The Escapement Guide to Escape Rooms – Part I

Wanna beat the missions here at The Escapement Margate, and elsewhere as well? Here’s what you must know…

He who prepares, wins.

Well, alright, maybe that wasn’t exactly what Del Boy told Rodney, but that line sure sounds like it makes a whole lot of sense, doesn’t it?

And we must always take heed of words that sound like they make sense.

And that is why we at The Escapement Margate decided to bring out this handy little guide on how a debutante at this sort of thing (escape games) can master the art of the escape, beat the clock and WIN.

To begin with, let us see what you can do in the days leading up to your escape room visit.

Start thinking in terms of ‘we’ and not ‘me’

An escape mission is a team effort, period.

In fact, escape rooms are known to foster team spirit and used liberally by firms in team building exercises.

So, if you want to win, eschew any thoughts of personal glory.

At the global escape room championship organized by Red Bull Mind Gamers, every game in every round required a team effort to win. Team effort is that important.

If you try to fight for personal glory, not only will you not be able to make it out in time, you may be the one blamed.

Now, this might sound obvious, but, believe you me, once you’re inside that room and the clock starts ticking, common sense and ‘obvious’ go out of the window.

Start thinking analytically and innovatively

Analytical and innovative thinking are part and parcel of a winning escape room strategy.

For example, take the global escape room championship organized by Red Bull Mind Gamers.

One of the rooms in the final round contained a very comfortable chair in front of a mirror. For sitting, you’d think, right?

Nope.

As it turned out, sitting in that chair, you’d be able to observe a mirror image of something – and that mirror image came into play subsequently.

Now, this is a rather extreme example of analytical thinking.

  • What is special about a mirror? It gives you a mirror image, which is a flipped version of the real life object.
  • And the fact that there’s a chair in front of the mirror implies that the game setter wants you to look at the mirror.
  • And if there’s a particular pattern you can see in the mirror, chances are that’s what will come into play rather than the other random objects you see in the mirror.

BTW, if you want a whodunit where seeing things in mirrors plays a major part, try to catch the movie ‘Deep Red’ by Dario Argento.

Moving on, that same global escape room championship saw a very good example of creative thinking in the final round by one of the teams.

A number of cylinders had to be arranged in some order. One of the teams stacked up the cylinders on the floor and arranged them in order very easily.

This was not even planned by the game creators. The team in question thought this up on their own. And that’s a remarkable example of thinking out of the box.

So, the days roll by. And, finally, the Big Day arrives.

You and the team meet up and head on to the escape room nicely ahead of time.

Is there anything you can do while you’re waiting your turn?

Be positive

Don’t fall into defeatist thinking or stress yourselves out.

Be positive and aim to win.

Make sure everybody knows everybody else

Depending on whether the escape room does public or private bookings, you may or may not be paired up with other teams.

In either case, ensure you’re all on first name terms.

Knowing who’s who is very important once you’re in the escape room since you will need to call out to each other to coordinate your efforts.

‘Hey, Sam!’ sounds better than ‘Oi, red shirt’, don’t you think?

Select a team leader

A team leader is indispensable in making decisions and guiding the team. You should select someone leader before heading into the escape room.

In many cases, someone starts become leader-ly on their own, giving pep talks and assigning roles.

If nobody’s doing that, select someone agreeable to the entire team as leader. Remember, you need genuine strong and stable leadership.

Split up into teams

Most escape rooms tend not to have labels mentioning the starting point and how to proceed.

That’s why it’s crucial for people to fan out across the room and look for starting points.

And to explore the room in a short time, you need to split up into teams.

Remember who’s skilled in what

Once you identify the nature of a particular puzzle/task (whether it’s a word game or math-based or involving pattern recognition), it would be good if you know which person in your group is the best at that and accordingly ask them to perform that task.

This kind of coordination is generally handled by the team leader.

And those are the tips and tricks you can adopt to maximize your chances of winning an escape room game.

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