Many famous escape rooms take pride in the artistic handicraft poured into their rooms. They could be life-like recreations of antiques, impeccably designed furniture or clever special effects that all combine to create an immersive atmosphere that bring the rooms to life.
However, it is still an escape room. There is a challenge to beat and at times, even flawless decoration only serves to distract you from the coming out victorious!
Of course, this sort of thing happens in real life too. Sometimes you just can’t help but give your attention to the little details, or get distracted by making observations that don’t actually matter as opposed to getting things done.
So, what is a challenger to do when it feels like the decor is proving too well-made that you can’t seem to identify any of the clues around you?
Tip #1. Review a room’s primary objective.
Some people get caught up in the room’s premise (like escape the haunted prison cells or find the holy grail) and don’t realise that an individual room has an objective of its own.
It is like saying that a company needs profit to keep itself growing and staying afloat. Everyone in the organisation knows that already, so what is the more immediate objective you have to make? Likewise, you and your teammates need to first establish what you have to do in a particular room in order to proceed.
This not only lets you find something to work towards but it can also help you guys stay grounded in case you run into puzzles, or tricks that don’t seem to get you anywhere.
Tip #2. Keep track of progress.
All right, so you found a few peculiar objects and spaces and you’re all scrambling around or talking about different ways they may interact that lead to a solution.
But in the midst of that din, there is a risk of losing track in all the excitement. Make sure to have a space in the room where you lay out all the clues and then another spot for all the clues that have either been used or didn’t seem to go anywhere.
In other words, have at least one person keep track of what you have already accomplished in the room. That way, along with having an objective in mind, you can quickly review what you have already done and what else you have to search for. It also helps your minds maintain focus on tasks rather than getting lost in the environment.
Tip #3. Spread out, but still work together.
Another bad tendency people have in escape rooms is to bunch up around a single puzzle. You might think that having more than one person may help solve it, but you’re also forgetting that the room is left unexplored! It can also make it difficult for the main puzzle solver to concentrate as everyone’s eyes are on them.
Consider dividing roles among your group, such as assigning people to look around specified areas. You can also have another person be the one in charge of looking at the big picture while everyone stays focused on their own separate task.
Remember, escape rooms are generally team endeavors and not many encourage one-man shows.
And incidentally, a lot of these have powerful applications in real life as well. So no matter how much you can be enamoured by your surroundings in an escape room (or by things in life), it always pays to have a few things to keep your feet on the ground and return your focus to what’s in front of you.