10 Tips for Playing an Escape Room

10 Tips for Playing an Escape Room

Regardless if you are preparing for your first escape room attempt or you are a hardcore enthusiast we have some basic tips to help you maximize your experience and your chance for success. Before we get too far into this though, the most important tip is that this should be a FUN experience. Our games will transport you to a different time, place, or event where you can forget about the real world for an hour while you embark on a thrilling adventure with your friends. Have some fun and enjoy the ride! But hey we know everyone likes winning so back to the tips!

 1. Communication is Key

When we get into a room, one of the first things my team does is call out what we’ve found and what’s immediately available to us. What types of locks do you see? Letters? Numbers? Keys? What’s that writing on the walls? Did you look under that book? Did you open it? You found headphones? Well, I found a jack that we can plug those into! I see a pattern on the wall of three repeating colors. Maybe try looking at it this way…  you get the idea.

Working out loud ensures everyone in the game has all of the same information. The larger the team the more important it will become to make a point to make sure everyone has all of the same information. Occasionally stop what you are doing and get together to go over what you have found and what you are working on. You never know someone who was on the other side of the room might have the other half of the information you need, but you will only find out if you talk!

2. Sharing is caring

An escape room is a cooperative game, and humans only have two eyes (typically, I guess). When the tensions are high, which can happen pretty easily, sometimes people miss things. And no one can read your mind – so if you see something or have an idea – SPEAK UP! Silently solving something no one else could figure out might seem satisfying, but you will be kicking yourself when you overlooked something simple and no one could help you because you didn’t share what you found.

3. Check your work (and someone else’s)

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard a player ask, “Did you look in here?” Just look at it yourself! Even if someone did already look, no one is perfect and sometimes things are easy to miss. Check each others work! This could apply to anything from basic searching, to trying locks, or placing objects.

Having another player double check your work is one of the best ways to avoid careless mistakes in an escape room. These mistakes can cost you way more time than it takes someone to take a 2nd look.

Along the same idea is the concept that there are no bad ideas. Don’t be shy, if you have a thought give it a try and work it to completion. Some puzzles do not become clear until the very end so don’t give up part way through a process. If you get stumped, switch! Leave your ego at the door, let people double check and make sure you didn’t make a silly mistake and then return the favor.

4. Stay Calm & Focused

It’s pretty easy to get distracted in an escape room. There’s usually SO MUCH to see – especially when you first enter. The immersion of the set design and game might just transport your mind into fantasy land, snap out of it!

Once you have completed an initial search and think you have a puzzle or two identified stay focused on them. It can be a good idea to divide up and then swap if you feel stuck, but don’t just wander off and leave a puzzle half finished and never return. You found 3 differences leading you to 3 letters and there is a 4 letter lock right there… I bet there is a 4th difference you haven’t found, keep going!

5. Organization Wins Games

“Did we do anything with this?” If we only had a $1 for everytime someone asked this…. We would build new rooms with the giant pile of money we had.

Keep track of your stuff! It can be super helpful to have a designated area to place things you find and to set things aside you are finished with. Remember codes to locks, keys, etc should all be single use items. So once you open that lock leave the key in it or forget about the code you use. Time to focus on some of the unused items you have left. Good organization of items along with sharing information vocally are almost always the ways really good teams set themselves apart.

6. Keep It Simple

Sometimes 2 + 2 does in fact = 4. Other times it equals purple, but usually just 4. We aren’t sure when exactly it happens but it seems at some point in high school the innocent mind of a child mutates into the “lets over complicate EVERYTHING” brain of an adult.

Quickly they become world class experts at over complicating simple tasks. Ever heard that the simplest solution is the correct one? There is good logic behind that saying. This does not mean the puzzles will all be easy, but they should make sense.

When you have what may be a bit of a crazy idea that isn’t working, stop for a second and think would this be fair or logical for a random person to make these connections or assumptions? Typically when players go way too far down the rabbit hole if they just stop a second they realize there is no way anyone could be expected to do all of that. Go back to basics, and follow the tips above. Still stuck? Read on…

7. Hints are a good thing

Games have systems for hints for a reason, use them! Time to set down the ego, we know, we know you are going to do the room the fastest ever without a single shred of help, oh and it is the first time you have ever played? Wow! Sadly we hear this almost daily.

