Escape rooms are exciting and fun, and even more so when your team is prepared for the challenges. Escaping the room in time requires teamwork, communication, and just a little bit of prep to give your team the best chance at success. Here are seven tips to maximize your chances of beating any escape room game:
1. Ask The Right Questions
Obviously you can’t know the room itself before you enter it, but you can ask the right questions of the game masters before going in. How many hints are available? Are any items intended to be used more than once to solve puzzles? What things can we safely ignore in the escape room? Each room in a location may vary, so it’s important to get all the information possible before playing.
Chances are most members of your group will fall naturally into a role that they’re good at when the timer starts. Some are diligent searchers, some like to work physical puzzles, some like to take stock of item and clue inventory, and some fall into leadership roles where they prefer to organize and manage. If a leader emerges (usually someone with prior escape room experience) or you elect one, have them delegate tasks to everyone so you don’t have more than one person at a time working at a clue. Even players who don’t seem to know what to do can be tasked with finding a clue or working on a specific puzzle. Don’t let their potential efforts go to waste by leaving them idle!
We can’t stress this enough. Communication among team members is key to beating escape rooms. If someone finds a clue, they should let everyone know as soon as possible. Some rooms are large, with multiple clues and puzzles all around. Something seemingly unrelated on the far left side of the room may be crucial to solve a puzzle on the other side of the room, and the only way to know that is if everyone has all the information.
Don’t just leave clues where you found them. Keep stock of all items and clues found, and if they’ve been used. This prevents having to do things twice, or forgetting about a clue found earlier. If you have someone who wants to be the inventory manager, even better.
5. Time Boxing
While it’s true you should generally ignore the clock to avoid stress under pressure, you should also time box your efforts to solve one puzzle in a room with many of them. If you’ve been stuck on a puzzle for 5 minutes, give it to someone else to try or move on to something else. There’s a chance you may not have all the information necessary to solve it yet!
6. Examine Everything
When you find a clue, examine it carefully. Read everything. There’s a reason for every object in the room, and that goes double for text and numbers. Don’t just take the overall meaning of it; look for misspellings, out of place characters or symbols, and colors.
7. Don’t Overthink It
While escape games are meant to be challenging, they’re also meant to be solvable in 60 minutes, with only what knowledge is available in the room. If Morse code is used, the cipher will be provided. If there’s a clue written in French in the room, chances are you won’t need to speak French to use it.
Share these tips with your group and you’ll have a serious competitive advantage when attempting an escape room.