How to Beat Escape Rooms
It’s All About Strategy
If you’re ready to think a little harder on the topic of solving escape games, let me give you some tips after working through a few dozen escape rooms.
- Choose your group wisely! Escape games come in varying difficulty levels and you should make sure your group is up to the challenge. If you’ve decided to bring your friend Jim who commonly has conversations with trash bags while making shadow puppets on the wall in a room without shadows, well you’re probably not going to do so hot in that escape game.
- Always ask if the escape game is linear. In addition, ask if clues are reusable. You should always ask these two questions at the beginning of every escape game. If the escape game is not linear, it usually means that two groups of people can be solving different puzzles at the same time. If the clues are reusable it generally means you will have more potential solutions then typical escape games.
- Organize your used clues! Before you enter the escape game ask the staff if clues can be reused again. In most escape games clues will only be used once and this makes things easier. Solving escape games are partially about the elimination of those things you don’t need. Designate an unused place in the room and pile all your discarded and used clues in that location. By doing this, you won’t have to waste your precious time rummaging through clues that no longer matter.
- Designate roles! When you go into an escape game you should designate a few people to be clue-finders (a job that will decrease in usefulness as the escape game goes on) and that can switch to puzzle solving later on. Designate a leader (usually this happens organically anyway) and just understand that if two people are solving a puzzle and working down a logical path, the other people should be scouring the rooms for the next potential clues or things to do.
- While bringing four or five people may be great, bringing 10 may be a bit overkill in simplistic rooms. If the puzzles are linear, then only one puzzle can be solved at a time. Having more than four people attempting to solve the puzzle at the same time can be counterproductive and cost you minutes that you don’t have. Pick the right group size for the right escape room and you’ll get more out of it.
- If two people are stumped on a puzzle, put those people on another puzzle while two other people give that original puzzle a try. The benefit of having many people in an escape game is simply due to the different perspectives that each player has and the manner in which they attack the problems in different ways. If everyone thinks the same, everyone will try the same solution and creative puzzle solutions go unnoticed. Play to your strengths by adding diversity into your escape game groups.