The Escapement: The Network

By | March 31, 2020

by The Escapement Margate (website)

65 Northdown Rd, Cliftonville, Margate CT9 2RJ

1-6 players


Languages: EN

📦play at home

The Escapement Network has some closely guarded secrets, and some of those secrets have world-changing consequences.

Unfortunately for us we’ve been infiltrated. Some important documents about some fairly secretive secrets, regarding some overwhelmingly dangerous artificial intelligence has been leaked to an outside source.

We don’t know by who and we don’t entirely know how. What we do know is that the entire organisation is compromised. We can’t trust any of our agents

We need a team. Covert. Disconnected. Remote. Completely under the radar.

We need someone helping from the comfort of their living room. 

Can you stop the leak, save The Network and prevent the release of world ending artificial intelligence?

Sound like this could be you?

Everything you need will be delivered to you. Analyse physical evidence, rifle through case files, uncover hidden messages, investigate pieces of confiscated evidence, interact with real people. Research and study, using the internet and social media.

Alongside this, we’ll also give you access to The Networks vast online communications system, which will help you investigate a sprawling web of leads.

You are the detective and this is your case.

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Overall rating

Rated between 3.5 and 4.5 out of 5

based on ratings from 24 users
combined with 3 pro reviews

Your review

Player reviews

Jen Wells (Get Wells Soon) expert rated this:Rated between 40 and 40 out of 5
Played: 6 Apr 2024 Team size: 2 Outcome: Successful escape!
As escape rooms in a box go, this is certainly a top quality offering: even the box itself is beautiful and the contents are produced with care.
The puzzles are solid, with several layers to each one and with an immersive, effective way of weaving the puzzles in with the narrative.
This particular game precedes Quartz but there is no particular need to play in order, as it all makes sense anyway.
We had an enjoyable evening with this and it was nice to have to think 'outside of the box' for this one.
Anonymous rated this:Rated between 45 and 45 out of 5
Anonymous rated this:Rated between 50 and 50 out of 5
ES-CAH-PAY expert rated this:Rated between 50 and 50 out of 5
Played: 05/05/2020 Team size: 2 Time taken: 120 Outcome: Successful escape!
Having previously played the Exit boxed games, our experience of these left something to be desired. When The Network arrived, however, we knew we were in for something completely different. Opened up the box and there was our personalised greeting letter, along with the instructions to start. Loved this experience from start to finish, especially as it has you going online as part of the gameplay as well. We had a couple of little hiccups with solving a couple of puzzles but that was just our own brains, the clues were there the entire time we just overlooked it! Well worth the cost, and excited to play future boxed games from The Escapement, as well as their new Broadstairs rooms!
Anonymous rated this:Rated between 50 and 50 out of 5
Played: 10/5/20 Team size: 2 Time taken: 1hr22min Outcome: Successful escape!

Fantastic escape room style game in a box.  Amazing world building and attention to detail and with very clever aspects and surprises. Highly recommend!

lc86 rated this:Rated between 50 and 50 out of 5
Played: May 2020 Team size: 2 Time taken: 2.5 hrs Outcome: Successful escape!

A quality game with high production value. We had great fun with some head scratching moments (there is an in-built help system to keep you going.) Would highly recommend. Looking forward to the next instalment! 

🌵Juliette B expert rated this:Rated between 45 and 45 out of 5
Played: 17/05/2020 Team size: 2 Outcome: Successful escape!

I think as an example of this genre, this was fantastically done, and I'm not surprised after our experience at the venue a few months ago. It felt carefully put together and so well presented. We didn't time ourselves although know we wasted a fair amount of time down a rabbit hole (entirely our own fault for not paying enough attention). Good variety of puzzles with excellent immersion given we were playing out of a box at home, ramped up to a fun finish. Website well executed and delighted to see the return of Jacob (a trainee GM who hosted one of the games when we hit The Escapement).  I can only imagine The Network will be setting the bar for this kind of game, and we felt the price represented fair value for what we got.  

stairs expert rated this:Rated between 40 and 40 out of 5
Played: 27/05/20 Team size: 2 Time taken: 2:00 Outcome: Successful escape!

The Network is a premium at-home escape game-in-a-box, which combines printed and physical artefacts together with video delivered via an online portal. You'll also have to discover content placed on a variety of well-known external internet sites.

A huge amount of effort and care had been placed into the game content - all the material is completely original and features a cast of actors - there's no stock footage here, and the quality of the components is high. There's a lot of attention to detail: little things like the fact that photos are printed on photographic paper, not plain A4, and there's a delightful physical prop featuring some fine craftwork by the creators.
The puzzles themselves have been equally carefully-constructed - there's just enough information to guide the player to know what to do, while still presenting enough of a challenge to feel the satisfaction of solving. Every detail has its purpose - there's nothing missing, and nothing spare. As with many ARGs, the puzzles we enjoyed most were those that were "hidden in plain sight" but only noticed by those who knew where to look, and this complemented the game's undercover operative theme perfectly.

The game is separated into 3 sections, and we played through the whole thing as a couple in around 2 hours. It is not the cheapest experience out there but, for the original content and moments of delight you get while playing, I'd say it's absolutely still good value for money.

