Got an escape room planned this week but feeling a little anxious? Don’t worry, we got your back! Are you trying to impress a first date? Or maybe you have to win to feel good about yourself (if that’s the case, you might also need to visit a therapist)? Whatever your reason for searching out “escape room tips” or “how to beat an escape room,” our guidelines can apply to any game out there. Compiled after observing thousands of enthusiasts and also playing hundreds of games ourselves, these are the 13 best tips to beat escape rooms.
Humor is a Must
Be able to laugh at your own stupidity. Don’t get mad if you get stumped by a puzzle or if you fail to escape. If you consider that every human being will eventually die, the meaning of life is to enjoy your experiences while you can.
Communicate Everything You Find and See
Remember that communication also involves listening to what others are saying. Encourage everyone in the group to describe what they are seeing and to be vocal about it. A clue might be meaningless to you but may help another person connect the dots.
Search (and look) Everywhere
Pick everything up and turn things over. Explore the room and look on all surfaces for potential clues. Remember to look low (floors) and also high (ceilings). Don’t be afraid to touch things or open items that you find. Although some props might be placed to distract, most items are probably there for a reason.
Delegate the Work
Since escape rooms are generally designed for groups, there will likely be multiple puzzles that can be worked on simultaneously. You can save time by splitting the group up to work on different puzzles. Or, if it’s a large room, you can start by searching different areas of the room for clues. If this doesn’t happen naturally, one person from your group will need to emerge as the leader.
Look for Patterns
Most escape rooms involve at least one or more instances where you’re looking for either numbers or letters to open a combination lock. What if you need four numbers to open a combo lock but you don’t see numbers anywhere? It’s possible that the other clues create some sort of pattern to help you arrive at a set of numbers.
Another common tactic among escape room designers is combining two clues to arrive at an answer. This could be a legend instructing you how to read a map or there may be two separate images on different walls that when combined, create a third, more meaningful message. If there aren’t a lot of things on the walls, you probably should attach more importance to the things that are there.
Put All The Clues In One Pile
When all your clues are in one place, the bigger picture begins to emerge. It’s also easier to see what you might be missing. This is a good strategy to prevent players from running around with a clue or a key without letting everyone else know that they found it. Making a separate “discard pile” is a veteran tip that helps teams stay organized. The second discard pile is for all the clues and keys that you have already used and do not need anymore.
No Idea is too Stupid
Stay positive and encourage all ideas. You never know what may or may not work. All rooms and designers are different and they all try to deliver a new and novel experience. Even if you’ve played a hundred escape rooms, this one may include elements you have never seen before. So it’s best not to assume that things work a certain way. Don’t shoot down someone else’s opinion because they’ll be less likely to speak up in the future. This may seem like basic people skills, but poor attitudes often get in the way of a successful escape.
Keep it Simple
If the answer seems way too complicated, it probably is. Clues are generally meant to lead you, not confuse you. If you need to write something down, the escape room will provide you with a tool to do so. If you’re not provided with any thing to write on, then you probably don’t need to memorize a super long string of numbers or characters either. If you see 50 different numbers, it’s extremely unlikely that you need to add them all together. There’s probably a bigger overall pattern at work. The best escape games are not trying to waste your time. Think of the most likely ways a puzzle could be interpreted and start from there.
Switch it Up
If you absolutely get stuck, don’t stick with the same thought process. Clear your mind and start fresh. Go back to the first clue you found, and go one-by-one through every single remaining clue. You might find something that you missed the first time around.
Listen to Your Game Master
Perhaps they are feeding you a clue when leading you into the room. Often people are so excited to get started that they tune everything out. Maybe the game master is just going over the boring rules or maybe he is giving some helpful advice. Either way, pay attention!
Ask for Help Sooner than Later
Sometimes it’s hard to tell how much more of a game is left. There could be a lot of puzzles left to solve, or the exit may be right around the corner. For those who are comfortable with asking for help, it’s better to ask as soon as you think you may need it. If everyone’s been standing around for more than a couple minutes with no progress, that’s a good time to ask for a hint.
Keep Calm and Have Fun
Remind yourself that it’s just a game and take a deep breath if you ever feel nervous. Stay positive and try not to get mad at anyone! Teams with great attitudes are the ones that finish. It’s very likely that you’ll forget everything you just read when you walk into the escape room. That’s okay. Excitement tends to do that to people. So, just remember to have fun.
We wish you luck in leading your team to success! You are now armed with the 13 best tips to beat escape rooms. Walk confident and go slay those escape rooms with your newfound knowledge!
Are you ready? Book your experience now!