Having had the benefit of watching many groups go through our rooms, it’s been interesting to see the difference between the teams that are successful and the teams that are not. Here are 5 tips to keep in mind when playing…
- Obvious clues are there for a reason. It may seem like it need not even be said, but a lot of groups will see a clue, know that it must be there for a purpose, but then ignore it if they can’t figure it out right away. Generally speaking, a clue that is immediately visible in the room is probably part of the early game and there’s a good chance you’ll need to solve the puzzle before you get too far along. If you’re not getting the puzzle, enlist the help of your teammates and see what you can come up with. It’s OK to set aside a task for a time if you’re not getting anywhere, but know that you can’t ignore it for long or you’ll likely find yourself dead-ended and time-short.
- Don’t travel as a pack too much. It helps to break up into pairs and have different people working different parts of the room or different puzzles. It also helps to switch it up a bit and let other teammates work on puzzles you’re not getting. But when groups stay together as a pack for much of the game, they often find themselves running out of time, or have several members of their group standing around watching.
- Communicate well and often with your teammates. If you’re following the previous advice and breaking into smaller groups of twos and threes, it’s important to be communicating with the rest of your team, filling them in on the items and puzzles you find. It’s common for one clue to relate to another. If you are struggling to make progress, talk it out with your team and brainstorm.
- Manage your time clock and your hints well. We will provide hints when asked, but not if you are making progress. There is no sense of accomplishment if you “hint” yourself through a room. Our Game Masters are watching and listening while you play. If you are doing well, you don’t need to ask for a clue (you can ask, but it may not arrive right away). Likewise, if you hit a dead-end and going nowhere fast, ask for a hint.
- Think boldly, but play gently. Just like an elevator will not arrive faster by pushing the call button harder, a lock will not open by yanking on it. Locks and props either work… or you don’t have the right code or combination. If you think you have the right solution, let another teammate try – each lock has a unique mechanism, but none respond well to force. Don’t over-think, but do re-evaluate. Look for items or objects that have not yet been used. But be realistic. A chair is just a chair; the manufacturer’s label on the bottom is not going to be a clue.
Using these tips can make a big difference in the success or failure of your team. Remember, escape rooms are meant to be fun, not overly frustrating. It’s all about the experience – and not the win – for you and your team. But that’s no reason not to try to play a better, smarter game.