Escape rooms are meant to challenge you. By their very design, they contain several puzzles you have to solve under an unforgiving time limit. At their worst, they provide additional challenges and have new sets of rules to follow, significantly increasing their difficulty. Sometimes groups get frustrated by their inability to win, they might even feel cursed. But our staff knows better. We’ve been observing players for years, so here’s our list of reasons you aren’t winning your escape room.
Any escape room facility that’s worth its salt won’t ask you to scavenger hunt. Consider that searching for something isn’t really puzzle solving. Beyond that, it’s frequently a big waste of time. If a game does include scavenging, they might think that hiding things well will increase the game’s difficulty. We think that’s just annoying. Whatever your stance on hidden clues and props, it’s possible that you’re wasting your time looking for them.
Whether you end up looking for hidden props, or you’re just putting them aside in case you need them in the future, hoarding is a dangerous habit. At Escape Games Canada it’s exceptionally rare for a prop to be used on multiple occasions. Even if you do need it again, it’s far too easy to end up in a situation where no-one knows where the thing is! It just takes one person to absent-mindedly pop something into their pocket, and nobody will be able to find that. But there’s also a danger to carrying things you might not need. Often players waste time trying to solve puzzles with obsolete props or clues they have brought from other parts of the game. So, what’s the best strategy? When you’ve solved something put all the pieces down right there. This makes them accessible to anyone in your group who might discover a use for them and also discourages you from fixating on using something that you’ve brought along.
Let’s be really clear, communication is more than talking, or yelling at one another. Communication is a broad term that includes speaking, listening, and being receptive to other people’s ideas. A good team will know how to exchange ideas in a calm and organized manner. Unfortunately, there are many teams that talk over one another and argue instead. There are many teams that are more worried about their egos than the common objective of the game which impairs their chances of winning. If your group keeps raising their voices to be heard or isn’t sharing information, you might want to re-evaluate how you’re communicating.
Winning any game takes organization, and escape rooms are no different. Ideally, you should have a strategy as you start your game. Having a team leader is a good place to start. Someone to help the group keep focus is key to keeping your group organized. Some super organized groups have even started games by assigning roles to their players; they might assign someone to check for locks, while someone else investigates doors, etc. While you don’t have to plan ahead, it definitely helps to delegate while you’re playing. Not only does it ensure that your group covers all the ground that they need to, but also helps to streamline communication as well as prevent those dangerous habits like scavenging.
Believe it or not, attitude can really affect your escape room experience. A group that enters their game in the hopes of having fun is very likely to. A group that is determined to beat the game in ten minutes, is likely to leave frustrated. It all affects how you perceive your experience. Having a laid-back attitude will translate into your game. But if you are super competitive, or are focused on an unrealistic or arbitrary goal, it can breed frustration. Statistically, these are the groups that tend to argue. More often than not, their game falls apart under the pressure of an arbitrary goal that is virtually impossible to meet. A good attitude can make all the difference and can help foster success.
So, if you’re not winning your escape rooms, consider if your group is guilty of any of these behaviours. If you’re disorganized, not communicating, or playing with a competitive attitude, it could really skew the odds of your success. If you make some small adjustments, not only will you have more fun, but you’re also likely to see increased success. Despite the fact that we don’t encourage playing competitively, we do understand that it’s more fun when you win. So make sure your team is ready to focus, and you’ll be winning every room before you know it!
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