The Escapement Guide to Escape Rooms – Part II

Well begun is half done, they say. The question is, how do you begin your escape well here at The Escapement? Or indeed, at an escape room anywhere else in the world?

A few days ago, we had a brief look at how you can best prepare yourself for an escape room.

If you haven’t gone through that yet, I highly suggest that you do in order to squeeze the maximum juice of our guide to beating the clock at escape rooms.

So, the Big Day has arrived. You and your merry band of escapers have assembled at the escape room as per schedule.

You’re signed in.

You see your predecessors troop out and the escape room staff hurry in to reassemble the room for you.

You’re briefed on your escape mission.

The door opens.

With excitement coursing through your veins, you’re asked to step in.

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The clock is running. Tick tock.

You look around the room. And then at each other. And again around the room.

The excitement starts to ebb. Nervousness starts setting in.

How should you proceed?

We get it.

This kind of a situation is more common than you think.

Allow me to reveal a few tips and tricks to help you through your mission to beat the clock, escape the room and get your names on the leader board.

Take a deep breath

Sounds silly at this stage?

Trust me, it is anything but.

In a tense situation, obvious things become…well, non-obvious.

Taking a deep breath is going to be the last thing on your mind when you’re getting nervous and impatient but this is a step you really, really need to take.

When you take a breath, your heart beats slower and oxygen reaches your brain, calming you down and allowing you to focus.

Check whether you’ve got a team leader

Now, you might be thinking

What the heck? Weren’t we supposed to have chosen a team leader earlier?

Well, the fact that you’re all just standing there and there is no attempt at marshalling the forces suggests

  • Either you forgot to select a team leader
  • Or the team leader forgot that he/she is the team leader

You need to correct this, quickly.

Divide and conquer

Keeping track of progress is a key element of anything. It becomes even more critical in a time-bound event.

But, how exactly do you keep track of progress in an escape room?

There’s no hard and fast rule here but I’d suggest dividing the total time into a 3-4 time slots and check how many puzzles and tasks you’re tackling in each slot.

Ideally, the team leader should do the tracking.

This will tell them whether you’re on course or whether you’re slowing down.

If any one puzzle or section of the escape mission is taking too much time, different team members can be allocated to that or the entire team can concentrate on that particular puzzle alone to crack it quickly.

Watch out for red herrings

When you’re pressed for time, the last thing you need is to spend time on anything that doesn’t help you proceed towards your ultimate goal – in this case, completing the mission.

Red herrings can be of two types

  • Objects that are just there as part of the immersion. They might be mysterious looking but they aren’t puzzles.
  • (this would be rare) Puzzles that are there to waste your time. These would be rare and one would expect there to be some clue saying that you can sidestep that particular task.

In either case, watch out!

Don’t hesitate to ask for help

Almost every escape room allows you to ask for a minimum number of hints without any penalties. The Escapement certainly does!

However, teams sometimes hesitate to ask for help because

  • They want to make sure they really need the help, because the total number of hints they can ask for is limited
  • They think it’s a sign of weakness

Maybe you shouldn’t ask for any help, say, 5 minutes into the game but do remember that your total time is one and a half to two hours.

So don’t hang around any puzzle for too long. If you’re stuck, ask for help.

Remain tense throughout the game

Remaining tense allows the adrenalin to remain high, thus sharpening your fight or flight instinct, which really helps you push ahead…

Aha, got you!

Above all, an escape room is supposed to be fun.

So, never get tense like that.

Have fun, keep calm and carry on.

Do you have any other advice that could come in useful for people attempting to do an escape room? Please let us know in a comment below!

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