3 tips for escape room success

February 17, 2017

 

Want a better shot a escaping your next escape room? You've come to the right place.

 

I've not only created rooms of my own, but also experienced plenty of others. These have ranged from simple rooms filled with secondhand furniture to Hollywood-caliber sets that make you feel like you've traveled somewhere magical.

 

But they all have the same core; they're all filled with puzzles you need to solve. So here are three tips that will help you succeed no matter what kind of room you're in.

 

Don't overthink

Every puzzle is different, and some are definitely more complicated than others. That said, players commonly trip themselves up by overthinking clues that have very simple applications. For example, in Trapped in a Room with a Zombie, I'm not spoiling anything by revealing that one of our clues is a fishing pole. And what do you do with a fishing pole? You fish with it, of course.

 

But that doesn't stop some players from trying to feed the hook sideways into spaces where it obviously doesn't go, or even from trying to hook the fire-alarm wires that stretch along our ceiling. (It's an old building.) Granted, it's hard to think clearly when there's a zombie nipping at your heels, but you get my meaning: Always look for the logical answer.

 

Don't be quiet

The main reason groups fail to escape is failure to communicate. It drives me crazy when I observe a really smart player solve a puzzle, then move on to something else without notifying the group. That means others are going to waste their time investigating that same puzzle, or wondering what the outcome was if it's obvious it was already solved.

 

So, repeat after me:

 

"Hey, I got this lock open!"

"Hey, did someone write this down?"

"I found a clue!"

 

In other words: If you find something, say something.

 

Don't give up

It's easy to get frustrated and want to quit, especially if you're running low on time. But here's the thing: You might be just one step away from escape and not realize it. Or there might be just one more clue between you and success.

 

In Trapped, we see this all the time: The group has 60 seconds left on the clock, and someone says, "Well, that's it." But they're literally missing just one piece of the puzzle, and that's all they need to retrieve the key to freedom.

 

So keep going! Look in places you haven't looked before. Communicate with your group. (Maybe somebody already solved that last puzzle and didn't tell anyone.) Don't give up!

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