We know you really love escape rooms. So you probably know the more you do them the better you get. Fortunately for you, there are so many great escape rooms nearby. Though all escape rooms are different, the essentials are the same. And once you get into the swing of things, you know you can get escaping down to a science. Though most escape rooms have an escape rate of 15 to 30%, with these tips, guaranteed you’ll be an escape pro. Better start going to the escape rooms that offer bonuses for early breakouts—because you’re going to beat them all!
#1 – Bring the right people
Sometimes you can lose an escape room before you even get started. The people you’re escaping with are really key to a successful escape. That’s not to say that you should start rating all your relationships on a binary scale of “useful to me in an escape room scenario” and “dead to me,” but it does mean that you should think about your team before you get going. The best teams are made up of diverse minds. If you all think the same way, you’re going to be stepping all over each other solving the same problems—and no one’s going to solve that tricky clue none of you can make heads or tails of. Ideally you want a leader, someone with analytical math skills, and someone with great language skills. You’ll divide and conquer like pros.
#2 – Don’t overdress
You really can overdress for an escape room: leave the pearls at home. You might end up squeezing through secret passageways, climbing ladders, uncovering clues in crawl spaces. There is no such thing as a fancy escape room. Wear comfortable shoes and loose-fitting clothing. You really have no idea where the room will take you.
#3 – Start by searching the room—but don’t be a monster
As soon as the timer starts, you’re going to want to begin searching the room. The first puzzle you crack for every room is unique in that it’s the only one you have no clues to start with. Once you start finding clues and solving puzzles, one puzzle will lead to the next. For the first puzzle—all you’ve got is the room. So first: search everything. Pull out all the clues you can. But don’t be a monster. The gamemaster will usually tell you before you start, certain things will not contain clues. They are just part of the room. No reason for you to pull the electrical sockets out or go up the ceiling tiles.
#4 – Communicate, communicate, communicate
When you’re finding those initial clues, communicate! Yell out everything you find. You beat the escape room if you work together as a group with your pooled knowledge to quickly solve the puzzles. By constantly communicating, you increase the overall knowledge of the group and increase your chances of beating the game. You should keep communicating constantly throughout.
#5 – Be careful not to ignore the obvious
Once you get into the game you can get really caught up in the excitement of it all. Watch out for ignoring the obvious. These escape rooms are designed for everyone—so while the escape rates are under 30%, the puzzles do actually need to be breakable. Unless there is a specific reason pointing you to a more complicated solution, try the obvious one first.
#6 – Don’t overthink things
Related, don’t overthink the puzzles. These games are designed for everyone. So if you’re solving some space odyssey puzzle and just so happen to be an astronomer or an aerospace engineer—your sweet space knowledge is not going to help you. In fact it will probably hold you back and stop you from seeing the obvious solutions. See tip #5.
#7 – Don’t get hung up on puzzles you can’t solve
Sometimes you will get stumped. It’s not necessarily because the puzzle is unsolvable—sometimes you’re just not seeing it clearly yet. (See tips #5 and #6.) The good thing about escape rooms is there’s lots to be doing—you’ll often have two or three puzzles on the go that you can be solving. Change tacks, switch puzzles, chances are the answer will come to you via another route. Just don’t keep hacking away at a puzzle that has got you stumped. It’s a race against time so keep moving.
#8 – If you’re really stuck, take a step back
Think about it from the gamemaster’s perspective. This isn’t really an evil doctor’s lair—this is an escape room. It was designed by a person and there is a solution. Everything that’s in the room is in there for a reason. Don’t get hung up on all the decoration. Think to yourself, why would this be here? Why was it put in this position? If something feels like it must be relevant, that’s probably because it is. Clear your mind and the answer will come to you.
#9 – Let yourself have fun
Sure it’s a race against the clock—sure you need to escape or your ego will be forever bruised. But really, this is a game and it’s supposed to be fun. If you escape every game without fail—but alienate all your friends in the process, you’re really not doing it right. Remember to have fun and let the experience take you where it’s going to go. That’s the whole point!
#10 – Be prepared to celebrate after
Make sure you’re got your post-escape location scoped out. Win or lose, you’re going to want to go out with your friends and debrief. We guarantee, even if you don’t escape, you guys will have a lot of laugh about after. People do some really funny things in escape rooms!
With these ten tips, you’ll be well on your way to being an escape room expert. You can fine tune your escape room strategy until you’re blue in the face—but our recommendation is to pay attention to tips #9 and #10 the most. If you’re not having a good time, you’re not doing it right. Check out the escape room nearest you!
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