You’re in for an awesome time!
Apprehensive about your first escape room experience?
Have questions like how it feels, what you should (and shouldn’t) do inside the room, and how to win?
Then this is the blog post for you!
Drawing on our experience as Chicago’s best-loved escape room, we have collated a list of things you should know before playing an escape room.
What exactly happens in an escape room game?
Just so we're on the same page, an escape room is a real-world adventure that takes place inside a themed room.
You're assigned a mission that you have to accomplish by interacting with the space, solving puzzles and finding clues on how to proceed before time runs out.
Take our escape room The Bank. It’s based on a bank heist theme.
You'll be placed inside a game space that's been set up to look like the interior of an actual bank.
The scenario: You’re a team of thieves and your aim is to find certain diamonds that have been stashed away somewhere inside the bank by the manager.
The bank’s alarms have been disabled for exactly 60 minutes by an associate of yours.
Can you enter the bank, find the stash and escape before the alarms reactivate?
Wanna check out our other escape adventures? Head to our escape room games.
Features of the puzzle room experience that you should be familiar with
Deets like who an escape room is for and when is it a good idea to play.
Knowing this will help you plan an awesome escape room visit!
You aren’t actually ‘locked’ inside the room
While we occasionally do refer to teams being “locked” inside the game room, no escape room locks you inside. We certainly don’t.
Most rooms keep the entrance completely open so anyone can leave at any time.
Some rooms might close the entrance for atmosphere, but there’ll always be a “panic button” that will unlock it. Or, just holler for help - remember, your game master is watching over you!
* Please do note that our escape room The Prison is based on escaping a prison cell. There is a panic button to unlock the cell, but if you do press the button the game will be forfeited as the point of the game will be lost.
Look through our FAQs for some other facts about our escape room.
Escape rooms are for everyone
You just read what an escape room experience is all about, right?
Then, I think it's become clear to you that you don't need ANY special skills to take part.
Escape rooms are for everyone.
They aren't physically demanding, and don't require any specific knowledge to play.
All you need to do is keep your wits about you, keep your eyes peeled for clues, and remain calm even if you feel you're losing time fast.
It's a team experience
Yes, this is a major aspect of an escape room challenge - any good escape game will be designed to be a team experience.
Everyone on your team will have a role to play.
In fact, escape rooms are known to be very good as team building exercises.
If you can, try to bring a diverse mix of folks...like an artist, a teacher, a coder, a writer, a sales guy and so on, but don't fret over that.
Here are the most important reasons why an escape room is good for team building.
It's a good place for a date
Bored of the same old dating ideas? Then it's time you went on an escape room date.
It's certainly an experience neither of you will forget, and you'll certainly have fun working closely together to achieve a shared goal.
You can also double date with your couple friends.
Pro tip: Just don't make it a first date, as we've found that the pressure of a first date tends to spoil the experience.
Some mystery room do’s and don'ts (more of the latter)
While you should certainly have as much fun as possible during your mystery room adventure, there are certain rules you should follow to ensure a safe experience for yourself and others.
Don't break anything
This might seem weird advice, but you'd be surprised how frustrated players get in the heat of the moment.
Remember, you're doing an escape room, not a rage room.
Escape rooms are designed to be reset within minutes after one team finishes, to get ready for the next team. It's pretty obvious we don't want anything in the room broken or damaged.
On the rare chance that something DOES need to be destroyed (such as popping a balloon to get to a hint inside), it will be clearly communicated to you…and that object will be easily replaceable, like a balloon clearly is.
Don’t play around with the electronics
It’s not unheard of for players to pull out a screwdriver and start unscrewing lightbulbs and so on…particularly if they get frustrated.
Do NOT do that.
Playing around with electronics is dangerous.
Alcohol doesn’t enhance the experience
I think it's an established fact that alcohol muddles the mind and confuses the body.
Neither of which will prove particularly helpful at helping you win the mystery room adventure.
You need to remain sharp. A bit of caffeine may help with that, alcohol most certainly will not.
While no escape room is physically demanding, some may require you to do things like move through narrow passages, or crawl through a short door.
So, dress comfy, and wear easy shoes.
A few tips and tricks on winning an escape room challenge
The thing most first-timers want the most - the guide on how to successfully escape!
Here are a few tips you can follow.
Looking for an entire guide on beating an escape room? Watch this space!
Not everything is a clue
Some objects in the room are clues, some others are props, and the rest are just regular old things in the room.
Here's something to help you along: if accessing something is physically difficult, chances are it's not a clue.
Typically, clues will take the form of keys, images, hidden notes, riddles, locks and secret panels.
The number of ceiling tiles, on the other hand, is almost certainly NOT a clue.
This is something we see a lot of players at our escape room fail doing.
If you think you've uncovered a legit code, try it on everything you can.
Ask your teammates whether they see anything a code can be entered into.
But don't obsess
Some scenarios in which a code may not work:
It's just possible that what you think is a code actually isn't.
Or that you haven't deciphered it correctly.
Or that you are yet to discover the lock that requires that code.
So, double-check, but don't obsess. Keep the code aside (as a mental note perhaps) and proceed.
Don't put stuff into your pockets
Remember what I said about keeping a code or clue you can't use aside?
Do NOT...I repeat...Do NOT keep it in your pocket.
Keep it on a table, or carry it in your hand.
Once you pocket something, chances are that you'll completely forget you have it till time's up. You'll be short a clue and lose.
Listen to the game master
Whether it's your pre-game briefing, or it's your game master offering a hint during your adventure, listen to what they're saying.
Most good escape rooms (us included) train their game masters to understand how a team is doing, and offer hints only when they see a team falling very short, or getting frustrated.
Listen to what they're saying and act on it.
Use common sense
Here's an example: say you have a 5 digit code.
You've already worked out four of the digits.
For the fifth, just try it out from 0 to 9!
Provided you have the other ones correct, one of those 9 attempts will see you through!
Have a great time!
I keep referring to it as a “challenge” but an escape room is at its core a fun experience.
So, don’t worry too much about whether you can “win” or not.
Just lose yourself in the experience.
In addition to teamwork, “immersion” - the quality of making participants believe they really are in the middle of the adventure - is a key aspect of an escape room experience.
Be immersed in the adventure completely - you’ll have a much better time than constantly obsessing over how to win.
Have a post-escape celebration
Whether you escape the room or not, have a celebration afterwards.
Head to a nearby cafe, bar or restaurant with your team - the escape room itself will be happy to refer you to the best ones nearby - and share and relive the experience with your teammates.
If you play with us, here are some of Chicago's best restaurants for your post-game meet.
Featured image by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash.