Are you ready for your first escape room excursion, but not quite sure what to except? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. Here are 11 helpful escape room tips to get you ready to puzzle:
1 – Plan, Book, and Keep Organized
First things first, you’ve gotta get your group together. Reach out to those you think would enjoy the experience, and then make sure everyone’s on the same page about date, time, place, and payment.
How do you communicate with your group? If you’re heading to an escape room with a large crew, you may wish to connect them in a labeled Facebook conversation or group text message to make sure everyone’s on the same page.
While we’re on the subject, you’ll want to sort out payment before you head into the room. When you’re booking your tickets, ask if everyone can pay separately or if you need to pay altogether. Have your friends Venmo you their amount (don’t forget tax!), or bring cash
Escape rooms also love when you arrive early! This gives your game master time to check you in, double check everything is ready to go, accommodate any special needs, and talk you through the rules and guidelines.
Your pre-puzzle time gives your group a chance to strategize about your ensuing adventure, or catch up on everyday life before you band together to try to save the world or rescue rare dragon eggs.
2 – Choose Your Puzzle Room Poison
What’s your favorite theme? Most puzzle rooms, including Trapped Puzzle Rooms, have several themes to choose from. If your life was a movie, what kind would you want it to be? Are you in the mood to infiltrate a villain’s lair, reclaim the wizarding world’s most powerful wand, crack the code in Spy Headquarters, or recover precious stolen art? With seven adventures and three locations across the Twin Cities, there’s a lot to consider.
3 – Assign Roles to Your Team
Everyone has a job to do in an escape room, even first timers. Is your friend a wiz at word scrambles? Your cousin have a knack for shooting Nerf guns? Have you memorized Morse code and use it to communicate with alien lifeforms? Great!
Tell the members of your group before you head into the room. Chatting through these hobbies or skill sets before you play can also alleviate some pre-puzzle anxiety people have when trying something new.
4 – Practice Puzzles and Research Symbology
Puzzle rooms can include any number of challenges, including
- Puzzles you physically arrange
- Patterned object placement
- Skill challenges (like “Simon”)
- Keypad or lock combinations
- Scattered clues
- Physical activity (hit a target with a dart)
It’s also important to consider the symbols in the room, so if you’re more of an abstract thinker, consider that before heading in.
Some puzzle rooms even use sound, tone, and color to convey meaning or provide contextual hints to participants.
5 – Wear Comfortable Clothing (Including Shoes)
Escape rooms and puzzle rooms may require someone in your party to reach, bend, stretch, crouch, or kneel in the room.
For the best experience, refrain from wearing clothes that can snag on outcropping tables, chairs, or other objects. Make sure you’ve got sneakers or other comfortable footwear. If you’re wearing a skirt, consider wearing leggings or biker shorts beneath if you’re concerned for modesty.
If you wear corrective lenses (glasses or contacts), don’t forget them! Your team will need your eagle eyes to find clues, patterns, riddles, and hints.
6 – Play to Win—But Also to Lose
Naturally, you and your friends want to win the escape room by solving the puzzle. But there’s also a concept in immersive game design called “play to lose” which means playing for the best experience, making sure everyone in your party is included and has the immersive experience they’re looking for.
You play for the best experience instead of the “win” result; you make sure everyone’s included and has an experience they’re looking for.
Don’t lose sight of your win, but know that playing to lose can result in a sense of satisfaction, even if you do not achieve your escape room objectives.
7 – Are We There Yet? Food, Drink, Bathroom Basics
Going into an escape room (especially a multi-hour one) is a bit like heading on a road trip with your friends. You can maximize your success by making sure your basic needs are taken care of beforehand. That means:
- Make sure you’ve eaten, so you don’t get “hangry” or distracted
- Ensuring proper hydration—no getting dizzy or thirsty!
- Giving yourself what you need—a modest amount of caffeine or alcohol might fit the bill.
Note that most escape rooms don’t allow food or beverage of any kind in the room itself.
While you’re waiting for your room to begin, take a moment and use the bathroom. Trust us, you’ll be glad you did.
8 – Consider Accessibility Needs and Call Ahead
Does anyone in your party have any accessibility needs? Folks who have trouble seeing in low light, friends with mobility issues, and party members needing to remain seated for most or all of the adventure must be accommodated.
Calling ahead ensures the facility is aware of the needs they need to meet and gives them time to prepare.
9 – Prepare for Maximum Exploration: Don’t Be Shy
The number one mistake most people make in escape rooms is that they don’t dive in and explore immediately. Things are meant to be pulled, pushed, and explored. Your puzzle room staff member will probably give you a hint or two.
It’s not the time to be shy: it’s the time to get the puzzle solved! If you can jump right in immediately, you’ll make the most of your time.
10 – Forget About Secrets
If you’re all on the same team, there’s no reason to hoard information. Instead, gather and share information and ideas throughout the event, using a central location in the room to amass clues.
Feel free to appoint a trustworthy leader to manage what you find, and a note-taker for writing down helpful information or working through complicated puzzles.
11 – Plan for Afters
In theater and live action role play (events adjacent to escape room immersive experiences), participants go for “afters.” That means hanging out and debriefing: talking about what worked, what didn’t, what surprised you, favorite and least favorite moments.
You won’t regret extending your experience over food and drinks, especially if you’re on an awesome puzzle room date.
Ready to Begin?
If you feel like you’re prepared, it’s time to contact Trapped Puzzle Rooms. We’re ready for your adventure, and want to help you succeed. Book today!