A candle burns in the twilight of the uncanny dungeon. The dungeon door closes! Are you clever enough to escape?
This blog entry is for all those who haven’t yet had the chance to try out an Escape Room. The game may at first seem intimidating to some – the idea of being locked in a room with other people and not knowing exactly how it all works in detail! Or you have to take part in a teambuilding activity and are unsure whether your fear of your colleagues makes you look stupid. Of course we understand that!
That’s why we want to pick up on your potential fears and insecurities in this blog entry, so you can feel a little safer the first time you visit our PlanB Escape Rooms.
The closed room (claustrophobia)
If you’re reading this blog, you should be familiar with the basic concept of Escape Rooms – you know that you’ll be searching for clues and hints with a team in a closed room to escape the room at the end. “Closed space” doesn’t mean “small space” – our rooms have an average size of X m2 – which should also take away some of the initial insecurity of the claustrophobic among you. And since you’ve already made it to this page, you already seem to have a general interest in the concept of the Escape Game!
About movement and excitement
You certainly don’t have to be a top athlete to play in our rooms. While you should be prepared to move within the Escape Room and coordinate with your team to find the necessary clues, they are always there, even without much acrobatics. More importantly, you need to use your brains and work in harmony with your team. Order fanatics should be prepared for a certain amount of disorder in all this, as our rooms are designed to create a certain tension and to make it an exciting and tricky puzzle.
Screaming and laughter
You should definitely prepare yourself for a playful activity that can sometimes get louder – especially with family or friends. Laughter and shouting alternate regularly, as our puzzles of excitement and frustration are always a tightrope act. But always try not to shout at your fellow players directly, even if there are moments of frustration. Always be aware that you are part of this adventure together!
Communication and Attention
Two of the basic aspects of Escape Game are efficient communication and a high level of attention. Without these two elements, you could also play the Escape Game alone on the computer. Always keep in mind that some players are more communicative than others and try to respond to your adventure in a positive and constructive way.
Differences of opinion
Whether you like it or not, not everyone on your team will think the same thing about the duration of the game as you do. There may be differences of opinion during the 60 minutes (between parents and children, colleagues or friends). Don’t regard this as negative. Because 12 eyes see now times more than 2 and can contribute at the end only together to the successful solution of the mystery!
Confusion and anxiety
When you enter the game rooms, everything can seem confusing and overwhelming at first. Don’t worry – there’s no need to panic! Proceed step by step. Start by searching for clues and combining them! And don’t forget not to take the whole thing ZU seriously – the whole thing is a game and you should have fun with your adventure!
Failures and disappointment
You shouldn’t be led astray by small failures or one-way streets and shouldn’t hang your head! If the first attempts at a solution don’t bring you to your goal, try again. And don’t forget, you are working in the team and can always count on your fellow players. If you ever have the feeling that you are stuck in a dead end – our game leader is always there for you and can guide you to the right track with hints.
Success and ecstasy
While there may be moments of disappointment during the game, the moments of success far outweigh it. Whether your team manages to escape the room or not. The impressive feeling of happiness you’ll feel when you discover a clue or solve one of the puzzles will quickly make you forget the minor setbacks!
So whether you manage to solve all the puzzles in the time allotted or not, you can be proud of yourself after the game!
Because you’ve tried something new and exciting and given it your best! And that’s what we think is most important!
In the hope that this entry could take some of your worries away, we are looking forward to welcoming you soon!
The topic “What is an Escape Game” is slowly getting bigger and bigger and everywhere in Germany more and more shops are adding. But what exactly is such an escape game? What do you have to do? What do you have to pay attention to?
Here we try to give you a small overview about it: What is an Escape Game?
Escape Game, escape room or rather live escape adventure?
First of all the frequently asked question whether there is a difference between live escape games, exit games, adventure games, escape rooms and escape games. In principle the answer here is no, all these terms stand for the same principle but each provider has different preferences as he calls his escape games. Why do we say in principle it is the same? That’s easy to answer, every provider in Germany has different rooms, it doesn’t just depend on the room itself (e.g. size), but above all on the theme the escape room is supposed to convey.
What do Escape Rooms look like?
