Nervous about your first escape room? Don’t worry, most of the time you’re not actually locked in. You can leave whenever you want, but it’s more fun to break out by solving the puzzles.
If you’ve never done this type of mystery room before, don’t worry. It’s not too hard, and you’ll have your teammates to help. Just in case you need them, here are some escape room tips for how to go about solving the puzzle in your one-hour time limit, without wanting to pull your hair out.
Every box, book, or item in the room could be a clue. Check under, over, behind and inside every possible item, unless it’s nailed down or attached to the wall. If you forget to open one tiny drawer, it could mean the difference between escaping and spending a very frustrating half-hour.
Leave no stone unturned.
Don’t leave your teammates behind. Make sure everyone can participate and that they’re feeling included. You don’t have to mother everyone, but don’t try a hostile takeover or ramrod everyone, either.
Say Everything out Loud
Announce whatever you find. Don’t talk over anyone, because that doesn’t help at all. But when there’s a break in the conversation, describe what you’re finding.
This way you can keep looking and listen to other people’s clues. It also helps others who are busy looking and don’t see what you find. You’re still letting everyone know about it.
Don’t Overthink It
Often an answer to a puzzle is simpler than you think. Rather than dreaming up more complex answers than the hosts did, put your energy into solving what they made for you. Trust them to lead you through it, because they’re good at what they do.
Do Multiple Puzzles at Once
Most escape rooms aren’t linear, which means several puzzle tracks happen at the same time. If you get stuck on one, it helps to leave it for a minute and think about something else. Work on another puzzle until you get another clue about the first one, or your brain can come back to it.
Sit Back and Let People Work
When you work as a team, most people will jump to work on things they feel confident about. It often means they play to their strengths. You want the people who are best at certain types of puzzles working on those specific ones, so don’t push in front of them if they seem like they know what they’re doing.
It’s also incredibly frustrating to have someone finish what you started, if you did all the work. Let whoever began the puzzle finish solving it, and give them the triumph of figuring it out. Don’t steal their thunder–it’s part of being a good teammate.
Don’t Guess Answers
Use your clues. Even if something seems random, you’ll have more luck using the clues you already have than guessing random stuff. It will also take fewer of your precious minutes remaining if you work it out, instead of forcing it.
One of the first rules hosts like those at Breakout Games tell you is not to force the puzzle. If something is nailed to the wall, it’s not a clue. The same goes for puzzles that aren’t making sense. Let the clues help you, instead of guessing random answers.
Team Building and Building Friendships with These Escape Room Tips
Using these escape room tips, your first visit to a mystery puzzle room should be a success. Even if you don’t break out, if you work together with your friends then the memories you make will be worth the time spent.
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