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  • June 3, 2019

How Escape Rooms Work

a Northern Virginia escape room

How Escape Rooms Work

How Escape Rooms Work 1024 512 Bond's Escape Room

a locked room representing how escape rooms workEscape room popularity has grown tremendously in recent years and the trend is not slowing down anytime soon. Escape rooms combine adventure, strategy, and teamwork to form a hands-on experience that both children and adults alike can enjoy. Inspired by “escape-the-room” style video games, escape rooms are a physical and mental adventure-based game in which players work together to solve a series or riddles and puzzles using hints, clues, and problem-solving skills. An escape room may consist of one large room or may span multiple rooms depending on the venue and the theme of the escape room experience.

A Breakdown of Escape Rooms

How escape rooms work differs slightly from one venue to the next. However, all escape rooms follow the same basic concept. You are given a mission or objective within a themed room. Once you and your party enter the room, you are “locked-in” and must complete the mission or meet the objective before you can “escape.” To accomplish this, you will need to search the room for hints and clues which may be hidden or out in the open (right under your nose). For example, you may discover a locked box that requires a passcode or a key to open, or there might be clues in the pictures on the walls.

Escape rooms tend to have unique themes which can help you solve the objective. Some escape room themes revolve around solving a crime or mystery, rescue a person from a threatening situation, or find a missing object. Some escape rooms are more fun and laid back, while others are designed to be scary, such as escape rooms that are based in mental hospitals, scientist labs, or post-apocalyptic zombie wastelands. Escape room themes are typically introduced with a cinematic backstory to help the participants get an idea of what they should be looking for.

Puzzle Themes You May Discover

a puzzle that represents what it is like to solve an escape roomThe unique puzzles are one of the best parts of an escape rooms. Some puzzles require the players to decrypt a secret message, while others use counting similar items to extract information. For example, you may find three apples, six bananas, and five strawberries in a room. By counting these fruits, you may get a code for a three-digit combination lock. Sometimes information is available in plain text and can be extracted just by the simple act of reading. For example, you may find a passage highlighted in a book or letter.

Escape rooms often use special tools to help players find important information. Blacklights are commonly used to reveal hidden messages written on walls. You may also need certain tools or supplies to gain access to clues. For example, you may find the object you need just out of reach. Using a long stick or some other type of grab tool may be required to get the item you want. Another common concept often seen in escape rooms are jigsaw-type puzzles. Players must find numerous pieces to a puzzle before putting it all together to recover a clue or solve an objective.

Mindset to Solve an Escape Room

To be successful in solving an escape room, you must have the right mindset. Escape rooms are designed to be challenging so do not expect to walk in and solve the puzzle in a matter of minutes. It also helps to come with a team-work focused mindset. Although working together does not mean that everyone needs to bunch around the same clue, it can be extremely helpful to take advantage of every person’s unique skills and communicate effectively in order to solve the puzzles and escape on time.

Moreover, when trying to solve an escape room, you do not want to get bogged down on a particular item or clue. Instead, look at the room as a whole to see what you could be missing. When taking on an escape room with a group, try assigning certain tasks to certain people which can make the process go a little more smoothly. You should also not be shy about asking for hints. Asking for help does not mean you are defeated, but rather you need a small jumpstart to continue on with the game. If you feel like you are at a dead end with your clues, it may be time to ask for a hint.

Schedule an Escape Room Event

an hourglass representing the time it takes to solve an escape roomAn escape room is a fun and interactive experience that encourages problem-solving, strategic thinking, and good teamwork. Knowing how escape rooms work can make it easier to understand the different types of puzzles and riddles you may discover during the game. While each venue is different, most escape rooms have between 60 and 70 minutes of actual play time. For more information about how escape rooms work or to schedule an escape room event, contact Room Escape Fairfax.