Friends and Neighbors: Brooklyn Escape Room

Brooklyn Escape Room has been credited by “Thrillist” with having one of the best escape rooms in NYC. They originally went by the name of Claustrophobia, being that they are a franchise of the Russian owned ‘Claustrophobia’ escape room company. The Claustrophobia brand was founded in Moscow in 2013 by Bogdan Kravtsov and his friends. In an interview with Catherine Bulgarina, Bogdan Kravtsov opens up about the background, launching, and evolution of Claustrophobia. Claustrophobia

Mr. Kravtsov is a mathematician with a background in software development. In 2013 he went on a trip to Budapest, which was the European capital of escape rooms at the time. When he came back with his two friends, they decided to open up an escape room in Moscow, which until then did not have even one. Incredibly, they designed their first escape rooms by themselves. Having worked in front of a computer all his life, the manual labor involved in creating an escape room was quite a change for Mr.Kravtsov. He had to learn his way around tools, paints, and more. Their initial budget calculation per room quickly turned from $15K to $40K. They estimated that they would get back their investments within the first six months. In reality however, they earned back their investments within the first six weeks! Being the first escape room in Moscow, they got so much media attention that they were completely sold out. Their first visitors were so excited by the experience that many of them wanted to open up their own escape rooms in other cities. This led them to their escape room franchise idea. Claustrophobia’s first escape room franchises were open just three months after their own launch in Moscow. After paying a fee, Mr.Kravtsov and his team ship to the prospective franchise owners a copy of the room they had chosen. This includes props, materials, puzzles, etc. All they had to do is set up the room and open up under the Claustrophobia brand. Although Claustrophobia’s first rooms got so much attention, they later came to realize that advertising is actually difficult. A big reason for this is that Mr.Kravtsov claims that only a very small percentage of Moscow’s population actually knows what an escape room is. So it is not just enough to advertise how superior the escape room is, they also need to explain what it is, what to expect, etc. Mr.Kravtsov explains that he and his friends were in unique situation that helped them become successful. They worked on their first escape rooms as a side project, for fun. They did not have a business plan and went for the risks, staying flexible and adaptable to change. They also realized that in order to quickly grow their business, they needed help. They therefore focused on expanding the franchise aspect of their business, rather than opening more of their own personal escape rooms. At first, they directed their energy to quantity, wanting to launch as many rooms as possible. These rooms ended up being simple and cheap. With time Mr.Kravtsov realized that the focus has to become quality over everything. They have much stricter conditions and higher budget requirements so they can really uphold their commitment to quality escape rooms, and have even shut down franchises that were not up to par in quality. Claustrophobia is constantly looking at sources of growth in the industry and new technologies to add to their rooms. They have rooms with augmented reality and rooms where the players become a part of a performance with actors. They have opened athletic rooms which requires the power and strength of the player’s body. They have also opened escape rooms for kids, where parents can play alongside them. The themes of their escape rooms for kids all revolve around the supernatural. This includes witches, demons, monsters, dwarfs, and magical forests, and they cater to children as young as five years old. This can be quite exciting for the children who are playing. Yet it is precisely children who are so easily affected and influenced by their surroundings. Brooklyn Escape Room

Claustrophobia’s franchise in Brooklyn is called Brooklyn Escape Room. They have three rooms. Shelter R​ where the players are in a bunker running out of oxygen and must escape. The Haunted rooms tasks the players with unraveling the secrets of the Haunted House. And finally, the Medieval Dungeon​ recreates a dungeon in Medieval Europe where the victims await their executioner. These stories fit in with the general escape room mold, providing a pressurized thrill. The rooms have similar overall reviews, with people saying that the set is incredibly immersive and detailed, but the rooms are more focused on observing and making connections, rather than puzzles.

OneBefore Escape's rooms will have a well rounded balance of puzzles and tasks that keep you engaged and absorbed. Additionally, our rooms are a reaction to the lack of meaningful and educational content in escape rooms in the world. Bo Bennet put it perfectly: “For every good reason there is to lie, there is a better reason to tell the truth.” Our rooms don't fit the stereotypical escape room fantasy themes and are based on true historical figures and stories. These significant figures and stories imbue the games with meaning and inspiration, something we believe to be unique in our industry. We hope the experience of our rooms will reveal that there really always is a “...better reason to tell the truth.”

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