The Live Escape scenarios range from a classical prison escape to old medieval dungeons to the only secured treasure chamber of a big bank. There is no limit to your imagination, everything you can imagine can be realized. In Germany, the Escape Game theme is only now really booming, but in other countries such as Russia or the U.S., for example, one is already much further. So far that there are even escaperooms with actors who give you hints in a certain setting or simply try to scare the players and put them under time pressure. But so far Germany is not yet here, so far there are only the classic exit rooms.
What is there to do during the game?
A group of people (usually 2-6) dare to go on an adventure together and try to solve an important task. Many people can’t imagine much of it before their first escape room visit. What do you have to do there? This question isn’t easy to answer either, in the end it all depends on the escape room what you have to do, there are standard examples of puzzles you can find in almost every live escape room: find a key to unlock a box or a cupboard, combine different items e.g. statues with different sized pedestals or find a combination to a safe by solving a word or math puzzle. All these are possibilities that await you in an escape game.
These are of course only the simple examples, in some rooms e.g. our Fallout room you have to find out different settings at a computer terminal, try a little around and explore. These are also two very important keywords, try and explore. Every escape room is based on the fact that people don’t really know what to expect before they play, you get a brief insight into the room beforehand, you get a task, but what kind of puzzles are in the room is not yet known. That’s a big part of the whole escape game fascination. You are in a completely unknown environment, e.g. in a nuclear shelter, or an abandoned and haunted photo lab. And now it’s time to explore the room first. You open all drawers, you thumb through all objects for hidden clues and little by little you find things that fit together, things that make a pattern, pieces of paper that belong together, words on the wall that make a pattern or objects that seem to fit together perfectly, the possibilities here are very diverse.
If this little introduction has aroused your interest, please visit our shop and try out a game. We hope we have answered your “What is an Escape Game” question.
Many of our customers who are playing an Escape Game for the first time say: This is the game from “The Big Bang Theory”. In fact, Escape Games are now very popular on almost every continent in the world and are finding more and more followers in Germany. Meanwhile there are 19 providers in Berlin, 13 in Hamburg, 9 in Frankfurt and 8 in Munich. Where does this rapid growth come from and why can so many players get excited about these puzzle games? This article gives 3 attempts to explain.
Anyone who has ever tried an escape game knows: solving difficult tasks makes for a very special feeling. After every success new things are discovered, e.g. single objects or even whole rooms which were hidden before. Every success gives up new tasks to solve again and again. You get the feeling that it goes ahead and the story, which seemed complex and unsolvable at the beginning, dissolves more and more. Like a big puzzle, which you put together piece by piece. You get the feeling that you’re evolving.
So Escape Games can be a great Dopanim booster, with absolute addiction factor. Note: This only works, of course, if you don’t get too dogged with the thing and you puzzle as a team together and not each for himself. Where we would already be at point two….
What is more fun than overcoming a difficult problem? Exactly: As a team to overcome a difficult problem together.
In almost every Escape Game there are elements which require the cooperation of the players. You don’t become world champion as a genius, but as a team. Every team success further welds the group together, which is why Escape Games are becoming more and more popular with companies.
In addition: Escape Games are in principle solvable for everyone. They don’t require any special skills, but just a little skill, creativity and brain fat. And most importantly, don’t keep your good ideas to yourself, share them with your team.
An Escape Game is like a movie or a book, only that it doesn’t just take place on a screen or in your own head, but in reality. It’s like a computer game in which every object can be touched and everything you see really exists. Mistakes are punished, success brings you further. So the whole story is not only experienced passively as a spectator, but actively as the main actor.
The goal is to create an Escape Room that is the most fun, challenging, and that will captivate visitors to the Escape Game.
Oh no, why limit yourself. The goal is to create the best Escape Game in the world!
To do that, you need great puzzles.
You need tricky puzzles that challenge your customers, but are also fun. The right balance of difficulty and time to get visitors to solve the puzzles without getting angry or frustrated.
Our list of 100 exciting ideas for your Escape Room can be found in this blog post.
Remember, however, that if you copy them one to one, the ideas will lose their originality and the visitor will not experience a unique adventure. If everyone used the same puzzle ideas in their Escape Rooms, customers would get bored very quickly.
So take these ideas and give them a touch of their own. All lovers of Escape Games and Exit Rooms will appreciate this.
Let’s get started!
HIDDEN MESSAGES AND CIPHERS
Ciphers and other techniques to hide secret messages are a great way to give players information while ensuring that they can celebrate little successes in the Escape Room.
