After running countless sessions as a Game master for an escape room, there always seem to be common mistakes made by puzzle room first-timers. If you continue to read I will share some of the best tips I give to people who have never played before:
Escape rooms are one of the biggest trends in entertainment and have blown up in popularity in the last few years alone. These are games that have a series of puzzles and riddles that you solve with your team using clues that you find in the room to complete an objective, which is typically trying to escape the room! The real catch and challenge that come from these games is that you only have one hour to do it!
So this is where I come in as your game master. My goal is to make sure you have as much fun as possible when inside our rooms. If you need help I can give you hints, clues, or nudges in the right direction. Game masters are there to help you and always want you to have the most fun possible, so be sure to trust us! Don’t worry if you need my help when inside the room since everyone eventually needs help. It’s because everyone needs help in the rooms that I wanted to write this to give beginners some advice I wish I had before I played my first escape room. I swore a Game Master’s oath to do no harm to my players, so I promise you I won’t lead you astray if you keep reading.
Game Masters go through pretty intense training for each room at our location. In fact, our first day of training is just playing the rooms (which is a super cool job perk). When my escape room launches a new game we get to treat it as if we are players, so time is still against us! The first entering a room is almost magical, as you don’t really know what to expect. Based on personal experience, a good rule of thumb is to hit the ground running and try to gather as much info on the room as possible. How many locks can we see, and are they number locks? Word locks? How many digits for each?
New players tend to start the rooms slow, which makes sense because many people don’t know where to start or what they need to look for. It’s like picking up a video game controller for the first time, being told that the buttons do things, and being told good luck! The cool thing about escape rooms is that they are a team-based activity, so use your team! Call-out what you see and what you think the answer is to cover so much more ground than just attempting the room solo.
Every mystery room is a little different, so I can’t recommend exactly what codes or clues are important for your specific escape, but I can give general advice on what to expect and search for. You should always keep top of mind that escape games are mental exercises, which means you should not have to do anything physically demanding unless your Game Master says otherwise. You should never have to lift a filing cabinet or flip a couch to see if a clue is underneath it. What you should do is thoroughly search your room. New players are typically good about this, but it should be brought up because you NEVER know where your next clue will be. Personally, I recommend double-checking every square inch of the room just in case someone missed that one important code that you are missing.