Escape rooms are challenging, some are incredibly challenging, and most games around the country operate well under 50% success rates. Typically the goal is to have every team finish or be very close to finishing when time runs out. If the game allows for hints (and any good one should) use it as a resource. Has it been 5 or 10 minutes without any progress? No new ideas? Time to get help. You are not going to get an answer, but instead a nudge in the right direction, something to help you get back on track and moving forward. Don’t let pride stand in the way of success.

8. Listen to the Game Master

While we’re on the topic of hints, if your game master has given you a hint – FOCUS ON THAT. Your game master has eyes and ears inside the room, so they know what you need. Their job is to get you back on track and working on the most important puzzle available at any given moment. We are not going to tell you to focus on the fish tank in the corner if what you really need to do is pry open the box of dynamite that’s in the opposite corner. (No animals were harmed in the writing of this blog, and sadly the fire marshal doesn’t let us use real dynamite.) It is always a mind boggling thing to witness when a team asks for a hint, gets the hint, then promptly ignores it. The game master is not there to trick or mislead you. When they speak, I would listen.

9. Rules are meant to be followed

Every escape room will have their own set of rules but the main core one will always be true. Don’t break stuff!

More so it is a game for your mind not your muscle. When they tell you that things should open or move with only a finger of force or that you don’t need to climb on furniture because everything is easily in reach, use this to help you! Quit fiddling with that cabinet that is obviously locked and not opening. No, getting a friend to help you pull is not what you should be doing. That air vent 10 feet in the air look suspicious… hmm I wonder what it is hiding? Spoiler alert, it is hiding air, now get off your friends shoulders. These rules keep you safe and protect the game from damage, but they also can help save you valuable time.

10. Have Fun!

At the very core this is meant to be a very unique fun experience. Try not to stress or worry too much about the win or the loss and just enjoy the ride and make some sweet memories with your friends and family.

Why an Escape Room is the Right Choice for Your Next Teambuilding Event

Why an Escape Room is the Right Choice for Your Next Teambuilding Event

Say goodbye to mandatory “fun.” The hottest new entertainment experience may also be just what you have been looking for in a unique team building activity. Gone are the days of trust falls and non inclusive activities like ropes courses and paintball. Activities like this have physical restrictions, insurance problems, and at the end of the day they are just fun days out of the office but not really team building.

An escape game by default checks all of the key team building boxes. It requires teamwork, communication, problem solving, creative thinking, time management, working under pressure, trust, leadership, attention to detail, etc… Adding team building skills on top of a unique bonding experience and together you get total team development. The best of both worlds all in one stop. But wait there’s more!

The best part is that it is actually fun. Your employees will be excited to come, and begging to do it again. Which is great because most venues have multiple rooms with unique themes that change over time. This means it can become an awesome recurring event everyone in the office looks forward to and gains real value from.

Here are a few ways an escape room will strengthen your team:

Engagement – This is an activity that everyone can participate in. The great equalizer… no special knowledge, skills, or physical ability will ever be required. Regardless of who you are or what you know everyone can work together towards a common goal.


Facetime – No not an iPhone, actually the opposite! Phones go away, no browsing facebook or playing candy crush. No more communicating via email, text, or interoffice memos. Team members will be face to face building real communication skills.

Problem Solving – Each of the games will have a unique theme and story with an objective you need to accomplish. This backstory is all your team will have to go on. It is up to them to work together to figure out the steps needed to beat the mission and win the game. They will need to think outside the box, be creative, and handle the pressure of a time limit to figure out the variety of puzzles they will encounter in the game.

Communication – Perhaps the biggest key to success in an escape game is successful communication. Teams need to share ideas,

Identification – As a participant or as an observer you will be able to identify various traits in your team. For example who is a leader, is passive with their ideas, gets hands on, shares information well, gets frustrated easily, handles pressure well and how these various personality types all come together to accomplish a common goal.

Still not convinced? Escape rooms typically offer extreme flexibility. At Clue IQ we can run an event for your team any day of the week at just about any time. We also have new options where we can come set up an experience on site at your location or at an event venue in town. This gives us the ability to put even more players into the experience at one time (currently up to 64 all playing together). The search is over, you found the next evolution in team development.