Idea 1: Use Skytale encryption to hide a message.
Idea 2: Hide a message using Snote
Idea 3: Hide a message with a red revelation technique.
Idea 4: Use a mask technique to reveal a hidden message.
Idea 5: Similar to Idea 4 – use a postcard decoder to hide a message.
Idea 6 – Use the NATO phonetic alphabet to create a message.
Idea 7: If it fits the theme, write a coded message in a fictitious alphabet.
PLAY HIDE AND SEEK
Finding something hidden is a particularly satisfying moment for Escape Game players. Although they still have to figure out what to do with the object they found, the moment of discovery always evokes a positive group dynamic in the Escape Room.
Idea 8: Hide a clue in a fortune cookie.
Idea 9: Hide elaborate Easter eggs or other objects that open easily in the Exit Room. Hide paper snippets with news fragments in them. Players must find them all to complete the message.
Idea 10: Write a message on the back of a painting.
Idea 11: Hide a message within a picture or painting.
Idea 12: Design a drawer or trunk with a secret compartment and hide something in it.
Idea 13: Hide a message in the bottom of an umbrella.
Idea 14: Hide an object in the “stomach” of a skeleton as if it had been swallowed once. Players must unbutton the shirt of the skeleton and reach between the bones to get to the object.
Idea 15: Place a board full of notes or equations in the room. Players must wipe away the chalk or erase the ink from the board to reveal a message written in permanent ink.
Idea 16: Put an old research diary in the Escape Room. Hide cryptic clues in the notes.
Idea 17: Leave an empty notepad on a desk. Players must scribble lightly with a pencil on top of a notepad to reveal the note written on the page above.
Idea 18: Place a computer or tablet in the room that takes players to a room-specific website. Text and images on the website serve as clues.
Idea 19: Write a message on something tiny and demand that players use a microscope to read it.
Idea 20: Place a valuable clue somewhere in the room and remove the bottom section so that the instructions are incomplete. Hide the bottom section as a charred piece of paper that falls out of the chimney when players open the hood in the fireplace (as if someone tried to burn the paper).
LOCK THINGS UP
Many live escape games use locks as support and puzzles. Be careful not to rely too much on this type of puzzle, or your customers will get bored. A few locks here and there, however, can provide satisfying moments of success that don’t take too much effort to be found out.
Here are some options for lock combinations.
Idea 21: Use a book row (the kind that has numbers on the spine) and draw a diagonal line across the bottom of the books. Players must string the books together so that the line is straight, and then use the numbers on the spine as a combination.
Idea 22: Write a combination in invisible ink on the bottom of a box with a lock.
Idea 23: Write a combination on the inside of a lampshade.
Idea 24: Write the combination using a Chinese take-out menu in which certain meals and the corresponding number are orbited.
Idea 25: Provide already solved number puzzles with wrong answers. Demand that players in the Live Escape Room recognize which answers are wrong and that they use these numbers as a combination.
There are usually two steps to solving a key lock. First the players have to find out which keys are part of the code. Then they must find out the order in which these keys are to be pressed.
You can place a notebook with a significant year or other clues elsewhere in the room to give them the correct order.
Idea 26: When players blow powder on the combination lock in the Escape Room, the powder sticks to the buttons that have the most oil on them.
Idea 27: A key combination with some of the buttons that are worn out shows players which keys have been used the most.
FIND, CLOSE AND OPEN DOORS
Many escape rooms consist of several interconnected rooms and give the designers of a live escape game the opportunity to challenge the players with secret or locked doors.
Idea 28: Create a hidden door that can only be seen by the light that can seep in through cracks in the next room. So players can’t find the door if they don’t turn off the lights in the exit room.
Idea 29: Create a hidden door that can be found when players feel a draught at the edges. A lighter may be enough to see where the flame flickers.
Idea 30: Create a hidden bookcase door that requires you to pull the right book or a nearby wall lamp to open it.
Idea 31: Make the back wall of a cupboard into a door that opens when another task in the room is completed; players must return to the cupboard to see that it is now open.
Idea 32: Hide a secret door in the back fireplace. Players must crawl through the fireplace to get through the door.
Idea 33: Hide a key in the drain. Players must use a magnet attached to a piece of wire to pick out the key.
