Escape rooms are a worldwide phenomenon, and although Australia is a bit behind, the craze is starting to catch on in a big way. As an escape room owner and avid fan, I’ve noticed which teams and techniques work best. Here they are.
Escape rooms often involve locking you in a room for an hour, forcing you to solve its puzzles and mysteries before you can get out. They’re a lot of fun, and a much cooler way to spend an hour than anything else I can think of, other than wine. (Which mine has in the escape room).
People often ask me to give them tips for when they’re going into the room or inside the room, and while I’m quite strict about giving too much away, there are some more broad techniques that seem to work well for escape room puzzles. The best puzzles will require you to think outside the box, and those are hard to prepare for. But just like video games, there’s a bit of a language to escape games, and certain elements do repeat themselves or the theory behind them, is the same.
What absolutely does correlate positively is a fun, enthusiastic attitude. Teams that get excited, into the game, always finish faster (and have more fun). They feel a rush every time a mini puzzle is solved, and run to the next one with joy.
Explore, explore, explore. The first thing you should do in every room is search for clues. Look behind things. Under things. Inside things. Good escape room teams are like a tornado that quickly unearths every clue before they can get down to the business of contemplation. By contrast, first-time teams are often unsure about what they’re allowed to touch. The answer is everything you weren’t told not to touch in the briefing! They will each perform a role in the group and have clear job roles.
Psychologists and business managers are keenly interested in how people communicate in these types of environments. It’s like a multi-stage test of who listens to whom. The loud know-it-all tends to be followed, but that’s not always a great idea. Sometimes you get the quiet person with the right idea who just isn’t being listened to, and unfortunately the puzzle will not be solved unless people listen.
It’s important that everyone knows about all the clues, so you should be shouting out what you find. Often one person has the Yin and isn’t aware the other person has the Yang, so time is wasted before the two are put together.
Larger groups have the advantage of being able to split up work. A few can work on one puzzle, while a couple work on another puzzle, and it even helps to just have someone standing back and looking at things from a different perspective. If there are three puzzles in a room, it’s wasteful to have a team of six all finishing one before moving on to the next.
A very common trope is finding numbers around the room, and being given clues on how to order them. Perhaps the numbers are tied to something else, and the other objects themselves have a particular order. Perhaps there's another level to it -- Objects that correspond to objects that correspond to numbers.
It helps to identify what type of input each lock has. For a particular lock, are you looking for letters? Numbers? Something else? If there aren't any clues that directly apply to that kind of input, is there any connection at all? Any way to convert those clues into different data?
At every roadblock, successful teams are methodical -- they check to see if every known clue has been used yet, they quickly explore some more to see if they’ve missed any clues, and they take a step back and analyse if their current thought process is a bit like overthink. And if there are still no ideas, they ask for a clue.
Most of all, have fun and observe the group dynamics in your team. It will help you with peoples personalities and their behaviour. This is the best thing about escape rooms, as its not just people trying to escape but more a behavioural test that is interactive and fun!
A BRIEF HISTORY OF LIVE ESCAPE GAMESThe origins of Escape Games comes from video games called ‘Escape Rooms’ or ‘Escape Games’. The player had to solve mysteries by interacting with the people around him in order to escape from the room and move onto the next level. The first Escape Game video game, Crimson Room, was created in 2004 by Toshimitsu Takagi. This coined the term Takagim used to refer to this kind of game.
The Japanese company SCRAP first transformed the concept in 2007 into a Live Escape Rooms. Its founder, Takao Kato, wanted players to be immersed in the game. The players should play in a themed room and solve mysteries to escape within the allotted time. Escape Games started to pop up in the rest of Asia before arriving in Europe. In China, the ‘Beijing Takagism’ club was founded in 2012.
Budapest, in Hungary, was a pioneering city for Live Escape Games in Europe. In 2011, the company Parapark was created. Its founder, Attila Gyurkovics, had the idea to open a Live Escape Game without knowing that they were already well developed in Asia. Attila was working on a new Team Building project. A year later, the origin of the escape game continues with the first franchise opening in Hungary: Hint Hunt. The same year the company SCRAP set up in the United States under the name of “Real Escape Game”. Hint Hunt rapidly exported the concept to the United Kingdom, and then France in 2013. 2013 was also the start of the Escape Game story in Canada.
WHAT ABOUT TODAY?Today we have 367 escape rooms across France, including 64 Escape Game in Paris operating under more than 20 different brands. Following Hint Hunt’s success, many rooms opened from April 2014, and even more in 2015. Almost 10 new Escape Games opened every month between April and June 2015. And the history of the Live Escape Game is not over yet as more rooms are still opening each week.
WHAT ARE INSPIRATIONS FOR ESCAPE GAMES?We can see many differences between Asian and European escape rooms. In Asia, competition is a key factor for success of a brand, whereas in Europe customers are more focused on wanting an immersive experience.Treasure hunts have also been an inspiration for Escape Games because players must look for clues in specific areas of the room.
Inspiration for the different Escape Room themes is often drawn from books or films and we hope to grow the business, by creating new and exciting ideas, @ Sutton Estate.
We have opened the Dare! The only outdoor Escape Room experience in the Hunter Valley. Gather your friends, corporate groups or family for an outdoor experience you will never forget. Summary is - Something very strange and peculiar has been going on at Sutton Estate. You and your team need to work together to solve the mystery, find the prized bottle of wine and escape before you become the next victim. You have 60 minutes. Run at night only and at sunset. Please call to reserve your position to conquer Sutton Estate Dare.
381 Deasys Road, Pokolbin NSW 2320