UK.


I'm not in this business just to make money. I'm not a manager of a room who doesn't attend or act as gamesmaster, or who just wants bookings. I want people to enjoy, indeed love, my rooms. I'm happy to take time to discuss, to listen to the players, to adapt and adjust constantly. There is no such thing as perfection, so why leave a room alone even for weeks on end.


I'll always be striving to improve, striving to adapt rooms. I won't buy-in a room (the franchise concept). It's not a negative on those type of rooms, some are great. It's just not what I want to offer. I think over time as players play more and more rooms they will discover if they liked personalised rooms or franchise rooms; mulit-room or single room games; linear or non-linear rooms; puzzle rooms vs panic rooms vs escape rooms. There is so much more to come from the industry and I assure you I will be pushing into new ideas constantly.


I played with my children and would never discourage kids playing - on their own, with friends, family. I love seeing kids, parents and grandparents play together. At last a game all generations can play on a fairly even playing field. Everyone has something to offer, ideas to suggest - there's no such thing as a stupid idea in an Escape Room.


I look forward to welcoming you to my rooms, and hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed designing, building them, and of course watching you play them!



My job - make sure beginners enjoy the game and keep playing rooms; make sure experienced players are tested enough to enjoy my rooms; make sure experts are tested enough!


The way i'm doing it? Making rooms that are either flexible enough to change the difficulty level OR, as with the new Jewellery Heist, make sure the room has different ways of being played and each team can make their own choice.


That's my job, and a little about me and the background explained.




How to Play an Escape Room

Let's be straight from the start, there is no right or wrong way to play an escape room.


All teams are different, all teams have their own style, but there are some useful tips from what I consider to be the "best" teams (definition of "best" - those who get the quickest times).




  • - When you enter a new room, get the balance between exploring and wasting time admiring the view! Look around, but don't be surprised or in awe of what you see. Difficult I know!
  • - Call out what you have. Split this into:
    • Locks
    • Puzzles
    • Clues / objects
    • Indications / symbols
      • For example, enter a room "I see 3 padlocks - 2 with 4 digits and one 4 letter padlock"
      • "I have an over-sized key that I'm going to put on this table."
      • "There are two puzzles on the wall that seem to generate 4 digit codes"
      • "This puzzle has a sword symbol on it"

Why call these things out? As everyone does here it, whether or not they are specifically listening. When they have something to call out - this goes on throughout the game - they or you, or someone may link stuff that is called out. For example someone else calls out "I've got a 4 digit code, it's written on a sword." Maybe that will go to the sword symbol someone else saw - and they need a 4 digit code.


  • Establish an area / table to put things that may be useful but not yet used (be careful not to use something or somewhere that will cover another puzzle, eg. a pool table with something inside it)
  • Establish an area / table to put things that have been used already. You never know - they could be used in future, but an area will help identify already used clues and objects, locks, keys.
  • Write down any codes you find, but be sure to rub them out once used. It is unlikely (not impossible) that codes will be used twice.
  • Be flexible in your own thoughts, but also share your ideas. Others may be able to build on the idea, or if it doesn't work they may be able to think differently. Don't forget escape rooms are more about thinking differently than being clever or not!
  • In general, escape rooms do not use 'external knowledge'. This means everything you need to solve the puzzles or codes is in the room. I have/had a game in a Dart Board (in the Haunted Pub) but you didn't need darts knowledge to play it. As it was in a pub the game was themed. That's a job of the designer. For the gamer, don't think you need external knowledge. (Slight contradiction - you need to know basic maths in most rooms - add, subtract etc. and how to use a calculator normally. So there is some basic external knowledge).
  • I can't over-emphasise the 'flexibility' issue. In my opinion the most difficult aspect to any escape room is 're-setting your mind. You have an idea, it didn't work. Can you reset your mind to find a new idea? This is what team members are for! Example - I found a pattern in a room and got a 4 digit answer. It was wrong. I explained my idea to my 16 year old who agreed my theory, but realised I had made a basic maths mistake in the last row getting a new fourth digit. It worked. So the idea was right, but my head had convinced me of the answer - it took a youngster and new eyes to use my idea to get the right digit. 3 out of 4 isn't good enough for a padlock!


  • Almost what not to do -
    • Be over-confident
    • Think you have definitely seen the same puzzle in another room. Puzzles can look similar without having the same solution (those who have played my Gaol and another local room have first hand knowledge).
    • Make statements like "this must do this..." or "I assume this means this..." or "I know how what to do..." etc. etc.
    • Don't be quiet. There are some very effective teams who are quiet, efficient, take their time to consider everything in detail. But they are few and far between. Normally the "best" teams are loud, constantly talking, constantly trying ideas and discussuing matters, calling out clues and codes and what they've found. Noisey teams are usually better than quiet teams.


I hope that helps in some way. I'll reiterate, and quote myself on what not to do - I don't know the right answer. There is no right or wrong way to play a room, but the above gives food for thought on how to play, and how the "best" (appreciate the definition is controversial) teams play rooms.














01223 926 533


01223 926 533



CryptX is the trading name of Langosta Ltd.

Company Number 8522273

Background to CryptX