Idea 34: To make Idea 33 more challenging, players must remove the wire of a painting to which it is attached.
Idea 35: If there is a prison cell or an escape room with bars, players can escape by opening the locked door with a mirror.
Idea 36: Create a door without a visible lock that only opens when players use the correct knocking pattern.
Idea 37: Program a desk drawer to remain locked until players knock at the right place on the table surface.
Idea 38: Create a door that pops up when a certain action is performed elsewhere in the room, but locks if players don’t access it immediately. One player must perform the task that opens the door, and another must pass through it or find a way to keep it open.
Idea 39: Create an escape room with different types of tiles on the floor and a locked door on the other side. If players simply walk across the room, nothing happens. Players must come from one side of the escape room to the other without stepping on certain tiles or just stepping on the correct order of tiles to unlock the door.
Idea 40: Give players a locked door with a key in the keyhole – but on the other side. To get the key and unlock the door, players have to push something flat, like a piece of paper or a mat, under the door at the height of the doorknob. Then they have to put something in their side of the keyhole to push out the key so that it lands on the flat object. They can then get the key by carefully pulling the flat object back to their side of the door. Note: With a puzzle like this, you must have prepared a backup solution if players push the key out without having prepared anything to catch it. Unlike a video game where players can see that they have missed a step and can return, the Live Escape game is too late once the key is on the floor in the next room.
Not all challenges should involve deciphering or unlocking things. Sometimes an exciting escape game requires unusual tasks or activities that require several steps to achieve an objective goal.
Idea 41: Players must repair an electronic device by correctly configuring DIP switches.
Idea 42: Players in an art gallery must imitate the poses of the statues.
Idea 43: Similar to Idea 42, players must imitate a position (move their arms, legs, and heads) to imitate images available to them.
Idea 44: Players must change an object of approximately the same weight.
Idea 45: Players must figure out how to turn on an old radio (they may have to “repair” it first) and then set it to the correct frequency to hear acoustic cues.
Idea 46: Players must make a musical instrument from the objects found in the Escape Room and use it to play a particular melody.
Idea 47: Players must use a litmus test to analyze a solution. Note: Some players may not know what a litmus test is. Make sure there is an explanation and instructions somewhere in the room.]
Idea 48: Players must get behind the top drawer of a desk or filing cabinet to find items in a locked drawer underneath.
Idea 49: Players must draw up a grandfather clock.
Idea 50: Just from LOST: Give the players a computer keyboard and require them to enter a series of numbers at regular intervals to avoid a catastrophe.
Idea 51: Players have to program a robot to perform a task they can’t do themselves.
Idea 52: In Live Escape Game, provide an 8mm or 16mm film projector and a roll of film; players must use the projector to see the film. Note: Many players cannot know how to thread the movie through a projector. Make sure the instructions are available somewhere in the escape room.
Idea 53: To make Idea 52 more challenging, give players a role of the movie in which a critical section is missing. Hide the section somewhere else and ask the players to insert the missing piece into the film to see the whole thing.
Idea 54: A player in one room must perform a task by observing the instructions of a second player in another room on a monitor.
Idea 55: Provide the players in the Live Escape Room with a flashlight that has no batteries. Elsewhere in the exit room, there is a clock or other object that uses the same type of batteries. Players must realize that they must remove the batteries from one object and use them in the other.
Idea 56: Use a cryptic code to provide the correct on-off configuration for the light switch in a breaker box.
Idea 57: Place a dispenser (such as cigarettes, drinks or snack machine) in the room from which the players need something (such as a bottle of water to use in another puzzle). Players must find a coin or other object to access the object in the machine. Alternatively, players must find another way to access the object. [Note: Make sure the machine is screwed to the ground to prevent players from getting damaged].
Idea 58: Give players a brief glimpse of a scattered set of objects or an image of multiple objects. Players must remember as many of the items as possible in order to use them later in the game. Note: Make sure that there is an indication that players know that their memories will be tested later or that they will be given a second chance to see the items.
Idea 59: Send players into the future with a time travel device and ask them to figure out how to set it to return to the current time.
Idea 60: Send players into the future with a time travel machine and demand that they figure out how to repair them with tools that haven’t been invented yet.
SET DECORATION OR PUZZLE
If you do a good job of creating an immersive environment, your escape room will contain some furniture and props that are only available for aesthetic purposes. Finding out what’s useful and what’s only part of the set decoration is part of the fun in Escape Game.
