Learn how to escape an escape room

(Unsplash/Bernard Hermant)

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What can be a better way to spend the weekend than winning a new escape room game with your friends or family? Imagine the thrill of entering a new mystery room with all the knowledge and inventory you need to win the deal. Feeling like a winner before you enter the place is all you need to ensure that your team gets the winner's trophy. There is one small problem here – how can you find the solutions to the puzzles and riddles, if they keep changing every day. You colleague or friend-of-a-friend may have won the mystery challenge before, but what is the guarantee that you will face the same riddles?

With most escape rooms in New York, the possibility of winning the same challenge twice with the same clues is almost nil. The layout, flow, and riddles keep changing. The location of the clues and the keys alter from time to time. There is no guarantee that you will find the key to the vault where you found it last month. So, who can help you with these clues? No employee will ever want to divulge information or help you solve the mysteries.

These are the prized secrets that will lead you to the final prize even in the most notorious Manhattan escape room circuits. This article has some of the best tips and tricks that will give you an edge over your competing teams. It may take up to four months (and sometimes more) to design an escape room in the city. Each time the software receives an upgrade and the developers learn more from watching people solving or failing to address their puzzles. Much like machine learning and artificial intelligence, the design evolution is an ongoing process, so believing that you know the location of all clues and you know the answers to the riddles is fallacious.

Here's a bunch of the great tips and tricks that will help you complete the riddles and break free from the escape room –

  1. Always work together, but don't be too sticky

It is essential to communicate and plan your moves together. It does not help to bunch along in one large group while you are hunting for clues in a multi-room environment. Some of the leading brands you see around the city break down a single puzzle into several pieces and scatter them around a room. Eight people standing in front of one vase looking for the key in there is not going to help. Always remember, teamwork is good, but bunching is bad.

  1. Speak out aloud

We have all kinds of people around us at all times. Some of our friends never stop talking, and some of them never utter a word. Now, the only way to see what you see is by saying it out loud. Verbalizing will help induce a hive mind that will think together and act together. You will be bringing the eight minds together to deduce what you are observing in front of you and encouraging the inferences from them.

  1. Get a kickstart

Slow and steady does not win the race here. You need to be fast and steady at all stages. Slacking off, in the beginning, can cost you precious time since the riddles in the latter portions of a chapter are usually more complicated than the ones in the beginning. We have all seen how much we can write during an exam with just five minutes in hand, so why not apply that speed and deduction skill right here. Start with impressive speed, find the first clue and keep moving at the same pace. You need to preserve a sense of urgency, but do not let anxiety get in the way.

  1. Try to think as an engineer would

That might sound too preposterous, especially since escape rooms attract a lot of young adults and teenagers. Yes! It is indeed impossible for most of you to deduce and design like an engineer, but that is not the point here. Sometimes, when designers are out of the typical hiding places, they start to rely on mechanical ideas. For example – when you are standing in front of a wall, inspect its quality and built. Is it possible for it to have a hollow space? Sometimes, it can be complicated like lasers and mirror reflectors working together to trigger a sensor in a prominent position (the eye of a bust or painting).

  1. Where would a writer hide his riches?

For that, we would first have to assume the writer has riches, but then, if he did, how would the master of plots and plans hide them? Most escape games start with intriguing stories. Teenagers and office teams often do not pay enough attention to the story, since, well, it's just another narrative and they are here to play. However, in many cases, the story holds several cues to the hidden location of the keys, missing pieces of the puzzle and the hints to complete the final problem for the prize. Always listen to the story and pay attention to the minute details. Try to think like the author, and work backward towards the problem.

These five tips prove that escape games are for everyone. A well-designed game has places for mathematicians, designers, engineers, software developers, literature majors, history buffs and the eccentric soul with a diverse interest in almost everything under the sun.

Escape room designs should test your cognitive skills, observation skills, problem-solving aptitude, control over stress and anxiety, time management skills, coordination skills and team management talent. That is one of the reasons why most offices pick one escape room or another for the bonding activities of their teams. It is an excellent alternative to office picnics, potlucks, boozy dinners and soirees that rarely enhance bonding between co-workers. In fact, several teachers are setting up education-themed escape rooms to make specific subjects exciting and easy for their students. An escape room can serve multiple purposes depending on their theme, design and target audience.

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