Are you new to the world of puzzle adventures and need some helpful escape room tips? We not only regularly host games at our Co-Decode venue, we have also played about 80-odd games ourselves. And have made many unnecessary mistakes in the process!
If you want to avoid the main pitfalls, take a look at our little list below. There are lots of different tricks that can help with your escape, but I have narrowed it down to four key bits of advice .
Search, search, search
It’s such an obvious thing to do, but search fails are still one of the most common mistakes that get teams stuck. When entering a room or a new space, make sure to check for anything you can open, move or look behind. Don’t force anything (if it doesn’t move easily it probably isn’t supposed to!) but be thorough. It is better to set a few minutes aside and do this properly rather than rushing through, because it will save you so much time later.
Searching will not only prevent you from missing that one piece of information or equipment that is crucial to solving a puzzle. It will also give you a valuable overview of everything that is available to use in the game. Even if you can’t employ the item right away, it’s good to have it at the back of your mind in case you need it later.
Team work makes the dream work
Yes, it does! And not only in the sense of working together. Sometimes the actual opposite is the case. You will need to split up and work on different challenges simultaneously in order to escape in time. But working separately also requires good teamwork. Make sure to communicate with your team members, let them know which objects you have already used. Because in most escape rooms each object has only one purpose. Tell your team mates what the solved puzzle has given you … it might be the code, object, clue they need to crack theirs!
Try to organise
Usually, there is a lot going on in escape rooms and you end up with stuff lying around everywhere. If you’re playing as a larger group and splitting up, it can be very helpful to create a discard pile. Agree a location beforehand, so everyone is on the same page. Once you have used an object, put it on that pile to let your team members know that this object is not relevant to the rest of the game. This can save a lot of time und potential frustration.
Also, once you have used a key to open a lock, keep it in that lock. Otherwise someone else will find it, get excited that they found a key and try it in every possible location – only to realise that it won’t open anything new.
Keep calm and have fun
Escape rooms are timed experiences in which you typically have 60 minutes to solve your way out. This might seem daunting and can put a lot of stress on some people. But remember: escape rooms have a game master to help you with clues if you get stuck and you are not on your own, your team members can help out too.
Stay calm and take a strategic approach. If you can’t solve a puzzle, don’t panic. Instead, take a step back and reconsider. Do you have everything you need? Is it helpful to note down what you are doing to keep track? What does the puzzle want you to do? Perhaps re-read the instructions. And, if you are still stumped, ask your team members or swap tasks. The best way to escape is to keep calm, enjoy the experience and don’t try to rush through. It’s all about the fun after all!