Mirrors and Paintings
Idea 61: A mirror that becomes a painting showing a hint when players read an incantation or repeat “Bloody Mary” in front of it.
Idea 62: A mirror in which players can see “spirits” or move around behind them in space. The activities of the ghosts can provide clues as to where things are hidden or how to operate machines.
Idea 63: A painting in which the figures move when the players are not looking. The figures can point with the finger or rotate their heads to provide clues. Note: In a historical room where you don’t want to use a computer monitor or walkie-talkies as a clue system, this could be your solution.
Idea 64: A painting in which the figures come closer to the frame when the players come closer to the correct answer and move further away when the players move away from the correct solution.
Idea 65: A painting or old photo showing players in the Escape Room with a different furniture configuration. When the players rearrange the furniture, they activate a switch.
Idea 66: To make the idea 65 more challenging, they leave one of the pieces of furniture broken or missing, which requires players to find a replacement for that place.
Idea 67: A mirror through which the players can step into the “opposite world”. Players must use the teamwork between the two Escape Rooms to complete a task.
Idea 68: When players straighten a crooked painting, they activate a switch with it.
Idea 69: In the Live Escape Game, ask players to move an image sideways to find something behind it.
Idea 70: Make a hint about part of the design on the floor or carpet, so it can only be read when players climb a ladder or find another high vantage point.
Idea 71: Create an escape game puzzle in which players can only see the answer they’re looking for when they’re standing directly on a marked X.
Idea 72: Create an escape room where the floor is a tile-slide puzzle. Players must first figure out how to move the tiles, then solve the puzzle.
Idea 73: Create a room that is a version of a board game board transferred into reality. Players must act as figures on the board in an appropriate way to move to the next room section.
While a single room filled with puzzles can be fun, the possibilities that arise when players in the Escape Game move through a larger environment or make changes in the environment (whether real or fictitious) are significantly higher and the fun of discovery, as well as the sense of urgency, are significantly increased.
Idea 74: Place players in a room that gets colder or warmer over time. Players need to figure out how to stabilize the temperature.
Idea 75: Turn off the lights in the Escape Room and then turn them on again. Change something in the Escape Room every time the lights are off. Players need to see what’s changed.
Idea 76: Players notify that they only have a limited amount of air. So they only have a certain amount of air available to make it to the other room (depending on the complexity of the puzzles in the first room – somewhere between 15 and 45 minutes).
Idea 77: Provide the players with a lantern that almost runs out of oil or a flashlight with weak batteries. Players in the Live Escape game must make it to the next room before the lights go out.
Idea 78: Lock each player in a separate room with their own set of puzzles. Once players escape from their separate rooms, they must all work together to escape in the central room. [Note: A game like this is suitable for repeated visits because each room has its own set of puzzles.]
Idea 79: Place players in a room that gets smaller over time (for example, through walls that move slowly or a ceiling that lowers slowly). Players must figure out how to escape the Escape Room before they are “crushed”.
INTERACTION WITH THE OUTSIDE WORLD
Escape spaces begin to blur the line between the game situation and interactive theatre. So many Escape Room providers create ways for players to interact with non-player characters or develop an awareness of the fictional world outside the Escape Room they are in.
Idea 80: The first puzzle that players have to solve is how to get clues from the Game Master. The whole thing can be done through language, rhythm or the like. In order to complete the tasks in the Escape Game, the players must interact successfully with the Game Master.
Idea 81: Give players a walkie-talkie to communicate with a commander or extraction team. You need to find the right password to get the decisive answer.
Idea 82: Use the sound of thunder outside the room to indicate the right time to perform a task. For example, players can perform a loud action where they don’t want the guards outside the room to hear them.
Idea 83: Give an extremely quiet audible hint that can only be heard in complete silence. Players must stop talking and listen attentively.
Idea 84: To make Idea 83 more challenging, fill the room with a loud sound, such as water rushing over a dam or a continuous beeping alarm. Players are expected to figure out how to turn off the sound (turn off the dam, turn off the alarm, etc.).
Idea 85: Provide clues through short sound sequences that penetrate through the statics of a radio or television.
Idea 86: Players in the Escape Room are expected to figure out how to access digital “captain’s protocols” or an “emergency signal” from a spaceship or space station.
