So Long, Farewell to Operation Deadlock in Edinburgh


In a few short weeks we’ll be closing our much-loved Operation Deadlock in Edinburgh to make way for an exciting new game. Before we say our final farewell, we asked our GMs to share some of their fondest memories of it...

A modest proposal 💍

Deadlock is so named as it pits rival teams against each other in identical rooms - a battle of the brains to see who can solve all the puzzles first and make it away with the one briefcase locked away in between the two rooms. The briefcase normally just contains vital information to help teams escape, though on one occasion, we were asked to add a little extra something to make it a day to remember…

We were contacted in advance by a budding Romeo to ask if we could help him propose to his girlfriend during a game of Deadlock, by hiding an engagement ring in the briefcase for her to find. A risky move indeed, but luckily Games Master Hyde was on duty to assist.

“He subtly passed me the ring when he arrived, so I quickly had to go and lock it up in the briefcase while the group waited outside. But the problem was that during the game, the opposite team were doing much better and were in danger of stealing the briefcase and foiling the plan, so I had to manage it for the right team - indeed, the right player - to be the one to get their hands on the briefcase and open it at the right time.”

Thankfully, everything went to plan, and she said yes!

A battle royale ⚔️

Always a popular challenge for hen dos, stag parties, groups of friends and family, some people naturally take winning the prize very seriously. Normally there is one clear winner - a team who solves the final puzzle giving them the code they need for the briefcase - whether that be seconds or minutes before their rivals. However, Games Master Morph remembers a time where two of his rival teams solved the final puzzle at exactly the same time, resulting in a full-on tug of war between the two sides for victory. Thankfully there were no broken bones, just a few bruised egos!

A currying favour 💸

While some large groups that come in can be all bravado and banter, there are those who take a different approach to getting ahead. Many’s the time we Games Masters have been offered bribes to influence a particular outcome, but a certain group of musical theatre performers visiting for the Fringe tried to use their influence in a different way.

Clocking Games Master Sinatra’s alias name as Steve, the group aptly named their team “Team Steve”, while assigning themselves individual agent names, all “Agent Steve”. Not only this, but they made sure to be very quiet and give their full attention to the briefing (while posing dramatically) in an attempt to scoop the Teacher’s Pet award.

While cash is always nice, a bit of respect also goes a long way!

A spider attack 🕷️

Being an escape game expert, you often need to put your fears and inhibitions aside to be able to focus on the task at hand and escape in time. For Games Masters though, we rarely expect to face such challenges mid-game, unless there’s an unexpected invasion...

Just recently, what appeared to be a huge spider crawled onto one of our cameras during one of the games, making it a very uncomfortable experience for Games Master Dingo who was on the controls. As you can see, it’s quite disconcerting...


While Games Master Strange was unable to find the intruder shortly afterwards, thankfully Games Master Morph spotted Agent Spider the next day and showed it the door. A scary few hours at Can You Escape? HQ!

Everyone loves stats 📈

  • Since April 2016, we've run 1940 Deadlock games, but...
  • ... since most groups are split into two, we've actually welcomed 3266 teams!
  • Only five teams have escaped in less than 30 minutes
  • Deadlock has an overall escape rate of 49.72%
  • That makes our fastest ever escape time, 26:10, even more impressive!

We've had an absolute blast running Operation Deadlock over the years. We hope all of our agents, whether they joined The Agency or not, enjoyed their time playing and are looking forward to the next game CYE Edinburgh has to offer!

Escape Team Building