Escape rooms have become massively popular in a short amount of time. They build tension, challenge your problem-solving skills and form stronger bonds between you and your teammates. That’s why they’re used by everyone from groups of friends to work colleagues as there are plenty of benefits over and above the fun you have while you tackle the room.
The chances are you have an escape room nearby, and whether you’ve played before or want to try it for the first time, these 10 tips will help you to get the job done.
1. Understand the Nature of the Battle
You might have decided to take on an escape room for the challenge, to build group morale or any other applicable reason. Regardless of your goals, you and your team should always try to remember that the goal is to come out on top and leave the room. It’s the cunning and teamwork of the participants up against the creativity of the room designers. Multiple heads are often better than one, so if you can spot patterns or links, they can serve you well as you go forward.
2. Take an Interest in Everything
We’re not big fans of clutter in most rooms, but they’re an essential component of the challenge in an escape room. The most important consideration is that not everything is as it appears. Most props and furniture will stick to the theme, but you should never assume that something’s irrelevant without close inspection. Anything can happen as part of the story, and some room designers are more devious than others. Let’s just say that they’re often more than happy to do something to throw participants off the scent!
You must always remember that escape rooms become so challenging not only because of the layout and décor but also potentially due to a time limit. You might not be the only member of the team to read this feature, so remember to take charge and don’t make a habit of every player inspecting everything closely! Talk about what you find, ask for help and give it out in equal measure.
4. There’s No ‘I’ in Team
Your team may have voted on a leader or might have a de facto person that takes charge. If that’s you, make sure you don’t go on some kind of power trip. Escape rooms are fantastic for team bonding, but they can break those bonds just as easily! Even with a leader, it’s everyone’s job to perform to the best of their abilities, so ensure that you do so.
5. Make Use of the Game Master if Necessary
Some escape rooms leave people to their own devices. Staff at the venue only intervene if someone starts to panic and has to leave before their time is up. However, many designers are proud of their work and spend all day at the facility. They’re not all massively communicative, but most will offer tips and hints as requested. There might be a limit, so ensure that you don’t waste your opportunities.
6. Remember that Time Flies When You’re Having Fun
Keeping one eye on the clock doesn’t necessarily go hand in hand with fun and entertainment, but it can make a difference here. There are no guarantees that there will be a clock on the wall in the room. Even if there is, nobody can promise that it will say the right time! Don’t let the time distract you, but do ensure that a member of your group has the task of keeping an eye on the time so you know when you can take it easy, and when you might need to pick things up.
7. Play to the Strengths of Your Team
There aren’t many instances where a group of complete strangers tackles an escape room, so the chances are you have an idea of the strengths and weaknesses of your team before you go in. While it’s meant to be fun, success never hurts, and you have the best chance of coming out ahead when you use the skills and talents available for you. Get the person with the best eye for detail to investigate items and get the strongest to move bulkier items that might hide something behind them.
8. Draw on Past Experience
If you’ve done an escape room before, think about what helped you to succeed or led to failure last time. As creative as game masters can be, there are a few design tricks that are so good that they’re widely used. Of course, if you’ve done this specific escape room before, it’s best to keep that experience under your hat and to take the opportunity to wow your teammates with your incredible deduction skills!
9. Don’t Get Flustered
Sometimes, the game master might come out on top, and you’ll struggle to solve even innocuous puzzles. It’s important not to panic as if you’re using brainpower on worrying about not completing the room in time; you’re not using it on solving the issues you face. Try your best to be the team member that’s calm and patient, as even pretending that you’ve got everything under control can aid your colleagues in keeping things ticking over nicely.
10. Make a Mess
Assuming you’ve gone to a good escape room, the chances are that everything will be tidy and in order when you arrive. However, you’re not there to keep the place clean. Make as much mess as you need to as you seek to get things done and solve the puzzles. First things first, you should find a clear area of the room to allocate as a discard pile. If you pick something up and it doesn’t do anything, put it in a pile, so nobody else wastes time on it. Part of the game is that things are hidden away, so it’s your right to move them and do as you wish – just take care not to damage anything as you might be left with a bigger bill than you expected!