Idea 87: Let the players know that there is another prisoner in the next room. Let the prisoner send messages with a knock code. Note: Many players will not be familiar with this code. Make sure you have a key to decrypt the messages and give them enough time for all the important messages to solve the puzzle.
Idea 88: To make Idea 87 more challenging, players must answer with the knock code.
Idea 89: Insert a pet door and allow players to hear a cat or dog outside. When players push a bowl of cat or dog food through the pet door and wait, they will notice that the food is gone and instead there is a collar with a note in the bowl.
Idea 90: Send a coded message to the players and demand a coded answer. Later in the Escape Game, their success in this task may affect their success with another puzzle (e.g., the later puzzle is much more difficult – but not impossible – if they have failed to send their message early in the course of the Escape Game).
Idea 91: Paste important information into conversations conducted by actors (or a recording of actors) on the other side of a door or wall.
Idea 92: Warn players of an imminent explosion or attack. When the moment comes, players must protect themselves by building a protective barrier to block fire or debris or find a safe hiding place.
Idea 93: Create a task that requires players to use a lot of power. Use the sound of a thunderstorm “outside” to alert them to potential lightning strikes and require players in the Escape Room to access the energy of the lightning strikes via a lightning rod.
Idea 94: Use the smell of cigarette smoke to alert players to an approaching guard or other non-player character.
Idea 95: Create “windows” that show players what’s going on outside the escape room or building; this information must be used to make progress or solve puzzles in the exit room. Note: Even if the things that players can see outside don’t help them solve puzzles, it can increase the immersive quality of the Escape Room. For example, awareness of the growing number of zombies outside the “window” can create a sense of urgency.]
GET THE PLAYERS OUT OF THEIR COMFORT ZONES
Depending on the escape room theme, players may be willing to get a little dirty or do things they wouldn’t normally do. Just make sure that for the appropriate Escape Room, a clue/warning informs customers that the Escape Game contains scary or unpleasant elements.
Idea 96: Players must reach into a tub or sink of stinking water to get a key or clue.
Idea 97: Players must use a bucket to get dirty water from a tub or sink and use it for another puzzle.
Idea 98: Create a room that is only accessible by having several players climb into a large “drawer” and be pushed through the wall by the other players.
Idea 99: Players must grab through cobwebs, beetles or something slimy to get a key or clue.
Idea 100: Give players an item they need to complete a task in another room, but make it impossible to carry the object through the door (for example, the door could lock every time they approach with the object in their hands). Players must find an alternative way to move the object into the other room. For example, crawling through a narrow vent or a dirty tunnel under the floor.
Go wild! Our list of 100 exciting puzzle ideas for the next Escape Room.
We hope these ideas have brought your imagination to life and given you the spark you need to create an exciting and challenging exit game that will delight your customers.
Live Escape Games have taken the world by storm and appear in most cities. An exciting leisure activity that you can experience with friends, family and colleagues. What you may not have noticed is that most rooms are designed more for the individual gameplay than for the group.
Looking at the surveillance camera footage from the Escape Rooms, it seems that some players in a group tend to solve all the puzzles while others do little and just stand and watch.
You should never be too hasty with conclusions. Because the spectators have come especially for the visit in the Escape Room.
So it’s possible that the seemingly indifferent players really want to take part in the adventure in the Escape Room, but just don’t know what to do.
Before assuming that the groups that have booked a live escape game are a mix of a few enthusiastic players and several less interested in what’s happening in the escape game, you should take a look at how the puzzles are designed and make sure that the existing tasks and puzzles encourage teamwork.
This article will explain how this can be done.
LIVE ESCAPE GAMES – TREND ACTIVITY AND FUN ENTERTAINMENT OFFER
The numbers vary, but some larger cities already have hundreds of Escape Rooms on offer. Whether this is a consistent development or a trend for two, three or even five years remains to be seen. But what is already clear is that it is a trend in the leisure sector that most people have tried at least once before.
Of these players, a growing number are deciding to start their own Escape Room companies. Escape room owners come from a variety of professions: from former technology professionals to bar owners and accountants, more and more people are exploring and opening an Escape Room – the new interactive business.
A common feature among some owners, however, is that the Escape Room’s game design is not characterized by formal game design experience or training.
