At Ace of Escape (Tucson, AZ) we love to see our customers enjoy their first time escape experience. Customers often have no idea what they are about to get themselves into. Is it scary? Am I just locked up and I got to break my way out? I’m smart so I should escape no problem right?
Well, the answer to all three questions is no. At Ace of Escape, we like to compare doing an escape room for the first time to being asked to play a board game that you have never played before so you do not yet know the rules nor strategies nor goal for the room.
We like to provide a few pointers to help customers catch on a bit faster before they enter the rooms. First, universally most room rules are basically to not do anything dangerous which include lifting heavy items, using excessive force, or climbing on furniture. Beyond safety, these rules actually help you save time. We once had a customer spend their first 30 minutes moving every piece of furniture despite being told there was no need to!
Strategy wise, we say escape rooms are about FINDING, OBSERVING, and most importantly SOLVING puzzles. So during the finding stage we encourage customers to be thorough, spread out, open things up, look under things and be sure they have checked everywhere reasonable.
Then when it comes to observing and a team member finds something they feel is important, or “must mean something”, we highly recommend communicating it to the whole team and start some type of organization system so if that item or piece of information is needed later, it can easily be found.
Most importantly, in our escape rooms, is solving puzzles. Team members are never going to just find a word or number that will help them escape, nor will they be able to just start guessing their way out. Instead, escape teams look at all the pieces of information and objects they’ve found so far and figure out how to put them all together to create combination to open a series of locks. Team members must realize the locks themselves are put of the puzzle because it helps them identify if they need letters, numbers, directions, colors, images, or to do something else to create the combination.
As a final strategy, we also tell customers to be thorough in looking through the locks they last opened because for sure it contained items that will help them unlock one, two, or even three more locks.
Every escape room theme can have a different goal. Usually if the goal relates to solving a puzzle in the room, most game masters will re-iterate the importance of remembering what the team is looking for. This information usually comes in handy towards the end of the room and does not need to be dwelled on constantly.
Whether customers escape or not, Ace of Escape, loves to see customers feel challenged and have a great time at the same time. Typically, most first time escape artists do not escape with just 3 hints and we re-iterate, it is not about IQ. Just like a board game and rolling the dice, a lot of luck can go into escape room. How quickly did team members find something all relates to where they randomly started to search. Did finding something cause others to stop looking and miss important information? Did you find something that you for sure think relates to a puzzle and your mind couldn’t let it go causing you to lose time because you were right it was a puzzle, but didn’t realize you were still missing something? Or did you wait too long to ask for hints or ask for clarification on a hint?
Many factors can go into escaping or not escaping, but the beauty of an escape room is that if you focus on the fun you had trying versus the end goal you are guaranteed to feel good. Once groups have five or six escape rooms under their belts, these strategies become easier, but there’s always a bit of luck that will play into the game.
We hope to see you in soon to either for our Tucson locations to try your first escape room!