Escape Rooms are a unique experience, so that means there’s no way to prepare for them, right? Wrongo! Despite the efforts we take to put people in unfamiliar situations, there are always repeated elements that you can recognize to give you a hint towards the next step.
There are also super in-depth techniques that few human beings can master like looking for things with your eyeballs and talking to your teammates. We kid, of course, but skills like being observant and communicating can fall by the wayside when tensions run high.
Use these Escape Room tips in addition to some less intuitive ones to really feel like a genius the next time you encounter an Escape Room.
- Turn the Whole Room Inside Out
We ask only a few things of our guests, one of which is to not physically break any of the items in the room. (Those cost money, ya know!)
Outside of that, we encourage our participants to do anything they feel they need to in order to get closer to the next step. See if the pictures move. Open up all the drawers you can. Look under objects. Flip through the books. As dedicated as we are to scenery, few things are placed in a room for their aesthetic value alone. Chances are, if it’s not bolted down, it’s something we were hoping you would pick up, move or look under.
- Don’t Get Bogged Down
One issue we see is that groups get too fixated on a particular detail when they should still be hunting for other clues, hints and leads. A great solution is to multitask, assigning some in your group to bang their heads against a puzzle (not literally, please!) trying to solve it while the rest hunt for more clues. Any time you feel like you found a dead end, there is often something else you could be doing or potentially an outside solution to the puzzle you have in your hands. Or it could even be a red herring!
If nothing else, taking a break from an element that is frustrating you can give you the clarity you need to discern a solution. These “ah-ha!” moments work best under lateral thinking, so take a few steps back to gain a new perspective, or at the very least empty out some drawers you missed.
- Talk to Each Other, but Also Listen!
Communicating with the rest of the group is key. If you find something that might be a clue, announce it! If you feel like you are close to a solution but need some input, ask your teammates for their thoughts. Not communicating will almost certainly doom you to fail, whereas engaging with one another can make you smarter by magnitudes.
Speaking of which, the “divide and conquer” approach works better than if everyone in the group fixates on one puzzle at a time, so split up into smaller teams to get more done.
Also, make sure to listen to one another and encourage input from the more docile minds in the group. The loud, assertive leader-type may not always have the right answer, so take turns soliciting input and see what comes out.
- Be Patient, and Be Positive
You only have a limited amount of time to complete your goal. Wasting any second of that time feeling negative only hurts your chances.
In fact, enthusiasm goes a lot farther than sheer brain power. As one veteran Escape Room worker told Lifehacker Australia: “I see intelligent teams come through all the time, and there’s no correlation with success. Most games are built without necessary prior knowledge, so your degree in cryptography or your Grand Master Chess skills are actually putting you in danger of overthinking the puzzles. What absolutely does correlate positively is a fun, enthusiastic attitude.”
So enjoy what you are doing, make the most of every second and encourage your team members when they seem like they are on a roll.
- Don’t Be Shy About Asking for Hints
Some people equate asking for help or a hint to admitting defeat. However, defeat only comes when the clock hits 0. So, don’t be too proud or afraid to ask for a hint, we give you four of them for a reason!
Any time you spend more than 5 to 10 minutes on a dead end, that could be a good moment to ask for a hint. Even if you feel like the solution was obvious and you should have maybe held out, a hint can give you the momentum you needed to plow through more difficult puzzles ahead.
- Escape Room Tips Are Great, but Practice Makes Perfect!
Many people don’t know this, but the original inspiration for Escape Rooms came from online point-and-click puzzle games. Trying out a few could just put you in the right mindset to decipher clues and determine where the creator intended you to go next.
Another way to practice is to simply come to our Atlanta Escape Rooms all the time! With multiple rooms and evolving themes, you have tons of chances to try something new and get better at escaping.