What happens is that most game designs are used as a template for inserting puzzles that challenge the mind, logic, or spatial intelligence and are often frustrating to solve.
Typically, the game flow or sequence of events in which things happen is very linear. If that’s not the case, players have so many things to do that they don’t know where to start. Solve a puzzle to get some numbers (despite no credible relevance to the subject) and open a lock that will give you another clue to your next lock.
Such a linear sequence of the escape game testifies to the tendency to design escape rooms more for lone fighters than for a team. Because in a linearly structured escape game, players stand around when a particular puzzle doesn’t match their abilities or creativity, and the enthusiast in the group has all the fun.
If a group is in a linear space and is stuck with a certain cipher, puzzle or logic puzzle, which is indispensable for the further course of the solution, then it is like an insurmountable wall – until someone with the right suitability (if you are lucky) is able to solve it. So everyone has to wait.
Puzzles that can be solved by individuals neglect those who want to participate in the Escape Room solution by solving individual part puzzles. This type of game design rewards the ambitious escape gamer, but not the rest of the group.
The lack of positive feedback can become a frustrating experience for some members of the group and create a dynamic of resignation. In later puzzles and tasks, the other players will not be so motivated to try to find the solution, as it is not very funny to be reminded again and again that they are not fast enough to solve them.
EXAMPLE: DESIGN FOR THE LONE FIGHTER
Players must compare wine bottle labels with the countries they come from. To find out which is the missing country, they need to examine a journal entry with different prices and solve a mathematical question.
Required skills: A bunch of math and logic
In this scenario, player A doesn’t need player B’s support to solve the puzzle, and player B has nothing to do.
Player A: Great, I love math!
Person B: Oh. Oh, I’m bad at math. I’ll watch then.
Player A is excited about the puzzle. Player B waits or tries to solve something else, although he doesn’t know what.
Frustrated not to be able to contribute to the solution, player B relies on player A.
EXAMPLE: DEVELOPMENT FOR THE GROUP
Players must compare the bottle labels with the countries they come from. The wine rack is behind a partially broken wall full of holes, and the only way to rotate the bottles and catch a glimpse of the label is by squatting and stretching.
To see the labels, the second person must stand normally and look through a smaller hole. Players must find the missing country by finding the reference from a newspaper article. However, the article is torn and some pages are missing, so someone has to search the room to find the missing pieces.
Skills. Teamwork, Physical Teamwork, physical dexterity, mathematics and logic.
This puzzle cannot be solved alone. Both player A and player B have to work together to get the clue.
Player A: Great, I love math!
Player B: Here are some magazine pieces I found, and if you give me a second, I can come up and spin the bottles for you.
Player A is excited about the puzzle. Player B has no interest in thinking too hard, but is still able to focus on the common goal through simple tasks. Player B realizes that there are certain parts of the game that he or she cannot help with, but there are many activities that he or she can solve.
Players A and B celebrate together.
WHY DID THIS WORK?
In an Escape Room adventure, the goal is to lead the player’s experience to an intended result. Just like a book, a puzzle or a new mobile game: if you end up frustrated or repeatedly failing, you are less inclined to read/play.
Well, in an Escape Room, players can’t just stop and leave the room even if they want to. So they are in conflict between the awareness that they have paid for the time to be there and the disillusionment of not knowing what to do or what to try.
In the Escape Game design for the group, the goal of space has never changed. But the design offered several ways for player B to get positive feedback:
Collecting scattered newspaper scraps is a rather low level of difficulty in the live escape game, but if it matches the narrative, is credible and allows movement, team satisfaction is the reward.
In order to reach the necessary height and be able to rotate the wine bottles, a physical effort is required – player B does not really need to think. Because there are several bottles to spin, both players are involved in the action.
The collaboration between the players in completing the escape game means that they can celebrate together, resulting in an improved team spirit. Positive feedback is the reward for working together.
WHY SHOULD YOU FOCUS ON THE GROUP FOR AN ESCAPE GAME DESIGN?
The reality of this kind of business is that everyone is different. For something else like a restaurant or a toy store, for example, consumers would simply choose the products that fit and go with them. In the live escape game, people don’t know in advance what to expect and they can’t leave if they want to.
If you ignore that and just design a series of puzzles based on puzzles and numbers – or puzzles that are irrelevant to the subject – the participants of the Escape Game will gather around those who might have an idea but are not sure and investigate every inch and every corner because everything else they tried doesn’t work and they have no more options.
