Designing Escape Rooms, CS 281 / IA 281

This is the official course website for Designing Escape Rooms, CS 281 / IA 281, co-taught by Peter Kallok and Ira Fay at Hampshire College in Fall 2018. Scroll down past all the videos for more course content. We added the press and video links after the course was concluded.


Hampshire College students design supervillain-themed escape room
Daily Hampshire Gazette, 12/4/18, Front page, above the fold!

Escape Room Course Brings Together Game Design and Theatre in Amherst (Q&A)
No Proscenium, 12/6/18, a popular Escape Room blog site that interviewed Professor Fay and Professor Kallok.

Students Design Escape Room Show To Puzzle Audiences
Hampshire College news, 12/3/18

Hampshire Promo Video (1 minute)

Trophy Room (Room 1)


Common Room (Room 2)

Common Room (Room 2) SPOILERS - PUZZLE WALKTHROUGH - Part 1

Common Room (Room 2) SPOILERS - PUZZLE WALKTHROUGH - Part 2

Control Room (Room 3)


Basic Info

The most important document for this class is the syllabus. It contains useful information, including the course schedule.

Class Sessions: Mondays and Wednesdays 10:30am - 11:50am, EDH Studio or Main Stage
Lab Time: Fridays 1pm - 3:50pm
Professors: Peter Kallok, (413) 559-6839, EDH 26, Ira Fay, (413) 559-6844, ASH 216,
Office Hours: Peter: Sign up digitally. Ira: A sign up sheet is available digitally.
Course Slack Channel: Hampshire Game Dev (sign up here, then click "Channels" on the left nav and choose #cs281)
TAs: Del Hanson,, (619) 578-8277. Alyssa Graham,


Due 9/12: Think of your 3 best theme ideas, and complete this survey. Read at least one more articles from the reading list.

Due 9/10: First two articles on the reading list.

Weekly Gameplay Project and Sign Up Sheet for Games With Ira and BGG Class Summary Page


Here is the full reading list. This list will grow over time, so please contact us if you find something worth adding.

Production Schedule

We (you!) will keep the production schedule updated to reflect our plans and reality.


Here is the folder where you can find slide presentations from class.

IP Policy

All work in this course will be governed by Hampshire's Intellectual Property (IP) Policy. Please ask Ira ASAP if you have any questions.

Additional Resources

We will include links to useful resources here.

Game making supplies

Card Maker resources

Previous Survey Links

Final Survey

Week 5 Check In

Theme Survey 2

Escape Room Visit Survey

Theme Survey

Welcome Survey

Bonus Info

Email Lists
First, ensure you're on the Hampshire Game Dev Slack, since we use that for a lot of information. In addition, for Game Development at Hampshire and in the Five Colleges, join the Game Development email list. You may also want to join the Game Jobs email list. In fact, you might just want to browse all the lists at Hampshire and find lists that appeal to you.

Game Gatherings
Play and analyze board and card games with Ira 1:30pm - 3:30pm on Thursdays. Contact Ira for more information. This can also satisfy CEL1 if needed.

Game Library
We are fortunate that the Hampshire library has an ever-growing collection of board games and digital games. Students, staff, and faculty members have access to this great resource. Please make use of it, and feel free to give feedback to Ira on your experience.

GlowLime Games
GlowLime Games is a student group focused on facilitating game development among students in the Five College area. They are an amazing resource, and anyone interested in game development should check them out. You can pitch your own ideas and/or contribute to other games.

Pioneer Valley Game Developers (PVGD)
The Pioneer Valley Game Developers (PVGD) meetup group is another great resource and community for game developers in the area.

The Quarters
The Quarters is an incredible arcade + restaurant. They have my full support, and their food is excellent and reasonably priced. If anyone beats Ira's high score on Arkanoid, please let me know.

Word Snack and Project IONA
These are two digital games made by Hampshire students, staff, faculty, and Five College members. Each game was made in a semester as part of the Interdisciplinary Game Studio course. Try them out!

Game Stores
For some projects or just general fun, it may be useful for you to be aware of nearby boardgame stores.