I only spent Thursday at the Transworld Escape Room show. I really enjoyed it, though, and plan to come back next year.
I was a bit worried at first. There wasn’t much for an enthusiast to do on the trade floor. I chatted with a few people I’ve met before, but I was careful to keep it quick so as not to occupy their time and keep them away from prospective customers. Even when introducing myself to someone new, I wanted to be careful not to occupy them for too long.
The vendors at the trade floor made some very impressive setups. Many of the displays were akin to temporary buildings, with all sides and angles filled with interesting content. It was really neat to see and impressive that these businesses built these in such a short amount of time.
The Lock Lounge was more than a bit disappointing. When you hear about a “lounge” at an escape room conference for networking, what do you envision? I figured there’d be a bar and some comfy chairs with at least a handful of people present at all times of the day, looking to connect with others. Instead it was a large cordoned off area with four tall tables (no chairs) occupying an otherwise dead space. I didn’t see anyone else use this space the whole time I was there. The area had four times set aside for regional meet-ups, but four times across a full weekend isn’t nearly enough for an event like this. Granted, perhaps a part of this was that I was there on Thursday, but it still seems like a wasted opportunity to better build connections among people in the industry.
I was surprised to see how close the event was to the St. Louis Arch, so I walked over to it in the late afternoon. I had never been to the Arch before, and up close, it looks like an alien artifact. I also didn’t know that the whole area around the Arch, including the area directly below it, is open to the public as a nice park. Since it’s basically in the middle of the city, I had no idea the area would seem so calm and tranquil.
The escape room mixer was the highlight of the event for me, and I’m guessing this would be true even if I had stayed for more than Thursday. I had the opportunity to meet about fifteen new people, all involved in some of the coolest projects in escape rooms. I did a horrendous job at getting / remembering names, but I hope I have the chance to bump into some of these folks again in the future. At least I remember the towns where everyone is from!
I wish I had planned a little better when it came to meeting up with people interested in doing escape rooms. I ended up doing zero escape rooms while in St. Louis. Christina was working a normal day, and while I did connect with a few people on Facebook who were interested in teaming up for rooms, my only availability was early to mid Thursday which didn’t work for anyone else. At the mixer, it sounded like many of the others would have been up for trying new games in town, so next year I’d like to come with a better strategy prepared for this!