As an escape room enthusiast, I try to take every chance I can to play an escape room. I have played good rooms, bad rooms, and rooms that have almost melted my brain with the creativity and complexity of their puzzles. I have also game mastered here at Cross Roads Escape Games for several years now and there are a quite a few habits shared by both new and advanced players alike.
If you’re like me, you are always looking to improve your escape room game. Here is a list of four habits that I have noticed cause even the most advanced player to fail from time to time.
1. SOLVING BEFORE SEARCHING
I see this all the time. A player will begin to search their room and the moment that they come across a puzzle they immediately start trying to solve it, before finishing their room search. Often times this leads to them not giving vital clues to their team mates in a timely manner or completely missing clues that help them solve the puzzle they are stuck on.
It is much more efficient to search your room and take note of all the puzzles that you find and gather all your clues before you even attempt to solve your first puzzle. This affords you the benefit of having all your clues in front of you and gives you the ability to determine which clues probably go to which puzzle. You have to search your room fully anyways, so don’t stop half way through just because you fall to the temptation of the first puzzle you see.
2. GETTING MARRIED TO YOUR FIRST SOLUTION
Now I don’t mean to break up any warm fuzzy feelings people have with the first solution they come up with for their puzzles, but like your first love… your first guess is pretty unlikely to be “The One.”
Of course, there is nothing wrong with getting the wrong answer to a puzzle, but if your gut reaction to a lock not opening is to assume that the puzzle is broken, then you might have this bad habit.
It is pertinent to double check your work and try the solution more than once, however if the answer just doesn’t work, move on! There are so many people that get a single idea stuck in their head and are then unable to look past it to find any alternative solution. They stop trying different ways to solve the puzzle and just assume that the puzzle is malfunctioning or outright broken. Trust me, save yourself the head ache and give puzzles the benefit of the doubt; especially if the room has already been open for a while.
3. NOT SHARING YOUR RESEARCH
This one seems like it would be common sense really, but you’d be surprised how often people don’t think to tell their team mates what they have learned from their attempts at trying to solve a puzzle.
If you try multiple times to solve a puzzle only to find yourself coming back to the same solution over and over again, then it is probably time to tag someone else in. That being said, when your team mate decides to give it a shot at least tell them what methods you have already tried and what codes you got. This will save them some time and help ensure that your team mate does just keep bashing their heads against the same wall that you have been. Let them try a different approach while you give a new set of eyes to a new puzzle.
4. NEVER PASSING THE BATON
I know we touched on this a little bit in the last one, but seriously gang… it is okay to admit that you don’t understand what to do with a puzzle. It is okay to ask for help. Sometimes what you really need to do is pass off the puzzle to one of your other team mates and step away from it. A lot of times this happens when someone gets stuck in a certain way of thinking (see getting married to your first solution above). If this starts happening, just pass the baton and see if you can help one of your other team mates with something. Just make sure you share your findings with your team mate before walking away from the puzzle.
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of habits that could hinder your gameplay, but I believe these are four of the most important ones to focus on. It’s important to step aside and analyze yourself from time to time, just like you would with any other hobby or activity you want to improve on.
Do you have anything that should be added to the list? Let us know in the comments below!