We’ve collected our top 11 + 1 escape room tips and tricks that we’ve seen are working the best to exit the rooms successfully, in time. The tips can be broken up into five categories: make a team, work together, manage puzzle items, be comprehensive, and solve puzzles efficiently.
Tip #1. Play with friends or coworkers (if possible)
Book the whole escape room for your friends or coworkers if you can, instead of letting strangers join your game. Especially for large-group games, teams work better when there’s a common context for communication. It’s not fun for a group of 20-somethings to play with a family bringing their kids, the play styles will clash when teamwork is required. This clash is infrequent but can happen if you’re unlucky.
Tip #2. Pass the baton
If you’ve been staring at a puzzle for too long and can’t figure out the solution, enlist a fellow team member to help or take over on the puzzle. This helps make sure that puzzles don’t get forgotten, and that there are enough eyes on each unsolved puzzle. This can continue until a few people can’t figure it out – that’s usually a sign that you don’t have all of the information yet (or that you need a hint!).
Tip #3. Listen to your teammates
Escape room teams function best when they try everything. So if your teammate has a crazy but somewhat reasonable idea, listen to them and try it with them! If you think it’s a bad idea, still encourage them to try it nevertheless. As long as the crazy idea is reversible, it might just move you closer to the final solution. At the very least, it will be fun!
Tip #4. Yell out loudly what you find
This tends to be fairly chaotic but very effective. Escape room games are won and lost based on how quickly two team members who found related items can match them together. This includes things like a code and a key, a key and a lock, or a pattern that appears the same way in two different places.
Tip #5. Work on what other people aren’t working on
This helps spread apart your team and have each team member be maximally effective. There’s a tendency to dismiss or skip over some puzzles that are “too hard” to do at first glance. This leaves some puzzles forgotten and undone until someone realizes that they’re needed.
Tip #6. Don’t “clump” around the same puzzle
Be a contributor to a puzzle and not a spectator. It’s too easy to be a spectator when interesting progress is being made on a puzzle, but people are more effective when they’re spread out and working on what needs to be done! If there’s only one puzzle open however, by all means let the whole team brainstorm!
Tip #7. Organize objects neatly
This helps keep the room tidy, so you can find what you need. This also lets you keep together related objects, so you can find all of them right when you need them. Some examples:
- Stack related books together
- Spread apart an important piece of cloth
- Place loose objects on the table on the room
- Put all unused keys together in a central location
Tip #8. Search the room thoroughly
Be extremely thorough when looking and touching everywhere, as if you were painting the room rather than as if you were just looking for where you put your phone. Sometimes key objects can be in the most exotic (or non-exotic) of places, like:
- nestled on the 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
- placed on a ledge high on the wall
Tip #9. Divide and conquer to search
At the very beginning of each game, split the room into sections and assign different people to comb through each section, looking for objects of importance. This helps make sure that the room is thoroughly inspected, and helps prevent the case where certain areas are overlooked and certain other areas are repetitively combed over.
Tip #10. Listen to your host
Listen to the intro and rules by your game master – your game master might slip some helpful hints at the beginning that will save you a lot of time. This applies to the hints that they give in-game too, especially if they are live action actors. All of the staff in-game will try to nudge you in the right direction
Tip #11. Know what to ignore
This is best gathered through experience, but here are some common things that new escape room players discover that are almost never important to the escape room.
- Random numbers written in black marker on old books or furniture – This is usually just artifacts left over from when the game master purchased the item.
- Power outlets – Don’t mess around with power outlets, unless its clear that you should. This is both a safety issue and a waste of time.
- Drop ceiling tiles – Never try to look behind a drop ceiling tile or touch the ceiling. It’s a waste of time and also a safety issue.
Tip # +1. The Eternal Truth: Look at the broader picture
Don’t get too stuck on any one individual puzzle. Have at least one member of your team keep track of the larger picture, which involves figuring out what smaller puzzles need to be done, what final objects need to be collected, or what final objective needs to be done. This sometimes allows you to just skip over the smaller steps.
Good luck and Enjoy your future games and exits!:)