First time doing an escape room? Wondering what to do when it’s your first escape room? Already a seasoned player but could use some pointers? Here’s some advice from a game designer to help players enjoy the game more, and increase your chance of beating it!
Work as a team (but know when to split up)
When faced with a puzzle or task, the more eyes on it, the better. You’ll often find that one person may look at it in a different light and be able to provide some good insight into solving it. However know when to split up. If given multiple items at once, gather your team to examine them. If a player thinks they would excel at one part over another let them! But be sure to keep in contact with the rest of the team. Which leads us to the next important tip….
It isn’t just about talking to each other. It’s knowing what to share. When you find something, share. When you open something, share. If you have an idea about a puzzle, share. It’s also important to read clues and instructions out loud. Sometimes information may be hidden in the instructions themselves. When we read our minds have a tendency to filter out information to what it thinks is important. When we hear instructions read out loud, our brains filter our less of that information, and a key clue could present itself.
Think outside the box….
But don’t overthink! Many puzzles will have an unusual way to look at them to get a solution. So thinking creatively can help you figure out what is needed. However, keep in mind that most escape room games are designed for a particular audience, most for the general public. Unless you are doing a game specifically labeled as difficult or for enthusiasts, the puzzles will be designed so most everyone can figure it out. If a puzzle is stumping your group, take a step back and think, “What the simplest answer?” Then move on to more complex routes.
Manage your time
Most of the time you’ll have an hour to complete all your tasks. You may be tempted to rush through as quickly as possible. Rushing though can lead to a clouded mind. Work quickly in the beginning, but don’t rush yourself. Recognize when you’ve taken too long on a task, any more than 5-10 minutes and you’ve taken too long. If you can ask for a hint, do so when you’ve spent too much time on a puzzle. Keep in mind that the puzzles will probably get harder the further in you go, so if you have limited hints save a few for near the end. Lastly keep track of your puzzles to save time. Make two piles, one for things you still need to do, another for ones you’ve completed. This will save you a lot of time in the long run.
Of course the best advice is practice, practice, practice. The more games you play, the better you’ll get at them!