Update:- I recently offered to help someone who was stuck at a particular point in the game. Even though I had not kept my notes, I was pretty confident I would be able to provide a nudge since we had breezed through that section. It turns out that this might have been partly by luck rather than by good judgment as, on playing through the second time, I became stuck as to understanding why a particular answer wasn't being accepted. This led me to discover that both the input verification and hinting systems could be improved (which hadn't become apparent on our first playthrough since we'd not made use of either). It's nothing that the designers can't fix, but could definitely lead to player frustration, so I'm knocking off half a star from my previous rating.

imrahil experienced rated this:Rated between 30 and 30 out of 5
Team size: 2 Outcome: Successful escape!

The production quality is definitely 5/5 for this game - no faults from me there. 

The puzzles themselves left something to be desired in places. Nothing was too complex, but occasionally ambiguous. The hint system and answer submission is not brilliant for a play at home experience. 

The price is appropriate given the production (comparable to playing an escape room with 2 people). But for a play at home experience I would hope for stronger puzzles - for me they are weaker than your average exit game. 

PurpleB expert rated this:Rated between 30 and 30 out of 5
Played: Jun 2020 Team size: 2

I'm slightly surprised this is getting such good reviews as we felt let down by such an expensive boxed game.

Starting with the good stuff - the production value is excellent.  I haven't experience a play-at-home game that matches this one although that is reflected in the price.  The story was good although the videos were a little long and we lost interest during them a bit. There were a couple of really nice puzzles too, although overall the puzzles were a tad mediocre and a couple were poor.  In my book a good puzzle should be challenging but once you figure it out you should be sure you have the right answer. For several of these puzzles we had the right answer but weren't confident we did or we found their wording ambigous leading to multiple possible solutions.

The real flaw in this game was the answer system.  You have to enter a combination which involves the answers to multiple puzzles at once and if it's wrong you don't have any idea which bit is wrong. When that is coupled with poor puzzles with ambiguous wording you end up in a very frustrating position where you have too many combinations to feasibly try.  This problem is compounded by the hint system which we found basically useless.  When we couldn't find the right combination of answers we looked to the hints to help narrow things down but they only told us things we already knew and didn't remove any of the ambiguity we were seeing.

I'm afraid we found the middle video unpleasant to watch (do not play this with children) to such an extent that we basically skipped that puzzle.

The other frustrating thing is that you can only play it once.  As the game was so expensive we tried very hard to play it in such a way that we might be able to give it to friends to play afterwards. But that was basically impossible. £40 is a lot for a single-play box game.

Anonymous rated this:Rated between 25 and 25 out of 5
Anonymous rated this:Rated between 25 and 25 out of 5
Played: 20/06/2020 Team size: 2 Time taken: 2h Outcome: Successful escape!

The components are incredibly lavish and impressive. Absolutely 10/10  components.

However, the puzzles leave something to be desired. Some of them are just a bit vague, and some of them are more like following a fiddly set of instructions than actually solving a puzzle. Not so much a test of lateral thinking, but a test of your patience.

Also, several times, you have to combine multiple puzzle results to get "the answer", and then if your combined answer is wrong, you get no feedback as to specifically which component has gone wrong, so you have to check them all again.

We are experienced puzzlers and room escapers but this really felt like a slog for most of the time we were playing it.

Anonymous expert rated this:Rated between 30 and 30 out of 5
Team size: 2 Outcome: Successful escape!
Anonymous rated this:Rated between 40 and 40 out of 5
Anonymous rated this:Rated between 50 and 50 out of 5
Anonymous rated this:Rated between 25 and 25 out of 5
Played: Spring 2020
Anonymous rated this:Rated between 40 and 40 out of 5
Anonymous rated this:Rated between 25 and 25 out of 5
Anonymous rated this:Rated between 40 and 40 out of 5
Anonymous rated this:Rated between 50 and 50 out of 5
Anonymous rated this:Rated between 10 and 10 out of 5
Anonymous rated this:Rated between 40 and 40 out of 5

We even sat on the floor for it.

jakea256 expert rated this:Rated between 35 and 35 out of 5

Very luxurious product with some great puzzles. However most were partially based on luck as even if you knew what you were doing it was sometimes a bit trial and errory to get their intended solution. Also the videos between chapters were far too long and we got a bit bored. Good game still!

Anonymous rated this:Rated between 50 and 50 out of 5
Played: 08/05/20 Team size: 2 Time taken: 2 hours

Escapement have created an excellent, creative and challenging home escape game! It's a brilliant concept with excellent puzzles, that is very well executed. It's more expensive than other at home escape games, but it's well worth the price!

Reviews by escape room review sites

In this recent rush of online games, The Network is an exception, because it’s so very physical. There are important elements delivered in your browser, including the audio and video that provide the story, but each of its three stages are primarily driven by the papers and items delivered in the main game box. And it’s quite some box - an absolutely luscious embossed container that had me excited about the game the moment I saw it.

Unwrapping the game is a thrill, and there are few box games y...

With a well thought out story, great puzzles, and beautifully curated parts, The Network gets you as close to immersion as possible for a play at home game.

The visuals are very slick, very modern. We're far from Unlock!'s brigthly-colored boxes. Likewise, the video sequences are well-made. [...] The price point is a concern, especially for us Canadians.

The Network hits all the right marks but ultimately wasn’t my cup of tea for theme or mechanics, but that’s purely down to personal preference. The game is premium quality and there’s solid sleuthing to be had. But that all-seeing eye on the box hinted at an entirely different experience to what we had.

I’d recommend this for fans of detective mystery boxes who want a hint of escape room puzzles with their experience. If you lean slightly more towards traditional puzzle solving, do a bit more research before commiting.

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