Everyone has their own approach to escape rooms — but there are some common tactics and attitudes that go a long way towards improving your experience. Here are five escape room tips from games masters on what we look for in the best teams! Follow this advice to escape quicker, have more fun, and earn the undying goodwill of your games masters.
Don’t break the room
In general, escape room puzzles won’t require you to use brute force. If a puzzle does require some force, such a door that might need pushing hard, it’ll probably be labelled as such. Games masters reset the rooms ourselves, often in as little as 5-10 minutes — so as a general rule, if you’re taking a puzzle apart in a way that would take hours of complicated repairs to fix, it’s probably a sign that it’s not supposed to come apart like that! Whilst brute forcing your way into things might seem like it’ll save you time, it can actually slow you down later on! Skipping puzzles breaks the flow of the game, and can leave you with a bunch of unused clues further along. It’s infuriating to spend fifteen minutes solving something, only to find out that you’ve already forced the puzzle it goes to. Spare yourselves. Spare your games masters. Leave your screwdriver at home.
Remember what needs solving
It can get a bit chaotic inside an escape room, when you’re surrounded by people and puzzles all clamouring for attention. Keeping track of what you’ve already learned is one of the most useful things to do to ensure you’re making progress. Remember: puzzles will often have multiple components to them, and you’re not going to be able to use everything straight away. This means that we see a lot of teams notice something early on, get distracted when they can’t use it immediately, and then forget about it completely by the time it ought to come in handy! We recommend sorting items into ‘used’ and ‘unused’ categories, and remembering to revisit things you weren’t able to solve earlier.
Put codes in the right places
This is a common escape room pitfall. We see players solve puzzles correctly and work out the right code — only to fail at putting it into the lock. If you think you’ve got it right, but it doesn’t work right away, don’t instantly give up! Check to make sure that you’re lining the code up in the correct place, turning the handle the right way, or inputting your solution into the right lock. It’s worth taking the time to make sure you don’t accidentally abandon all your hard work.
Talk to the people you’re with
There’s nothing worse than solving a puzzle only to be met with a barrage of ‘Yeah, we already did that!’ from the people you’re with. Keep your teammates in the loop — make sure everyone knows what you’ve found, solved, or realised. This also comes in handy for preventing people un-solving the things you’ve already solved, changing codes or moving items that they didn’t realise were already in the correct position. Yell your genius discoveries to the room at large. The world must know. You’ve found a padlock! You’re smart, dammit!
Engage with the room theme and atmosphere
Most escape rooms will have a storyline or theme that goes along with your objective, and it’s almost always more fun to get engaged with the theme! Pay attention to the introduction to the room that your games master gives you, as well as any hints or seemingly innocuous chat: not only will they provide useful information, they’ll get you invested in the game. We also recommend wearing the silly hats or mad scientist wigs provided — it’s guaranteed to enhance your puzzle-solving ability (or at least make you look fabulous).