Better not to focus on the puzzle, but on the tasks. Simple things like collecting related props, encouraging teamwork when objects need to be moved or examined, and passing information from one room to another, lead to easy victories and a sense of fulfillment for all involved in the Escape Room.
Of course, you don’t want to make it too easy. If players feel that a task in the Live Escape game has been deliberately pushed to give them something to do, the reverse effect will occur and players will not be willing to solve all the tasks you have designed for them. For example, if the newspaper from the previous example was divided into 20 pieces, it wouldn’t work so well.
To ensure that everyone who plays an escape game is both challenged and rewarded, there is no need to overhaul the entire design. Simple changes, like those in our example, can be enough. The circle of people who can successfully pass and solve the Escape Room will be significantly expanded and everyone can function as a team alongside their friends.
And a group that grows together will stay together and come back to play the Live Escape game again. Guaranteed.
Those who grew up in the 90’s will surely know them: the classic Point and Click Adventure games like Monkey Island were milestones in the history of computer games. Searching for clues, they searched every corner of the fictional game world to find the puzzle of Monkey Island. That rings a bell?
Of course. From the screen as a live escape game to reality, the adventure games were first transferred to Game Conventions, where they were built as an escape room. The sources don’t give a clear indication of where the Escape Game first came into reality – the USA or Japan. What is clear is that since the first releases in 2006, the development of the Exit Games as a popular leisure activity has picked up speed and is increasingly in demand as a destination for friends, family and colleagues.
Berlin and Munich made the start in Germany, after the Live Escape Game enjoyed great popularity especially in Hungary. Due to the rapid development not only the number of providers (alone over 200 providers in Germany – http://www.zeit.de/zeit-magazin/2016/43/escape-rooms-deutschland-karte) has steadily increased, but also the range of missions, style of escape rooms and modalities have increased extremely.
The palette reaches from Horror Escape Rooms, to completely specifically mathematically interpreted Exit Rooms, topic-referred Escape Rooms or live Escape Rooms, in which the play leader interactively intervenes as an actor into the happening. Another reason for the growing popularity of Escape Room Games – Attention! Irony of development history – is the possibility to escape from digital everyday life for a moment. Even though the roots of Live Escape Games lie in the digital sphere, the analogue space with mysterious objects to touch and touch is a welcome change from smartphones, tablets and PCs.
In Stuttgart you have the choice between 4 live escape game providers, in Karlsruhe there are even 6. A lot of possibilities to test an escape room as a common destination and to escape from the digital everyday life for a moment.
Your best friend is already heading unerringly for the port of marriage. The preparations for the Day of Days are in full swing. And part of the planning is, of course, also how the farewell to bachelor or bachelor life should proceed. Because before the safe harbour is reached, life is to be celebrated together with friends once more and freedom is to be celebrated. And what could be better than a start in your JGA with a visit to an Escape Room. Because after you’re initially locked up in a mysterious room, you’ll combine and fiddle your way to freedom together – which you’ll undoubtedly be able to to toast afterwards.
A visit to an escape game with your friends guarantees you action and adventure – even without alcohol – and is the perfect introduction to the day. By puzzling together and searching for clues in the Escape Room, your group will be welded together – because together you are unbeatable.
An Escape Game is suitable for both smaller and larger groups – and is therefore more and more popular when a bachelor party is on the agenda. In theory, a visit to the Escape Room can start with just two players. But the more players there are, the more fun it can be. So why not form two teams and compete in two Escape Rooms in parallel. This increases the motivation and after a successful Escape Game each player is looking forward to a cool beer as a reward.
However, you should really make sure to treat yourself to the beer as a reward after the Escape Game. Because the general Escape Room organizer won’t let you play drunk. And alcohol is not even necessary for an unforgettable experience in the Escape Room. In this case, the job is done by the adrenaline that will shoot you through your body as you solve the various puzzles and tasks.
You should also be careful not to take photos during your stay in the Escape Room. Always keep in mind that there is a lot of work behind the puzzles and tasks and that you could reveal crucial clues with photos. But after the Escape Game you are invited to photograph as much and as freely as you like. You are also welcome to contact your game master and ask for one or two objects or accessories from your Escape Room. He will certainly not refuse your request!