The movie Escape Room opens today in theaters, so naturally, I’ve got escape rooms on the brain.
For the uninitiated, an escape room is an interactive series of puzzles or challenges set in a closed space. The group needs to explore the room and complete various tasks in order to escape the room within the allotted time.
Escape rooms have exploded in popularity over the last few years, so it’s likely you’ve either already participated in one or at least heard of them.
But the idea of being locked in a room with a fixed time limit and an unknown number of tasks to accomplish can be intimidating or discouraging.
So today, I thought I could offer some helpful tips to get you going.
Whether it’s your first escape room or your twentieth, communication is always key. There’s a room to search, puzzles to solve, and tasks to complete, and everyone is going to have their own unique insights.
So speak up! Point out things you notice, keep everyone informed of what you’re doing or trying to do, and let people know if you’ve solved or discovered something.
And if you need help or you’re not sure about something, ask. It’s a team game.
Most of the escape rooms I’ve done usually give you a whiteboard and a marker or a notepad and pencil to take notes with. This is an incredibly useful tool in solving the room, because it lets you keep track of code words, number chains, and possible combinations for the various locks you’ll encounter. And once you’ve used a code to unlock something, you can cross it out so nobody wastes time reusing a code you’ve already figured out.
If there’s not some way to physically keep track, you can always ask someone to try their best to mentally keep track of which ones you have used or might need in the future.
There’s a lot going on in any escape room, so keep things simple by setting up two areas: puzzles in progress and puzzles solved.
Many puzzles or tasks you encounter in an escape room take time to fully form. For instance, you might get a keycard in one color, and not know what it’s for. But as you explore the room and solve a few puzzles, you find more keycards in other colors. Suddenly, you’ll find the use for ALL of them in a new puzzle. So have a designated place to keep things you find that you haven’t used yet. You’ll be glad you did.
Also, once a puzzle is complete or a clue is used, put it into your “puzzles solved” area. You don’t need extraneous clutter confusing you, and it’s a good way to discard solved locks, used keys, and other parts of the game you’ve completed in a way that won’t slow you down moving forward.
Doing so is also part of good communication, since everyone will immediately know what’s still in play and what’s been handled.
That should be enough to get you started, but if you’d like more advice, check out this terrific breakdown of more escape room tips that can make your solving experience more fruitful:
Whether you’re enjoying a friendly day of solving or tackling a monstrous challenge like the characters in the Escape Room film, these clues are bound to come in handy.
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