Stranger Manor: A Social Escape Room Game

Stranger Manor was a Stranger Things-themed escape room game which I made for Haunted Manor 2016. Haunted Manor is an exclusive, ticketed Halloween event in Los Angeles that a host of creative individuals puts on yearly; this time, the property was transformed into the Byers’ house (the interior and bars) and the Upside Down (the grounds and dance floor). 


We capped the guest list at 200 to prevent crowding and allow for flow throughout the evening. Since going to a party is different than choosing to attend an escape room, and selects for different people, my job was to create a game that wouldn’t alienate casual players and which didn’t rely on knowing the tropes and history of puzzle hunts.

The design goals of Stranger Manor were several:

  • create a clues-based puzzle game in which guests could wander around the house and grounds;
  • not disrupt the general flow of party activities, including acquiring drinks, waiting for bathrooms, dancing, etc.;
  • allow interested players to solve as much or as little as they’d like and shift their priorities as new events and people came up;
  • get people moving around the lot and exploring the amazing build; have them share secrets and ideas.

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