This 16 minute video gives a good introduction to escape rooms.
An escape/puzzle room is a role play adventure played out in a themed room where participants solve puzzles and search for clues to find ways to work through the room to a hidden goal. The most common puzzle type yields a combination for a lock or the location of a key. Some puzzles are multi-stage, requiring a variety of talents from the puzzle solving group. It is an excellent way to build a team or allow friends to have a challenging, fun, and entertaining experience.
Our rooms are geared for adults with an easy mode for younger (teens) or beginning players. Younger kids are welcome to come with their grown-ups. Our kid room, Puzzle Pirates, is geared for 1st-5th graders.
All rooms are private. You will not be paired with strangers.
The puzzles are as diverse and creative as the puzzle masters who design them. Some borrow concepts from technology or history. Others are word puzzles. Still others are detective style conundrums. Puzzle solvers may expect to call on all of their senses, from touch to smell to taste. Successful teams often have a wide variety of personality types on them. One person might be a mathematics lover while another might be the kind who notices small details. There is certainly a place for a team member who supports and encourages the others.
An escape room, upon first entering, may seem overwhelming at first but if you approach it strategically you can achieve success. One strategy is to assign roles to each member of your team. There are several different roles but the most important are as follows. The Manager is the leader of the team. They keep the big picture in mind by directing other team members, keeping track of the time and acting as the communication hub of the group. They write down on paper what everyone has discovered and what clues and lock combinations have been used. Since there can be multi-stage puzzles, it is helpful to keep track of what has been discovered. The results of one puzzle might be critical to the solution of another one. The Searcher’s job is to scour the room for clues, looking in all possible hiding places and informing the manager of what they have found. This is a good role for younger players. The Reader is someone who can read and analyze all written materials that are found. The Thinker is the smart one in your group. They look for patterns. They are good at math, codes, or logic puzzles. They can focus on the more difficult puzzles and not get distracted by everything else around them. Worker Bees do most everything else, such as solving the easier puzzles, performing any physical challenges, moving objects or furniture and keeping all of the “stuff” organized.
These are just some of the roles. Your team may have a fair bit of overlap of responsibilities and that is okay. In any team, communication is vital for a positive puzzle experience. In order to have a satisfying experience, the team must function as an interconnected unit. Above all, there needs to be a sense of team spirit and a shared goal. The team will probably want to debrief after the escape room experience and develop strategies for being even more powerful in the next puzzle/escape room.
It is good to know in advance what kinds of locks are being used, and how they are operated. Most escape rooms have a clue-giving component. The team can usually ask the puzzle master for a hint if they are bogged down or running out of time. This leads to the next important strategy; pay attention to time. Sometimes there might be a fascinating puzzle that absorbs group members. Since the goal is to be entertained, this is fine. The team does not necessarily need to attain the final goal if they are having a good time with the challenges. After all, having fun is really what it is all about.