Make a Team
Tip #1. Play with friends and coworkers
Especially for large rooms, teams work better when there’s common ground for communication. A group in their 20’s may not work well with a family and their kids, their playing styles may clash when teamwork is required. This clash doesn’t happen very often but can be inconvenient when it does.
Tip #2 Play less than maximum team size
Playing with the maximum number of players results in
1) too crowded of a room,
2) too many people to work on clues,
3) fewer “aha!” moments,
4) additional time in getting everyone up to speed.
Tip #3. Pass the torch
If you’ve been struggling with a puzzle for too long and can’t seem to figure it out; let another team member help or take over the puzzle. This makes sure the puzzles don’t get forgotten, and that there are enough eyes on each unsolved puzzle. This should continue until a few people are not able to figure it out. At that point, that’s usually a sign that you don’t have all the clues you need, or you need another hint.
Tip #4. Listen to your teammates
Escape rooms function best when people try everything. Therefore, if your teammate has a wacky idea, but it’s somewhat reasonable, listen to them and see what happens. If you don’t think it’s the smartest idea, still encourage them to try it anyways. If their crazy idea is reversible, it might potentially move you closer to the final solution. At the very least, it will be enjoyable!
Tip #5. Yell out loudly what you discover
This tends to be somewhat chaotic but very useful. Escape rooms are won and lost due to how quickly two team members who found related items can match them together. This includes a code and a key, a key, and a lock, or even a pattern you recognize in two different sections.
Manage Puzzle Items
Tip #6. Keep used keys in their lock
A key is rarely used more than once. Therefore, leave it in the lock for your own peace of mind. There is nothing worse than finding the same key repeatedly to try and unlock different locks. However, there are times where a key may be used more than once.
Tip #7. Make a “discard pile.”
Separate the objects in the game into a “used” pile and an “unused” pile. This will help you avoid team members examining the same object twice. This also enables you to connect certain “unused” items by placing them in the same physical location.
Tip #8. Search the room in detail
Be extremely thorough when searching the room, as if you were painting the room rather than you just looking for where you put your phone. Occasionally key objects can be found in the most unusual places such as:
- Nestled on top of a bookshelf
- Hidden inside of a book
- Tucked in a coat pocket
- Behind the door of a cabinet
- In a secret compartment of the floor, wall, or shelf unit
- Stuck on a ceiling-supporting pillar
- Places on a ledge high on the wall
Tip #9. Divide and conquer
At the start of each game, split the room into sections and assign different people to search that section, looking for clues. This will help ensure the room is thoroughly inspected and helps prevent the case where some areas are overlooked.