Escape Room is a physical adventure game where players enter a room where there are puzzles and riddles that they have to solve using hints and strategy before they can reach the main goal, which is to escape. The idea is to unveil the secret plot that leads to their goal, but they have to do it within a set time limit.
While escape rooms are exciting and good for team-building, they can be seriously mind-boggling. On your next adventure, remember the following:
1. Work as a team but don’t bunch.
This is no more than basic advice but there’s a catch if you use it in an escape room. Well-designed escape adventures typically pull a fast one on players by dispersing different parts of the same puzzle inside the room. Hence, each member of your group should be looking around for clues rather than standing around a few. The usual scenario is that when somebody finds something, everybody rushes to it, and at that moment, they start to fail.
2. Announce it.
Every time you see a good clue, let everybody know. Early on, it’s not even the puzzle you should be thinking of, but getting a sense of the plot. And each time someone calls out what they’ve seen, they put everyone else into the same boat. The most critical part of this stage is making sure that everyone is on the same track.
3. Humble yourself and be decisive.
When people are comfortable knowing they have an hour to solve the problem, they may dawdle during the first few vital minutes. By the time they realize you’re in trouble, it’s often too late to catch up with the piled up clues. Hence, that sense of urgency should begin right at the get-go.
Ask for hints if necessary, and no, that’s NOT CHEATING. Forget pride and ask as soon as possible, not when you have 5 minutes to go. Everyone wants to be a Sherlock, but those that want to win are more like Columbo – ask what you don’t know!
4. Think like an engineer.
Most escape room games are created by mechanical, software and electrical engineers, so put yourself in their heads when you’re out of ideas. Because almost everything you’ll find in an escape room is custom-built, there is a 99.9% chance that everything in it will be useful at some point. Take mental notes and be open to working backwards.
4. Think like an writer as well.
Yup, a writer. After all, what is an escape room if it has no plot? If everything is said and done and you’re still stuck, try thinking like a storyteller. Just picture out what might happen from the point of view of a narrative. Lit majors, it’s time to shine!