Are you about to embark on your first room escape adventure?
If so, most likely a friend has manipulated you into doing this and you have no idea what to expect. Your friend promised you it would be "soooo much fun." But then they muttered something about being "locked in a room." This of course triggered an immediate panic attack and a quest for answers. Now you find yourself frantically googling "what is an escape room?" You are desperate to know: what have you gotten yourself into?
Never fear! Here is our advice to you, Escape Room newbie:
1. Stop panicking and breathe. This is also the first thing you will want to do when the clock begins ticking in your escape room. Avoid running around frantically and keep your voice at a normal speaking level. Stay calm my friend and we will get through this.
2. Stop googling. It won't help you. The knowledge from google is vast but the experience of the escape room is unique to the time and the place. So relax and use your own wits and intelligence. You got this! We believe in you!
3. Focus. As soon as you step into that escape room and the clock begins ticking, stay focused on the goal of finding hints and solving puzzles. Scour the room, search for anything that might be a clue. If you don't know what you are doing that's okay, just keep looking.
4. Communicate. As you locate hints and puzzles, place them in a central location and communicate your findings to the other players. Do not put anything in your pocket or ignore its existence. See something, say something.
5. Sort the clues. If you have scoured the room and believe you have found everything, begin grouping the information. If this is a multilinear room, there may be several puzzles to solve. A mostly linear room tends to have one puzzle that leads to the next in a logical, linear fashion. Multilinear rooms may have multiple starting points. Group similar items together. If you believe it belongs to the same puzzle it most likely does. Start sorting what you have found and communicate your thinking to your group.
6. Note the types of locks that you have found in the room. It helps to vocalize this as well to other players. So you might say "I found a four number lock over here" or "this box has a color-coded letter lock." This information helps after you have sorted the puzzles to begin thinking about what locks might be connected to what puzzles. If you think you know what locks are associated with what puzzles, share your thoughts with the group and if possible move the lock near the puzzle.
7. Solve the puzzles. If there are multiple puzzles and multiple players, we usually begin by asking people if they are familiar with this type of puzzle or feel like they can solve it. This allows people to volunteer to use their strengths to help the team out. So if I, for example, feel very confident with riddles, I might say "I'll work on this one." Then the other individuals can either choose to help out if they feel like they might be able to or better yet, they can move on and begin working on another puzzle. This is especially effective for larger group sizes. If you are playing with smaller groups, you still want to divide up and begin working on separate puzzles but you may find yourself working on a puzzle that is quite challenging for you. If that happens and you don't know how to solve it, acknowledge this. Your partner may be willing to switch puzzles with you. It is quite possible that a fresh perspective could help. Communicate what you have tried before passing the baton though in order to avoid wasting time trying the same idea.
8. If you are at a loss for what to do, do something. Never, ever give up. If you don't know how to solve a specific puzzle, switch puzzles. If you still feel lost, start looking around the room again for missing clues or anything that might help you out. Don't distract those that are actively working on solving a puzzle. Make yourself useful.
9. Don't watch the clock. It's a waste of time, literally. Also, please don't be the person who frantically shouts out how much time is left. Everyone knows they are running against the clock. Pointing that out just adds stress and detracts people from focusing on solving the puzzles.
10. Save the long-winded stories for later. You have a very limited time to escape and get out of this room. You can tell all the stories you want when it is over and have plenty of time to laugh and enjoy the reflection on your experience. Most of the individuals we have been teamed up with who insist on chatting have added little to the experience and in fact have slowed us down or derailed our effective attempts to escape in their quest for attention. Don't worry! At the post-escape festivities you can tell us all about how amazing you were. In the meantime, there are puzzles to solve.
Finally, don't forget to enjoy the experience! You will feel stressed and you will be at a loss for what to do next at some points in the game, but please don't have a mental breakdown. Relax, this is fun. Really, truly it is! You are going to have a blast. You will escape the room in the end (either by solving puzzles or by running out of time). You will have something to talk about for a long time after. We escapologists love escape rooms. We know that if you follow our simple guidelines, you will become escape room addicts too!
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Cover photo taken at Countdown Live .
We are escape room fanatics who have played over 370 games in the U.S. and Europe. We love the art of escapology and we wanted to share our adventures in playing room escapes with you!
Rooms Played: 370